Imagined Realities Analysis

This is for TV/Film 2: Analysis/Reflection week 2

This week I read a chapter in Imagined realities by director Pawl Pawlikowski. I found his point; that cameras are overwhelmingly omnipresent in today’s society and so their form must be methodically considered when producing a documentary, a very crucial idea. It seems we are bombarded with amateur, hand-held footage every day and so in light of this we must consider new and creative ways of filming when attempting to create an engaging documentary. Personally, this gave me the idea of filming, similar to the style of Agnes Varda, things that would be symbolic of the subject matter being discussed rather than a series of boring panning shots that display the subject itself without the need to deconstruct their meaning. By asking viewers to engage and decode the meaning of your imagery, you can create a deeper meaning or feeling within your viewers.

I also thought his point about the importance of the directors personal vision very interesting. I enjoy watching documentaries in which the director is involved, providing a subjective viewpoint. So it made me think…. Why wouldn’t others want to watch a film with my personal viewpoint being weaved throughout the film? I enjoyed this idea of directorial subjectivity and the idea of telling a personal story, as seen in documentaries such as ‘The Cove’ and ‘The Gleaners and I’. I feel like it takes a lot of courage to place yourself within the critical realm of the film, but I am interested to experiment with it in my own film.

Advertisements

The Idea of North – Reflection

TV/FILM 2: Analysis Reflection 1

An analysis of a Radio Documentary I was asked to do for university

Beginning with the soft vocal track of a Canadian woman, this radio documentary begins with a voice that sounds as if it should belong to a character in an audiobook. The unusually melodic accent is easy on the ears but at times hard to comprehend. This confusion isn’t helped when the addition of numerous other audio tracks are overlayed, creating an incomprehensible sea of voices. At this point I became less fixated on what was being said by the voices individually and more focused on what emotions they conjured as a whole. Making out little snippets of each of the voices, the producer creates a unified imagery of the ‘Far North’ of America through the individual experiences of the interviewee’s. It seems vast, foreign, desolate but at the same time beautiful and beguiling. This imagery seems to be reflected in the audio track, with the stream of voices becoming overwhelming and confusing but holding with it small moments of conceivable beauty and poetry.

As the sea of voices start to fade, an individual narrator takes control of the podcast and leads the documentary with more direction. Subtly the familiar sound of a train running on its tracks begins being played in background which I enjoyed, as it conjured up the therapeutic feeling of sitting on a train and watching the world pass by.

The Shoot

After months of preparation and work, we finally completed our film shoot. For me, the day began in the worst possible way… with food forcing its way out of my mouth rather than inside it. NOT FUN. After moping around trying to gather my thoughts, I decided to force a pharmacy down my throat and get my shit together. Being ill was not going to destroy this day.

Arriving at the shoot,  feeling very lethargic and nauseous, I didn’t feel like I was the best 1st AD our group could of asked for… but we did shoot to schedule, due to my barking of ‘standing by’ rapidly after every take. I also made sure i slated every take and followed the shot list and shooting schedule methodically.

Working with ( I’ll call him) “Bob”, I also got a taste of what difficult actors behave like. The endless lectures and patronizing tones got bore-some ,but I feel as if the whole crew handled it very well. Aside from this, I did gain a new found respect for actors in general. neither of ours forgot any of their lines or complained about the cold. They also delivered their lines almost exactly the same in every take. My respect also goes out to Hayden who shot the entire shoot by hand and hardly complained about his back or standing for nearly 8 hours straight. And also to Ben, for putting up with “Bob” and letting his insults and big-headednesss just glide over him.

Overall the shoot was a great learning curve, and im looking forward to discovering even more in my editing sessions.

Lighting

In the most recent weeks in FILMTV1 we have been discussing and developing our skills in set lighting. Unlike other filmic techniques, I often seem to neglect the aspect of lighting in contemporary cinema if it is naturalistic or soft. Thinking of brilliant lighting schemes, my mind often wanders to the film noir genre. Here, I think of smoky rooms, venetian blinds casting patterns on actors faces and bright lampposts on dark streets. A brilliant example of this high contrast lighting scheme is in Charles Laughton’s Night of the Hunter:

Image

Image

After focusing on our own lighting set-up I have decided to try and actively notice the way light shapes the world that I see everyday.What interests me the most is that all light can be mapped on a colour gradient from blue to red. Without noticing, our eyes match the natural outside light which is blue to the green fluorescent artificial lights that are inside.All though we may notice a small change, it isn’t very noticeable.

