Monday, December 19, 2011

Taxi Driver 5 most valuable minutes

We have recently seen the movie Tax Driver in our Art of Video class. This movie was directed by Martin Scorsese. This movie is about a man named Travis Bickle who is a Vietnam veteran. He becomes a taxi driver in New York city and feels a need to get rid of all the "scum" and "flush it down the toilet". New York city becomes a character in itself, for it is the dirty, filled with scum, place that Travis despises. The theme I found portrayed in Travis Bickle and Taxi Driver is the power and strength of the individual. The scene that I choose was the first time that Travis talks to Betsy. His boldness displays his character and personality as an individual. He is willing to do anything to get what he wants, without shame or shyness. He is abrupt and straight to the point. His boldness is reflected in later scenes, and in the end where he kills the pimp and the accomplices.

Martin Scrosese is popular film director, screen writer, producer, actor, and film historian. He made many popular movies such as: New York, New York, Raging Bulls, Mean Streets, and Goodfellas. Taxi Driver related to Scrosese's next film New York, New York in the use of expressionism. New York, New York and Goodfellas both take place in New York. Goodfellas and Taxi Driver both compare in the high amount of violence deemed by critics. Henry Hill and Travis Bickle are similar in their role as the anti-hero. Scrosese favored the use of the anti-hero.

Taxi driver falls under the thriller genre. This is because the movie is about a psychotic man, who kills a drug dealer and his accompices. Travis Bickle is mentally instable, and acts on what ever is on his mind. He believes that shoooting the presidental candidate Palentine will make him a hero. This is ironic, because a majority of the people favor Palentine, because Palentine represents the people. Travis desires to get rid of all the "scum" and majority of people that Palentine represents.

I choose these five minutes because it portrays Travis' boldness. Travis is able to go up to Betsy without any fear and talk to her. He displays courage that is later shown when he finds Iris and kills her pimp. This scene also reveals Travis's love interest, Betsy. Scrosese adds to Travis's complex character by going against the anti-hero portrayl, to a more heroic portrayl of Travis's love for Betsy. Their relationship shows that Travis is more than a man who just wants to kill. He has feelings and desires. Travis does not cut himself off from all worldy feelings and just train to be a soldier. Betsy not only shows his complex character, but also Travis's desire to save Iris from the whore house.

This scene introduces the genre of love. The score of the trumpet always plays when Travis is thinking about Betsy. This scene also introduces Betsy. Betsy connects to history, for she is shown as a independent women. She is portrayed as intelligent and sophesticated, and she works for Palentine. in the 1970s the idea of the independent woman was becoming popular. At the same time she is portrayed as the ideal women for being blonde and beautiful.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The American Anti-Hero

            The American Anti-Hero began to rise “between 1948-1980 there was a golden age of the American anti-hero. The anti hero was rising because of post war America. Americans were uneasy and the new era of Americans were rebels against their society. “As America was scrutinizing its fellow citizens and lives were being shattered, its youth began to become disenchanted and cynical with the very idea of being good, especially when faced with overbearing authority figures”. Hollywood cinema wanted to appeal to the youth by using Anti-heroes that they could relate to. As a general population people were becoming more open to new ideas in a post WWII world. “The anti-hero was daring the audience to relate to doing wrong or being wrong even for the wrong reasons. People in general do wrong, but understanding how some we like can do wrong reflects our own misgivings and failures to do the right thing”. The anti-hero was more realistic to people, because he was not perfect, like a hero. People viewed an anti-hero as someone they could relate to. As the youth began to take on a characteristic of rebellion they focused on the need for individuality. The typical hero represents the view of a perfect society that does not have flaws. In being rebels the youth wanted to create the opposite of this by displaying individuality in going against a perfect society. They were mavericks, like the anti-hero.

            The 1960s embodied the civil rights movement where the youth found injustices in racism. Captain America “rides a chopper and wears a leather jacket and helmet that all have an American flag on them. He is donning them all when he is shot-gunned down by southern intolerants. Americans killing America, in effect . . . or at least symbolically”.

            The American Anti-Hero contradicts the Classical Hollywood Ideology. The classical Hollywood ideology portrays a hero that the audience favors and does good deeds. The hero always succeeds, lacks flaws, and contributes to a happy ending. The anti-hero contradicts the hero, because the anti- hero has flaws, fails, and goes against society. For example in ‘Taxi Driver’ Travis is an anti hero. Travis “is constantly at odds with these two sides of his own personality”. Travis is good-natured in wanting to protect girls from the scum that he finds as pimps. Travis is vengeful in his desire to hurt the girl who rejects him, after he takes her to a triple X movie.

Compare “Arrival of a Train” and “Damsel in Distress” as they relate to Realism, Classicism and formalism

1.      There is a vast difference between the camera work in “Arrival of a Train” and “Damsel in Distress”. “Arrival of a train” just has one angle and is a static shot. “Damsel in Distress” has multiple angles, varying from wide shots, close ups, and mid shots. “Damsel in Distress” also has camera movement, for the camera tracks the dog, the train as it is stopping, and the man riding on the bicycle.

