Digital Cinema / Introduction
- the words: cinema, film, video, digital video, cinematic
- other terms: index, indexical, medium-specificity, automatism
Blog sign-up, equipment:
- cameras and equipment
- blogging on wordpress, posting video
- vimeo/youtube accounts
- editing software: Premiere/After Effects
- Adobe Premiere (creative cloud): tutorials, keyboard shortcuts
- other tools: miro, downloading YouTube
Make a blog post:
- information about your background if any in video
- video equipment that you own personally
- what your aims are in the class
- your major and areas of professional interest
- Post one favorite video (from youtube/vimeo) that is in a style or approach to video you would like to pursue in this class. Tell us why.
WATCH: Devil’s Playground
Discuss realism/artifice, objectivity/subjectivity, intention/automatism in documentary form
Watch:Michel Gondry iPhone short
Read the article above and view some of the shorts and trailers mentioned in the article, as well as the short by Michel Gondry. Are these iPhone “movies” trying their best to be like film? Or are they creating something new based on the unique qualities of the iPhone?
Today we rely on general terms such as “moving images” to reference all types, formats and hybrids of moving image technology. Youtube, a digital medium, is an archival history of these moving image technologies: super 8 film, black and white tv, technicolor film, early camcorders, iPhone video, etc. And yet, each of these technologies contributes unique, medium-specific qualities or “automatisms” (automatic or unconscious uses of a technology) to the evolving idea of “cinema” – an art form that is about capturing movement and light. For example, large format film cameras lend themselves to stationary, well-composed shots; handheld video cameras to dynamic movements.
What are some “automatisms” of digital video today? How do you “use” digital video as both creator and consumer? Is is about entertainment, knowledge, human connection, wonder? How do these conditions of making and viewing digital video, on a mobile phone for example, change what might evolve as digital cinema automatisms? In other words, what does digital video want to be as an expressive form today?
- equipment demo
- discuss Devil’s Playground
- Pocket Cinema – discuss
- Evolution of Film Language > continuity editing>cinema space
Assignment (Due Next Class):
Framing for visual evidence (5%):
no more than 30 seconds!
In visual storytelling, establishing a setting is very important for narrative context. Where are we? When is it? And what is the story about? The first shots of scenes in documentaries, as well as fictional movies, often provide the viewer with a wide context and then essential details.
In this assignment, you are to make a “Who Dunnit?” sequence. No actors, just a sequence of shots that presents the aftermath of an event and the possible clues for what happened. This does not have to be a crime. It could be an accident caused by a child or pet. Use at least 5 different framing compositions (long shot, medium shot, close up, etc.). Shoot, edit, compress and upload these videos to youtube.com or vimeo.com. Present the assignment to the class with a blog post.
Do: Search for a favorite movie scene or sequence (no animation please) on YouTube. Select a part of a scene if it is made of many shots. Take screen grabs of each distinct shot in the scene or sequence.
Blog: Post these screen grabs in sequential order to the blog. Then for each image provide a description for the kind of shot (long shot, medium shot, close up, shakey, pan, etc) it is. Use Class Notes- Framing for reference. Discuss how the scene is held together as a narrative whole through the camera framing and editing.
- setting, character, plot/story
- review “rules” of continuity, the role of narrative
- in-class exercise – continuity shooting/editing
- in-class exercise -discontinuous continuity shooting/editing
- other kinds of narrative spaces (dream, mental, networked..)
- recording sound /Zoom H1
- storytelling with Sound and Image
Assignment (Due Next Class):
Continuity (5%): Shoot and edit a short video that follows the principles of continuity to create the illusion of continuous space and time. Try to vary the angles and distances of your shots: establishing shot, medium-shot, close-up, extreme-close-up. Sound may be an element here, but please do not include talking, music or verbal explanations. We are working on visual explanations, depicting continuity of action. Below are some ideas.
- Making Something:
Document someone making something to completion. The process may take 3-30 minutes, but the final video should be no more than 30 seconds. Document a single continuous action (making art, playing sports, cooking a meal, walking a dog) and edit it into a sequence that is between 30-60 seconds.
- “Lunch Date” redux:
Using continuity editing, narrate a 30-60 sec. story about a character suspecting another character of taking something belonging to them.
Post your Continuity Assignment with a Vimeo/Youtube embed (place the url on its own line) and write a 250-500 word assessment of your video from the standpoint of framing and continuity editing. What works and what doesn’t work to tell the visual story?
Read: Time Frames, by Scott McCloud, Loops reading TBA
Blog: In “Time Frames”, Scott McCloud demonstrates that the spatial juxtaposition of static comic panels, like the editing of cinema shots, can portray complex experiences of time. For example, an elongated panel can suggest a “long take”, radial panels can create the sense of cyclic time (loop), forking paths in panels can introduce nonlinear (hypertext) readings. With digital cinema, the video loop or animated gif is a new technique that in some ways combines that static panels of comics and the stillness of photography with the illusion of motion in film.
