Final Assignment – INTERVIEW FORUM

October 3, 2008 at 8:45 am (Uncategorized)

 

Regarding the questions: What I gained from this course? How my watching movie has changed? – About experience, history, examples!

 

§         Now I ask myself questions after watching a movie, especially a bad movie, regarding the production process stages such as development, preproduction, production, post-production and distribution and think of what did they do in each stage.
example: Who developed the idea in “Vantage Point” to run through 1 event 8 times? When I watch documentary films I ask myself who produces/ shots the scenes.

§         After I saw “I-Robot” I thought “what a great vision and concept!”; the idea of traveling into 2035 and the vision of how human life is gonna be – great!
MOST IMPORTANT thing I learned were the 5 basic elements of plot which is really a general format of blockbusters (usually you don’t learn about reality): believable main character, problem, attempt to resolve fails, crisis and last chance, happy ending

§         I get emotionally very involved in films so that I can really feel their pain and joy – and there were a few movies were I couldn’t breath and afterwards I was completely done with my nerves….. the great thing is now I know why: because of the screenwriting; they use bites, plot points, a mid-point and pinches to create conflicts, obstacles and curiosity
example: “Mr & Mrs Smith” starts with a bite (how they first meet in Beirut), plot point 1: they find out that both are special agents, plot point 2: their agencies try to kill them; in “Pirates of the Caribbean” Johnny Depp has in all 3 volumes mio. obstacles and pinches to keep the story exiting

§         After watching “Troj” and “Gladiator” I was one of those girls saying “What a man! I mean Maximus (Russell Crowe)/ Achilles (Brad Pitt) embody pride, honour and courage! Wow! Where are these men gone?” – the answer is framing and composition! The camera always viewed them from down upwards to let them appear supernatural. They were nearly always framed on the focal points (rule of thirds) with enough speaking room to let them appear that powerful and strong and the instrument of the focus combined with the lighting let Pitt’s Six Pack appear divine. It’s all a question of what they want us to see (benefits of actors) and what not (disadvantages of actors)!
Now when in films they view for a few second a car wheel and then show the actors on the horizontal and vertical lines of the four cross-points, I think “Wow! Great!”.

§         Regarding the Audio and Lighting I already noticed on my own that they have an enormous influence on the sense and the impact of the scene. Especially the impact of music on thrillers is fascinating which I experimented (switched off sound while watching thrillers because I was scared and when I heard my sister’s music in background the thriller seemed to be a comedy with the events that happened on the screen). What I didn’t know was that they have entire music libraries where they reproduce rumors like footsteps, alarm signal, washing, etc. to use them in films and that they have microphones in plants. What I didn’t notice about lighting before was that they really make nearly every action scene or special actions in trick films when it’s dark. I didn’t notice that before.

§         LAST COMMENT: I really enjoyed this course!

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8th Assignment

October 3, 2008 at 4:38 am (Uncategorized)

 

In reference to the film „Commando“ and the theory about „Lighting“ I made the following observations:

§         they may have used professional equipment such as “redhead” and “tota” lights

§         lighting technique:
Three-Point-Lighting Setup
è which means that they used 3 lights:

1.    key light: put it in front of the subject at a 45 degree angle looking down little
reason: light the subject

2.    fill light: is a redhead light which is put in front of a reflector to diffuse the light more
reason: soften shadows

3.    back light: also called “hair light” which is situated behind and above the subject
reason: help distinguish subject from its background

sub-technique: low-key lighting or high-contrast lighting which throws contours on the subject and prevents distraction – or ‘mood lighting’ because it evokes a certain emotion or mood
example: when Arnie gets to know that his daughter is kidnapped, there’s short sequence showing just his face backed-up with an angry exclamation

§         they were surely not in need of the “Lifeline Light Kit” as they had enough budget for the most expensive equipment used for the production

§         typical example of an action movie with all the action scenes during night or in dark locations – to make less evident errors and mistakes

§         in all dark scenes they nicely followed the source of illumination example: when the two main characters went to the airplane fabric to search for his daughter, they were standing outside the building and the scene was illuminated by a lantern fixed on the house which was not visible on the camera perspective

 

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7th Assignment

September 25, 2008 at 5:39 am (Uncategorized)

This assignment is about the film “Elephant” regarding to the theory of “The Audio in Film Productions”.