2.      There are also major differences in the edit of “Arrival of a Train” and “Damsel in Distress”. “Arrival of a Train” has a hint of realism, in its maintaining of a longshot for 50 seconds. This may not be intended to be realism, but the mere lack of editing technology in 1895. The “Damsel in Distress” can be classified as a Classical film. There is cutting to continuity in the fast edits that hold shots for only 2-3 seconds. There is a focus on cause and effect relationships. For example when the damsel blows her whistle the dog gets up in the other shot. There is also cutting for dramatic intensity. The film cuts from the damsel, to the train as it gets closer and closer. It goes between close ups, and mid shots to portray the helplessness of the situation. Then the film cuts to a wide shot, so that the audience can see the train seem to run the damsel over.

3.      In the “Arrival of a Train” there is no specific narrative the director intends the audience to focus on. The audience can create their own story on who ever they wish to, because of the wide angle shot focuses on everyone. This has a realistic effect to it, because the audience chooses the character they want to focus on. The narrative of “Damsel in Distress” focuses on the Damsel, and how she is saved. The camera cuts to close ups of the Damsel, which causes the audience to focus on the Damsel. When the camera focuses on the train the director wants the audience to realize that the train is going to kill the Damsel.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Article- Intensified Continuity

            In this article David Bordell explains why continuity has intensified in Hollywood cinema. Initially Hollywood cinema used wide angle shots, and had a long average shot length. The average lens used was around 35mm, this became the standard, because directors liked deep focus to get every part of the design of the scene in a single shot. Over the years Hollywood cinema has developed faster editing, and the use of narrow lenses.
“Singles allow the director to vary the scene’s pace in editing and to pick the best bits of each actor’s performance.” Initially cinematographers used a two shot sequence to film a movie. This slowly became replaced with the single shot. A single shot is usually a close up or medium shot that isolates one actor from another. This technique is used in common day film in conversation. There are two single shots on a subject and a wide shot on both subjects. The wide shot has not died, for editors still cut back to wide shots. The reasons for single shots were because editors wanted more shot variety to work with, and multi-camera shooting became more popular. An editor was able to have close-ups and a master shot sequence, so that he could express his own artistic style in picking which shot to use. Single shots also highlight the character’s acting and creates attention on the specific character on their dialogue or reaction. Single shot technique further develops the desire to create a relationship between characters and the audience.
“During the 1980s, the B camera was frequently a Steadicam, roaming the set for coverage, and the fluidity of its movement around static actors may have made circling shots and push-ins good candidates for inclusion in the final cut.” When Hollywood first began, only a single camera was used, and a scene would be reacted multiple times to get a variety of angles. Multiple camera shoots would only be used rarely, such as, when a building crumbled, or a crash sequence, where there would only be one shot to get the camera right. Steadicams then began to be introduced to create more movement in the film to grab the attention of the audience. Movement draws the eyes in more than a static shot. Over the years shooting has become more expensive, and the timelines have become shorter, that is why most films use a multi camera shoot. One director stated “one of them must be getting something good”.
“Interestingly, this more outré technique doesn’t prevent us form comprehending the story.” The unconventional technique of over narration does not prevent the audience’s understanding of the story, as initially thought. Close-up, narration, and fast cutting brings us closer to the characters. In this way the style of today has changed in its ability to further involve the audience. Close ups and movement interest the audience, and therefore create more interest in the story line. The audience enjoys being told the story, rather than from a narrative. This can be seen when breaking the 4th wall. The character is constantly giving information to the audience, which forces the audience to pay attention. The breaking of the fourth wall also creates a higher sense of linkage between the audience and the main character, for the audience is being addressed on a personal level. The popularity of today’s techniques are seen in short films, where the director must portray as much emotion and develop the plot as possible using fast cutting and close-up techniques.
The old film style has been lost with today’s style. The audience is told what to concentrate on with the use of close ups that isolate specific characters. There has become more involvement of the camera and less involvement of the actors. Isolating specific parts of the body can portray emotions. For example, a women tapping her fingers on a table can portray her as impatient and anxious.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Short Film Critique: Bridge

            The film that we made was called Bridge. The film falls under the genre of drama, and running. What we wanted to do was show that the main character Julian loses his desire to run because of his ACL injury. Then he meets a girl Sasha, who is overcome with a terminal illness. Her perseverance through her terminal illness inspires him to run again. We desired the audience to be young adults and adults. We thought it could be inspirational.

            My area of responsibility on the film was the cinematographer. This is the third time I have played the role of cinematographer in a short film. This is the second time I have used a cannon 7D. My goal as cinematographer is to get the best shots that reflect the story the best. Therefore me and the director thought out at least half of the shots together. We compromised and clashed on what we would think would best fit the end result of the film.

