Here is the link for my final cut of my final project video with the credits attached.
For the sake of this post, I checked out two different examples of hypercinema. Both very different from one another in a multitude of ways regarding how they tell their narratives and how to use cinema language. The first example I looked at was Bear 71. Bear 71 is a mix of audio narration, video, and an interactive map to create a truly unique experience and form of storytelling about a bear and its journey through the wild and how technology and colonization has affected both it and other bears quite negatively. Because of the clever combination of all three of those storytelling elements, Bear 71 manages to take the tale of a bear in the wild that could be considered mundane or something that would not be that engaging and makes it a fantastic and one of a kind experience that resonates on a level that the story would not have if it was told any other way. The use of cinematic techniques like narration and select video clips make it a compelling piece of pseudo cinema that impacts the viewer on a similar level as a traditional non-interactive form of filmmaking.
The next example was Seance. And this was quite a trip. Through the use of hypercinema techniques, you click and hold on the screen and a video appears out of thin air with bizarre editing and focus that is purposely made to be disposable due to how each video is seen is a random combination of random clips that is put together differently each and every time the site is visited. The concept is beyond bold and I appreciate it quite a bit. But I wasn’t too fond of the end result because it was just far too strange for me to really latch on to in any kind of meaningful way. But it definitely qualified as hypercinema nonetheless.
My final project went through multiple different concepts and versions until I settled upon this particular edit and idea. First, I wanted to do a video essay on the importance and craft of Makeup Special Effects but I quickly realized it was far too ambitious and I didn’t have enough time to get the video put together in time. Then I decided to do a montage to visions of the future from various different films. But when I got my hands on all of the footage I wanted to use, I quickly realized how tall of a task it was going to be to edit a complete video with that much footage to cull from. So finally after hitting a brick wall I discovered by the breakthrough concept. Instead of using nearly ten films and grabbing clips from those, I would just use two of them and use them to tell a story. So I could put on display not only various different forms of montage, pixel cinema, and editing but a cohesive and simultaneous story from a creative lens.
The concept of my video is quite unique. The first half of the video is more of a traditional type of montage for a series of films. Just taking various different clips from both Blade Runner films and putting them together and matching them to the beat of the song and some of the lyrics. The second half as Deckard begins to daydream is where things become less traditional and much more abstract. This is where the uniqueness of the concept comes into play. Deckard daydreams about not only what will occur in the near future but also in the distant future as well. His daydreams are a simultaneous combination of different aspects of the plot of both Blade Runner films connecting him and Ryan Gosling’s K in a truly original way. The edit even ends with Deckard being shaken out of his daydream and brought back to reality and the present day. The whole theme is about reflections of the future and it is incorporated all through the edit once it lulls you in with the introduction focusing on more of the visual aesthetic versus the overall theme.
I really tried to match the clips with particular beats of the song Future Reflections by MGMT. The very start of the video syncing up the flash of fire with the guitar pluck, the spinner flying around the building in Blade Runner matching up with the part of the song that descends slowly with the beat, the little riff pairing with the shot of the piano being played and Deckard’s eyes opening up as the beat drops in. I did the same with the lyrics as well. “The rush of blood” meshing with the sequence of K bleeding from his side and showing his bloody hand to Deckard, “familiar but new” with footage of both Coca Cola advertisements in both of the films, “pale and thin” paired with the shot of Daryl Hannah’s character in Blade Runner spray painting her face with her pale skin, and various other different moments where I made the attempt to sync particular lyrics up with hand-picked clips from both films to create a remix, a new way of telling the story of both films and a montage all in one. I even used a filter for the moment in Blade Runner when Deckard shoots one of the replicants through the glass. I used a rainbow effect because the scene itself is rather colorful and I wanted to amplify that and create a surreal scene that matches the psychedelic trance that the song goes into with its beat at that very moment. This is also how I was able to add some aspects of Pixel Cinema to my final edit. And the song’s title itself “Future Reflections” I incorporated into the film as well with various different clips from both films. In particular Deckard and K’s scenes with a piano. I edited those in a way to make it appear as if they are direct reflections of themselves and to further solidify the connection between not only the characters of Deckard and K but their stories as well.
