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Ineffective Procrastination – A Video Essay

I modeled this after some of the stream of consciousness video essays that I saw while researching.

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Video Essays

When looking at the connection that video essays make with language and image, what comes to mind the most for me is the thought of how through the use of these two things in conjunction with one another, one’s ideas, arguments, and opinions have the chance to reach a wider audience as it combats fading interest based on different learning styles. What I mean by this is with the inclusion of imagery that is connected to the message of the actual essay, those who are visual leaners that otherwise may lose interest in an essay about something such as feminism in 1980’s film, now have a visual element to grab and hold their attention and to keep them enthralled with what the writer has to say.  Something that before may have proved to be difficult. I also think about how through this connection the chances of misunderstandings are less likely to occur as, depending on the quality of the overall production, the piece of media acts as both the discussion and the example simultaneously, allowing confusion to take the back burner and for active attention to not fade due to lack of understanding of whats being discussed. Both are aspects that I find incredibly interesting.

 

For my final project I am planning on doing a live recording + interview of a musician and artist friend of mine. Essentially, a profile on him. I’m thinking around 3-4 minutes long and focusing for the majority on his processes, and capturing the visual elements of it while having a monologue over the top that conveys who he is and what exactly he does. I will be focusing heavily on the ideas of continuity and visual evidence in conjunction with voice over. I will mostly need to schedule time to visit my friends studio in olympia, will have to shoot both the interview and b-roll in a two day period, and leave time for edits via voice over recordings sent over computer so that if something needs re-recorded it can get done in advance.

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Pixel Cinema – The New Chevy

Slipped in some themes of pollution and air quality. I think its pretty good.

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Light is Waiting and Manovich

After reading through What is Digital Cinema by Lev Manovich, the video that stuck out to me the most was Michael Robinson’s Light is Waiting. This is mostly due to it being the most pure and easy to interpret example of a lot of what Manovich talks about throughout his essay. More specifically, it is a fine example of “cinema can no longer be clearly distinguished from animation. It is no longer an indexical media technology but, rather, a sub-genre of painting” (Manovich, 3). This “sub-genre of painting” (Manovich, 3) is most apparent when looking at the video time stamp 1:34-6:09. At the beginning of this time stamp, there is a sequence of flashing colors that serves as almost a buffer between the normal footage of the video that can be seen at time stamp 00:00, and the highly edited and almost hallucinogenic film that follows. As far as how the “indexicality” of traditional film challenged, I think Manovich says it best when he says “Once live-action footage is digitized (or directly recorded in a digital format), 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” (Manovich, 7). Essentially, the “indexicality” of traditional film is challenged in the medium of digital cinema as due to the openness of the medium, there is no longer a need for such strict rules or artistic snobbery. The accessibility and re-hashable nature of digital cinema permits reckless creative abandon, and because people are constantly pushing the envelope due to this accessibility, the old ideals are dying and being reshaped into something entirely new. This is incredibly exciting as it is a natural progression in the art form that we can appreciate in the now.

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Visual Evidence

If presented the task of making a short documentary about the Eagle Creek Fire. I think the story that I would pursue would be one focusing on the regrowth and gradual healing of the area years after its beginning. In the process of doing this, I would have to make careful use of B-Roll footage showing the damage caused by the fire when discussing the burn, as well as what Barry Hampe referred to as “Unreal Images” (Hampe, 104) in order to convey the size of the overall fire and the damage it did by using “simulations” (Hampe, 105) in order to offer an easily digestible visual to aid pre-existing news footage of the fire, helping the audience understand the magnitude of the subject in focus. I would also interview primarily the fire fighters that helped fight the fire, as well as the park rangers that are there now in order to gain input on how things are getting better as well as how much improvement can be expected in the next 10 or so years. The benefit of the use of Hampe’s “Unreal Images” (Hampe, 104) is that they provide a way to see the subject of the documentary; the fire, in a way beyond what footage already exists of it. Although “Unreal Images” (Hampe, 104) are indeed fake, I agree with Hampe on the use of them as he says “. . .the documentarian has every right to make use of these images, as long as they are used honestly. That means labeling made-up images as simulations. It means not using digitally enhanced images as if they had been recorded in an actual situation” (Hampe, 105). As in this theoretical documentary I would be utilizing this type of imagery in the ways laid out by Hampe, it, coupled with my choice of interviews and use of actual footage of the fire would serve perfectly in order to provide multiple types of “Visual Evidence(Hampe, 91) as well as hopefully a fair bit of visually interesting shots.

 

works cited

Hampe, Barry. Making Documentary Film and Videos. 2nd ed. Pg. 91-105.