Search for three cinematic gif animations that portray the experience of time in an interesting way. Post the gifs and, using the reading, discuss what you see as possible narrative uses of loops in new hybrid forms of cinema/comics.
- time and narrative
- continuous > linear
- discontinuous > fragmented/multi-linear/nonlinear
- scale > long take, nested time frames
- temporal order > past, present, future
- simultaneity > parallel action, multi-frame
- shuffled time > random access, generative, fractal
- loop > repetition, cyclic, pause, hints at before and after
- loop exercises together in frame
- HTML5 loop
WATCH:“Run Lola Run” (1991), by directed by Tom Tykwer
ASSIGNMENT (Due Next Class):
Time Frames (5%):
no more than 10 seconds per loop
Shoot and edit 3-5 video loops (6-10 second mini-narratives) that depict, emphasize or evoke different subjective experiences of time: cyclic, slow, timeless, frantic, rhythmic.
In some of the loops, try to incorporate continuity editing – POV shot, match on action – to maintain unity. In others, try out a more discontinuous style. Also, create a variety in shot length for emphasis. A 4-second shot sandwiched between 2-second shots, will seem to stretch time.
Montage and Post-Continuity Editing
Blog: What are some of the cinema and narrative techniques used in the movie “Run Lola Run” ? In what ways can this movie be said to have a “digital aesthetic” as discussed in the readings from Nicholas Rombes’ “Cinema in the Digital Age”? How is the “narrative space” – the spatial and temporal arrangement of story elements – different from most conventional movie narratives? How are certain techniques similar to the Classical Hollywood style? How is time manipulated, stretched and compressed? How is a sense narrative continuity and order maintained with all the jumps in time and space? Please quote from the readings!
- Discuss Run Lola Run
- Chaos Cinema – how nonlinear editing has changed movies
- Nonlinear Editing – workflows
- In-class Remix assignment
- timeline> sequence > tracks >clips> audio sync/linked > transitionsCompositing
- Spatial Montage > picture in picture
- Temporal Montage – time passage, surrealism
- Soviet Montage Theory – Eisenstein
- Asynchronous sound
- text and image montage
Spatial Montage (5%)
no more than 60 seconds
Create a 30-60 second video that has at least two distinct video frames simultaneously on the screen. Think about the relationships between each frame’s content (for continuity or montage effects), the relationship between each frame’s editing rhythm, the combinations of their sound tracks and the similarities or differences in the proportions and positioning of the frames themselves.
Montage Assignment (5%):
no more than 60 seconds
Express an idea, a feeling or complex subject through the juxtaposition of images. You may use natural sound or keep it silent, but please no music tracks. I want you to find the rhythm and pacing of your edits in the narrative, not in external music.
Movie Trailer Remix (5%)
no more than 60 seconds
Download 3-5 movie trailers and/or scenes from movies. You will get the most humorous results if you mix different genres! Bring these videos into Premiere and edit your own trailer of an imaginary movie. Try to use continuity editing, montage and sound editing to create the illusion that your remix references a real movie.
Read:Visual Evidence, A/B Roll Editing” and “A Short Sermon about Interviews” (PDF)
Blog Prompt: You are assigned by a community news site to make a 5-minute story about some aspect of the Eagle Creek forest fire and its impact on the local community. Who do you interview? What is your “B-roll”? What will be the visual evidence for your story? Please quote from the readings.
- Discuss readings – visual evidence
- Principles of interviewing
- Lighting and Sound for interviews
- Practice interviews
- Voice-Over Narration
ASSIGNMENT: Due TBA
Job Profile Assignment (10%):
In this assignment, you will do a 1-2 minute profile of a person at their job. Imagine these videos are for a series called “People at Work.” The subject is the job, not the person or whether they like the job or not. What does this person do at their job? How often do they do it? What experience are they getting at the job? What experience did they need before getting the job? Or if the person works at home, how do they manage home life and work? How might you tie the job profile to larger questions, such as the current economy or what the current job market is like?
The two areas of focus in this assignment are 1) moving with the camera and 2) conducting an interview. But you should of course pay attention to continuity and framing. So choose a subject that does not spend the day sitting in front of a computer, even though most jobs do include some of this.
- First, have a pre-interview discussion with your subject. Find out some things about them and their job.
- Prepare a story outline, interview questions and a shot list for visual evidence.
- Then set up a time/place with your subject and conduct a sit-down interview at a good location for lighting and sound recording.
- After the interview, get the visual evidence you need by following the person at work or, even better, as they work on a particular project. Continue to ask questions while following the subject with the camera. You may find that the answers are more interesting than in the sit-down interview.
