Jasmine Lunceford

Monitoring Bear 71

The first interactive video I watched was Bear 71. The introduction music and static TV sets made the initial interaction a little terrifying as to what had been selected. The video plays a short clip that is a little hard to watch, before taking you to what is known as the Grid. This interactive portion of the video allows for you to track and interact with the various animals on the grid. Each animal or title that you see moving is associated with “live” camera footage in the woods. The narrator, a woman’s voice, depicts that of the bear and the surroundings in which she lives. You can click on the various areas on the map, use your mouse or arrow keys to move around. It allows you to also use your map to find different regions and track Bear 71. There is a feature that allows the use of your own web cam but I did not mess with that.

The documentary uses a mix of interactive segments and video to create the story. It allows the viewer to roam around like the bear in the story, constantly being monitored. I think this style of documentary allows for a better understanding of what the bear and other animals are going through. It allows a hands on experience to put in context how an animal in captivity may feel. I think it is a great way to build emotional connection and visually represent a subject that we are not able to interview or relate with. It is cinematic with the auto play videos that it uses as well as the trail cams to allow viewers to see what is happening around them as the story unfolds. The grid allows movement mixed with narrative to also tell the story in a visual context. Since the bear is not able to speak the cinema language relies on the found footage and trail cams to convey the emotion of the narrative.

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Video Essay – Blog

They always say an image is worth a thousand words, so why not let the words speak for themselves? The use of language with images is not a new way of storytelling, it is a way to communicate the thoughts of the creators to the minds of the viewers. Using language persuades and bridges the gap between technical and imaginative. Visually representing the evidence to persuade or argue out points, video essays employ the show and tell rule. In traditional papers we use sources to anchor our arguments while video utilizes sounds, voice overs and text to amplify the intended message. I think that this gives heavier meaning to whatever is being argued, allowing the audience not only to hear what is being argued but to see and feel emotions based around it. There is also the ability to cut the essay up breaking the traditional timeline of beginning to end to explore the topics at hand. This allows for more creative renditions with quick cuts, empty space and implied meanings. I would keep a video essay true to the structure of a traditional essay. Writing out the topic points to the argument or intended message and the conclusion. From there rather than sources I would fill the page with emotions and images that would captivate my audience but still convey what I am trying to get across.

 

Final Project:

I would like to do a short story, based around one subject. This will be a 2-3 minute video focusing on continuity editing and visual evidence. For this I will need to get my script reviewed, then finalized and a few actors to complete the project.

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Real World: SKAM

The New Yorker describes traditional television as “conventional TV” where you sit and watch, SKAM capitalizes on the dynamics of what TV could be. A show that not only premiers on social media but also uses social media to interact with viewers and keep itself relevant is what social media is about. I would not say that SKAM is the first show of its kind. Though, it may be the first we have heard of that utilizes social media to its advantage in a way that others have not. The idea that viewers are reminded about the show through
updates to character social media is a genius idea!

 

With that being said, I believe that this show like many others are just adaptations of what came before. When I began reading this SKAM article my initial thoughts went straight to MTV. In 1992 a group of real people were put in a house and documented, an adaptation from a concept done by another country. For three months 7-8 strangers were put in a house and documented, thus began the Real World. A show that without its viewers would not have been the longest running show for the company or paved the way for many other teen based shows real or fictional. At the time there were not many shows like the Real World, if any. It took the idea of a documentary but changed it to be relevant to its audience at the time. Over the years it has had to adapt as generations have. SKAM takes this idea and utilizes its platforms to share the content adding a level of interaction that will not only keep it relevant, but will also build deeper connections to the characters. Real World, did also move over to Facebook watch, other reality TV has live tweets and watch parties, and various shows are about real people. Though for a show like SKAM to integrate social media to make each episode relevant to its intended viewers, in real time is a creative concept and something they are smart for utilizing.

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Pumpkins & Pixels

This is my pixel project, I used some recent clips from a trip to the pumpkin patch with a little bit of a glitch/color effect.

