I think there is a distinct difference between a game and an interactive narrative. Bear71 was the later. There was a story to be told that had a beginning and an ending but had things to see along the way. No matter what you clicked on and what you viewed the ending would not change but it gave a glimpse into the life of bear 71. Through the use of an interactive map, a voice over, and video the story was laid out in a way that encouraged the audience to really follow what was happening and what made the world so unique. Not only were you able to “drop in” all over the environment but also each of those interactions were well developed. Text overlaid with video help but what really set it out was that even within windows the rest of the map continued to play around you, never ever quite stopped. The experience was cinematic but in a way that prompts your curiosity and some how makes it hard to sit on the sideline and just watch. The ending was hard to watch, I think partially because you are exploring the world with the bear and you see the train and you see where they intersect. I think the choice of voice also played a big impact. Using a female voice for the pair made it more relatable and also made it harder when it died. It played on your emotions. Bear71 was a dramatic and cinematic way to tell a story that put the audience in the driver seat. Well done.
Making a video essay is in many ways the same structure as writing an essay, the difference being where your support comes from. In making a video essay I would start off with writing out what it is that I want to say. Without a story, without a message, a hodge-podge of video clips is meaningless. You begin with what you want to say.
Once you have established message you tackle content; what shots best support the message. If you are talking about overcoming adversity maybe you want to use a sports clip, if you are talking about falling in love maybe you want to shoot a couple holding hands. Your visual content should support the story you want to tell through how it shot and cut and when it is used.
You can tell an entire story without saying a single word, you can write a novel without a single picture, but when you combine words with visuals you can send a message that is hugely impactful. Evan Puschak, in his TED talk about essays, discussed how at the core essays should be short, interesting, and true. The object is to pass information in a concise way that holds interest.
What better way to pass information than through the use of combined media elements? Video by definition is moving pictures, with that adding sound in the form of both music and spoken word adds tone and directed information. The combination of these things is a powerful way to convey information and to do so concisely.
Im thinking about doing something with cars, possibly a car chase scene. Im picturing Italian job, ronin, bullet, and trying to to figure out a way to film something using those as a reference. I want to use continuity editing and discontinuous editing, I want to speed up and slow down time to show a sense of motion. The overall video will be about 3 minutes of footage and right now im working on coming up with a story that fits this. For permissions I have to find a location to shoot, and get permission to shoot there. As far as crew, I am working on that. I need at least one driver, hopefully two, two camera people and actors depending on script.
I think TV is trying to find more and more ways that it can always be “on.” Its reality TV that is even more relatable and can be relatable throughout the week and throughout the day. It kind of makes me sick to my stomach that young people are being subjected to such crap. Reality TV is far from reality and giving people the idea that is what normal looks like is just going to leave them depressed and feeling like they are constantly missing out when life doesn’t measure up to the digital world. Reality is a soap opera drama. The ideas I have would simply be ignored because it isn’t the cash cow that is show is. I think kids would benefit from investing in real friendships that don’t involve a screen and to go outside and live a real life not try to insert themselves into a digital world that is fake and simply leads to unrealistic expectations of the world. For years people have followed fan videos of shows on YouTube discussing what happens in a show. This was true with game of thrones especially, but the difference was is that the commentary wasn’t scripted. This whole SKAM is scripted, the show and the social media content. There isn’t anything real about it.
For this Project I played around with color. Color is a huge part of cinema and one of the ways mood is set. The benefit of digital is instead of having to use different film stock to achieve different looks you can modify it digitally using look up tables (LUT) I cut together a video with lots of color and then applied different LUTs over the video that switch every 4 seconds.
Museum of Glitch Aesthetic’s Lake Como Remix is an example of what can be done when cinema space is observed from outside of what the camera observes. The program that runs google street view allows you to through a series of photographs see the world around you as if you were there. However, the cameras can only catch so much and when you stretch the view point farther than you are supposed to you get glitches in the image. The lake Como Remix is this series of glitches interwoven with the image as it was filmed to create a 4th dimension so to speak in an otherwise three-dimensional world. By stepping back from what the camera photographs or films the indexicality is broken. Manovich discusses how one of the initial constraints limiting the ability for film to be abstract was the fact that was the camera captured was all there was to work with. While you can cut and stitch film together to change the timeline you cannot get outside of the box that is the camera. Other forms of art such as painting allow you to exist in whatever box you create or none at all. With the advent of digital however you can not only create exactly what you want in the digital space to be observed as film. Alternatively, you can film something and then digitally change where the viewer sits, what they see, how its framed, the speed at which it plays and so and so forth. When I was in high school one of the games that came out had maps that you could get out of. You could walk around the world and see it from the outside in. essentially you could view those playing inside the world like fish in a fish bowl and it was a weird and fun experience. The Lake Como remix is similar to this feeling however it feels like you are both looking in and being looked at. Trippy.