 

Different types of microphones

Omni-directional microphones:

used for picking up general sound, the ambience sound, of a location

è school canteen/cafeteria

 

Super Cardioid microphones:

primary used for picking up sound because they exclude the majority of ambient sound

è used for dialogues and speeches in the film

 

Lavaliere:

are small clips on mics

è used in the film to hear better individual characters when they are talking

 

Microphone Hierarchy

there are 4 basic ways to approach miking a subject:

1)    Boom
best sound quality will be realized employing a boom overhead of the subject
è used for example in the scene in which the photographer takes a picture of one student in the corridor

2)    Plant
they are strategically distributed on the shooting set to cover also isolated characters
è when the girl runs to the library and passes the photographer we can still hear their dialogue

3)    Lavalieres
are small mics worn on the body
è they could have used it for a variety of characters in the film

4)    Radio mic/ Wireless Lavs
these are lavalieres working with radio signal and therefore without wires
è same as above, the could have used it in various scenes

 

Elements of the Soundtrack

1)    Narration
many films have a narrator figure who provides explanations
è in this particular film there is no presence of a narrator

 

2)    Music
music adds sense and emotions to the visual; it tells the audience what kind of feelings they are supposed to have; different music selection impacts strongly on the sense of the scene and can change a terrifying scene into a comedy scene
è when the two boys walk through the school and shoot people the music is adapted to the visual as there’s a usage of heavy, scaring and horrific sound to transmit a dark, sad and shocking mood to the audience

There are extraneous and practical sources of music in the film:
extraneous: to accompany the scene of shooting with right music
practical: when the two boys watch the film of Hitler, the tv is the practical source of sound

 

3)    Sound Effects
is the sound in the background that naturally occurs that objects and people produce; all these sounds are defined as natural;
sound effects are either “frame-accurate” (“hard”)
è when the boys shot persons, the visual was perfectly synchronized with the noise of the shot
or “wild” (“soft”)
è
when people got shot that where not in the camera view, their screaming was just there, it didn’t have to be synchronized with any visual

They might have used the process of Foley for producing the sound of the footsteps which consists in recording the sound of an artist who mimics the action of the actor on the screen
è there might have been an artist miming with a well-selected pair of boots the walking of the two boys through the school halls during this terror act

 

4)    Dialogues/Speech
The audience wants to hear what the actors say!

There’re 3 cases of dialogues/speeches:
1) the words are spoken by an actor on screen with visible lips
2) the words are spoken by an actor on screen with invisible lips
3) the words are spoken by an actor off screen

and 2 methods of taking dialogue/speech
1) “lipsync”: the process of matching the words with the movement of the lips on screen
2) “wild”: no need for synchronization with an on screen source

The recording of dialogues usually occurs on the set during the shot
— called
“production dialogue”.

Sometimes they record on the set additional lines of dialogue, without cameras rolling to be used later
“wild lines”.

è in our particular film they may have used all these techniques

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6th Assignment

September 16, 2008 at 2:52 am (Uncategorized)

 

In regard to the film “Kill Bill” and the theory of film framing and composition I chose the following scene to comment on:

 

It’s the scene in the very beginning when Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) and Bill (David Carradine) stand outside of the wedding chapel. In the shot in which Bill talks to Beatrix his face is like a vertical line situated on the left two focal points covering the left third of the picture. Still this shot breaks 2 rules:

  1. the centre of interest is not situated in the middle of the picture – if we imagine 3 vertical lines on the camera his head is in the left third of the shot leaving the other two thirds as space for nothing else than sky
  2. there is not enough Headroom as Bill’s head is nearly cut into half (only face until ears visible)
  3.  