            We choose to use the cannon 7D because of its ability to record 1920x1080 footage and its ability to interchange lenses that give different depths of field. The 7D is a very complex piece of equipment and even I question my ability to use its abilities to the fullest. Many problems and challenges involving the 7D have come up in the past. We have constantly had problems with audio, and the 7D’s lack of a good audio recording system. On my last project I experienced challenges with the sound, due to my own personal error, and static that would come across in every piece of audio. I decided to use the 7D this time despite our problems with audio, because we received a H4n zoom. I initially thought that I would just have to attach the H4n to the cannon 7D and not have to synchronize the audio in post-production, but I was sadly wrong. It was an error that I take responsibility for, because the audio ended up having static. This would have been prevented if I had recorded the audio on the H4n and synchronized the audio alter on, but I was too lazy.

            There were also challenges with the steady cam rig that we had. This was the first time I had used the steady cam rig on an actual shoot. I spent around 3 hours practicing the perfect technique to get the steady cam right. I still feel that there is room for improvement, for the shots are not as steady I as I would have liked them to be. I am still trouble shooting what I should do next time I shoot my final short film. I was also scared that the bridge police would not let the steady cam rig on the bridge, because it looks like a bullet proof vest. Luckily the bridge patrol did not say anything about our rig.

            Since I was responsible for the gear, and knew how much gear we needed to shoot with, I did not think that the bridge police would let us film on the Golden Gate. We were not kicked off the bridge, due to the compactness of the 7D and its ability to look like a normal camera. The bridge police initially thought we were just taking pictures until we took out the boom mike. Because we were filming on the bridge, we ran into heavy foot traffic, because it was a rare clear day on the Golden Gate Bridge. This may have caused some continuity errors in the final version of the film, but I could not stop the foot traffic.

            A problem that arose with our group was finding a hospital to shoot our scene when Sasha tells Julian that she no longer has the desire to live. We tried two different hospitals within our area, but they rejected us because of privacy issues of clients. We ended up getting an offer to work at a teen health center in Daily City, but were unable to use the location because the director was only able to give us an hour to shoot. We finally were left with our last resort, and filmed at our friend Kalena’s house. We were lucky that she was able to allow us to film in her room last minute, and that her parents had no problem using her room as the set. Using a house caused us to lose our desired production design of the hospital, but ultimately turned out successful. During the shoot, the versatility of the 7D came benefitted the shoot. There was one shot that I wanted to do, but the room was too small. So I had to put the 7D against the wall and use a mirror to check my focus. I was able to get the shot perfectly, but if we had used a real film camera the shot would not have worked. We tried to add production design in the flowers that we bought, but were unable to fully incorporate them into the final product.

            As a whole group we ran into a major problem in the beginning of our production. We were initially supposed to use real actors that we found off of craigslist, but our actors fell through due to the last minute urgency of our project. At the last minute John gathered four girls together for a screen test. Max was unable to attend the screen test because he had a football game. The two strong actors were either Payton or Sharmane. The next day we showed match the footage and as a group we ended up choosing Sharmane. The topic of who the male actor came into dispute the next day. Max choose an actor that he knew, and we met him in Golden Gate Park. At the park there was a brief argument between Max and John over who the male actor would be. There was an argument over whether or not time would be a factor in the production schedule. In the end Max decided to use John as the actor over the male actor he found. This was because the male actor that Max intended to use was about 6 years older than our female actor, which would make the film a little awkward. In the end max decided to use John as the male actor.

            We had a lot of people help us with production, and we were lucky that they were able to help us. Issa helped us take behind the scene shots, and Luke helped us with audio and helped put his input into how the scene should look. Next time we need a person that can specify on audio, so that I do not have to constantly worry about audio and focus more on the cinematography. We will probably use Luke in our next and final film project as our audio technician.

            After six weeks of production we eventually finished our short film. I was proud of our work and admired the finished product. Although I felt the film was good in many ways there was still much more room for improvement. I think that we were somewhat successful in portraying what we wanted to portray in the story line. I think that there could have been better character and situational development between the characters. There could have been more dialogue. It was difficult for some people to initially grasp the concept of the film, and this is what we were trying to do. Max said he wanted it to be “poetic”, and I agreed and enjoyed the idea that in the end the audience decides for themselves what happens to Sasha. Does Sasha still have her terminal illness, or is she being cured and that is what allows her to run in the final scene.

            I personally felt that there was too much running. We could have developed the characters further through dialogue, instead of showing the character development though running. Running can be dragging and cause for a loss of interest of the audience toward the characters. I personally felt that we exhausted many different types of running shots. In the end our film was successful in its ability to portray our intensions.

Advanced Editing Notes: 3. Soviet Montage and 4. Realism

          The soviet montage and the formalist tradition are two types of editing. Pudovkin’s concept of constructive editing was that each shot made a new point. He felt that juxtapositions of different shots would allow new meaning. The style manifested itself on film because Pudovkin used montages and put close ups in order to create a greater meaning.

            Lev Kuleshov was Pudovkin’s mentor and felt that actors had no talent, but it was the film maker who had the talent. This was called the Kuleshov effect where actors were mere tools, and did not contribute to the artistic expression. He focused on juxtapositions and how they create emotional meaning. He felt that long shots were unnecessary, and close-ups with juxtapositions created the most emotional meaning. This effect can be seen in today’s films in documentary films. Documentary films usually involve unprofessional actors, yet the films are still able to create emotional meaning.