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Digital Cinema – Pixel

Out of the videos listed the first one I selected was from playdamage.org. The video had no play feature it just started playing when the browser opened. The video is a montage that slowly forms itself into an image with the distortion of pixels. From just looking at it I initially wondered if it was composed of a glitching effect with the pixels or just an effect done with the lighting. This loop breaks traditional cinema by not only taking away the ability to stop and start it, but by taking what looks like a photograph and turning it into a digitally altered video.

“Importantly, just as music videos often incorporate narratives within them, but are not linear narratives from start to finish, they rely on film (or video) images, but change them beyond the norms of traditional cinematic realism. The manipulation of images through hand-painting and image processing, hidden in Hollywood cinema, is brought into the open on a television screen” (p. 12, Manovich).

This quote by Manovich was the first section that came to mind when watching this video. Unlike traditional music videos, this video only depicts a small segment of the song set on a loop. The break in the cinematic realism made it hard for me to distinguish how the video was created. The image of the person looks very similar to a painting making it possible that the distortion is a blending of multiple painted frames. The pixels help to rearrange the lighting in a way that brings the eyes focus in and out of the space allowing the image to be seen and then distorted back to that of what looks like a texture. I myself prefer the more traditional cinema but after reading this it opens up the idea of how to blend the two.

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Eagle Creek – Visual Evidence

To document the Eagle Creek fire I would focus my story on the destruction and regrowth. For the actual interview piece I would like to focus mainly on the staff of the Forest Service. I know this is not the most emotionally driven approach but it could have a connection with the outdoor community and those in the area that hike or spent time in the area. I think sticking to the facts of what happened in the beginning would be the best option for getting the information needed without false recall or dishonesty (Hampe, 118). This initial section of the interview would be cut with b-roll of the fire and direct aftermath. Following that I would focus on the Forest Service and what they do after such destruction before areas can be opened again. Hampe suggests that the evidence needs to be gathered in a way that keeps true to what you are wanting to communicate and edit in a way that looks at what you actually shot (p. 100-101). This is where I would not only get evidence of the Forest Service and what they do in the efforts to “rebuild”, I would also get shots of the community back in trails, fishing, and plant regrowth. I would want this to help during editing to communicate to the audience what has changed since the fire took place and how it affects them as a community today.

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Moonrise Kingdom – Montage

When thinking about montage my mind always jumps to the classic music montages seen in movies like Footloose and Dirty Dancing. For this I chose to go a more eclectic route and analyze the work of Wes Anderson in Moonrise Kingdom. In the scene Suzie’s mom is showing the police letters written by sam, Suzie’s pen pal which leads us into a flashback style montage. Initially I believed this to be just a simple montage utilizing the first of Eisenstein’s theories of metric montage. Due to the nature of the cuts they start out equally when flipping between the two characters each lasting six seconds. Later the matching sequences are seen when Sam says “here’s my plan” followed by Suzie’s response, then “when” and “where”. These four shots each lasting two seconds each. Though when looking farther into the different types of montage I believe Anderson was utilizing Overtonal Montage. Rhythmically the continuity between Sam and Suzie are matching in action. This can be seen when they both get into fights, cause damage to the dog house and window, and in the opening shot where the boys are active in the background. Through these scenes the emotional tension of their lives are played out visually rather than through narrative, giving example to the Tonal Montage aspects of the scene. This montage may also carry the intellectual aspects described by Eisenstein through a highly charged emotional sequence. My overall assumption would be that the visual aspects of the montage were the escalating factors leading the two kids to run away despite the content within the letters being read. Though with Anderson it is difficult to know what his underlying intentions for the shot may be.