I had a hard time really nailing down a topic for a video essay despite having a ton of ideas for one. And since time was limited when it comes to putting it all together, I decided to do a how to for beginners on video collecting which is one of my biggest hobbies currently. And I am honestly pretty pleased with how it turned out. I wanted to make it short but still full of helpful advice for anyone considering getting into the hobby complete with footage of my collection and during one of my more recent hunts.
The photo zoom is an edit I wasn’t too happy with since it wobbles around but I don’t know how to fix that. And some of the footage is definitely shot without a tri pod so it is a little shaky. But other than those two things and one or two audio flubs on my part, I like how this one turned out.
My final project idea is going to be a video essay. But before I give out a bit of details regarding the direction I am going to go with it, I thought this would be the right time to discuss how I would personally start writing such a video.
The first thing to do is find a topic or an element of a topic that you are passionate about. Like most writing or any other form of content creation you have to start from a place of passion. Because if you start from anywhere else the end result will not only be inauthentic but it won’t be as good of quality.
The second step is to brainstorm how you are going to approach your video essay. Write an outline of the kind of video clips you want to use or the kinds of things you would like to say in the video. This can be the portion of the process where you could draw some storyboards if that is something that would help you put your thoughts in order. Once you have your thoughts in order, comes the third and final step of starting to write a video essay. Writing. I know it seems too simple or too self explanatory but that is honestly the last and most crucial step of writing a video essay. Having a topic, and having an idea what you want to cover and what you want to say are incredibly important but that’s the leg work. When you sit down and start writing the essay based on the previous work that is when things really start to fall into place.
So keeping with this theme of brainstorming here is a little taste of my final project.
I am very passionate about what is quickly becoming a lost art in practical effects in film. In particular makeup special effects. Through a video essay I plan on figuring out the answers as to why this still incredibly effective form of special effects are being phased out and why this is something that we should not only pay attention to but try to prevent its extinction.
I will structure the essay in parts. The first part will be a personal introduction to myself and my passion for makeup special effects in order to get the audience to see that this is something I deeply care about. Second a little history lesson on how Makeup Special Effects came to be such a wonderful and amazing invention for film plus a bit of extra history on CGI and how it was initially intended to enhance practical makeup effects not replace it entirely. Third a little moment where I reassure the audience that I am not biased against CGI and give it some respect and equal admiration. Fourth a dissection of how CGI should not be replacing practical makeup effects with many examples showing that makeup special effects are still vastly superior to CGI in particular aspects. Fifth a brief but stark display of how CGI has nearly completely phased out makeup special effects with examples, evidence, research and even a sad but true discussion of how the academy award created for makeup special effects has also lost prominence over the years. And the sixth and final part of the essay will be asking and answering the questions as to why makeup special effects are becoming so rare nowadays outside of low budget independent productions, debunking common theories and finishing up with a stern warning about what the effect could be if makeup special effects are truly phased out completely from modern cinema in favor of CGI.
As for the class modules I will be taking inspiration from for this project, the main ones are visual evidence, and cinema writing. The two key components of any video essay. I am honestly really looking forward to putting this all together. I had been leery of making content like this for years on my own because I was worried that it would be banned from you tube or the internet for its copyrighted content. But despite the risk, I am willing to go through with it because it is something I care about a lot. And I don’t think people are really taking this seriously enough. This is an entire art form that is being erased day after day that is getting phased out not because it is dated, or that it is ineffective. It is being replaced for the sake of being replace, for money, and out of sheer laziness on the part of major studios. And that is something that more people should be aware of and something they should fight against. Especially if they love cinema and how immersive it is meant to be.
The video essay is a fairly new form of content that has really changed the way language is heard and processed. The TED talk mentions how you tube really changed how the video essay is perceived but I would argue that you tube and the content creators on that platform popularized and together as a whole created the video essay as we know it today.
