I got a little inspired by StarWarsWars and thought it would be fun to make a more cohesive and clear story by layering video. The idea is to show what is going on in Ben’s head as he recounts his memories to Luke. I used layered video to visually show both Ben talking and Ben’s memories along with a variety of effects on the videos to give it a more dream-like/flashback feeling.
I looked at starwarswars.com and playdamage.org. Starwarswars was simply the first 6 Star Wars films layered on top of one other and digitally altered in a way that all films are visible at once. And PlayDamage was an interesting music-video type experience where you click through different visuals accompanied by music. The visuals are a mix of live-action recordings and digital alterations, some made to even look glitchy. I found that the second principle Manovich lists relates well to these works, which states, “once live-action footage is digitized… it loses its privileged indexical relationship to pro-filmic reality. The computer does not distinguish between an image obtained through the photographic lens, an image created in a paint program, or an image synthesized in a 3-D graphics package, since they are made from the same material – pixels. And pixels, regardless of their origin, can be easily altered, substitued one for another and so on. Live-action footage is reduced to just another graphic, no different from images that were created manually.” In both, live-action footage is reduced to digital footage and used to create effects that could not be achieved by the footage alone. PlayDamage has elements of both digital effects and live-action footage, and are layered in a way that they are meshed together and indistinguishable from each other. Starwarswars does something similar where it takes 6 films, turns them each into their own layer or graphic that is meant to complement and support one other. Live-action film becomes its own category of digital effect when it can be altered and composited with others. Manovich goes on to say, “Digital cinema is a particular case of animation that uses live-action footage as one of its many elements,” and I find this especially true of these works. This definitely inspires a lot of possibilities with digital cinema when live-action becomes less of the focus and more of an extra tool for effects.
Overall I find the idea of a networked series or webisode with social media interaction very intriguing and it opens lots of doors for possibilities. We live in such a “like” and “comment” social society that providing that engagement in the series we watch adds an extra level of involvement for the viewer, which can drive in more interest. I would imagine a series that give the audience the opportunity to drive where the story goes can be really successful, especially through something as easily accessible as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. It also takes away exclusivity in that sense by allowing everyone to participate, not just the people who can afford the service, like with a Netflix or Prime series, or a channel subscription like HBO. One possibility I see for something like this is, as I mentioned before, a series where the audience can choose where the story goes. For example, every episode could end with 2 or 3 choices and the audience can comment which option they want to see happen and the most popular answer is the path the story follows. We’ve already seen something similar in live competition shows where the audience can text or use an app or website to vote for their favorite contestants in real time, affecting the outcome of the show. So similarly, using an app to show webisodes makes it a little easier for people to access and interact, especially one they are already familiar with. It might be a little more difficult to do this with a live show, but definitely not impossible.
Remix using Elf and Step Brothers.
I’ll use the example of creating a video that outlines a mayoral candidate for an upcoming election. I would interview the candidate, and perhaps someone who supports them or works for their campaign. I would ask them about what issues they stand for, why they should be elected for mayor, and what they do day to day. The B-Roll footage could simply be footage of the community itself, such as landmarks, parks, and buildings. The reading states, “you have to dig for images that help to advance the story, that give the viewer information as well as something to look at while someone talks,” meaning the B-roll should represent whatever the interviewee is talking about, rather than just being something pretty. The visual evidence could include the candidate interacting with people from the community, rallies, and events in support of them, along with the candidate doing day to day tasks and routines. This would make good visual evidence because the reading describes, “it’s not simply a matter of getting a lot of background footage of these people in other situations. That’s the solution most often proposed by film students when they sense a caricature in the footage rather than a portrait. ‘If I could only see her at breakfast, or playing with her children,’ they say, ‘then I’d understand her better.'” A community would want to see who the candidate is as a person and what they do on a day to day basis rather than the exaggerated version of them they project for the media. Visual evidence is evidence because it is the real version of them.