But these BREAKING RULES is combined with considering other rules:

  1. enough Talking Room – as the speaker is in one side of the picture and the direction towards he speaks to Kiddo is an empty space just sky which emphasises the movement of the words he says to her
  2. in this particular scene the Light influences a lot the impact of the shot – black and white colours emphasise their passionate  dialogue and their emotional involvement
  3. the Rule of Thirds is put into action – as Bill’s eyes and mouth are situated on the two left focal points

 

My favourite shot:

When Bill drops Kiddo at Pai Mei for fighting lessons there’s one dialogue when he sits in the car ready to leave and she stands in front of him with her backpacks ready to stay with the priest. It’s lovely because when the camera views her talking the audience can see Bill in the left car mirror. It’s a fantastic use of mirrors to show both who are involve in the dialogue although they stand in opposite to each other.

 

Gladiator does and don’ts:

There’s a nice combination of showing the main actor Maximus (Russel Crowe) framed in the centre of the picture or a little bit to the left and to the right not to be too rigid and predictable and to make Maximus as centre of interest of greater impact.

Another factor is the usage of lines especially vertical lines – when Maximus fights as Gladiator and takes victory and when he opposites himself to the new Caesar he is always shown from down upwards in the middle of the picture to emphasise his victory, his power and his supremacy. His person as vertical line in the middle of the camera puts the audience under him and lets him rise like a statue as a symbol of the victory of justice.

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5th Assignment

September 5, 2008 at 5:09 am (Uncategorized)

Here is the Link to the SCRIPT of WESTWORLD (it is so long that I saw no point putting the whole on the blog)!

Comments:

  • it’s very detailed – I think if I would not know the film I could immagine the scenes easily
  • -> which is the aim of a Script
  • I found the SLUG LINES at the beginning of each scene
  • FIRST PLOT POINT: After the visitors of the holiday resort gota little bit sceptical, the manager of the resort get aware that they don’t have full power of the robots, but they do not shut down the resort because it would cause uncertainty and scepsis among possible clients – economic reasons.
    First evidence: when two main actors sit in the desert and one gets bitten by a snake.
  • SECOND PLOT POINT: one of the main characters get shot by a highly development and technological “super” robot and consequently the other one tries to escape this gunslinger who breaks loose from the restrictions of being a robot in that theme park to wreak vengeance on the humans who have used him – played by the famous actor: Yule Brynner. All the visitors are dead and the managers are closed in their office – technological breakdown of the entire system.
  • Actors: Yule Brynner (gunslinger), Richard Benjamin and James Brolin (visitors, 2 main characters)
  • Director: Michael Crichton
  • Year of Production: 1973
  • found this film very interesting especially considering the year of production – I mean at that time it was a different technological era; because in those years they didn’t have this technological support like nowadays they expressed themselves on other levels of communication: acting, sound, dark&bright, camera following, perspective of filming the personalities, breaks and silence, ecc.
  • I liked the film and I think it’s still watchable cause the arguments treated are topical even today or especially today -> in days in which we rely incredibly much on technology and are in a kind of extrem dependence of it

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4th Assignment

September 5, 2008 at 4:23 am (Uncategorized)

HERE ARE A VIEW LINKS FOR STORYBOARDS!!!

Online Storyboards:

http://www.storyboardslive.com/gallery.htm

Storyboard for Transformer:

http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/tags/storyboard.html

Storyboard Artist of Transformer – Rico Rival:

http://movies.nytimes.com/person/1128406/Rico-Rival/filmography

How to storyboard movies – few Tips:

http://www.exposure.co.uk/eejit/storybd/

http://www.expertvillage.com/video/62115_independent-film-storyboard-two.htm

Storyboard Artist of Jumper – Michael Anthony Jackson

http://movies.nytimes.com/person/885358/Michael-Anthony-Jackson

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3rd Assignment

September 5, 2008 at 3:56 am (Uncategorized)

