Megan

Megan Bina

Megan Bina – Final

 

This is my final project! I originally wanted to make a short horror film that was based on a murder from the 1980s, but after I kept thinking about that idea I couldn’t come up with an original twist that I liked. So instead, I created “bloodletting,” a horror short that allowed me to explore the visual aesthetics of 1980s horror without having a cheesy plot (which is the main thing I wanted to avoid). The main (and only) character in my project is my girlfriend Cassy. She shares a love of 80s stylistic horror, so I asked if she wanted to be sprayed with blood, and she gladly agreed (a match made in heaven, right?). My main goal for this project was to explore the visual style of horror films from the 1980s (as that is my favorite decade of horror), but in a more exaggerated way. I’ve always been fascinated with the neon lighting techniques used specifically in this decade of the horror genre, and wanted to explore that myself. I wanted this project to be an opportunity for me to fully showcase both my cinematographic skills and visual storytelling skills. I was heavily inspired by the subliminal storytelling of Soviet Montage Theory, which is evident when one pays attention to the editing style I used for my film. I used a neon purple bat sign from Target for the purple lighting, and a neon green cactus sign from Fred Meyer’s for the green lighting. Both of which worked extremely well. The music I used is a rework/cover of Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without A Face” from 1983, and is titled “A Face Without Eyes” by artist Nmesh.

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HyperCinema

For this assignment I decided to mess around with the YouTube “card” system. I linked a different shot at the one second mark in each video, so it’s a streamlined way to click through a series of song lyrics that I wrote on pieces of paper and “hid” in my backyard. The lyrics are from the song “Sick Child” by Siouxsie and The Banshees.

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Video Essay

For my video essay I focused on explaining the stereotypical elements of a slasher film.

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HyperCinema

I chose to interact with “Seances” by Guy Maddin. Guy Maddin incorporated discrete media elements such as glitchy images superimposed over film in subtle ways, this worked because the narrative of the film playing in the background is strong enough to keep the viewers attention. The glitch imagery only added to the ominous tone of the narrative and assisted storytelling by making the environment even creepier and more unsettling than it was initially. This is because the viewer doesn’t know what to expect, and is unsure of whether or not the glitches are supposed to be there. The interface creates exploration by encouraging the viewer to hold their mouse button down in order to receive a randomly selected short story. These works are narratives, as each short film on the site tells a distinct story. They are cinematic mainly due to the fact that they look as if they were shot on film in the 1950s or earlier. They use cinema language by having connecting shots and imagery incorporated throughout the experience.

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Job Profile

For my job profile I interviewed my dad about his hobby of buying and repairing pinball machines.

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Video Essay & Final Project Idea

Video Essay Response:

Combining language with image (specifically when it comes to voice over) allows the filmmaker to clearly and concisely portray their opinions on a subject to the audience. Language also allows for any visuals that may be confusing to the audience to be explained, therefore becoming more comprehensive. Text can reinforce this by highlighting main points referenced in a voice over, making the filmmakers point even more obvious and concise. Text can be further developed into graphic images such as graphs, charts, etc. which allow for a more in-depth approach to the filmmakers stance. Combining these elements with sound and video can allow for an immersive, in-depth and thoroughly comprehensive outlook on a topic, in a portable manner for the audience to enjoy. I would begin writing a video essay by figuring out what my thesis for the video would be, and then expand on it from there. I would create a list of main points that I want to cover and then organize them into a comprehensive manner (beginning, middle, end) and further develop them. This would allow me to plan out whether I need certain graphics, images, scenes from films, etc. depending on the section of my video essay.

 

Final Project Idea:

I plan to create a short film depicting my interpretation and fictionalization of the murder of Kirsten Costas in 1984. Kirsten Costas was invited to a “party” by Bernadette Protti in an attempt to befriend her. Protti’s intent however, was actually malicious as she later followed Costas home and stabbed her five times with a kitchen knife in Costas’ front yard. I plan to make my final project a 2-3 minute narrative short film. I plan to explore narrative space and storytelling through the cinematography and shot composition in my film, and also montage as a way to get the story across to the audience in a timely manner while also developing a sense of anticipation leading up to the climax of my film. I have all of the equipment I need for this film, but I need to confirm a couple actors and crew members.