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Time – Run Lola Run

The cinema narrative techniques used in Run Lola Run are mostly that of the narrative structure. The way that the film portrays time, breaks each scenario into a beginning, middle and end. If the film were to be structured in a different way it would change the entire meaning and narrative tone of the film changing how we see each character. Choosing to put the bed scenes in the middle rather than the end allows the viewer to interpret more information and ideas about the film. Choosing not to have anything after the last sequence could leave it open to the viewer to decide if that was reality or yet another scenario. In my opinion, this is similar to the ending of Inception.

The beginning of each sequence the film breaks apart the digital aesthetic by altering the traditional hierarchy of film. The 2D animation of Lola running down the stairs changes the perspective and reality of each sequence. I think that the scream she has as well plays with this idea. Almost as if those are elements to alter the reality of the film showing you that it is not really happening, but this can be argued. The continuity of each sequence reminds me of traditional Hollywood by creating a sense of time, urgency, and emotion through framing alone rather than dialogue. The speed she is running in comparison to the train in the last sequence feels more realistic than in the two previous. We are now seeing her in comparison to larger things that surround her making the last sequence feel like the final real scenario. The constant showing of the clock allows for a reference and the repeating of certain shots shows us the continuity of the narrative getting her from point A to point B. Without the urgency in her running and the clock, I think that the narrative would not have been as strong. Without much context of the characters at the beginning the narrative relies heavily on the actions and space to create a connection through time.

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Piece of Mind

For my continuity video I chose to use a friend to convey a moment of “Piece of Mind”. I wanted to have something that was simple but allowed for me to capture my subject in a realistic way. For the video I had the subject coming home and taking a moment to relax and play some music, going from a quicker pace down to something calmer or more mellow. Walking up the stairs, down the hall and through the apartment were less personal so I used wider shots to establish the feel and emotion of the subject. When it came time to actually play the ukulele the shots were much closer and slower paced in comparison to walking. The shot from behind at the end was quite, as if whatever issue he was trying to get his mind off of was now behind him. 

I think from the filming aspect of this assignment it was harder to get the continuity without maintaining consistent framing. There were moments when the framing came naturally for the shots that I wanted, such as the long hallway and the close up of the feet passing. Though it was trying to frame and maintain continuity with an instrument that was a little harder than I anticipated. I think there were many shots that worked well in the video, though I do believe for the amount of time allowed for the assignment it did not blend as well as I hoped. There are a large amount of shots with excellent framing that had to be cut to maintain time and continuity. 

I think the shots later from outside were harder to do in such a small amount of space. I think the framing of the close up on the ukulele could have been done differently to get the desired shot. Utilizing wider shots could have also played with the time as well as a feel for the surroundings to frame the scenes. I wanted the feeling to go from hectic and stressed to leaving feeling just a little better. Though the scenes leading up to actually playing the instrument took up the majority of the time and had more of the continuity. 

From this assignment I have learned the importance of not only framing for continuity purposes but also for spacial purposes. With limited space things become tricky and continuity becomes increasingly important for each shot. I have also learned that continuity also extends to sounds in each frame. Cutting larger actions like the walking seemed to come easier with a variety of shots while subtle movement or smaller details did not blend well for continuity purposes. 

To tell a visual story there needs to be a good amount of planning and various amounts of shots in order to do continuity editing. I think though it is possible there is a skill behind getting shots that flow smoothly with varying framing techniques is a skill. Having a draft for even a simple video like with would allow for better framing. Also being aware of space, sound and lighting can have a big impact on whatever you are shooting. Without a plan or a rough idea of what is wanting to be done the story could easily fall through the cracks for a project like this. 

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McCloud – Time Frames

When initially looking over McCloud’s points on time in framing, I thought of the Comet with Justin Long and Emmy Rossum. The film plays off the idea of Slaughterhouse Five, that time can be seen all at once rather than in a straight line of past, present or future. This is just like a comic where everything is laid out in front of us to start or end where we want. Film shows you how, when, and what it wants you to see in order to convey a story, naturally guiding through each shot. Intimate moments in tighter frames often feel shorter than wide shots with groups of people. Though film has a way of playing with perception that would not agree with McCloud’s explanation. Utilizing motion to show time along with framing can take a five minute scene and transform it into a month long journey. In film story tellers can use wide shots to show everything happening around to help portray the passage of time in a moment even with lighting and sound. Even space between two characters can alter the emotion or passage of time in a moment by making it seem larger and longer than the brief clip being shown in a film. Unlike a comic the more detail a film has in each shot the more the perception of time can be altered for a viewer.