The “Cinema in the Digital Age” reading describes Run Lola Run as “database logic”, where an action is repeated multiple times. It follows a nonlinear path in which there are several different versions of the same story, not only in the story itself but in the ways in which it is pieced together. “It is not that the ability to rearrange and resequence time in movies is new with nonlinear editing, but rather that the ease and speed whereby the database can be accessed and summoned means that more experimental, even radical representations of time in cinema are possible,” the reading states in reference to this new possibility with digital film. The spatial and temporal arrangement of the story elements are different in the sense that many stories occur in a single narrative. In other words, the traditional scheme of movies following a single narrative is broken by having the story repeated more than once, each with some elements changed to make the story play out slightly differently each time. The same twenty-minute interval is played 3 times through, each time occurring in an altered sequence of events. Time is also manipulated at the beginning of the film when Manni recounts the conflict he encountered. This sequence appears differently than the rest because it is shown in grainy black-and-white, implying that these are events of the past. But the film follows traditional rules of having a few narratives occurring at once, such as following both Lola and Manni in their quests to retrieve the money. It follows somewhat traditional themes of coincidence, chance, and causality, using metaphorical representations such as the dominos falling at the beginning, and the overarching theme of time referenced by the clock and its pendulum swinging. Continuity and order are maintained by having the same shots in each sequence follow the same set-up. Framing is kept relatively consistent for each shot in the variant sequence. For example, the opening shot of each sequence remains the same when Lola runs out of her apartment. The camera follows her out, goes into the room with the woman on the phone, and then switches to the cartoon version of Lola encountering the punk and his dog as she runs down the stairs. These shots are crucial in helping the viewer understand that the sequence is being repeated again by opening it the same way each time.
I think the video works for the most part. The hardest part for continuity’s sake was capturing the coffee pouring into the mug. The actual process takes a lot longer to complete, but in the video, the coffee appears within seconds. I made sure to catch the coffee starting, the middle, and the end, but it was still tricky conveying that lapse of time. It breaks the continuousness of the task by having to wait for the coffee to brew. So perhaps choosing a different task would have helped me avoid that. Another challenge was having to film the process twice because the first time didn’t work so well. I filmed it with various cuts, and in between those cuts, there was some movement that didn’t translate well as a continuous task. The second time, I filmed fewer but longer videos, where I told my mom to freeze her position while I shifted the framing for the next shot. I ended up using footage from both times which generally worked fine. But some specific moments that I think worked well were when the hand moves from closing the K-Cup dispenser and then cutting to pressing the button, and the cut from the creamer moving towards the mug to the creamer pouring in. In terms of framing, I used a variety of framing styles, especially close-ups because it’s such an up-close task to capture. I tried to follow the rule of thirds a lot by having the focus set on one of the thirds lines for each shot. I also tried to do some POV shots as well. Framing was a little difficult as well because I was working in such a tight space that was also occupied by another person.
This gif portrays an endless night in that time is passing because the stars are moving across the sky, but the sun never rises. It gives the feeling of time passing without time actually passing.
This gif is an endless parkour run as if he is jumping from building to building with no end. It’s a bit different in the sense that it better portrays a movement or action happening over a short period of time, though with the loop the action is repeated with no end.
This one shows a supercell forming. It is similar to the first one because it expresses the passage of time by focusing on one element with a little bit of motion to evoke the idea that time is still passing.