The film I watched is called „Awake“. The story focuses on a man who suffers “Anesthetic Awareness”, an occurrence where during surgery the patient did not get appropriate anesthetic medication for his body weight and finds himself awake and aware, and paralyzed during heart surgery. The movie plays in a fast-moving city in the United States and it’s about a rich guy named Clay who is engaged secretly to his mother’s secretary called Sam. Their passionate love story is hidden specially from his widow mother because he belongs to a very rich and wealthy family with high-social status. Still the young couple seems perfectly happy in their relationship. As Clay has health problems he goes to Dr. Jack Harper for his health checkup who is a great friend of him and on whom he relies more than on any other expert. Jack had to give him the bad news that he urgently needs heart transplantation. Despite his mother urges Clay to be operated by a specialist in that field, but he strongly believes in his doctor who already had saved his life previously. Clay prepares himself for the day of the operation by spending time with his gorgeous girlfriend. It’s the night before the operation and Sam appears under his house complaining about their relationship being a secret. It’s heavily raining and out of a sudden he asks her to marry him. They get married in the same night.

 

Operation Day! Before he enters the operation theatre his mother tried to make him change his decision and to get operated by an expert because she is not convinced of his friend’s medical ability. After they gave him the anesthesia they began operating and didn’t realize that he is not completely unconscious. His brain was still working although he had no control on his body. He tried to communicate that he is still awake, but he couldn’t. While the operation started he tried to divert on the amazing moments passed with Sam and focus his thoughts on her not to witness the operation itself, but he failed.

 

Plot Point One: Compelled to listen to the doctor’s talks he finds out that a complot is going on against him. Jack who he thought being his friend with his allies injected his new heart with poison to kill him and make it seem as his body rejected the new heart. Another allied member was his newly-married wife. Since from the very beginning the main plan after finding out that he is extremely rich, unmarried and in need of a heart transplantation was to get Dr. Harper trustworthy to him as a doctor, Sam who in fact was in a relationship with Jack getting married to Clay, killing him during this difficult intervention and let it seem like an accident. Consequently Sam would inherit his huge possessions which would be shared by everyone involved in this assault.

 

Clay tried to communicate in any way possible to anyone helping him, but he couldn’t because his body was under anesthesia and just his mind was awake. The story then moved to women waiting outside the operation theatre: his mother and Sam. Clay’s mother had the strange feeling that something was wrong and was heavily under physical stress. Sam told her about the marriage and tried to get accepted by her.

 

Plot Point Two: However his mother uncovered this complot, only too late after Dr. Harper had already injected the new heart with poison and transplanted the ill heart. Still Clay was alive because he was attached to machines that kept him alive for a short period of time. The problem was that there was no supplementary heart available at that particular time due to his rare blood group. Clay’s mother called the expert who she wanted to operate her son to save his son. While waiting for his arrival she decided to kill herself with tablets so that her heart could be used to be transplanted for saving Clay’s life.

 

Successful ending! The specialist saved the Clay’s life by giving him his mother’s heart and called the police to arrest everyone who was in involved in that crime. After the successful transplantation the specialist declared, “He is awake!”

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2nd Assignment

August 21, 2008 at 11:58 pm (Uncategorized)

In the Lecture we watched „Speed Racer“2008.

A film directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski, both born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. After dropping out of college, they ran a carpentry business in Chicago while creating comic books in their free time and developing their ideas for the Matrix Trilogy. Before entering the film industry the brothers dropped their carpentry business and wrote comic books for Marvel Comics.