The closest thing we had to a video essay before you tube allowed various different content creators to upload their works onto the platform for all of us to see was the documentary. Sure essays existed and have existed for decades but they rarely had a visual component to go along with them. The documentary wasn’t as easily accessible as the modern video essay and it definitely was not as affordable for content creators to create. What we have now is this near perfect balance between a documentary and an essay. This balance is what makes a well made video essay so compelling and enthralling to watch.
Even the best and most well thought out essays are quite dry. With the addition of video to the text it enhances the words within and allows the message to resonate far deeper than if an audience just read text on a screen or on a piece of paper. And this is because the majority of us are visual people. We connect more with things we can relate to or associate with. It is hard to associate any kind of feelings or thoughts with a piece of paper. But with a video that has visual evidence that supports particular claims or reminds us of the kind of things that are familiar to us, the association is a lot easier.
Through a combination of video clips, texts on screen and narration a video essay can reach a wider audience and get its message across in a lot less time than it would take for the same audience to decipher a multiple page essay, if they even choose to read the essay in the first place. This is another positive for the video essay. The format allows for a much wider reach than a traditional essay. It reaches an untapped audience that the essay by itself would never be able to reach because that audience is not interested in reading essays. They either don’t have the time or simply do not like reading that much. With a video, they can get that information into their brains in a shorter amount of time and in a way that appeals to their particular attention spans and personal tastes.
I had never even heard of SKAM Austin or its Norwegian original until I read a New York times article discussing the new show that incorporates actors and on set footage with social media interaction. And to me it is an intriguing concept but it also brings to mind some sobering and worrying thoughts about the future of narrative storytelling in film and television.
If you ask me there is nothing separating SKAM from any other generic teen drama other than a straight up gimmick of social media interaction. While it is a novel concept, how far can it really go? And how long will it last? Will it even have the same impact decades later like narrative driven shows like Deadwood or The Sopranos? Despite its innovations I highly doubt that will be the case. And the fact that the article brings up how short a lot of young kids and teens attention spans are nowadays is compelling for all the wrong reasons. I have always viewed the shrinking attention spans as a growing problem with entertainment television and with films and this nugget of information and the success of SKAM does nothing to to solve or make this problem any less weak.
I remember when you tube was not just full of videos and v-loggers with jump cuts every five seconds and high fake energy, and I also remember when kids and teens used to actually talk to their friends on the phone or went to their house instead of chatted with them via apps or through texts. It seems to me that SKAM is yet another extension of the youth’s dwindling attention spans. I hope and pray this is just a fad. Because if this is the future of narrative storytelling it is a very bleak one indeed. I am talking alternate 1985 from Back To The Future Part II bad.
There is no way that a narrative told in this many chunks and through short videos, tweets and instagram feeds is going to have that much depth. It simply is not possible. And since when is being static and having to pay attention to a tv series or a film something that is a bad thing? You have to sit and take the time to read a good book, so the same applies to watching a high quality show or movie. You can’t tell a complex or compelling story without taking as much time as possible to tell it the best it can.
If more and more people are not willing to spend the time necessary to appreciate let alone become immersed in a story whether it is on film or television it is not the show or the film’s problem that the average attention span is dropping. That is a people problem. Catering to that makes things worse with each year that goes by. And the only way to prevent this problem from getting more and more out of hand is to educate and in some way or another force people to at least try to pry themselves away from their social media accounts and the kind of quick cut storytelling they are used to and at least learn to appreciate slow storytelling that takes its time to build a narrative and its characters.