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SKAM

The idea behind SKAM is very interesting and something completely new that I had never heard of or even thought of. I think that the idea of integrating social media with a form of media for the audience to view allows the audience to have a more immersive experience with the media. This form of media also allows for the audience to become more engaged with the subject, and seems as a way to make sure the audiences’ interest is held for as long as possible. However, to some this might seem a bit like the audience has homework in order to understand the story, but in my opinion it would be fun regardless. An idea for incorporating video and social media interaction that I have would be a “live” investigation of a characters murder. The genre would be horror and there would be elements incorporated to illicit fear into the audience, especially if they stumble upon important clues. An example of this would be if a viewer found a clue regarding the identity of the killer, then there would be some sort of punishment (from the killer), such as another murder, or the shutting down of a social media account, a threatening anonymous message, etc. I think making the horror genre even more immersive than it already is would be quite enjoyable.

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Hybrid Space

For this assignment I decided to take footage from my “Who Dunnit” project for this class, and add in layers of animated symbols that relate to what is shown in the shots that I chose to include. I animated by creating individual “doodle” frames in Photoshop and then importing them into Premiere. I created a boot, a bootprint, and a tree.

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Hybrid Spaces

The work I chose to focus on for this blog post was “playdamage.org.” According to Manovich, this work does not count as digital cinema since it is not “a particular case of animation that uses live-action footage as one of its many elements” (Manovich 9). The website features elements of animation and music, but does not feature live-action footage. The indexicality of traditional cinema is altered by this website by the imagery created being completely altered to mainly show patterns, etc. The website does not necessarily capture images of bodies in a three-dimensional space, because most all of the visuals are two-dimensional. The incorporation of famous songs, but having them altered so it’s difficult to tell if you are hearing a song you recognize or not is very inspiring to me.

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Visual Evidence

If I were making a documentary about the Eagle Creek fire and its aftermath, I would probably focus on telling the story from the perspective of those most affected by the fire, by interviewing them. I would then create and explore an investigatory plot of how the fire was started and also interview the person that did start the fire. Interviewing fire marshal’s would add an interesting aspect to the documentary as well. I think this would be an interesting story to pursue, because I find documentaries with an investigatory style interesting and compelling, and I know a lot of other people that do to. I think people would be most interested in learning about the cause of the fire, since a lot of people have an idea of how it happened, but don’t necessarily know the whole story. Like the reading says, “just because a person […] said something, that doesn’t make it true” (Hampe 114). Based on this, I would also want to include visual evidence such as showing shots of the area where the fire first started, and include during and after footage of the fire. The reading also talks about using b-roll over your interview, rather than just showing the interviewees, so I would be sure to also include various shots that would cause the audience to insinuate that the forest was/is like a home (show wildlife, houses nearby, hikers, etc.).

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Spatial Montage

For this project I was originally going to make a video similar to the spatial montage used in American Horror Story: Freak Show. In the show there is a set of conjoined twins, Bette and Dot, and in several episodes they will show POV shots from the twins, but use the same type of spatial montage used for this assignment. I thought this was slightly too ambitious for the time frame, so instead I experimented with expressing a certain mood, showing different details in a scene and the timing involved with such.

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Loops

*note: I couldn’t figure out how to use the shortcode to get my videos to loop once posted!

For my first loop, I decided to make an infinite loop and filmed myself searching for and taking out a drink from the refrigerator.

For my second loop, I used continuity editing and filmed a candle being lit.

For my third loop, I experimented with old footage I had on my SD card and made a montage-style loop.

 

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Post-Continuity Editing

Some of the cinema and narrative techniques used in Run Lola Run (1991) include establishing a setting, use of voice, and a nonlinear narrative structure. The film establishes a setting within the first few minutes. This is done through showing Lola run through the entirety of locations that will be featured in the film. Because the story repeats as time passes, the audience becomes well versed in the locations that Lola travels to and through. Use of voice is shown through Lola’s voiceover in certain stressful moments of the film, as well as Manni’s voiceover in certain situations. Although the film as a whole tells the narrative in a nonlinear fashion, each individual loop in the film follows the three-act structure and when combined, they effectively tell a comprehensible story. Run Lola Run is nonlinear, because “nonlinear captures the chaos of the times” (Rombe 128), and the film has a constant state of chaos through the quick-paced storytelling. The storytelling in this film is different than most Hollywood films, because the narrative does not naturally flow in one piece, it is sectioned up and then pieced back together to make it comprehensive. It does however show some similarities to most Hollywood films because the individual loops flow in one piece, like the aforementioned three-act structure. Time is especially manipulated in this film through some slow-motion sequences and also through fast-paced animated sequences. The narrative structure of Run Lola Run especially “[allows] us to experience and shape time in ways that equate to the nonlinear nature of the [story]” (Rombe 210).