If I was doing a documentary on the Eagle Creek forest fire, I would do it around the perspective of the firefighting pilots who drop water and fire retardants over the fire. Their view of the fires path, is scale, and its effect is unmatchable. They have a birds eye view and have to fly through it. I would use arial footage of forest fires, in cockpit footage of what they are doing, footage of preparing the aircraft, and arial footage of the massive amount of damage that fire can cause. As Barry Hampe discusses in his piece on making documentary films, there is no substitute for good footage. What makes a documentary relatable is good dialogue and incredible footage. The “B-Roll” is absolutely the A-Roll and the dialogue supports that. Without good footage a video documentary lacks all substance. Fighting fires is extremely dangerous, flying through them with aircraft that require large amounts of fuel and oxygen at a low altitude and a high speed over a giant fire is the recipe for disaster. Yet every one of those pilots straps in, and goes to work, knowing that what they do is saving the lives of the people on the ground.
The scene which really depicts montage to me is the D-Day scene from Saving Private Ryan. Specifically the 20 seconds or so where Captain Miller, played by Tom Hanks, is crawling on the beach looking around dazed from the explosions. His ears are ringing and he is frantically looking around trying to make sense of what is going on. Bombs are going off, people are dying, they have landed in the middle of a huge firefight that none of them should reasonable live through and their is an intensity that is palpable. This is using Eisentein’s idea of tonal montage with the tone being the chaos and also the silence of the series of shots. Rythmic montage also is observable however the tone is clearly the focus and is what makes the scene so famous.
This movie is a fantastic example of how to manipulate time to produce the desired narrative. The scene that jumped out at me over and over was when she approached the car as it exited the parking garage. In one scene Lola was hit by the car, in another, she jumped over the car, in a third she stopped the car turned and the driver never saw her. Each of the individual scenes had all the elements from all the other scenes except the timing was different which changed the entirety of each scene. Since time was one of biggest focuses many things had to happen in order for it to flow as the directed intended. The classic example is the roulette scene where through a series of cuts a 5 second event was stretched many times that. Many of what they were able to do with the filming of this film was because of the ability to digitally manipulate footage. The observation that it has a digital feel to it is a reflection of the techniques that would be hard or nearly impossible without the use of digital editing. Run Lola run is a fantastic example of how to fold time and use time to further narration in a way that is uncommonly done through the use of digital editing, shot timing, and perpetuating a haste from beginning to end.
The largest differentiator between film and comics, which McCloud goes over at great length is how time is perceived. In film, save from some exceptions, a ten second scene with no cuts in real life took ten seconds as well. It is a 1:1 ratio. The way we alter the perception of this time and lengthen and shorten and manipulate it is with cuts. Comics are very different in that without an indicator of time in each block, such as a clock, the reader has no sense of time past that it is advancing. We understand that you read from left to right and top to bottom. So long as the comics follow this more or less the story advances and time goes on but what that time actually is, is unknown. When comics want the viewer to have a specific understanding of time their has to be something in the frame to point it out, the sun or moon etc. With film time is less linked to the space and more to our perception of how it naturally flows. You have entire control over comics however in film you have to control something that already is. The scene in the movie that was acted out was captured by the camera not created by the camera. This snippet of film can be modified to create something and fit the time around that but only by way of altering the original. Comics are created from a blank piece of paper and display what the artist wants in every single way.