As for what I would do if I were to create a narrative using something like SKAM? I simply wouldn’t do such a thing. From what I was able to gather from SKAM and what I have seen, this particular form of storytelling is so limited and superficial that any story I had in mind would not be able to reach its full potential with this format. I would however be interested in doing something like what Cloverfield and other films have done with their advertising to expand the story further with social media interaction. Possibly have a murder mystery in a high school or college setting with corresponding social media accounts with some footage and other forms of interaction that lead up to the release of the film that introduce the characters and possibly even provide some clues. And if the film was successful enough, frequent updates would continue through the same social media platforms leading up to the sequel where it would all start up again with the same characters as well as new ones and a whole new mystery to unravel. That way you can combine both of these forms of narrative to create something that gets the best of both worlds. You get a film or a tv series that has all the time necessary to create as compelling of a narrative as possible and a social media platform connected to the series or film that immerses the audience into the world even further.
Here is my mid term project a job profile on the owner of Everybody’s Music in Vancouver, WA an old school record shop. A huge thanks goes to Joel for allowing me to not only interview him but also shoot in his shop. And if you like records or even collect movies like I do, definitely stop by sometime. Its a wonderful atmosphere and the deals are pretty good.
Now when it comes to the video, I am honestly really pleased with how it turned out. The interview went well, the b-roll is great, there’s no shortage of visual evidence and I am very proud of my editing. This is easily the best video I have created to date for this class if not in my short video production career. I am not trying to hype it up too much but other than some lighting issues, a particularly pesky edit and a few things I was not able to shoot like Joel going through all the steps of putting the record on the player, this turned out as well as I could have hoped and then some. And I hope you enjoy it as much as I did putting it all together.
Here is my pixel cinema assignment a remix of a few kills from Friday The 13th Part VI and VII with all kinds of kooky and colorful effects re-edited and redone to create a disco nightmare feel. I even used a bit of the score from Friday The 13th Part 3D to add even more of the discotheque look and feel. This was a lot of fun playing around with the different effects and I will absolutely consider doing more things like this with later edits in my spare time.
But until then I hope you enjoy this fun horror-themed edit just in time for Halloween.
A short video shot and edited in my hub for fun featuring a particularly scared eyewitness of a ghostly phenomenon in the halls of WSU V. Will the blood curdling terror return to torment this poor soul? Watch and find out.
IF YOU DARE!
Lev Manovich’s enthralling and interesting look at the evolution of previous forms of cinema into a new digital form describes the various different steps and styles this evolution consists of in great detail. It gives an overview of the history of cinema itself and how man first became fascinated with moving images and found a way to move beyond the static imagery of still photography. As well as comparing and contrasting more analog forms of filmmaking with digital forms such as CD-Rom games like Myst and even the Johnny Mnemonic computer game which was less of a game and more of a montage. That reference really surprised me. I thought I was the only one who remembered that film even existed. And I had no idea there even was a computer game.
Manovich also discusses what he calls “digital aesthetics”. Nearly all forms of digital cinema have some kind of digital aesthetic. For the purpose of the blog, I am going to analyze two works of digital cinema or storytelling that provide digital aesthetics of their own. The first work I am going to analyze is the fascinating and trippy interactive website, Playdamage.org. The various different parts and links of this site are textbook examples of multiple different kinds of digital aesthetic. Some are animated, some are stills, some are even full motion video. Some feature warped colors and frames others feature repeated elements in crystal clarity. The various different parts of this site create a multitude of visual spaces with purely digital cinema and aesthetics. Some are quite creepy and disturbing, others are comical or serene. No one space is alike here. They are all different in their own unique ways. This site and its various bits and baubles really manipulate and deform what we think a three dimensional image or space is through a very clever use of gifs and animated backgrounds as well as interactivity to really bring the viewer of the space right into it as if they are on an acid trip that’s direction is completely in their control. If I knew how to create or even come close to some of the works featured in this site, I would absolutely try to create something of my own that recaptures the same sense of visual style, flair and aesthetic that is unquestionably unique.