Eisenstein’s montage was about constant change. He wanted to produce contrasting images. It works in the “Odessa Step” sequence because there are short cuts between different images throughout the sequence. Long shots are not often seen, but rather short and fast paced cuts. He is able to portray emotion of sorrow in the situation by quick cutting between distressed faces and dead bodies on the steps. It is used in today’s films by the montage style. Most movies have montages to show the progression of time, and the subtle differences of change that occur. A montage is able to accomplish an idea that takes 30 minutes to portray into 2 minutes of close cutting that shows the development of the character.

Andre Bazin was an editor, who criticized formalism and classical editing. He believed that formalist techniques violated reality; therefore, it destroyed the effectiveness of the scene. He believed in the montage technique. Bazin believed that ambiguity was the best way to portray reality. He felt that there was more involvement from a realistic style over a classical style, for a classical style was predictable and didn’t involve the audience’s consciousness. Realistic editing involved the audience’s consciousness because the cuts were more based on real life.

Realist film makers strive to use long shots, wide screen, lengthy takes, deep focus, panning, craning, tilting, or tracking rather than cutting to individual shots. The film must maintain continuity of real time and space.

A favorite technique of realist film makers was deep focus photography, because it doesn’t give special attention to certain characters, like a close up does. They feel that everything must be included, and that there should be no sacrifice with detail.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The trailer that I reviewed was the Fast Five trailer. This is the fourth movie of the Fast and Furious film series. This movie came out during the summer of 2011. Fast Five is based around street racing and how it has carried on into other parts of the world. This movie highlights the illegal aspects of street racing; such as, stealing cars, racing, and the police. I choose to review this trailer, because I enjoy the fast paced action portrayed in the trailer.

This trailer, like any other trailer, establishes the narrative of the movie. It establishes that the movie will take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil by using a fly over shot of Rio’s famous statue that sits on top of the mountain. The movie then reveals a sweat shop where money is being counted for drug dealers. It then introduces guns and police voice (Dwayne Johnson) to establish a conflict with the police and the main characters. Dwayne Johnson says “Don’t ever let them get into cars”, which highlights what fast and furious is known for, which is street racing. Vin Disel says “we will do one last job and then disappear forever”, suggesting that this is the last movie of the series. This quote is followed by a series of expensive cars being stolen off a train, establishing that the characters will steal in order to make their money. The trailer also reveals the old characters from prior movies who are back. This movie hints that Han did not really die in the seemingly fatal car accident during Tokyo Drift, or that this series takes place before Tokyo Drift.

The cinematography adds to the high paced action expressed in the trailer. The fast and close up shots of the cars displays that the cars will being going fast in the movie. The track over the police lights while Dwayne Johnson is speaking establish Dwayne Johnson as the police who are after Vin Disel and his men. The P.O.V of the rocket launcher explosion adds to the action of the movie. The close up of Vin Disel and Paul Walker’s hands as they hook their winches onto what seems to be two metal bars. This creates curiosity in not displaying what they are hooking onto. Then a wide shot shows that the metal bars where actually part of a metal vault that is being pulled by two cars.

The editing is what makes the trailer a high paced trailer. One of the best techniques is used at the end of the trailer where there is fast editing between different scenes that intertwine with a heart beat. As the heart beats become faster the cuts become faster and finally reveal the name of the movie.

The sound is also a crucial part when creating  trailer, for it helps to reveal the situation and synchronizes with the action. In the beginning the cliché sound of a shotgun adds to the intensity of the robbery scene. The fast paced music that is infused with the sound effects of squealing tires reveals the fast plot and cars.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Run Lola Run Presos Critique: Editing

run lola run preso
The area that my group and I explored in Run Lola Run was editing. The editing style that I found Run Lola Run to be based off was a formalistic style. This film was a formalistic movie because it defies most classical editing techniques. One of the first things that makes this a formalistic style is the repeat of the same sequence of time 3 times by Twyker. There is a manipulation of time, because are 3 Acts of the same plot where the characters progress and realize their mistakes as the movie progresses. Formalism is also seen in the use of thematic montage of still frames. The abstract of formalism is also emphasized in the use of animation. One significant use of animation is when an animated character pulls the frame in just before the camera does a 360 around Lola as she thinks of who to ask for money. I also found the abstract to be in the breaking of the fourth wall by Papa shaking his head as Lola runs out of the frame. I also addressed parallel action and split screen. Parallel action and split screen are used in points of high tension, for example when the money bag and the phone are falling after Lola gets shot. I lastly examined cutting and how there were around 1500 cuts in Run Lola Run.

I had some strengths in my presentation. I think one of my strengths was that I was able to not rely heavily on my notes. I was able to expand on my pictures and talk relative to my topic. I think I was also able to provide good facts about the movie, such as the average shot length of 2.7 seconds. I was also to have a somewhat good sense of film language.

