Three Loops (5%): no more than 10 seconds per loop Shoot and edit 3 video loops (6-10 second mini-narratives) that depict, emphasize or evoke different subjective experiences of time: cyclic, slow, timeless, frantic, rhythmic. In one loop try to incorporate continuity editing – POV shot, match on action – to maintain unity. In another, try out a more discontinuous/montage style. In the third, attempt a perfect/infinite loop. Create a variety of shot lengths for emphasis. A 4-second shot sandwiched between 2-second shots, will seem to stretch time.
May 23, 2017
View Spatial Montage assignments…
discontinuous > continuous
collision > linking
Visual Evidence in Documentaries
Harlan County, USA
Video Journalism: Carrier of the Economy
Job/Hobby Profile Assignment (10%): Rough Cut Due in two weeks
no more than 2 minutes
In this assignment, you will do a 1-2 minute profile of a person at their job or doing their hobby, like gardening or painting. What does this person do at their job or hobby? What is the activity? How often do they do it? What experience are they getting? What experience did they need before getting the job or starting on the hobby? If the person works at home, how do they manage home life and their work? How might you tie the job or hobby to larger questions about work or creative activity?
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, montage 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 basic shot list for visual evidence.
Then set up a time/place with your subject and conduct a sit-down interview at a good location (related to work/hobby) 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.
Interview (A roll) + Visual Evidence (B roll)
talk to subject without camera, find the story
use interview to support, not replace, visual evidence
Plan the Story:
make an outline of the story: hook, intro, complication, climax, resolution
make a shot list for the visual evidence
make a list of questions for the interviewee. remember, no simple yes/no questions
find a good location with decent visuals, good lighting for the subject and minimal or no background noise
use a tripod or keep is still if you have the camera on a monopod
change camera angle/zoom between questions for shot variety, but keep to standard medium shot (leave enough head room)
follow rule of thirds for framing (leave some space on the side interviewee is angled)
pay attention to the background (give a sense of place)
get external mic close to the subject. three feet is ideal (or aim directional mic)
find a good key light to fall at an angle on the subject’s face. near a window or lamp, for example. try to avoid overhead of fluorescent lighting
With a basic DIY light set up, have a Key Light and Fill Light at a slightly higher angle than the subject. And then, if you have another light, use it for the Background Light. See Lighting on the Fly
never shoot a subject in front of a window!
“bounce” lighting off the walls for fill and backlighting, or use reflectors
All edits are discontinuous. Editing is a trick of condensing and expanding illusions of space and time for story effects. Story effects are built from the juxtaposition of discontinuous units: Frame-Shot-Sequence-Act-Story. Story momentum reinforces perceived continuity and the sense of a whole.
Continuity editing: invisible cuts, sense of a continuous time and space built from fragmented shots
Montage (assembly/construction): visible cuts, shot juxtaposed to shot for emotional effect
Decoupage (to cut up): the art of connecting part to whole idea
Continuity editing creates the illusion of continuous space and time in a fiction or documentary and should be considered as an opportunity for making fluid connections and not as a set of strict rules never to be broken. Continuity also sets up important relationships do establish the sense of a whole story. Story drives the editing!
180 degree rule
30 degree rule
Cut in / Match on Action
Motivated Pov shot
Eyeline match/ Shot Reverse Shot
Parallel action/ Crosscutting
Jump Cut (deliberate discontinuity)
Classical Hollywood Style:
objective camera (no looking at lens)
cause and effect editing
goal or desire and an obstacle to goal
closure – plot resolved
time and pace for story effects and information
establishing shot / 180 degree rule / 30 degree rule / match on action / motivated pov / eyeline match
North by Northwest – Alfred Hitchcock, cafeteria scene…
Hoop Dreams opening
Graphic Match / Cross-cutting:
Jump Cuts > Montage
Documentaries and Narrative Continuity
Illusions of Continuity
Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister’s ‘Listen to Britain’
Aristotle’s Poetics, 335 BC
– plot = “the arrangement of the incidents” into a whole
– drama vs. narration / show vs. tell (mimesis)
– unity of action (cause and effect chain)
– complex plot: reversal and recognition
– tragedy arouses pity and fear and then purges them (catharsis)
Three Act Structure in Movies
Act 1: (20-25min)
– exposition, normal life, intro to characters
-inciting incident, protagonist(s) has a choice of how and whether to act
Act 2: (20-60min)
– complications stemming from actions, cause and effect chain
– point of no return (protagonist committed to action)
– reversal and recognition (the twist and then protagonist understanding what needs to be done)
Act 3: (20-25min)
– unraveling or denouement
-resolution and closure
Western narrative traditions and conflict theory
– the battle of ego(s) -winners and losers
– protagonist with desire vs. antagonist obstructing desire
– conflict all the way down – dialogue, scene, act
– cause effect chain
– clarity of purpose and moral certainty are valued
– representation, mimesis in dramatic arts, presents the world as knowable
– objectivity, omniscient narration
Non-western and other traditions -Kishōtenketsu: a four act narrative structure: Intro, Development, Twist, Resolution. Form developed out of Korean, Chinese and Japanese traditions, originating in Chinese lyric. Kishōtenketsu is a narrative structure that is not based on conflict and resolution. The character, setting, situation and other basic elements are established.