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Montage

For this project I decided to create a short montage of me playing an album on my record player. I chose to do this because it is something I do often, so it already has a bit of a rythm in my mind whenever I get ready to play music on vinyl. I also have a great interest in music and thought that this would be an interesting way to make a short about music, without actually hearing any. The album I’m playing is “Through Glass” (1986) by Clay Alien, an 80s goth band from Seattle, WA.

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Loops

The first loop I chose was of this shot of Laurence Fishburne from The Matrix.

Image result for loop gif movie

This loop in particular makes it seem as though time is passing slower than usual, and in a narrative sense could be used as a way to build tension within the audience. Specifically by making the audience wait for something but not telling them what they’re waiting for.

The next loop I chose is of a shot of Gary Oldman from Léon: The Professional.

Related image

This loop also makes it seem as though time is passing slower, but the continuous rack focus between Gary Oldman and the barrel of his gun can cause the audience to feel uneasy and stressed. This is because switching the focus between the subject and the object the subject is holding insinuates a sense of indecision, or the process of contemplation.

The final loop I chose is of Linda Blair from The Exorcist.

Image result for loop gif the exorcist

This loop makes it seem as though time is passing at a normal rate, but as though Linda Blair’s thrashing is continuous and shows no means to an end. In a narrative sense, holding a specific still shot of a subject repeating a movement over and over again for longer that usual would make the audience question when it will end. This could be a away to evoke discomfort and annoyance from the audience in specific situations (especially in horror).

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Continuity

(edit: re-uploaded because I originally had accidentally uploaded a version with music. This version has no music.)

I think that my video very accurately tells the simple story I wish to portray. My cinematography provides the viewer with a detailed view into what the artist (me) is making, and how they are making it. I am proud of the shots I chose for this project, because I feel that they give the audience a more personal look into what is being created. This is because I chose to mainly use tight shots, rather than wider shots, and I think that my choice to do so was effective. The way I framed my shots follows the rule of thirds, but there are a few that I tried to make a symmetrical as possible (opening shot). I did this specifically with the opening shot because I wanted the spine of the sketchbook to be in the middle of the frame, but since the page I was drawing on was on the right hand side, the point of focus still technically fit in with the rule of thirds. I think opening with a shot that doesn’t conventionally follow the rule of thirds allows the audience time to adjust to what they are watching, and since the shot is a medium close-up, with nothing specific yet to focus on, it also serves as an establishing shot for what’s to come. I purposefully left out any shots of the person themselves creating the art, because I wanted the focus of my video to be on what was being created. I think my editing connects these various shots together in a cohesive manner as well. I did this by including edits that blend the audio of two different shots (J-cuts and L-cuts), so that there would be a very natural flow between the shots and what the person in the video is creating. Basically, I wanted to make this short video as easily comprehendible for the audience as possible. I tried my best to make my edits feel natural, and not very obvious, as that is what I consider a sign of quality editing. I think my video effectively combines cinematography and editing to show what is happening and how it is happening in a simple way. An area that I could improve would be trimming off a few more seconds of some shots, to make the video more condensed. I worked on trimming down several clips, but the more I trimmed, the more obvious some edits became, so I stopped where I was completely pleased with the timing. Others might have different ideas of what the timing should be (and also might have different creative choices for a lot of other decisions I made), which is why I feel it’s important to consider as a place where I could improve. Overall, I’m proud of the video I created. I have felt very comfortable with cinematography for awhile now (I have quite a bit of experience), but have somewhat struggled with editing in the past. I feel that these last few assignments have helped me become more comfortable with editing, especially with the analyzing that we have been doing inside the class.

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  1. Megan, You have some good continuity edits in this – opening the pen and then drawing – but nearly half the video is a single take. It is hard when you are shooting yourself, but continuity is stitching together shots from various angles and distances so that we know where the subject/action is in space. So an establishing shout, medium shots and close-ups that follow the rules of continuity

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Narrative Time

McCloud’s visual essay is very helpful in understanding timing in both comics and cinema. I think one of the main reasons the connection between these two mediums comes so naturally is because cinematic storyboards are basically more technically-inclined versions of a set of comic panels. Thinking about storyboards as comic panels helps to fully flesh out the timing of the cinematic scene. Some of the longer frames that McCloud discusses and shows make me think of a continuous shot, weaving through several events happening around the same time. A good example of this would be from Goodfellas, where there’s a long shot following the main character through a restaurant. There’s several interactions between different characters, but all in a single shot, similar to a single comic panel with numerous events happening within it. Although a set of comic panels serve as a “time-map,” that is directly in front of the reader, a storyboard or even editing timeline can serve as a cinematic “time-map.”