For our own film, we have decided to mimic the blue tinge that can often be seen in gritty Australian dramas, such as Snowtown, Animal Kingdom, Wish You Were Here and Chopper:

Image

This means that we will use a large and relatively soft light with a blue tinge to mainly light our film (maybe even using blue gels). In Post-production we will then colour grade our film by bringing out the shades of cyan. As our film is also set at night, we have to use minimal lighting and only have a few direct light sources which will be artificial. We are also going to use negative fills and black curtains to cover any natural light sources.

Pulling a Lenny

Recently In TV1 we have been working on a series of extremely short scripts called ‘Lenny’.

In the first Lenny exercise we were given a bunch of different clips from last years students and told to edit them into a logical sequence. Unfortunately, these clips seemed more worthy of an experimental mash-up or comedy rather than a short drama. Laughing at the terrible acting and illogical filming patterns, I overlooked how hard the task actually was. It wasn’t until Lenny ex2, that i realized I was about to repeat the same exact mistakes. Watching these sequences before filming ours was also very helpful in reminding us what mistakes could be made. For example: the direction that the actors are walking in looked like they were headed in opposite directions.

In Lenny exercise 2, we were told to ‘edit in camera’, I was slightly confused at what this meant at first, until it was explained that each scene must perfectly match the next scene in the camera…..It reminded me of the good old days, when there would always be a long awkward glance from the person being filmed checking that the camera was on and ready. With the inability to shout ‘action’ and ‘cut’, the film was a lot harder to create. This task definitely showed me how crucial communication is on a set and especially when filming.

Today, we completed the Lenny exercise 3. Although we hadn’t sourced any extra actors or a first AD, I feel we managed well. I’m extremely glad that all our members showed up today as I feel that this task was a great stepping stone to our BIG SHOOT. It seems that we all work well together and are also great in each of our chosen fields. Helping the director with shots, I did also realize that i think about shots in regards to editing. As I brainstormed each shot, I would place it on a virtual final cut timeline in my head and imagine it being played after the previous shot. This was very valuable in supporting the director and outlining when shots might have crossed the axis or confuse the audience. I feel that editing our footage will be as equally rewarding as filming. For although we overcame some problems with sound( generator going on and off) and lighting (high contrast) on the day, we will only be able to pinpoint all our faults when we re-watch the footage.

Overall I’ve really been enjoying filming the Lenny scripts. For me, this Hands-on approach with the actual equipment we will be using, is the easiest way for me to learn. No matter how many times I read a manual it will never suffice to actually filming the ‘real thing’. Although they are short exercises, they allow us to repeat the motions of filming and become familiar with filming with our groups. This Personally makes me feel more comfortable with not only my crew but the professional and extremely expensive equipment.

Within the Frame

This week we focused on the creative and practical tools used to create a films cinematography. As I haven’t given much thought to this in regards to our own film, I thought I would brainstorm and seek inspiration from other films I have seen. The first director that came to my mind was Wes Anderson, who directed The Darjeeling Limited, The Royal Tenenbaums and most recently Moonrise Kingdom:Screen shot 2013-04-15 at 12.38.37 PMmoonrisemoonriseUsing a Long depth of field, Anderson utilizes the wide angle frame.Throughout his films, he also seems to create highly intricate mi-en-scenes. Relying heavily on visuals, the frames often suggest more about the characters than the actual script does. Although this style doesn’t seem to work very well with our genre, it does emphasize the importance and thought that needs to be considered when designing a films cinematography.

Inspiration

If my work aspires to be anything …..it is this video. It’s a truley emotive piece that leaves me speechless after every watch.