The second work up for analysis is a montage/video edit called Light Is Waiting by Michael Robinson. Through use of montage and remixing of clips from various different sources including even pop culture phenomenons like Full House, he creates a remix of pure insanity that despite all of the chaos has an undeniable beauty and charm. It shows digital aesthetic by taking these clips and re-arranging them in strange and surreal fashions, warping colors and adding filters to provide even more of a unnatural effect. Through editing, music choices and other post-production techniques Robinson creates a visual space that is not unlike a kaleidoscope. It is three dimensional and features images of even well known actors like John Travolta but it does not represent what we see in the natural world when we view three dimensional images. It creates a world all its own with its bright vibrant flashing colors and video static that gives the viewer a feeling of being transported to some alternate dimension where things seem familiar but so unreal. I would not create a work this out there myself but it does remind me of some of my own remixes I have done on my spare time experimenting with color.
Here is my Spatial Montage assignment. I decided to film myself from different angles and in different steps in the process of putting a poster on my bedroom wall. I used the split screen effect on particular parts of the process to show the near simultaneous step by step actions of putting a poster on the wall mixed in with a shot or two that is full frame to help balance out the split screen sequences.
Other than some framing issues involving seeing some of the pins being put in, I truly do feel this is my best video to date. I am learning how to set up shots better than ever before and I think it shows with this particular video. I personally feel the wait was worth it.
The documentary is an interesting and complex form of media and filmmaking that features elements that are not always just what occurred in nature or in the moment. A good way to uncover the different elements in the documentary approach and creation is to take a look at a hypothetical documentary subject like the Eagle Creek Fire. This fire was one of the most devastating disasters in pacific northwest history. It was the cause of thousands of trees being burned down to the ground. Centuries of old-growth turned to cinders and ash. And this happened fairly recently only a few years ago.
But in order to craft a compelling documentary based on the fire, you have to not only feature archive footage of the fire or people fighting the fire but other elements to catch the eye and the interest of an audience. Archive footage can only tell so much. You need visual evidence. Visual evidence is not just a b-roll of the forest either. That is helpful but it lacks context. To really connect with an audience featuring individuals who were right in the center of the disaster in the forest years later discussing what happened and what they saw in detail is a move that is absolutely paramount. But even that isn’t enough visual evidence to really hammer the documentary’s points home. It creates a compelling setting but it does not tell the whole story. In the readings, one key element of a successful and consistently compelling documentary is behavior as visual evidence. And behavior is honestly something as simple as capturing one’s emotions on film when they are recalling events. I would definitely get a witness of the fire discussing in detail what happened and the emotions on his/her face to really connect on a deeper level with the audience. As for the story? I would focus on the aftermath of the fire, what the impact of it has been on the forest and the people who loved and cared for it. Not solely the fire itself. That’s boring. You need a human element to really draw the audience in. This focus will do just that.
I would also shoot footage of the forest in its current state with new growth growing to show hope through all of the despair. And as for interview subjects, I would try to get not only eyewitnesses but firefighters and if at all possible family members or the kids themselves who caused such a devastating fire. All of this would be necessary to try to obtain all of the visual evidence possible. Re-enactments would also be in play for sequences I could not get access to via archival footage or through live footage. All of these elements combined to me personally would make for the most consistently compelling documentary on the Eagle Creek Fire possible.
This is is my temporal montage that is better late than never. I had a really hectic previous week so I was not able to really get going in terms of shooting and editing until recently. I personally like how this one turned out. I really tried to swerve the viewer while also showing a montage of the passage of time featuring myself getting ready. I think I might be getting the hang of shooting video all by my lonesome. The only thing I would change now that I think about it, is to make sure the angle of the camera was straight in the last shot. For some reason it was off center. But I had limited time to shoot, so I just went with what I had, which wasn’t too bad.
I also need to work on lighting. And trust me. I know that. It’s difficult though considering how different the lighting is in different places in the house. I made do with what I had to work with and like I said earlier, I am pleased with the results despite some things being rough around the edges.
When I think of montage one film immediately comes to mind. Rocky IV. And that is for a very good reason. At least 30 percent of the entire film is montages. There are so many examples I could cull from to discuss, but I decided to pick my favorite one. The training montage.