 

Latest News about Larry Wachowski:

After the release of Matrix Reloaded there was rumor about Larry because of his public appearance as a woman and using the name LANA WACHOWSKI. Reporters already saw every indication that he is about to change his sex by taking female hormones and making a sex changing operation. What up to now was “just” rumor NOW is true!!! The Wachowski Brother are no more two brothers, but siblings. Lana didn’t want to make a clear public statement before the film and Andy made all the press work for fear that all that sex change could harm the family-friendly film. There exist newly-released photos showing Lana’s full change. Dateline NBC already nabbed the rights for Lana’s first public interview on that subject. Let’s see how Hollywood and the Wachowski fans will react to the sex change!!! Will they embrace Lana or will this damage the Wachowski Brother’s carrers?!

 

Wachowskis Statements:

“Because we grew up on comic books and the Tolkien trilogy, one of the things we’re interested in is bringing serial fiction to cinema!”

 

“We think movies are fairly boring and predictable. We want to screw with audiences’ expectations.”

 

A further trademark of the Wachowskis is that they do not include in their film contracts press conferences, interviews, promotion campaigns because they want their films to speak for themselves.

 

Short review of their work:

§         Speed Racer (written by the Wachowski Brothers; producer; director)

§         V for Vendetta (screenplay; producer)

§         Matrix (characters and written by the Wachowski Brothers; executive producer; director)

§         The Animatrix (written by the Wachowskis; producer)

§         Ninja Assassin (producer)

§         WINNER BEST DIRECTOR for THE MATRIX (1999) from Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA

§         Games: Enter the Matrix (2003) and The Matrix Path of Neo (2005) written and directed by Larry and Andy

 

According to their remarkable Filmic Background we can assume quite easily their favorite genres and techniques.

 

Favorite genres: Science Fiction, Action, Animation, Adventure

 

Favorite techniques: tricks, animation, virtual reality, special effects (fast moving, dark scenes), at the edge between real and unreal

 

Speed Racer (2008) was written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers and fits in their already existing gallery of Action, Science Fiction and Family genre films. Tatsuo Yoshida was responsible for the animated series in this film.

 

Concerning the Conceptualization of Speed Racer the Wachowskis took an already existing idea, changed the concept by putting in their own visions and developed those with their favorite techniques. Speed Racer was originally a Japanese cartoon published through “Speed Racer: Mach Go Go Go” Manga books, magazine serials and a cartoon TV series by the author Tatsuo Yoshida under the genre of action and racing. What did Larry and Andy? They took the cartoon and created a science fiction- action movie. If we compare the cartoon with the movie we can say that both are virtual realties, only that the cartoon aims at children and the movie is more for an adult audience. This is a pretty important fact, because Speed Racer fans who watched and read the cartoon when they were little are now grown-ups, and so this film aims at “already fans” of Speed Racer who are a very well selected target audience.

 

As their Locations the Wachowskis choose Brandenburg and Berlin, Germany.

 

Regarding the Plot we can say that it has the typical organization of all the Blockbuster film: 5 Elements

 

1)    a believable & sympathetic lead character…. who is Speed in our case; Speed is a boy who sits in class having his thoughts being far away in a car race and looks up to his older brother called Rex Racer, who is a record-setting racer. Racing is “in his blood” as also his parents Pops and Mom run a racecars building business. But Rex Racer gets killed in his childhood in the running of the Casa Cristo which is an incredibly intense cross-country racing rally notorious for rough and foul play. Before his brother dies he gets rejected by his dad for the choice to run in this particular race and also his reputation gets degraded by the media for appearing to cheat in a race. Now Speed is 18 years old whose life and love is racing and who surprises the racing world with his artistic driving skill. He drives the “Mach 5” designed by his dad and remains interested only in the art of racing and the well-being of his family.

2)     his urgent and difficult problem…winning and corruption in race industry; Mr. Royalton who is the owner of conglomerate Royalton Industries offers him a contract for racing with his team. This offer would mean luxurious lifestyle and racing with the world’s best and most famous racer legends. There’s temptation, but he refuses knowing that his dad mistrusts such power-hungry corporations. By his declining Royalton reveals that top corporate interests are fixing races and cheating to gain profit and frightens Speed telling him if he doesn’t sign this would mean the end of his successful career. But Speed doesn’t change his mind which stirs Royalton’s anger. And Royalton kept his promises by trying everything against Speed.