My focus for this project was light and dark. Without one you can’t have the other and seeing them together is pretty amazing. I’ve always loved looking at the stars. When you get out away from civilization and look up, you are taken somewhere amazing. To get there you always have to go through the dark. I filmed a montage of a drive to a place where the stars were visible. I used light and dark in every shot in different ways. The beginning is simply a gauge cluster which moves to a driving shot. From here transition into a shot at a gas station which contrasts dark and light very well. This shot also helps continue the store by showing distance and stretching time. The final shot leading up to the ending is walking through the very dark woods and I specifically kept this shots dark to show the gate that is the darkness before the final shot. The ending was a time lapse of the stars. The Light makes the darkness worth it.
For this project I used montage to show the passage of time. My subject was a balsa airplane! I did a variety of things to lengthen time. By taking several clips and breaking them up I was able to Sandwhich them together to show the same shot stretched over time. I also took several shots that are unrelated and used them to show motion. Lastly I used continuity to show the airplane exiting the frame at one place and returning again from the same direction. While entire flight path is not captured the way the shots are filmed it ties it all together. The video was done in a dark settings so that I was able to have dark areas within the frame to open and close shots and make the “movie magic” more effective. The red light was for artistic effect and was done using aimed theatrical gelled spot lighting. The hardest part was to capture movement in low light without blur, all focus had to be done manually to accomplish this.
When I think about time a few things come to mind. When someone is waiting for something to happen they constantly check their phone and typically it seems to make time slow down. My first video depicts this. When looped it displays time as unchanged in spite of the amount of times the video plays. The second video plays a 1 second clip of a clock with the section hand going back and forth. I initially tried to put two clips back to back the first playing forward and the second playing backward. When looped this proved to be terribly unsuccessful to I removed the reverse clip and simply cut the video down. When looped this is designed to show time moving in two directions. Finally the third video I made makes use of two things, one our inability to perceive differences in speed in video; the record moving 32rpm and cartridge moving inward at a speed that is not perceivable. Second our minds understanding of records as the spinning being indicative of passage of time.
This video goes over the process of washing a car. In the first shot I used the garage door to open the video and frame the subject of the video in what I would consider a close up shot. This shot focuses on the carnage on the front bumper specifically to give a reason for the video. The second shot initiates motion and the pace of the video. The third and forth shots are extreme closeups that cut right to action. The Fifth shot spraying soap into the bucket changes the perspective up and allows me to use the sixth shot as a transition into the next phase of the video, the wash process. The water in the seventh shot ties in with the water from the previous shot on purpose. The next several shots show the washing perspective using extreme closeups again. These types of shots are easier to tie together and give a sense of continuity through cuts. Finally the final scene shows the car going back into the garage which I think does a good job brining us full circle. The challenges I found were showing continuity while taking out time. The whole process without filming takes about an hour so to show that process step by step and have it flow was challenging. I cut footage in three passthroughs going from six minutes, down to two and a half and then again to get it down to a minute. A lot of what was cut was duration of each action. For instance when the cars rolls out of the garage it stops at the door and doesn’t go completely to the end, during this motion is perceived in spite of it being cut out. Some of the steps were also removed as they did not add to the overall story being presented.
I had a lot of fun with this project. I spent a lot of time walking around trying to figure out what angles would lead to the question, “What happened here?” Ultimately the sequence I shoot establishes location and then explores the mystery of the old building in the best way I was able to capture. Most of the shots are on the wider side with much of the framing done to take the viewer back in time to figure out what could have been. (All video was shot with permission from the owner)
Gladiator is one of my all time favorite movies. This scene is the most powerful scene of the entire movie. This scene is mostly close up shots showing the impact of the interaction between two men. The scene is supported and further elevated by the long shots and medium shots of other key characters. Tension is introduced through fast cuts often back and forth.
Close Up Shot – Showing the conflicting emotions of the choice that lays before him
Medium Close Up – Building tension by including relevant characters
Medium Close Up (almost close up) – establishes the emperor as not as important as Maximus.
Close Up – Maximus being defiant with his answer to who he is
Medium Shot – Showing the look of shock on the on lookers faces as he further establishes his defiance by turning his back and immediately afterward the emperors response
Medium Shot – Displaying Maximus’ defiance with the full support of his men in spite of the danger he is placing them in.
Medium Close Up – This shot establishes the moment that Maximus realizes what he has to do and follows that with the action of him beginning to carry it out.
Close Up – This shot is crucial as it establishes from the emperors perspective the reveal that defines the rest of the story.