Recently I re-watched this video and found it extremely relevant to both integrated media and Film/Tv1. For integrated it has shown me how a film can be moving without necessarily relying on a structured narrative. This film could almost be a poem, a sonnet, or even a serenade of the ocean. This has helped me form the basis of my own non-linear Korsakow film. Its not what order your text is in but instead how powerful the text is. I’ve come to realize that the main goal of my project is to create a feeling rather than to explain a story. This feeling may be dependent on the viewer but it must exist.

For my Film/TV class I have found it relevant to this weeks lecture and tute that focused on cinematography. The remarkable visuals explore the unseen world of the ocean from a different point of view. The sound also plays an extremely important function in this film. The rhythmic sound of the ocean, transports us back to our fetus-self wooshing within the womb. Its comforting and hypnotizing, calming us into a tranquil state.

Work In Progress

Yes faithful tv/film 1, I have neglected you for a while.. but I’m back and ready to reflect. To be honest, I’ve been finding it difficult too use this space as a means of collecting my ideas. Working within such a visual medium, I often find it difficult to express my ideas in writing rather than visuals. As this blog is such a public forum, I also feel that the nature of my ideas tend to transform once I have begun writing. As stated in the first weeks readings, the process of reflective writing is often changed by this process amongst many others. overcoming these mental blocks, I have decided to ignore that this work will be read by others, and try and write what comes naturally to me. We have begun editing our script ‘See a Man About His Dog.’ and although the reading in week 2 by Mackendrick advises one not to write a comedy, it seems that our script has resorted to comedic elements. This may be one of the faults of creating a short film and relying on certain character stereotypes.

Within the short space of five onscreen minutes or rather five pages in a script, I have found that one cannot truley develop a deeply complex character. With all of my story outlines, I have felt that my characters have reflected a character stereotype typical to that genre. This is mainly due to the time constraints of a short film. With this in mind, the cliche of each of the characters often comes across as humorous…. well at least that is what I’ve found in our script. The only way to overcome this is by accepting it and using it to ones advantage. In our script we have achieved this by exaggerating the cliches and nuances of our characters. Our bad ass biker-thug was originally spreading jam on his piece of toast, until we replaced the knife with a ridiculous butcher knife. Maybe our character could be experiencing these things in his own mind? exaggerating what is a purely innocent interaction with a biker, by his own preconceptions about how he should behave?.. I don’t know… I just thought of that idea….

I certainly feel that how you frame a shot, how you structure time and what effects you use can make a boring short film into a visually engaging and enjoyable film. I appreciate this in films such as snatch, which use a fast tempo, awesome visual effects and titles to create excitement and anticipation within its audience. Thanks Guy Ritchie… I like your work

Screenwriting

Throughout my schooling life I’ve constantly been taught how to write a ‘good story’. Yet, this well-rehearsed ‘novel format’, has almost become a hindrance to my attempts at writing a ‘good’ screenplay. When writing a story for a book, one must rely solely on word choices to conjure remarkable imagery within the readers mind. As Screenwriting is writing for a time-restrictive visual medium, the opposite can be said. I found this point was detrimental to the direction of my brainstorming ideas. When thinking of story outlines, i was no longer thinking in terms of descriptive language  but instead of a story that would be visually engaging. I thought to myself…without a voice over, how can I show what each of my characters is feeling? How could I transfer the omnipresence felt when reading a book to the medium of film?

As Christine highlighted in the lecture, this obstacle is one of the biggest to tackle when writing a screenplay. Without being able to read what is happening in each of the characters minds, how can you know what they are feeling….. well it seems that in screenwriting actions often speak louder than words. Well at least that’s what I found when I started writing my story outline. Never underestimate the power of a facial expression!

The use of body language and character mannerisms are also great tools to use to implicitly suggest what the written word can more explicitly say.

In considering this, i also had to remember the role of genre and its effect on dialogue. This closely tied into the lectures emphasis on Brevity vs Verbosity. As my story outline is a black comedy, I felt that quick sharp sentences and witty retorts would suit its style the most. With the end of the world enclosing in on my characters their dialogue wouldn’t be long and descriptive. Instead it would be to the point, somewhat rushed and frantic. Would my characters really waste their precious life on using overly-descriptive language? Probably not.