I also had some weaknesses in my presentation. I feel that I did not use enough film language. This can be solved by further studying the advanced editing notes. Sometimes I strayed off topic with the breaking of the fourth wall, because it is not really an editing technique. I sometimes also said like and ummm, and I also didn’t always look at the audience when I was talking. I looked too much at the screen and not the audience.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Film Treatment: Sands

Film Treatment: Sand

Logline: Boy is running through San Francisco attempting to tell his best friend that he likes her. Boy breaks fourth wall.

Girl and boy are sitting on a beach near sunset. They are looking out into the ocean. Girl says “look at this sand in my hand”. She cups the sand and lets its slowly siphon down until there is no more sand. She says this sand is like time it eventually runs out for all of us. The question or not is how we live our lives to the fullest. As the guy and girl leave the beach they part ways.

As the boy walks home he breaks the fourth wall and tells us about his life. His name is Tom and the girl’s name is Kelly. He and Kelly have been friends ever since they were small kids. Flash back to smaller kids on a play ground and they meet each other and are instantly friends after. Tom is a junior in high school and Kelly is a Senior. He and Kelly always enjoy each others company and they spend a lot of time with each other and their other friends.

Show progression of shots to show that the year is going by and then the year is almost over until it is summer time again. Tom and Kelly are on the beach again. Kelly tells Tom that she is going to leave tomorrow for college. Tom is sad but says alright and when they part ways they say good bye to each other.

The next day when the boy gets up his mom leaves a pile of pictures on his desk. Tom looks through the pictures and finds an old picture of him and Kelly. He breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience that he realizes his feelings for Kelly and wants to tell her before she leaves at 12 pm for UC Irvine. It is 11:00 pm and the boy realizes he must go to Kelly’s house fast so that he can tell her his feelings.

Tom runs out of his house and runs down the street. He finds the bus stop and waits as he looks at the time to make sure that he is not going to be late. As he is running he is having flashback memories of all the good times that he and Kelly had together. Tom encounters obstacles on the way and then he doesn’t make it in time to tell Kelly his feelings. He is sad but tells the audience that he tried his best and ended up failing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Broadcast Critique (how technology contributes to procrastination)

            Preproduction was extremely difficult. Me and max wanted to do something great or special, so we wanted a great idea. The only problem was that we couldn’t think of a great idea. One of our first ideas was the Casey Anthony case, but Mr. Bigue said that was too boring. Then finally we wanted to do a segment on procrastination, but also teachers using technology. I came up with this idea because I know procrastination is a big thing, but also I wanted to include ideas about a RSA segment that I watched about changing education paradigms. Max wanted it to be professional so we only envisioned one interview and voiceover. We decided to interview Ms. Gonzales because we had a conversation about the RSA segment with her before.
            I thought the overall quality of production was pretty good. Some of our most creative shots were the rack focuses, and the narrow depth of field shots. I enjoy isolating one person in a narrow depth of field shot, because it looks better and the person has less chance of noticing that you are recording them since you are farther away. One of the best shots was our interview segment with Ms. Gonzales. It was the first time I used the lighting kit, so I made some mistakes. It would have been better if she was more diagonal to the wall and she was framed more on the right side of my frame. Our audio came out good, but I was afraid that it might be horrible like it has been in the past. This was probably a benefit from using only one camera, and not the 7D that has great picture quality but poor audio.
            Our script wasn’t that great and had to be changed at the last moment. It turns out that we had two different topics that didn’t quite go together all in one segment. My favorite shot of Ms. Gonzales had to be removed because there was no relativity. It was a good thing that the voice over from before still flowed with the new interviews. I thought the voice over was compelling and related to our story. I liked the part about how we are living in the most stimulating era of human kind. I felt that the voice overs flowed well with the b-roll that showed kids doing hw, watching tv, and multi-tasking. The final thought that I want people to take into account are the tips on how not to procrastinate. Procrastination can be a great kid’s kryptonite.
            I thought the editing in our segment was decent. It reflected most of the segment, except for a rack focus shot we did in the beginning of a pencil sharpener. I felt that minimal transitions were necessary, for segments on tv just use cuts. We faded audio at the end, and I felt that transition was essential. The only effect that I used was the gain tool, which I never used before. It is extremely helpful, and I was able to get great audio quality by just boosting the gain.
            Overall I like that our piece addresses procrastination, which all most every teenager struggles with. I wouldn’t really do anything differently except do another segment on technology in classrooms. The most important lesson I can take away is that even if you have great shots, story line matters. If your story doesn’t make sense then it is useless.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Character in Time

The man in this picture is an old man who is 71 years old. The man is fishing on his lawn chair on a platform. He is fishing at dusk, because dusk is one of the best times to fish. The old man is having a relaxing day after driving in his van that is parked next to him. The man is reflecting on his road trip. He then realizes that the moment that he is living in is extremely peaceful. The worries of life are erased from his mind and he is in total relaxation. He examines the beauty of the sunset and reminisces about a sunset in Vietnam. He and his comrade were sitting near the ocean in Vietnam watching the sun set over the ocean. They were both waiting for the helicopter to return them to base after their successful mission. The old man remembers the good times he had with his battalion during his service years in Vietnam. Then as the sun begins to fade he questions life. He realizes that life is beginning to fade away from him just like the sunset, because he is 71 years old. As he stares out into the horizon, he contemplates what he wishes to do before he passes.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cameria In Action Response

Too Fast by WongFuProductions

The film that I analyzed was "Too Fast" by WongFuProductions. It is about a man named Brandon who likes to do everything in his life fast. Ever since he was little he has gone fast and there are positives and negatives to his speed. The short film plays around with time and physics, because Brandon is able to do outrageous things. An example is when he is able to go from home to drop off his friend in a second, and then in another second he is able to get a tapioca drink.