Blog: Read the article about SKAM and then skim around the Facebook video series. What are your thoughts about a networked “tv” series or “webisode” with social media interaction with the audience? What ideas do you have for such a networked interactive series?
- video blogging 2001-2008:
- strategies for YouTube
POST-PRODUCTION > Job Profiles
Read: What is Digital Cinema, by Lev Manovich
- Light is Waiting , by Michael Robinson
- Immobilite, by Mark Amerka
- The Ceibas Cycle – Evan Meaney, glitch tutorial
- Yorgo Alexopoulos No Feeling is Final; In Five Chapters, 2010
Blog: After reading Lev Manovich’s “What is Digital Cinema”, discuss the digital aesthetics of one or two works listed above. What kind of spaces are depicted in these videos and hybrid art? How is the “indexicality” of traditional cinema (it truthfulness in capturing images of bodies in a three-dimensional world) altered, manipulated or challenged? What kind of spaces are these? Do they inspire you to create your own Hybrid cinema? Please quote Manovich in your reflections.
Montages, Job Profiles rough cuts…
- collage > remix
- screen > interface
- text > titles, subtitles
- effects > glitch, green screen, color correction, mask, picture in picture
- downloading YouTube videos, screen capture
- mobile cinema – Cardiff
- augmented, layered space and time
- Green screen
- Intro to Newhive
ASSIGNMENT: (Due Next Class)
Hybrid Space (5%):
no more than 60 seconds
Create a 30-60 second video that explores a hybrid cinematic space: a screen space made of multiple layers of video, text and/or graphic imagery. There are many techniques you can combine to create a hybrid space: compositing (layering of video tracks), green screen, video effects, spatial montage, etc. The only rule is you must incorporate the “indexicality” of video (your own or remixed from other sources).
Blog Prompt: Watch the above video essays (and Ted Talk) and share your thoughts/opinions about the use of language with image. How are voice-over, text, sound, graphics and video combined to explore an idea or make an argument? How would you begin “writing” a video essay?
Also, make a separate post with a brief description of your final project.
Please address the following questions:
- In two or three sentences, what is your subject, idea or story?
- What form will it take? (YouTube series, 2-3 minute video, interactive video)
- Which two class modules are you exploring in this project?
- What will you need in the coming weeks to shoot/capture video? (actors, locations, permissions)
Watch Hybrid projects…
Discuss video essays
Job Profile final edits / critique
- fine-tuning cuts
- effects and transitions
- sound editing/mixing
- noise reduction
DUE: JOB PROFILE (at the end of class) -watch final cuts
Video Essay ( extra credit 5% – due last day of class):
Take a topic or module from this class – continuity, montage, youtube series, interactive cinema, anything we discuss etc. – and make a 1-3 minute video essay that demonstrates your thoughts about the subject. Use text and/or voice-over, clips from other movies, your own footage, graphics, still images. Analyze a scene, style of editing or cinematography, explore a common thread between movies or genres, explore issues of bigotry and stereotyping, introduce a favorite genre of video. A video essay may also include personal anecdotes and have a unique style. Although there are video essays without language, please include some written text and/or voice over.
- FilmText, by Mark Amerika
- http://prynovella.com Pry, Tender Claws LLC
- Bear 71
- Seances, by Guy Maddin
- Ceci N’est Pas Embres, by Matt Soar
- three-thirty.com (pdf booklet about the project)
- Authoring and Navigating Video in Space and Time, Nitin Sawhney, David Balcom, Ian Smith
Blog Prompt: Although the idea of interactive cinema existed well before digital media, the web allowed for a new type of networked and hyperlinked video. From HTML to Flash to mobile apps with video- the language of clicks, taps and swipes on the moving image has become quite sophisticated. In “Database Logic”, Manovich argues that cinema as a technology begins a transition from a culture based on narrative logic to one based on database logic. One assembles a video or film by choosing and ordering from a stored list (a database) of discrete shots.
Select one or two of the database or interactive works from the above list and discuss how narrative and storytelling work to organize the discrete media elements (video, stills images, text, sound, maps, etc.). How does the interface create context for exploration and discovery? Are these works narratives or something else? How are they cinematic? How do they use cinema language?
- Discuss Manovich- Database and Hyper Cinema
- Watch: Softcinema
- cinematic space > frames are continuous, simultaneous or sequential
- montage or hybrid space> frames create associations
- Hypertext > Hypermedia > Video Games
- HTML5 media
- Interactive Cinema
- hypervideo template
Discuss final projects. Brainstorm.
Work on Final projects
- Include an “artist’s statement” with final project
- Rough-cut due last class (for critique)
- Final-cut due by August 2nd
Work on Final Project
Present Final Projects