This particular montage contains not one, but two methods of Eisenstein’s montage. It is rhythymic in structure becuase the movements in each frame are integral to the overall flow of the montage. And it is also audio/visual becuase the score by Vince Di Clola as well as the visuals of the contrasting training styles of Rocky and Drago display both elements and are tied directly into one another by design. Even particular edits are synced up right with the music. Like for example when Rocky is skpping across the snow. Each skip is cut to the electronic beat in the score as it descends down.
This training montage from Rocky IV also expands the audience’s emotional understanding of Rocky and Ivan by showcasting their different training styles. Rocky is training the old fashioned way. Running in the snow, cutting down trees, etc. etc., while Ivan is training with high tech state of the art technology and equipment. He even is taking sterioids. These two contrasts help the audience understand the conflict between the two even more. It isn’t just the USA vs. Russia anymore or Rocky vs. Drago. It is the old ways versus the new.
In the 1991 film Run Lola Run, the visual aesthetic and editing in the film create a discontinuous feel and sense of time that despite how chaotic it might look on paper really does come across as orderly in nature. This aesthetic is enhanced by its digital approach. The film pulls this approach off in a myriad of ways. One of which is the use of the digital photographs of still frames that are cut into various sequences throughout the film. The other is elements of editing and post production like the sequences with slo-motion and time lapse photography.
The film succeeds in its goal to create a discontinuous feel of time and space through editing that is both fast and slow at the same time. There are lot of sequences that are sped up as if they were put on fast forward and then in a stark contrast, there are sequences that are slowed down to the point where time almost appears to stop completely. The use of animated sequences also help solidify this particular feel of time and space making the film itself and its narrative feel surreal and the opposite of reality despite taking place for the most part in the natural world.
Another way the film shows the narrative in a unique fashion is through the snapshots into the future. Instead of going back to the past it shows quick flashes of individual characters futures as soon as they run into Lola while she is on her journey to save her lover and correct the timeline. These snapshots provide added context to the narrative and solidify Lola’s place in the whole story by detailing how her actions not only affect what happens to her but to everyone else around her.
And despite how chaotic and crazy the film might feel due to its choice of editing and cinematography, the film still has a traditional Hollywood narrative structure behind all the flashy MTV style music video editing. Run Lola Run is ultimately a story about love. And it is a rather traditional type of love story. A woman falls in love with a man, something bad happens to that man, the woman then takes the time to do everything she can to save him. In this instance bending time and facing fate head on. And it is also her love for her man that makes all of this possible. Love is the driving force for the narrative. Just like any other Hollywood romance.
I gave this loop thing my best shot.
Here is the more traditional loop featuring a more conventional style and edit as well as a narrative.
Here is the second loop I put together. My attempt at a contininous simple shot with no narrative.
And last but not least here is my off the wall loop with different camera angles, zooms as well as edits.
My contunity edit. I decided to pick something simple just to test my shot making ability. What I chose was the act of making microwaved chicken with some BBQ sauce. I really tried to maintain a singular flow throughout the edit and at times it is a bit choppy but overall there are quite a few shots and edits I am proud of. Shooting video is still something I am fairly new at. So, this is a lot of experimenting with different angles and shots. As well as diferent types of close ups and medium shots.
Overall, I like it and it is just another example of the continuing work in progress that is shooting video for me personally.
In a portion of Scott McCloud’s comic about comic books, Understanding Comics, he discusses time frames in the comic form and how panels show the progression of time and space among other elements. This progression is similar to what is found in film.
Films have panels of their own. They consist of individual frames or shots. Through editing these shots can be cut together and create passages of time that can be short or very long depending on what the focus of the shots wind up being. Since films don’t have speech bubbles, this progression is also maintained by the actors or in some cases narration. Films also just like comics tend to show the progression of time and space in an unnatural way. Sometimes even fast forwarding through moments all together just so the focus can be on the moments of greater impact. These moments can be emotional, or strictly visual but it is usually these moments of impact that provide a dyanamic progression of time and space without even showing the viewer directly how much time has passed or how the space has shifted over time.