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Harry Potter and Tonal Montage

In this scene from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, an example of tonal montage can be found. As said by Sergei Eisenstein, “In tonal montage , movement is perceived in a wider sense. The concept of movement embraces all affects of the montage piece. Here montage is based on the characteristic emotional sound of the piece-of its dominant. The general tone of the piece” (Eisenstein, 75). In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, this can be applied in the section of flashing frames  acting as flashbacks where scenes from past movies of characters with important meaning to Harry are shown. These flashing frames, coupled with the somber music, the focus of the scene being one of immense pain and stress, and the stakes of the scene being life or death, create a “general tone” (Eisenstein, 75) of a rather emotionally dense and heavy hearted hope. This works for the viewers understanding of the scene as while the music throughout the scene stays somber, whom exactly the sadness the music is speaking for changes halfway through the scene with the first half of the music making us feel sad and duress about the pain Harry is in, the next sequence, where Harry is fighting back against Voldemort’s influence the emotional impact of Harry’s words against Voldemort makes the audience understand that while we are rooting for Harry, the music is supposed to make us feel somewhat sympathetic towards Voldemort as Harry says “I feel sorry for you” to him during the climax of the altercation. In a sense, the tonal montage helps solidify the audiences emotional GPS. It tells us not only what to feel, but helps us understand where to direct those emotions within the world of the scene.

 

Eisenstein, Sergei. Film Form. Pg. 75.

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Time Manipulation and Narrative Techniques in “Run Lola Run”

When watching Run Lola Run (1998) for the first time, I have to admit I was a bit confused with the overall narrative. While I understand that films will naturally vary from country to country and what I can expect from American films may differ from films from other countries, Run Lola Run (1998) still managed to puzzle me a few times. I believe this is primarily due to how it messed with time in the over arching narrative. For instance, during my watch through I thought the film had ended after Lola reaches Mani right as he robs the store and decides to join in. At the moment that Lola gets shot, I assumed everything was over, low and behold however, time inside of the narrative resets and the whole ordeal begins right over. It is in this way that Run Lola Run (1998) manipulates time within the narrative. It repeats the same scenes with slight differences over and over until you know what happens next so that when the change happens you can notice and appreciate the differences from the previous run through of the narrative. it also uses its narrative to manipulate how the audience perceives time. this is because time plays a central role in the plot with noon being the end of the time limit that Lola has to get to Mani, so as these changes happen in Lola’s journey each time the narrative resets, the audience gets to appreciate Lola getting where she’s going either faster or slower. Not necessarily changing the runtime of each individual narrative reset, but manipulating how much time is seen passing by the audience. A very interesting way to make it seem as if time is slowly being manipulated that I haven’t seen in any American movies that I can recall. Overall I think that the way Run Lola Run (1998) manipulates time through its repetitive, yet evolving narrative is what gives it a “digital aesthetic” as through this editing and writing style something that feels so unlike classic cinema is created that forces me to pay attention. An interesting aspect to this work of art to say the least.

 

Run Lola Run. Directed by Tom Tykwer, X-Filme Creative Pool, 1998.

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McCloud, Time Manipulation, and Digital Cinema

While reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics section on time and its manipulation in the medium of graphic novels, I have to admit at first I found it hard to draw lines between it and digital cinema as a medium. I believe that this disconnect is mostly due to me seeing the two mediums, at least for the most part, as opposites. By this I mean, graphic novels are a static form of story telling, and digital cinema obviously moves. But, after awhile, I began to see potential in this difference. The original reason I couldn’t quite get inspired by what McCloud was saying was I couldn’t see how McCloud’s knowledge in time manipulation in relation to graphic novels could begin to be applied to digital cinema as the audience of cinema has an expectation of motion. But then it hit me. McCloud says, “The durations of that time and the dimensions of that space are defined more by the contents of the panel than by the panel itself” (Understanding Comics, 99). Why couldn’t these same ideals be translated to digital cinema? If movement is whats expected in cinema to to show the passage of time in a scene, then removing movement would obviously manipulate time. While I am hyper aware that as the existence of slo-mo technology has long since been realized that I am not breaking any new ground by saying this, I’ve never actually rationalized in my head why the use of slow motion or a still frame created the effect of time being distorted in some magical fashion inside digital cinema. After thinking about it though, I don’t see how this concept couldn’t be utilized in other ways such as the removal of sound or light could not have the same affect or something similar. Maybe even something entirely different.

 

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. Harper Perennial, 1993. Pg. 99.

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Continuity: Leaving in the Morning

 

When looking at my video from the standpoint of framing and continuity, I have to admit I feel as though I only partially realized each concept in the editing of my video. By this I mean, in the process of story boarding exactly what I wanted to film, rationalizing why, going out and filming it, and cutting it together, I only ever partially framed my scenes to assist in the continuity. this wasn’t always the case as in some scenes I was very careful to frame the shots in a way that anyone who watched would be able to notice continuity without knowing that continuity was the intention of the entire video. scenes such as the lady in the shot at the 10 second mark going down the stairs onto the ground being connected with the scene where her feet walking across the driveway are the focus play off the idea that this is one continuous motion very well. I think if I were to go back and fix some of the scenes that don’t quite work as well such as the push button ignition scene at 45 seconds being connected to the gear shift at 47 seconds, I would put a huge focus on utilizing angles to make the limitations of the space and motions that I’m trying to convey much more clear to the audience so that there isn’t ever an instant that feels like a jump cut to a different action and instead more like a continuous action.