     There are many variations of shots throughout the short film. In the picture above a medium close up is used. The camera is at a slight diagonal to Brandon's body, which gives the shot a little bit of depth. The short film opens with an establishing long shot of the car on the lower right hand corner of the frame. Our eyes are drawn to the blue car because the blue contrasts with the setting of the trees and the house. The next shot is then a pov shot of the red light that Brandon is looking at as he waits for the light to turn green. This is followed by a close up shot of the tactometer as Brandon revs the engine. This shot portrays portrays Brandon's anxiousness to go fast. The next shot is a close up used with a narrow angle lens that uses the shallow depth of field to isolate Brandon's enthusiastic face as the light turns green. The sense of depth in the shot is added by Brandon's hands on the steering wheel that are out of focus.

      The lighting in the short film was good, except for the restaurant scene. A high key light was used to light this scene, when a medium to low key light may have been a better choice. A high key light that is white contrasts to heavily with the low yellow lighting of the romantic restaurant shown in the first picture. I believe the high key light is too intesne because it creates an odd white light on Brandon as seen in the seocnd picture. A yellow or softer filter on the light may have made the scene better by preserving the continuity of the low lit romantic setting.

     The final scene is my favorite scenes. The scene opens by using a pan movement while using lead room as Kelly walks to Brandon's car. The shot is out of focus as the pan begins, but the shot is in focus when Kelly gets into the car. This was probably caused by the presetting of the focus on Kelly as she was in the car before the shot started. The next portion of the scene is dialogue between Brandon and Kelly where medium close ups and selective focus are used as the two actors talk to each other. This seems to be a popular style throughout the movie. The cinematographer tends to use a narrow zoom position and create a blurry foreground and background, while leaving the midground clear. I enjoy this technique, because the shot is able to include all 3 aspects (foreground, midground, and background) by keeping the shot static without having to rackfocus or move the camera. 
The next quick shots are of when Kelly realizes that they now have 2 kids only after a few seconds of talking to Brandon. A quick pan is used from Kelly to her new kid saying mommy. This is then followed by a quick cut to her face. The quick pan and cutting display the rush of suprise and horror that Kelly feels from having no kids to two kids in a second. Overall I felt that the cinematography was strong and the shot variation reflected the pace of the plot.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Production Portfolio: The Retreat

Rationale: We produced a film called the Retreat, which was about a boy who loses his dad. The boy goes to a trail with a girl to help him clear his mind. The girl is a catalyst for the boy to overcome his sorrow, for she recreates the moments that the father and the son had on the same trail. Initially we wanted to do a movie based on sound that included the new techniques that we learned in class; such as, sound bridges, degetic and non-degetic sounds. We made this film for all audiences, to commemorate anyone who has lost a love one. We thought this was a good idea because it did not involve a story line with a lot of actors, or unrealistic sets.

Commentary: My position or responsibility throughout the production of the short film was Cinematographer. I was in charge of all the equipment and most of the film making process. Most of the cinematography was done by myself, but the director did some of the cinematography when I was unable to shoot. The most important factor of my job was getting to know/ handle the new camera, which was the cannon 7D. The cannon 7D is an amazing piece of equipment, but it is complicated and needs to be used several times to gain experience.

Initially I had written the script for the movie, but it was too vague. I based my script off of a set that I had desired to use, and we stuck with the main idea of a script based around a trail where a boy can retreat from his daily life. We had to rewrite the script at least 3 more times. After the first script I wrote the second script, but the second script too was also unsuccessful. It was not until the 3rd treatment that we were able to get an approved treatment. This treatment was succesful because all three of us in the group put our heads together and all collaborated on a google doc. After this was complete myself and the director wrote the script. After the script was finished I produced the 2 column script that included all my shot sequences. I did not rely on the 2 column as much as I desired to because, when we shot at elephant bar the set changed from what I initially thought would be a trail near Crystal Springs.

The most challenging part of handling the 7D was attachable audio box that allowed us to use a three pronged mic cable and better the sound of the movie. A main problem that I had was that when I used it the first time to shoot I forgot to plug the cable from the box into the camera, thus the day of shooting was a lost, because we were unable to get audio. This can be seen in the picture to the right, and examined closely one can see that the wire is hanging out of the mic box and not plugged into the 7D. I accepted all the blame for this mistake, because I was the one responsible for the equipment and most importantly the camera. From that day on I have always checked the box to make sure it has enough batteries, made sure the shot gun and cable are working, and have made sure that the cable from the box is plugged into the camera. And now I always replay the scenes that I shoot with the director to make sure that the audio worked in the scene.