The key in comics with this progression of time and space is to make it appear as natural as possible but in order to do so in a concise manner, this progression has to be shown in a way that is truncated and far from normal. Sometimes the progression of time can be shown through the seasons, the absence of sunlight, a simple edit that takes the characters from one place to another, or directly through subtitles. But there is usually never a completely accurate depiction of how much time has passed in a scene. Instead there is the illusion of such a shift. Becuase films just like comics are intended to engage an audience. If either were realistic in their approach to progression of time and space, they would be quite dull.
This progression is enhanced greatly with the use of various different kind of shots and filmmaking techniques. Just like the panels found in comics. You have the different kind of camera shots like the long shot, the medium shot, the close-up, etc. etc. that can enhance this progression as well as other elements of filmmaking like slow-motion photography, and time lapse. While comic panels can be quite static and flat when it comes to how they show the progression of time and space, films can be the complete opposite with the combination of shots and techniques creating visuals that are total eye candy that not only progress the time and space the characters are in but the story as well in a way that is truly stunning.
This progression is an element of comic books and filmmaking that is widely considered by many to be such a stock and simple aspect of both forms but an incredibly important and valuable one that is far more complex than you might think. Reading the passage from Understanding Comics and applying it to cinematic techiniques really opened my mind and showed me first hand how valuable and truly interesting this seemingly simple progression really is. It truly allows you to view films and comics in a completely different lens that is more detailed and clearer than ever before.
Just my 30 second recut of a scene from Skyfall.
Film is a visual medium and it uses it’s visuals to tell a story in a unique way that is greatly affected by the use of framing to create a sequence. How framing is used can provide a scene with a certain flow, speed or even a mood. One of my favorite films is the 1986 film Cobra.
Here is one of my favorite scenes of the film condensed into a series of still frames each of which are approximately one after another. Some vary because it was dificult to get the exact screenshot. But the purpose of these series of photos is showcase framing in action.
Medium Long Shot
Medium Long Shot
Medium Long Shot
Low Angle Shot(Slightly Canted)
When you look at these shots seperate from one another in a series of stills, you see how much really goes into shooting a dynamic sequence in a film and how much different forms of framing in action makes in this particular example, an action sequence as action packed and exciting as possible. In this scene the goal is to showcase a dynamic and cool series of shots that make Stallone’s character Cobra look like one of the coolest cops out there. The use of medium shots to really allow Stallone’s presence to dominate as many frames as possible. And the final extreme close-up of the butt of his gun placed into his jeans with the stylized Cobra also creates this sense of cool and machismo that screams bad ass. Which is the very intent of this scene and how it is framed. To make its star and the character of Marion Cobretti look as powerful as possible and larger than life. Cobra is a film that is loaded with sequences just like this that are framed in ways to get maximum thrills. Once you learn framing and the different ways shots are framed in film, it completely changes the way you view films and makes you appreciate this unique form of story telling even more.
This is my assignment for framing different shots. I tried to be fairly unique with my shot selection with this video. I wanted it have some otherworldly look and feel to it and I tried to go through a wide variety of framing shots. Close ups, extreme close ups, medium length, and landscape. It is a short video but I personally didn’t feel it had to be any longer than this. I just wanted to experiment with my shot selection. Hopefully you find it as interesting to watch as I did shooting and editing it together.
As the years have gone by advancements in technology have led to more and more aspiring filmmakers and established filmmakers alike gaining access to faster and quicker ways to get their visions on film. It started with the digital cameras that could shoot HD video that didn’t weigh a metric ton or cost thousands of dollars and the evolution is continuing with even smaller and lightweight cameras inside the latest smart phones that can fit in your pocket.
It all sounds like some kind of technology that came from the minds of science fiction writers of decades past, but its the real thing and more and more filmmakers are beginning to use these pocket cameras to make pocket feature length films. One director in particular this is really drawn to this new form of filmmaking is Steven Sodebergh who has directed not one but two films with an IPhone to date.
