Joe Redman

Interacting with Pry

Pry tells its story through several different lenses users can look through. It is organized into linear chapters that form a plot and presents most of itself through video. However, there is a important level of interactivity and a handful of moments where it deviates into both a different form of interaction and becomes nonlinear.

Users look at three perspective from the protagonist’s first person view: what is directly in front of him, his immediate thoughts, and his sub-conscience. The former is always represented through video and the latter two are represented through video and text. The imagery for his sub-conscience is especially abstract. The app actually has a sort of achievement system that requires the player to catch all of the important moments. You can only watch one perspective at a time so catching everything may require multiple play-throughs. This an element of the app that is especially game-like. There is a moment where the user slides their finger across the screen, mimicking reading braille. Moments like this show that it can be a good idea to use a different method of experiencing a story. It is not just film and audio, but also a level of interaction that potentially allows for more immersion.

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New insights with Video Essays

Adding additional voice or text over a film may be used to bring personal insight into it. Adding another layer on top of a piece of content is transformative, giving the content new meaning and potentially unveils discoveries. Editing a film is similar to writing in that the pace must remain interesting and engaging. Writing is all about showing rather than telling. When this is applied to a video essay correctly, the message is even more effective because the full idea is on display. Oral storytelling existed before writing. Aspects such as “voice” can be realized in the video essay format.

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Enhancing Cinema Through Social Interaction

The whole premise of characters in a fictional show having real social media accounts is interesting to me. The biggest reason is because in a way the story does not need the new episodes to continue. Assuming what the characters say on social media is canon, everything they say matters and could influence what happens on film. If I were following a character, I would in many ways treat them like all the real people I follow on social media. I don’t personally know most of people I follow and a handful are just brands. Doing this sort of thing always gives the fans a bit of new info to look forward to instead of having to wait a week or two for new episodes.

What is also interesting is the production crew not only continues the story through social media, but lets real comments on posts influence the show. I’m sure they drew a line when it came to what was appropriate, but letting random comments change how the show progresses says a lot about how flexible the people writing the show had to be. I am not very interested in the story itself, but I would like to see how this set-up could work in other genres like action or mystery. Something that might take longer is applying it to animation.

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Trippy Reality with Pixel Cinema

Digital Cinema has blurred the line in what may be considered true live action and animation. Back in the early days of film, producers only had tools capable of creating an authentic live action film while early animations were clearly hand drawn and devoid of reality. Manovich said that to a computer, whether the image is live action or an effect, they are considered just pixels. Computers have opened up a wide range of possibilities that enable film makers to create their own vision of reality. The indexicality of the videos posted is heavily tampered with. In Google-assisted Living, the footage entirely consists of google map screenshots edited together to convey a semblance of moving through the area. Parts of the screenshots are distorted and the movements are unnatural. Some of the photos look like the low resolution textures of older 3D games. All of this combined makes the video not so much a reflection of reality, but of an alternate one. Light is Waiting is hard to describe once it past the sitcom part. There are definitely live action bits in there, but layered on top of them are more transparent images and additional colors. Could it all have something to do with the broken TV? The process Manovich mentioned of taking photographs of the feather to use in an unrealistic scenario makes me interested in making a video full of things that are just barely impossible. It would leave some unsure if what they are seeing is real or an effect.

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Documenting Eagle Creek Fire

When looking to create a documentary on the Eagle Creek Fire, the story I would pursue is how much the area meant to those living and doing activities there. The forest was an area that was of significance to some and the event drastically affected many. I would interview some of the people that lived around the area particularly the woman who’s house burnt down. As she explained that, I would show what was left of her destroyed home. I would also interview the people who used the creek as a jogging spot and show how the trails they once used became a mess. I would interview those who evacuated and the people who were in the middle of the forest at the time. The kinds of visual evidence showed must reflect what was being told to me and show what happened. The video would not be filled with healthy, living trees, but what is left of dead ones. I might get a shot of a bird on the ground to show that it no longer has a tree in the area to call home(I could make a whole video focused just on the bird with no talking at all). Visual evidence should provide enough clues that a fire occurred without the information given by those I interview.

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Morning Montage

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  1. Temporal montage is hard to do with POV shots, because the cuts end up being mostly jump cuts. This is fine, but if you had the camera capture this action from various angle and distances it would seem more like a quick narration of the main events of your morning.

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Intellectual Montage in The Godfather

(rated R)

Intellectual Montage emphasizes the consideration of ideas. It may be presented as an alternate look of something that is happening. Viewers may watch an intellectual montage and apply its message to their own lives. In The Godfather, intellectual montage is used to contrast a calm positive event with one of great intensity and tragedy. Corleone is witnessing the baptism of his son in a church and clearly states that he renounces all evil. Meanwhile, gang members whom he associates with go around and kill several people. The reason why these two events alternate back and forth is to show the audience how much of a hypocrite and liar Corleone is. A scene like this is designed to make them think about how they or people they know in real life may commit themselves to one thing, but in reality may not really follow through. They are not what they say they are. A scene like this could potentially be a sticking point for some viewers for a long time. This could happen if the scene lead to a realization for them. These are the kinds of scenes people might go on about and say were the highlight of the film. It depends on how much the film influenced their life outlook.