Audio throughout production seemed to be a constant problem. A problem that we had in the produciton was that we used three different cameras in our production, because priority for the 7D was given to seniors. When we shot the cemetary scene we had to use the HFM, which is an HD camera, but it is not made for proffessional productions like the 7D. Another fault of mine was that I had forgotten to check the shot gun mic before I checked it out. The shot gun mic was out of batteries and it was unable to record our only setence of audio. The audio had to be dubbed, but it was not too obvious. From now on I always check all the gear to make sure everything works and has batteries.

When I shot the cemetary scene we wanted it to be raining and it was raining. A problem with the rain is that it falls onto the lens and I constantly have to wipe the lens and try to protect the camera from the weather in the pocket of my jacket. Although the drops of water were a problem, they were also a benefit for the drops created contrasting colors seen in the picture to the left. The drop disorients the shot in the left top corner of the picture.

Using the dolly track in the rain is also a very difficult task that I had to overcome. The dolly track is already a tough contraption to set up, because it needs two tripods and the baseplates have to be screwed into the bottom of the track. Because it was raining the dolly track was getting wet; thus, the rain acted as friction to the top plate that slides along the track. In order to not have the dolly track stop and hold the umbrella over the camera, I had to maintain a speed that was higher than I desired. It worked out perfectly though, because moments after the track came to an end the car door slams. Leveling the dolly track on the uneven grass was also a difficult task.

The editing in the movie I believed went fairly well. We were able to use color correction in our film for the first time to give it a cinematic look. My favorite filter is with Ben and the Father. As in the words of the director "its not necessarily black and white, but it has come color contrast to it". This filter gives the a retrospective outlook on the event, without being cliche with using a simple black and white filter. Editing also involved cross fades for the volume, because the volume was high pitched before anyone spoke.

I felt that the sound design went extremely well, mainly because of our director. Our director became the audio technician and found loops and music on youtube that we were allowed to use. He also included background noises that seemed unnoticable at first, but play a key role in maintain ambience noise throughout each scene.

The directing of the production went well.except for some problems. Our director played the largest role in our whole production, from helping with cinematography to helping with editing and audio. Some problems with directing was getting the full emotion out of our characters. I feel that without strong actors the quality of the movie as a whole is brought down.

For myself I have many areas to improve on with my skills as a cinematographer. Maintaining shots that are more unshaky is one of my main goals. In the next project I want to incorporate more moving shots and different camera angles. I need to always check gear all the time to make sure that a day of shooting doesnt go bad because of my failure to check gear. Maintaining focus is an aspect that I also desire to improve on. Instead of being lazy and focusing without zooming in live view, I should zoom in in live view and make sure that the focus is correct.

Overall I feel that the production of the movie is my best work so far. The movie surpassed my expectaions in areas of camera work, editing, and sound design. The two major areas we have to work on next time is getting the correct emotion from the actors, and a wider variety of cinematography.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oral Presentation Critiques

My oral presentation provided insight on Remember the Titans.  I covered various topics throughout the movie, such as the cinematography, score, and plot line.  I spent a lot of time on the sociocultural context on how the movie was based heavily around racism and segregation during the Civil Rights Movements.  I related the movie to Coach Carter and how Remember the Titans is a similar sports film of crisis.  The struggles that the players face, and their ability to conquer their divides allows them to join together and be a winning team.  The analysis of the good sets and cinematography within the sets added to the movie's greatness.  The key roles of actors such as Denzel Washington made the movie.  A negative aspect of my analysis was that I spent too much time on the sociocultural context of racial segregation and might have been too repetitive.  Overall I would give myself a 19.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Narritive and Scene analysis

            The film is constructed around the story of a newly intergrated highschool football team that is experiencing intense racial divides within the team.  Coach Boone played by Denzel Washington is keen on bringing the team together, and force them to break racial divides.  The plot sequence is organized in home (virginia), summer camp (Pensylvania), and back home to virginia.  Virginia symbolizes the intense racial segregation the boys face.  Summer camp is their high where they are all able to reconcile and become friends.  When the players get back to Virginia they are tested, because there is no longer a stable environment around them that coach Boone is able to regulate.  Our engagement of the characters is feeling jubilance and sorrow.  Gerry Bertier's car accident, which causes him to become paralyzed from the waste down is a heartbreaker, for the cliche happy ending is somewhat crushed by one of the maincharacters being paralyzed.