One debate that is ongoing is whether or not filmmakers who are choosing to use the IPhone are doing so for creative purposes to create something unique or just for economic and efficiency reasons. I personally feel the answer is a bit of both. These filmmakers are drawn to this new way of shooting video with a smart phone. But the majority of these filmmakers are only drawn to this form for short or feature length films because the advancements in technology have allowed them to be able to shoot the kind of film they already like to shoot but with a smaller budget and with faster efficiency leading to their work being in the can much faster than before. Sodebergh has even discussed this aspect of pocket cinema openly.
Yes. There were exceptions in the past like Night Fishing from the IPhone film fesitval in 2004. But even after that film was successful shot and garnered some acclaim it didn’t lead to some new revolution of filmmaking. As soon as the IPhone started to have HD video capabilities on par with digital cameras or high end cameras that is when most of these filmmakers started to consider the possibility of shooting full length short or feature films with a phone. This does not mean that some filmmakers did not choose the format for artistic reasons. I am sure Sodebergh and the director of Tangerine for instance hand picked the format to give their films a unique sense of realism or atmosphere only the IPhone could provide. Unsane for instance is a dark film dealing with dark subject matter. So the camera not being able to capture light as well as others is not a bad thing. It enhances the already dark mood of the film. In the case of Gondry’s Detour or Tangerine the IPhone camera allows the filmmaker to get inside the realm and personal space of the film and its characters much more intimately because the camera is much smaller than the typical cameras used to shoot film.
This uniqueness though has its limits. I don’t believe that these filmmakers chose the IPhone to shoot their films based on the IPhone camera and its differences from traditional film cameras. They even have used apps to make the footage widescreen or panoramic and used attachments to the phone to provide a better picture and a wider scope that is closer to what they and most audiences are familiar with. Michel Gondry’s short film Detour is a perfect example of this. It is shot in a way that is incredibily cinematic in a traditional sense all the way down to the framing of shots. Gondry would more than likely not have used an IPhone to shoot the short if it didn’t have the kind of camera in it that could shoot the exact kind of video he wanted for his film. The technology has evolved over the years to match what the filmmakers already look for when it comes to the quality and flexibility of film.
This new form of cinema, Pocket Cinema to me is an evolution of other forms of cinema like Shot On Video. When loads of low budget films were made, edited and produced on video by various different filmmakers for various different genres. The shot on video film still exists today. And it could arguably shift into various different forms of Pocket Cinema as the phones become more abdundant and their cameras continue to adance in terms of their abilities and technology. Pocket Cinema has less automatisms than other forms of filmmaking. It is less static because it can be held by hand rather easily to shoot footage, and it can also be stationary like any other previous form of filmmaking. Other attachments can also be used to move the camera inside the phone in various different directions and places. The biggest automatisims that Pocket Cinema has to date is when it is hand held the footage is rather shaky and the footage can tend to be less dynamic in terms of color or overall depth. But as the format continues to evolve it will become more and more dynamic in terms of color and depth and potentially become on par with even the best cameras.
When I read about this new form of cinema and witnessed examples of it, I wasn’t as shocked that these films were shot with phones. Unlike most audience members I knew that today’s phones are top of the line in terms of technology and because these short films or feature films are directed by already established filmmakers, they could adapt their filmmaking techniques to the IPhone cameras to create films that look no different than what they have done before with heavier and more expensive cameras. Despite that, it does not make what they have accomplished any less impressive. And we might witness a new wave of films and filmmakers as this genre continues to develop and produce content as the years go by. And that is very exciting.
An example of this style of Pocket Cinema taken to an even bigger extreme. Webcam footage and screen recordings of computer screens edited into a feature film. I know the film has gotten a lot of flack, but I personally really enjoyed it. And its form of filmmaking is unquestionably unique.
Hello there. I am Mike Brown. Some people on the internet know me as OcpCommunications on you tube. This is my second digital cinema class. I had a lot of fun with the first one and I am looking forward to further honing my video production skills in this class. Hopefully I get a hang of Premiere a lot better this time around.
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