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Continuity Framing – Comet (2014)

Medium Close-up

Medium Close-up, low

Close-up

Medium Close-up

Medium Close-up, over the shoulder two shot

Close-up, telephoto/zoom, 3/4 back

Medium Close-up, High

Medium Close-up, two shot

Medium Close-up, over the shoulder two shot

Long Shot, High, birds eye

Medium Close-up, over the shoulder two shot

Medium Close-up, two shot

 

Unfortunately, being a IFC film made in 2014, The Comet is very limited on which clips you can grab. This film plays with the idea of how we view time and space while analyzing the relationship of two characters in a parallel universe.

In this scene Dell (Justin Long) is trying to gain the trust of his ex girlfriend Kimberly (Emmy Rossum) to move to a different train car. Without much more context the use of medium close ups and close up shots implies a more intimate scene between the two people. The close up shot of Dells hand is focusing on his openness and showing her that he can be trusted. When she stands up after taking his hand the over the shoulder shot of her behind him show her hesitation. Putting her in the background allows for the feeling of hesitation, distance, or something standing in the way. It isn’t till a few shots later that the camera flips the prospective allowing her to be guided by him down the train cart. The birds eye between the two carts gives the idea that even though there is danger around them in the bigger perspective they are together and the trust or relationship between them is stable enough to overcome it. It is not until they have overcome the cross between train carts that you see the two of them from the same perceptive as equal parts facing each other. Not one individual is blocking, leading, or above the other. The moving between the two cars can symbolize where they were in there relationship and what was need to gain trust in order to get to a better place between them, or overcome what was broken.

I think that this type of close shooting and only using the two characters to create distance or space between each other is a creative way to explain the hesitation trusting someone you had a close relationship with.

It is a very different type of movie, full clip below.

 

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Blog #1

With phones constantly advancing and pushing boundaries it was only a matter of time before they were used to tell a new story. Rather than trying to be like traditional film, phones are rewriting what we know and are familiar with when it comes to film making. As discussed in the readings using iPhone to create movies has allowed for directors and visionaries to capture angles and shots that previously would not be possible. It allows for actors to shoot a scene completely in character rather than taking the time to break and reset lights. Utilizing an iPhone has allowed for films to capture moments that would otherwise be time consuming and expensive to create.

 

I think the automatism of today would be everything we are doing with our phones. It has become so natural for us to watch everyone’s life through a lens that it is now normal to live our lives through constant moving images. We are consumers through commercials and now video ads on our social media. This has become a normalized version of how we view the world, how we workout, entertain ourselves and connect. Similarly, “Night Fishing” showed movement of walking with the shaking of the camera that allowed for a realistic feel of walking through the woods or watching one of our social media friends out on a hike. I think with filming on phones becoming so highly normalized it has lead videos from a form of expressive art to a more “natural” and relatable version of storytelling. In the clip from “Unsane” the low lighting made for a more realistic, grainy feeling to the protagonists experience and emotion. Since we are always advancing from black and white to camcorders to iPhone, it is not about the tools that you use to create a film or video. It is about how you use the tools you have to creatively represent content that creates a connection.

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Hello Everyone!

My name is Jasmine and I am a senior in the DTC program. I have always had a love for movies and cinematography. In the last film class I found interest in post production, directing and screenwriting. Here is a little short:

I like the idea of showing rather than telling in video, this video is a good example of that. There is just the right amount of detail not to overwhelm but enough to keep interest. It has context and is relatable to a wide range of people.

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