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Run Lola Run Cinema Narration

Run Lola Run is a movie that is fittingly full of energy. Even at the beginning when Lola and Mani are on the phone, the conversation is intensified with the rapid cuts and quick zooms. I thought the animated bits were a bit disconnected, but the movie’s world is stitched together well as many shots of Lola running through the city are shown. This partly relies on the film’s ambitious method of storytelling. It presents itself as three different what-if scenarios. This confused me at first, but what made me instantly realize what was going was that Lola, who died in one scenario was alive again in the spot she began. If the second scenario had begun anywhere else, it would have been much more confusing. Another thing the film did well conveying was the micro stories on a handful of people Lola interacts with. They were only told through quick freeze-frames, but provided enough visual cues to show what would happen. I found it interesting that not everyone had the best future in scenario three. The film ditched the conventional 5 step storytelling method used by most other things to really teach a lesson at the expense of actually seeing characters develop. Lola did not develop from a rude individual  that pushes over people to someone nice. The film just showed what it would be like if she was already rude or nice going into the three scenarios.

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The Continuous Dog

I was planning on having other people in this video, but everyone was busy…The only actor left was my dog. Working with animals in film can be very difficult. The framing done inside of the house takes the perspective of someone looking down at the dog. When outside, the framing shifts to a height much closer to the dog’s level.  I had very loose control over where I could direct my dog to go. The only action he could do while running around the yard was just that. To convey a form of continuity I had to make my dog repeat some actions a few times such as walking through the door and walking on the sidewalk. Something interesting that happens about 13 seconds in is that my dog appears to walk underneath the frame instead of leaving left or right. Though the dog’s eyes may match with the camera from a distance earlier in the shot, he is still a bit below it. I redid that shot so my dog would walk out of frame onto the grass for a moment, so the transition to him being on the grass would not be jarring. I play with distance here. Sometimes the dog is close to the camera. Sometimes he is further away and gets closer and other times he gets further. At about 25 seconds in the dog sprints to the back of the yard and slows down once he gets close to the fence. It is not perfect, but the transition to the shot of the dog walking along next to the fence was based on the change of his running speed. One of the shots I enjoyed filming was the one that followed the 180-degree rule of my dog gradually gaining speed as he ran next to the fence. I had to keep the framing intact as my dog kept running faster.

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  1. Joe, The continuity shots here are not very strong. I think it is in the editing more than in the shots themselves. It is very difficult to direct a dog! But one way around the problem is to vary the distance from the subject. We can sit and discuss if you want.

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Mccloud Time, Space, and Motion

When looking over Mccloud’s points one of the things I think of the most is how time is frozen on a panel, but is a moving sequence in cinema. When eyeing a panel like the one on top of page 96, a reader can take the time to make out every element of the panel before moving on to the next. Even if the panel is written as described on page 95, a reader can make their own pace through. The rope through the text bubbles guides readers while cinema mixes elements such as full movement of sound. A movie viewer may not be able notice everything that occurs within a long-shot. Even if the shot lasts for a while they may only focus on one thing at a time. There is a connection to what Mccloud describes on page 101 between comics and cinema in which a pause or longer amount of time is emphasized. The optimal method he shared is by having a longer panel which also takes up more space. The same is done with film in that a pause takes up space and time. Mccloud also covers motion within comics. Artists trick readers similarly to how continuity methods occur within film.

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Continuity with movie clips

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In this intense early scene that sets up the atmosphere of Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jones and the other man that soon betrays any trust there may have been takes place in a dark underground temple full of traps. The first shot is completely focused on the relic that Jones is after with it being in the center of the frame while zoomed out enough to show that it sits on a pedestal. Shot 2 is a closeup of Jones’ feet as he slowly makes his way over to the relic. It reminds the viewer that there are traps that could be stepped on. In shot 3 he still is moving as he was before, but stops in front of the relic to swap it out with a sack. He does so and in shot 4 the other man who is alone in the shot reacts to what he sees. In shot five, rumblings begin and the whole temple begins to implode within itself. This is presented in a medium-long shot with Jones looking back at everything in front of him coming down. The long shot for shot 6 emphasizes how far underground the temple is as Jones escapes. Timing is an important element of the this scene’s narrative. It is a tense scene that gradually becomes something more energetic. The camera framing focuses on the relic while the intensity builds. Once Jones starts running for his life the shots are much quicker, focusing all around the temple and its traps.

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Pocket Cinema

When watching the posted videos that were both captured with a cell phone I got the impression that the filmmakers were trying to capture the action with several dynamic angles, but the underlying goal of telling an interesting story is not affected much at all from filming with a different camera. In Detour, I thought the whole concept was a good fit for filming with a phone because a major component of the film is the constant travel and change of setting. People bring their phones wherever they go and this film is a good demonstration this practice. There were a few shots within both films that I thought must have been easier to capture with a phone and to show off how good the quality was. In Night Fishing the filmmakers showed off how well a phone caught a dark night scene. In Detour there is a shot taken of the tricycle  on a highway that is very low to the ground. This shows how the phone can capture scenes in interesting angles.

Even though phones were used to film these movies the sense of a immersion one feels from the stories they tell will not be affected at all. If I did not know these were filmed with phones I would have never would noticed. Today I believe a major automatism of digital film making is focusing on actions with quick cuts. Shots that linger are less common. With so many people having such a high-quality camera in their pockets, the purpose of film-making is more personal with creators making whatever they want. People are a lot more comfortable using their phones than they were using their often unprotected fragile cameras, so maybe people will be more comfortable and daring when filming with phones.

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