One thing that I am overall proud of in this video however is the subject of my video. I chose something monotonous that everyone has to do everyday – head out the door and begin their commute to wherever it is they are going. While obviously not everyone goes through the same motions, everyone can recognize these motions and because of this a certain aspect of familiarity helps the audience to get into the scene and recognize both the flow and order of the actions depicted in the video as well as the possible flaws in the video such as missing steps that would generally be taken if whats depicted in my video were actually to be done as one continuous motion. Another thing I’m proud of over all is how concise allot of the scenes are. When I made the first cut of this video the entire run time was about a minute and a half. As I was aware of the time limitations of this video project, I knew I had to cut the run time of the video down by about half in order to effectively satisfy the requirements so what I began to do was cut all possible slack from every scene in order to make each and every shot of the film only take up screen time if the action its framing was needed for context in the next. By doing this, the scenes have very little down time, and in my opinion help drive in the idea that what is being displayed on the screen is one continuous motion. While overall I think I did fairly well on this assignment, if I were to go back I would definitely reassess framing in order to better serve the story I’m trying to tell as I think through the use of better framing this assignment would have been improved astronomically.

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  1. The most monotonous events can be made interesting with framing and continuity. We just follow along. This is well-thought out. There are just a few minor “errors” in the cut for true continuity. This why movie sets have a “continuity” person.

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Framing Assignment

My intent was to frame a narrative of discovering a vandalism and following the clues left behind

list of shots used:

  • low Medium Shot
  • High Medium Long-shot
  • Extreme Close up
  • Long Shot
  • Close Up
  • “Over the Shoulder” Extreme Long Shot

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The Use of Framing in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

-Medium Close-up

-Point of View Wide Angle

-Medium Close-up

-Low Medium Close-up

-Close-up

-Close-up

-Close-up

-Close-up

-High Long-shot (full body) –>

-Extreme Long-shot

 

The way the framing and editing of this scene in O Brother, Where Art Thou? holds the scene together as a narrative is by letting the audience know exactly how each character is responding to their currant situation by utilizing point of view angles and close-ups to allow the viewer to maintain pace with the conversation as well as understand how each character is reacting to both what is said and what is happening. While a simple scene in terms of visuals, when watching through the editing and framing of all of the shots come together to make a very organic feeling scene in the movie.

 

O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Touchstone Pictures, 2000.

 

 

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Blog #1

While it can’t be denied that both Gondry’s Detour and Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong’s Night Fishing contain much of what I have come to expect from modern short films with their high level of polish and craftsmanship, it can’t be ignored that the filming of each short being done on an iPhone has imbued each film with a quality that sets it apart from what others shot on more classically used equipment may look like. This quality lay mostly in how the shots feel. The reason I say feel is because in both shorts I can watch through and imagine what they would look like had they not been shot on an iPhone as the angles and shots used throughout the films are very similar to ones we would see if filmed on a full-blown movie camera. The difference lies within the organic feel of them. In many of the shots in the two shorts there is a gentle bounce with the camera work. A feeling of life and an organic weight behind the camera. a good example of this can be seen in Gondry’s Detour in the series of shots starting at timestamp 1:02 through to 1:15. the way you can feel the weight of the turns as the car moves through the neighborhood through the shakes of the camera help sell me the idea that where I am as a viewer in that moment is in the car with these characters I have just met. Something that traditional cinema tries to do as well. In this way, I’m led to believe that iPhone shot movies are indeed trying to be like traditional film as they both have very similar construction, qualities and intentions. The only difference is the technology used. I don’t feel as though iPhone shot films are an entirely different beast from traditional cinema just because they were shot on a cellular device, but more so just the same beast embracing an accessible means to an end for creation.

Now as to the question of what automatisms and qualities make up digital cinema and how its used today the ideas of portability and connection come to mind. In my eyes digital cinema doesn’t differ from traditional cinema with its intent, whether the creative idea behind it be to educate, entertain, etc. I think the main goal of digital cinema as both the creator and the consumer is to connect with one another, and the role that the iPhone plays in that connection is simply to increase how accessible both ends of these connections are.

 

Works Cited

Fire, Black. “Détour – A Film by Michel Gondry.” YouTube, YouTube, 6 July 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ryk0eny1j0M. Accessed 8/26/2019
iPhone_FilmFest. “Night Fishing 파란만장 Paranmanjang.” Vimeo, 27 Aug. 2019, https://vimeo.com/115480849. Accessed 8/26/2019

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Hello!

Hello, my name is Gabriel. I have a slight background in film with assorted involvement in various punk films and multimedia artwork pieces having had roles that range all the way from editor to director of photography. All of which were a joyous labor with a cathartic pay off.

 

The video I decided to post was one of my friend Ian’s former band “JAPANTHER” playing two of there more popular songs in a studio live followed by an interview. The style of the video mixes the filming of live music performance and interview in an organic and practically seemless manner. it is this aspect of the video that I aspire to grow towards during the spans of the course as I feel that mixing entertainment with information is a difficult thing to achieve and if I were able to achieve this goal it would greatly grow my overall video skill set.

 

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