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Who Dunnit?

For this project, I wanted to convey an eerie, filmic, forested look. I filmed this video in my backyard, where most of the plants are overgrown, in order to visualize this mood. I created the video in a way that tells the viewer that something gruesome has happened (without explicitly showing any heavy gore), yet still makes them question what exactly happened.

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  1. Megan,
    Some nice frames in this, and good tension. Though it is hard without the equipment, keeping the camera consistently steady is important, or else it feels like a subjective shot. Sometimes just propping up the camera with books or a pillow works.

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Narrative Space

For this blog post, I chose the final scene from one of my favorite films: “Kill Bill Vol. 1.” This scene only uses one moving shot, and it’s the first of the scene. The rest of the shots of this scene are completely static, and most are held for quite awhile. The only time there are quick cuts is when there is some sort of action, otherwise the climax of the scene. The repeated reflection of shots between the two actresses in this scene is classic for battle sequences, especially in 70s samurai films, which this film is heavily inspired by. The shots in this scene are all very simple, but it works well because they stay uncomplicated even though there is a busy setting. There are many cuts from long shots to medium close-ups, which emphasizes and isolates the action in the scene. Overall, this scene serves as a simple way to bring emphasis to the severity of the action and conflict between the two characters in this scene.

Opening shot: medium close-up of blood running down O-Ren Ishii’s leg.

Medium shot of O-Ren looking at The Bride.

Medium shot of The Bride looking back at O-Ren.

Close-up of O-Ren’s profile.

Close-up of The Bride’s profile.

Long, wide shot of both O-Ren and The Bride on either side of frame.

Return to The Bride’s profile close-up.

Return to O-Ren’s profile close-up.

Return to long shot, as both run to center of frame.

Cuts to similar long shot, slight dolly inwards, but we don’t see the movement, just cut.

Quick cut to medium close-up of O-Ren once they both swing blades.

Quick cut to medium close up of blades crossing.

Quick cut to medium shot of The Bride swinging blade again.

Quick cut to medium shot O-Ren swinging blade.

Quick cut to close-up of blood splatter in snow.

Slow motion medium shot of top of O-Ren’s head.

Medium shot of top of O-Ren’s head in snow.

Close-up of O-Ren’s hand.

Medium overhead shot of O-Ren’s blade dropping in snow.

Medium shot of The Bride.

Medium close-up of O-Ren.

Medium close-up of back of The Bride.

Final medium long shot of O-Ren falling to the ground.

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In-Class Exercise: Skyfall Edit

(I accidentally exported in a weird format, oops)

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Pocket Cinema

I think that there are many purposes for iPhone movies, and they work as their own genre of cinema. Because these films are so versatile, I think it would be fair to further categorize them into subgenres of iPhone movies or “pocket cinema.” Although these films are versatile, it seems that the two main types of iPhone films would either be found-footage films of some sort (horror, etc.) or mobile films trying to recreate the experience of a non-iPhone film.

Some automatisms of digital video today would include video for social media, video as “digital scrapbooking,” or in other words, to document, and subconsciously interacting with video (watching films on a mobile device, YouTube, etc.). One can use digital video as both a consumer and a creator through the process of the filmmaker interacting with the intended audience, and vice versa.

Digital video is all about human interaction and evoking an emotion, as all art aims to do. I think that today, digital video wants to be an accessible form of visual storytelling, whether that be through creating, viewing, or discussing cinema.

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Introduction

Hi, I’m Megan! I’ve always had a fascination for film since I was very young, and have pursued video production in various ways for the past several years. I went to a seven year arts-oriented middle/high school and my main area of focus was always film. Since I came to WSU Vancouver, my goal has been to pursue my passion for cinema in any way I can, so I’m really looking forward to this class! I’m especially passionate about horror cinema, and from a very young age, I was raised watching films with dark, gothic themes. Being raised on these films has greatly influenced my personal interests and style, and my aim is to express those interests and style through filmmaking. I also have a fond interest in stop-motion animation. 

Beetlejuice dir. Tim Burton, 1988

The entirety of Beetlejuice is inspiring to me, and has been for awhile (it was one of the first movies I ever watched), but this scene covers the main things I want to pursue. I really enjoy creative lighting, especially if its colorful in contrast to a dull setting, this is something I wish to experiment with in this class. I also enjoy the combination of stop-motion animation with live-action cinema. Whether or not I’ll have enough time to pursue that in this course, I’m not sure, but nonetheless I find it inspirational.

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