              The characters are represented as epitomes of the social era.  They are all given cliche traits, the whites are portrayed as racist, and the blacks are portrayed as having soul and spirit.  The acting of Bertier and Julias allow us to feel for the characters as they start their friendship with "Strong side, left side".  The cinematography is not outstanding, but it is not bad.  There are some creative shots of tilting when the players are running to Gettyburg cemetary.  A nice shot is when the players can be outlined in the shadows of the schoool bus headlights when they players are forced to play in the dark.  The slight overexposed shots allow the audience to be somewhat taken back into 1971.  Locations were key, such as Gettysburg cemetary.  This is where Coach Boone tells the players that they will end up like the men in the cemetary if they dont get along.  The players start to realize that they must work together if they have any hopes of success.  Music is also a key aspect of the movie, for it is mainly used to portray the music that blacks like listening to.  The soul and gossipal music is stereotypical black music that portrays the black society.  This music is used to incorporate happiness and emotion.  The movie allows the audience to see that racial and social barriers can be broken as long as people are willing to break those barriers.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Historical and Socio-cultural context

II.  This movie was directed by Boaz Yakin who was born in 1966 in New York City.  He attended school in the bronx and studied film making at New York City College, and later moved onto New York University.  He won the Sundance Film makers trophy in 1994 for his direction of Fresh.  Remember the Titans was the first film that Yakin directed that was a major box office success.  The film was produced by walt disney and contained the aspiring actor, Denzel Washington who played a great role as the headcoach.  Remember the Titans grossed over 115 million dollars.

III.  The socio-cultural context was based around racism and segregation of within the US.  The plot was based around the story of a integrated football team that was racially divided between blacks and whites.  Remember the Titans addresses one of the most critical topics in US history, which is racism and segregation.  This movie portrays a black coach having the ability to break the racial divides within his team to produce a successful team that allows the community to see the ability for both races to trust each other.  This work was intended for the entire world to be its audience, for it addresses racism which is a great problem thoughout the world.  The intended audience was also for people who like american football, and those who enjoy seeing team work bring people closer together. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sound Unit Prepro

This will take place at crystal springs trail on a bench overlooking the spring.  Near sunset, since sun sets over the spring.


Boy walking (head down) sits down on park bench.  He sighs as he sits down.  He puts his face in his hands in distress as a young couple walks by behind him.  They look to be as though they are in love and are talking to teach other and as they pass the bench the boy looks at their backs as they walk away and their audio fades out.  The boy sighs again and then takes out his headphones and we can hear the music from his ipod.  

Then middle age couple walks by in the background from right side.  The boy doesn’t notice, but they talk about how they always love coming back to this trail and how peaceful it is.

Boy is looking out at the spring as they are walking by and they exit off screen

Then old couple walks by from left side and they sit down next to the boy on the bench.  Boy takes off his headphones and says sure you can sit here.

Old couple are talking and they are audible and they are talking about how much they enjoy each other, boy puts his head back down in his hands still in distress.  

Old people respond.  Old man tells him some words of wisdom about relationships (not too cliché) maybe some humor about himself and his wife.  

Old lady says time for us to go, so they both get up, old man tells boy it will be “alright kid pull through”.
After they leave out of the WS.  All isolated sounds.  Boy relaxes back in his park bench and looks at the spring again (hears small sound of waves).  Boy looks at Grass and hears the sound of crickets, and soft wind sound as wind is blowing nearby grass.  (if theres no wind it will have to be man made and sound effect can be put in later).  Boy looks at free way in back of him and notices sound of cars passing by.  Boy looks out at the spring once again and now all sounds are audible.  Boy pulls phone out of his pocket with right hand.  Looks at it (seems like he is contemplating something) then puts phone down, face down, on his right leg and slouches further back in bench.  ONLY THING AUDIBLE Phone starts ringing (ringtone differences genuwine or some r&b song).  Boy turns his phone back over and looks at the front and caller ID says Katy and picture is of boy and Katy smiling (happy).  Boy looks at it then looks out at spring and left to right (now all previous sounds in green are heard) then he looks back at phone (only ringtone is heard) boy contemplates and then pushes silent on his phone.  (WS from beginning) Gets up and walks out of frame.  Time lapse until night time then fade out.

        The narritive design is a romantic.  My goal of this film was to be serious throughout the whole film.  I have gone on this trail many times before, and I always notice how nice and serene the view is, although the freeway is right behind it.  I based most of the story off of the scene and what i could get of it.  I want to experiment with isolated sounds, and then joining all the sounds together to create a soothing nature effect. 

Production elements:
         I wanted to incorporate nature with sound.  I want to use sound bridges maybe to connect different trasitions.  I planned on using the music the boy was listening too and his ring tone to play as the lietmotif, and I was also thinking about incorporating some sound loops or even create my own.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Part I: Genre and Audience

         The movie Remember the Titans falls under the sports genre.  The features determining this genre are that this film is based around football.  This work might be connected to a similar sports film Coach Carter.  Coach Carter is about a coach who coaches a winning basketball team in Richmond.  Similar to Coach Carter, Coach Boon encounters problems in racial divides between players.  This movie was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Boaz Yakin.  It was created to address the racial divide between people of color (particularly blacks) and whites.  This movie was also based on true story of football players Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell.  We can tell that the creators wanted to produce a movie that was based on racial segregation and football.  The theme of the film is that sports allow humanity to break racial segregation in working together as a team.  The target audience is the world, for this film addresses racial segregation, which is a major problem in society.  This film addresses the topic of racial segregation well, by describing the relationship between a football team who live in a society of racial segregation.