– Surrealism/ Dada breaks cause and effect chains
– African fractal storytelling (story patterns repeated and nested)
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 or Doing Something: Document someone making something or doing some focused activity. The process may take 3-30 minutes, but the final video should be no more than 60 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 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?
A meme is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture—often with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.
Proponents theorize that memes are a viral phenomenon that may evolve by natural selection in a manner analogous to that of biological evolution. Memes do this through the processes of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance, each of which influences a meme’s reproductive success. Memes spread through the behavior that they generate in their hosts.
“YouTube personality Kevin Nalty (known as Nalts) recalls on his blog: “A few years ago, a video could be considered ‘viral’ if it hit a million views”, but says as of 2011, only “if it gets more than 5 million views in a 3–7 day period” can it be considered “viral”.”
“YouTube takes a 45% cut and sometimes the YouTuber also has Multi Channel Network representing who also takes around 45%. So the YouTuber, who gets on average 600k+ views a week, will end up with around $1-3k a week from CPMs [cost per thousand impressions – technically, “cost per mille”]” – Chasing their Star on YouTube
DisneyCollectorBR earns $1.4 and $21.9 million each year
ASSIGNMENT: Due Next Tuesday Hybrid Space (5%):
Create a 30-60 second video that explores a hybrid cinematic space: a screen space made of multiple layers of video, text, graphic imagery and/or image effects There are many techniques you can combine to create a hybrid space: compositing (layering of video tracks), green screen, video effects, spatial montage, etc. Or you can use Newhive to create your own layered HTML space. The only rule is you must incorporate the “indexicality” of video (your own or remixed from other sources).
May 17, 2016
View Continuity assignments…
Spatial relations between shots, movement in space…
Time, narrative and editing…
“Montage Sequence” (summary of events, passage of time) – screen time <= story time
continuous time – screen time <= story time
compressed time – screen time < story time
continuous – long takes, screen time = story time
continuous – slow motion, expanded time, screen time > story time
Building blocks of cinematic storytelling… or ways to hold attention:
Frame > Shot > Scene > Sequence
Framing: distance from subject, angle, diagonal lines, foreground-middleground-background, depth, light/shadow, focus/unfocus, focal length, depth of field, rule of thirds, moving frame, duration
Continuity: cinematic space – the motivated shot, screen direction, 180 degree rule, 30 degree rule, match on action, graphic match, eyeline match, POV
Montage: juxtaposition of discontinuous shots: rapid cuts, rhythm, emotional sequences, thoughts, ideas, summary of events, passage of time, voice-over sequence, associational thinking, commentary, evidence, split screen
Metric – where the editing follows a specific number of frames (based purely on the physical nature of time), cutting to the next shot no matter what is happening within the image. This montage is used to elicit the most basal and emotional of reactions in the audience.
Rhythmic– includes cutting based on continuity, creating visual continuity from edit to edit.
– a tonal montage uses the emotional meaning of the shots—not just manipulating the temporal length of the cuts or its rhythmical characteristics—to elicit a reaction from the audience even more complex than from the metric or rhythmic montage. For example, a sleeping baby would emote calmness and relaxation; billowing sails and the calm before the storm.
Overtonal/Associational– the overtonal montage is the cumulation of metric, rhythmic, and tonal montage to synthesize its effect on the audience for an even more abstract and complicated effect. This is the Eisenstein’s famous Odessa Steps sequence (revisited in the Untouchables).
Intellectual – uses shots which, combined, elicit an intellectual meaning. you put the idea together by the collision of shots.
French Poetic Montage
Coeur Fidèle (1923, Jean Epstein)
An Andalusian Dog, by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí – 1929 (tonal, rhythmic, false continuity)
Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky (metric, tonal)
City of God (metric, tonal, rhythmic)
Tree of Life, Terence Malick (overtonal/associational)
I Wish, Hirokasu Koreeda
In Class Exercise:
Movie Trailer Remix Slam:
Get into pairs.
Download 2 movie trailers from different genres. (both 720p)
Bring these videos into Premiere and edit a remix trailer of an imaginary movie. Make decisions quickly! Don’t overthink it.