As is the case with all gifs, they display motion that repeats itself over and over in an enclosed space. But with these, they are looped so seamlessly that they feel like video with no end. In comics, I can see gifs or looped video being used in the place of each frame as a way to show motion without disturbing the process of a comic. We can still interact with a story frame by frame but are instead provided with a more sensory filled experience. An action can still occur but it takes less space to see it happen. Especially considering the difficulty of portraying motion in still photographs or drawings, gifs, and looped video are immensely helpful by allowing for motion to happen within the single space. Like the reading touches on, time is another tricky factor in comics because it is necessary to use multiple frames to imply that something is occurring over time. But the problem is, sometimes the reader isn’t sure how much time is passing. Sometimes a longer frame is needed to better portray a longer passage of time as it takes more time for the eye to scroll past it. Gifs and looped video might alleviate this struggle, but sometimes there is a passage of time that does not contain movement, so a still image might be easier to understand and better get across the idea of stillness. The reading gives the example of the man having a conversation with another and pauses to reply. Leaving the frame still with no movement or dialogue, and giving it length better exemplifies someone pausing to think. It’s important to remember a gif or video without movement is just a still image. In the end, though, I think gifs and looped video would make a fine alternative to still frames in comics because they capture movement in a way that photo cannot and be played continuously so just enough action happens in one or two seconds without telling the whole story in one space.
For my project, I shot the aftermath of a deer that likes to demolish my backyard. My interpretation for each shot goes:
1 – long shot, low
2 – extreme close-up, top-down
3 – medium close-up that pans down to a focused close-up
4 – medium with pan up
5 – close-up, high
6 – extreme close-up, top-down
7 – extreme close-up, top-down
I chose my favorite film sequence from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Medium close-up, telephoto/zoom
Medium close-up (behind from the neck down)
Medium long-shot, pans to follow him running
Wide angle from the top down
Medium close-up (from waist down)
Long shot from behind
Close-up, continuous pan with the next shot…
Medium, continuous pan across the interior of the plane…
Extreme long-shot, continuous pan that follows the plane taking off, flying through the night…
…and arriving in Greenland
Medium close-up (food)
I think the mix of framing is very appropriate for this sequence, particularly mixing long shots with close-ups. While the sequence itself only spans roughly 2 minutes, it covers several hours of action in the story. The different framing styles help us follow not only what is going on internally with the character, but lets us see the bigger picture of his travels. I think the sequence also effectively uses very limited dialogue to further emphasize the movement and evoke emotion based purely on the visual.
I find that the iPhone movies, while they do follow most of the conventions of traditional film, they also carry over many of the special qualities allowed with small digital video/cameras. So I would argue that they are not necessarily “trying” their best to be like film, but combine both the unique capabilities of iPhone and qualities of traditional film. They still feel like movies, but yet are definitely set apart with their particular look and feel that comes with being shot with a digital medium or iPhone. Tangerine was a standout for me in the sense that it was clearly shot with a mobile phone but still felt very much like a regular movie. Aesthetically, it feels very documentary-esque, low budget, and up close and personal.
With the rising use of smartphones for not only personal use but professional and artistic use, this is a digital video form that better connects the viewer with what they are watching. Smartphone movies are relatable because anyone can be a filmmaker with them. Like with the case of Tangerine, it was shot through an $8 app on an iPhone 5, something that virtually anyone can do. It helps with low budget films and also shifts more focus to the narrative rather than special effects and fancy camera tricks. And arguably, an iPhone can do things that can’t easily be done with traditional film cameras. They are smaller and more portable and are easily accessible. But they are still capable of being rigged using different tools and with the right tools, can still perform just as well as a full-sized camera.
Hey everyone, my name is Briar. I don’t have a huge background with video, just creating videos for various projects in the DTC program. I enjoy the editing process a lot more than the actual filming process because I’m not terribly creative with film ideas and I also don’t know anyone willing to act in my videos. In terms of equipment, I usually just use my iPhone 6S Plus which has a pretty good camera. I have a digital camera but it doesn’t work great. I also use a selfie stick as a stabilizer/monopod. My aims in the class would probably be to just expand my knowledge of film and filmmaking and hopefully make some more cool projects. I am a DTC major and my professional interests are graphic design, web design, and maybe social media marketing. This is a scene from one of my all-time favorite movies. The scene is beautifully shot and shows so much with very little dialogue or narration. You can see the character thinking and feeling without having to explain what’s going on. It has a variety of shot styles and angles that make it especially interesting. I also love how the Life motto is spread out across the different shots.