3)     attempt to resolve, but failure that makes situation even more desperate…..Speed forms a racing team together with his girlfriend Trixie, his one-time rival Racer X and a Japanese racer Taejo Togokhan to compete in the Casa Cristo cross-country racing rally known as “The Crucible” in part of a plot to uncover the treacheries of Royalton and to save the racing business. Despite his dad’s anger at his racing in this very dangerous race his family joins him and Speed has to overcome Royalton’s brutal team and many appearingly-unsurpassable obstacles to win the Casa Cristo, the Grand Prix returning to its original purpose and to end Royalton’s corruption. But the Japanese racer is the son of a engine producer who just wants to sell his machines at a higher price to Royalton and wants his son to join the Royalton team.

4)     crisis and the last chance to win…… the sister of the Japanese racer comes to Speeds house and gives him a certificate which allows him to compete in the Grand Prix which is the last and most important race of the season.

5)     successful resolution through the central character’s own courage….. Speed wins the last race with outstanding supremacy by overcoming all possible obstacles

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1st Assignment – Digital Video Foundations

August 8, 2008 at 5:49 am (Uncategorized)

We watched “Enter Zombie King” and “Brick” in our lectures and tutorials. It is really interesting comparing two low-budget productions and noticing a large gap in quality and wathcing-friendlyness.  I would like to note a few differences by investigating the films through the five main stages in the production process:

  1. the development:
    – script: is more believable and more interest-rising in Brick
    – screenplay: is definitely more sofisticated in Brick regarding the quality of the dialogues, the definiton of the character attitudes and the overall style
  2. pre-production:
    – choosing the location: Brickhad defintely better locations than Zombie King although Zombie Kind included also night shoots which are more expensive, but it didn’t achieve the goal 
    – storyboard and shooting list: the whole structure of the scenes and the organisation of the dialogues of the actors and of the location was of much superior level in Brick
  3. production:
    – camera work: in this point the two films distinguish each other so obvious even for non professionals; the Zombie King had a kind of home video style always taking view of the whole situation and changing view after finished speeches or dialogues; whereas Brick had a much more professional camera taking, they showed different persons and situations from different angles and they changed the views fluently
    – dialogue + acting: there is no compare; Zombie King had actors that where kind of reading down from a paper, not fluent at all, horribly pausing, the pronounciation and the stress were poorly; in comparison to Brick which had high quality in their dialogues and nice acting work
    – shooting style & organisation of location: the best take of the a situation in a certain location in Zombie King was worst than the worst one in Brick
    – audio & sound: in Brick it was movie-like and the audio was well adopted to the scenes whereas in Zombie King it was not that great, as mentioned above more like a homevideo
    – lights & colours: in Brick the light and the colours let it seem real and believable; in Zombie King it was more poor
  4. Post-production:
    – choosing shots: superior in Brick
    – background music & music effects: they were very well suited to the scenes and to the sense that the visual expressed; Zombie King: didn’t like it at all
  5. Distribution
    I think that both films are not available in shops. Perhaps people pay for looking Brick, but they would rather not pay for Zombie King.

MY OPINION: I found it very interesting to watch Brick after Zombie King to better notice the huge gap in quality and to better recognize what it is that I don’t like in one and pretty much like in the other. I quite liked Brick and I found Zombie King quite funny, but I need to admit that I would not pay for none of them to watch them at home. 

MY FAVOURITE MOVIE: “Last Samurai”
First of all I like the theme and the story. Furthermore I liked the acting of Tom Cruise and his heroical behaving. I found it fantastic how scenes, actors, theme, dialogue, music, locations and simply the overall style build a perfect frame for an awesome film. In the last scene these last Samurai die with so much pride and honour and it is greatly supported by the background music. Loved it!

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Hello world!

August 8, 2008 at 4:36 am (Uncategorized)

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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