Upload to Youtube and make a post to blog
Class votes on top three trailers
Temporal Montage (5%): no more than 30 seconds
As an element of film language, montage (the juxtaposition of images) can be a powerful tool for storytelling: getting across ideas or emotions, summarizing events, conveying the cyclical or simultaneous, making poetic associations and creating rhythm and tension. Because juxtaposed images act on our subconscious, montage is effective in propaganda and marketing as well as storytelling. In other words, be free to juxtapose images for narrative/expressive effect, but be aware and sensitive to how those juxtapositions will be perceived.
In this assignment, you are to use montage to summarize an event or series of events in time. You may use any type of montage association – rhythmic, metric, tonal, intellectual, poetic – but the subject must be about the passage of time. You may use natural sound or keep it silent, but please no music tracks for now. I want you to find the rhythm and pacing of your edits in the narrative, not in external music.
May 9, 2016
Database Logic,Lev Manovich
database: a structured collection of data
no beginning or end, multilinear
encyclopedia, catalogs, index/search
HTML, Video Games – an interface to a database
narrative shell masks the algorithm of a game. the key to the game experience
databases < interface > algorithms
narrative = cause and effect chain, character, event
cinema : assembly line sequencing
Dziga Vetov, Man With A Movie Camera
Peter Greenaway, The Falls
“At nine points during the film the action stops,and a moderator appears on stage to ask the audience to choose between two scenes; following an audience vote, the chosen scene is played.”
Hypertext > Hypermedia > Flash > Video Games > Transmedia
May 9, 2016
Run Lola Run
Observe framing and continuity editing in this scene, how tension builds with match on action and with POV shots, and then how time expands with the cross-cutting of the roulette sequence.
Above are two examples of the still “montages” of these characters’ possible futures. If you slow down the frame rate in youtube settings, you can see how it is actually continuity editing that is used from shot to shot in about 7 seconds. A 7 second embedded second story!
In this assignment, you are to express an idea, a feeling or complex subject through spatial montage. 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.
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 soundtracks and the similarities or differences in the proportions and positioning of the frames themselves.
Start to formulate an idea for the final project. Propose the idea to in person or as an email.
Final Project (30%)
rough cut due – last two weeks of class
final cut due – exam week
With consideration of the assignments, readings , screenings and class discussions, create a final project that explores/exploits at least one feature of “digital cinema”: looped video, glitched video, composited video, networked video, hyperlinked video, database video, etc. You may create a fictional, non-fictional or abstract project. However,the project must be made of video (moving digital images originally captured as video), incorporate cinema language (thoughtful continuity editing and/or montage) and you must engage with the class ideas in the conception of your project. Your grade we will be based on the quality and effort of your creative work as well as its conceptual foundation.
Some suggested ideas:
a mini documentary
a profile of a person, company, product or institution
a fictional short video
a video essay
a Youtube web series
a series of video loops
a work of hypercinema (HTML5)
a mashup or series of mashups,
an experimental video that creates a hybrid space with composting, spatial montage and other effects
a multilinear database narrative
Group projects are possible.
Evolution of Cinema Language
May 9, 2016
Eadweard Muybridge – motion studies (1878)
Thomas Edison – Kinetoscope, movement, sensational (1896)
“A shot of a whole battlefield would be incomprehensible because looking at real things, the human vision fastens itself upon a quick succession of small comprehensible incidents like a mosaic out of such detail- the director counterfeits the operation of the eye with his lens and varies the length of shots to avoid the hypnotic affect.” – Griffith
Continuity Editing (The Classical Hollywood Style)
objective camera, invisible editing, dramatic tension (desire and obstacle), cause and effect chains
His Girl Friday, 1940 – directed by Howard Hawks
INTER-FRAME NARRATIVE- editing
180 degree rule
Match on Action
Motivated Pov shot
Multiple camera set ups
Extreme long shot/Establishing shot
Cross cutting, intercutting / Parallel Action
Visual Dramatic climax. Form=Content
mise en scène: set /costume / acting/ facial expression/gesture
Download Youtube video – get Firefox Addon – 1-Click Youtube Downloader
January 27, 2014
Framing (camera position)
Variety of camera positions and angles keeps the eyes busy and interested, evokes the space and psychology of characters. Maintaining a single angle or distance reinforces a point of view.
types of camera positions:
ELS – extreme long shot (landscape)
LS – long shot (full body)
MLS – medium long shot (from knees up)
M – medium (from waist up)
MCU – medium close-up (from chest/shoulders up)
CU – close-up (face)
ECU – extreme close-up (portion of face)
wide angle = opens space, more distance, more inclusive
telephoto/zoom = collapses space, more intimate, separate from background.
types of camera angles:
types of subject compositions:
3/4 back – over the shoulder, POV
profile two shot
direct to camera two shot
over the shoulder two shot
headroom, look room