Close Up – The moment the general reveals himself to the emperor for a split second only a select few people know who he is before he introduces himself the the entire colosseum. “I am Maximum Desimos Meridius…”
Closeup – Showing the look of shock and terror on the emperors face as he sees a man who he thought he had killed.
Medium Closeup – Lucilla, shocked to witness Maximus is alive however with a longing in her face in place of the emperors fear.
Medium Closeup – Showing Maximus full stride announcing who he is with the support of his men behind him.
Closeup (at a lower angle) – Fear visible on the emperors face which is highlighted by the lack of lighting on his face
Extreme Long Shot – This shot establishes the gravity of what the general has done in revealing himself and shows the potential consequences of his actions.
Extreme Long Shot & Medium Shoot – By including Lucilla in the foreground the director is able too show her concern and awareness of the gravity of the situation.
Closeup – The general coming to terms with the gravity of their being a crowd around him who will judge him for his actions
Medium Closeup – The emperor facing the decision that was made for him by the circumstances of the reveal
Extreme Long Shot – Showing the support that the general has taking all power away from the emperor in spite of his absolute power in the situation.
Medium Closeup – The key in this shot is seeing that in spite of his men looking around at the audience Maximus is facing the consequences of the choice he just made knowing that this moment could be his last.
Medium – The emperor allowing him to live in order to save face, in spite of knowing that he has been beaten by who believes to be his inferior (while ultimately knowing he himself is the inferior of the two)
Below is the full Scene, I highly recommend you watch the movie if you have not seen it. Truly an epic story.
In order to answer the question of whether the “movies” are trying to be like traditional film or creating something new based on the unique qualities of the iPhone it is important to specify what makes the iPhone different from traditional film and what gives traditional film the “look” it has. The two largest contributors to how a moving picture looks is how it is framed optically and the speed at which it moves. Motion in film is an optical illusion. Film is really no different from a flip book in how it performs. There are a series of still images that are played fast enough so that they are not perceived as individual images. Early film makers speculated that this occurred around 16 frames per second, some believed that 46-48 was ideal but when you factor in cost of film most films were shot at just above what was perceived and then sped up for viewing. These early films were sped up to 24 frames per second which has become a standard that we recognize. The beauty of 24 frames per second is that it doesn’t look real. Our eyes can perceive considerably more motion than that, so we see a difference from looking at a horse on the screen at a theater and seeing one run in front of us.
With the advent of digital recording everything changed because instead of being limited by technology and cost we could record things at nearly unlimited frame rates and could display them as fast as the display medium could show them 60hz being a recognized standard. iPhones can record much faster than film cameras and be default are set to 30 frames per second. This difference of 6 frames per second is huge for the overall “look.” Filming on a smart phone looks different from film for this reason mainly and this is the case between film and digital as a whole.
The second thing that makes the iPhone unique from a look stand point is the optics. Most movies are filmed in 35mm with interchangeable lens cameras to display a variety frame shapes based on the specific optics used. iPhones have traditionally had one lenses which is the 35mm equivalent of a 28mm lens. This wide-angle lens also defines the “look” of iPhone movies.
Détour allows the iPhone to shoot like an iPhone. Fame rate and optics make this short film obvious that it used that camera. The second video while still being filmed on an iPhone does so in such a way as to emulate film. The frame rate appears slower, closer to 24 frames per second. Additionally, its optically not as sharp and the color grading leans warmer all artifacts of (most) film. iPhones like everything else have adapted now having multiple lenses for different effective focal lengths, allow shooting at a variety of frame rates, allow light sensitivity control, and much more. Digital cameras as a whole can now do everything they were already good at as well as all the things film cameras did well. I think the biggest “automatisms” of iPhone is how much you can modify the image that is recorded to give it whatever look you want. Furthermore, unlike a professional studio camera such as a RED, Alexa, etc you can place the camera nearly anywhere because it takes up far less space and requires less for stability. Smartphone filming put the wonder of the movies in everyone’s pocket. It also gave everyone access to the medium of motion pictures to tell their own stories.
My name is Alex. I am fairly new to video production but I love playing with cameras. I have been working in the audio video industry for the past 10 years or so on the technical side. Im stoked to learn about the creative side a little more.