Every week of this term I have been set the task of focusing on a particular aspect of film and putting that into context. I have looked at everything from colour, lighting and the positioning of the camera/audience throughout the production and its effects but now that I have finished the production of these films I have attempted to put my own media pieces into a thematic context, through the skill of post-production and into a thought provoking showreel.
On a visit to my university Director of Photography Andrew Rodger’s showreel http://www.35mmdop.com/#524/custom_plain showed me that whilst good quality footage put together made a good showreel, good quality footage put together with meaning and a clever structure made for a very good showreel.
‘Stop,Look and Listen’ my own showreel for my 260MC work is based on what I have learnt within the term and how this has effected me personally as well as my work. The titles, audio and connotations of the clock which I projected my footage onto were all placed there to suggest the idea of pausing in time for a second to pay attention to what you see in a different way. Thats paying attention to space and place, dualism and sound to only name a few.
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci
‘No, painting is not made to decorate apartments. its an offensive and defensive weapon against the enemy.’ – Unknown
Guernica by Picasso was intended as an Anti war response to the bombing of Guernica in spain painted in 1937. In order to tackle transferring this iconic but complex painting into moving film we split it into five main sub-narratives all of which had thematic links to destruction and chaos.
Mother and child|
The greatest post production stylistic decision was the overlay of dramatic clashing of lights on the subject. This became an attack ; the colours of fire surrounding the vulnerable mother and her child, her child’s cries growing quieter. Not only did this create a similarly uncomfortable viewing in parallel to the picture itself but distorted parts of the frame to create an abstract picture. If you can only see a pair of eyes in the dark then you are forced to think. I believe this is what Picasso wanted to achieve through this painting and I am confident in our interpretation.
When we first received the picture we would be representing this week to say I felt challenged was an understatement. I have been forced to open my minds to the literally infinite amounts of interpretations to the picture and although at first this picture overwhelmed us, finding my own take on something so busy has ultimately raised my confidence in my analytical ability and how to think outside the box with what I see around me.
Using everything we have learnt about sound such as reverb, we were given the book the monkeys paw to turn into a radio play. The book itself is interesting because of its origin, written in 1902 it is written in a wordy style that isn’t particularly appropriate for a modern audience. This added another challenge to to the task, to keep the audience not only awake but interested.
I was very happy to be given the responsibility of writing the script as this was something I had never done before. I conducted some research using a sample Archers Radio script off the BBC website and I soon discovered the layout was quite drastically different from what I am used to when considering visuals on screen too. Whereas on television, visuals can be used relatively easily to demonstrate an action for our radio play we had to use sound alone to demonstrate the story and this was a great eye opener. The striking of a match isn’t the most distinguishable of sounds but narrating every little sound is equally as terrible.
Seeing the actors bring to life my script of The monkeys paw was great. The acoustics in the studio were significantly clearer than when we had practiced noisily in the lounge at uni and it made me think about the impact that reverb has that we don’t really think about. A scene within a film where the actress shouts something from another room but we hear it close up isn’t going to make much sense. Yet I hadn’t really taken sound manipulation seriously before.
When editing the play transparency was important. Other than the actions narrated we created an ambience undertone of what we would normally consider inaudible in real life. This project really encouraged me to paws for thought about sound within film too *Ba dum ch* Sorry. Enjoy!
Third cinema is a style of film I had not previously come across which made this weeks project to recreate a scene from another style into the style of third cinema very interesting. Through the completion of this final film we essentially had created a whole new hybrid genre.
My group and I posted our own interpretations of the genre and discussed the films we had seen that were relevant over a group Facebook page.
Using this research I put together a short presentation to pass on this knowledge to others as a basic introduction to Third ‘world’ cinema.
Through six lots of ten seconds shots of footage I have attempted to communicate a feeling of a place whilst evoking a particular emotion through composure with one shot containing the use of 1 point perspective.
The six shots I manipulated were to create a feeling of uneasiness. In order to challenge the typical emotions associated with a toy and sweet shop I used several techniques to distort the expected feeling of comfortableness. I drained the footage of its happiest colours and combined a mix of both fish eye and standard shots.
Shooting with a fish eye lens allowed me to disclose a feeling of obscurity that I feel represents the inaccurate nature of the ability to recite our childhood memories.
The last scene within the film is composed to draw your eye to the middle of the frame. The movement of the spinning top juxtaposing with the stillness of the rest of the frame to create, I hope an effect of eeriness.
One of these shots was influenced by a photographer/cinematographer/film.
The decision to use a fish eye lens was inspired by photographer Taguchi, who also combined black and white with a fish eye lens in this photo below to create a scene which is colourful and vibrant in a different way.
It was not filmed within 2000 metres of the university.
This piece was shot in ‘I want one of those’ toy shop, York road, Birmingham. That is approximately 53 108.352 metres from the university. (Thank you google maps!)
I thought carefully about the title
The name ‘Bitter sweet’ became my final choice for a title as I felt the oxymoron of being both bitter and sweet was a thought-provoking way for somebody to recall their childhood.
What might have seemed sweet when we look back nostalgically might have actually been bitter and vice versa.
The sounds were taken only from the location with no music.
After premiering my film I was told that ‘Watching the visuals of my film without sound creates an entirely different feeling to the film I created’, for this reason I feel as though the sound itself adds a thick emotional layer. I recorded the sounds within the shop that I felt were the most atmospheric using a H2 zoom mic. Such as a ticking clock, sweets being poured, a till, scales, bike bell and a spring to name a few. I didn’t use half of the effects but listening to them reminded me of the emotions I felt in the location that I wanted to project.
As I am so often told music is often used in films to ‘polish a turd’ so I found it personally challenging to create a series of shots that spoke entirely for themselves. Doing this task taught me how sounds can also be used rhythmically to speak in a similar way to how a piece of music whilst also creating a more coherent sequence.
Exploring my independent cinematographic style in relation to another artists has been hugely beneficial for me in building up my technical competence. Whereas before I have only had faith in myself as a writer this task forced me to take over also the technical responsibility of bringing me concept onto screen. This allowed me to see my strengths and weakness’ in my technique in quite literally black and white.
I felt as though I met the brief and peer feedback also supported this. In terms of how I did it, I learnt that persisting in finding a location pays off. For me personally the sweet shop gave me the exact atmosphere that I wanted.
A weakness I have discovered in my work is the use of sound, although I had good feedback on the sound being atmospheric and well mixed it may have been perhaps a little too loud and not too safe for headphone users. Sorry!
I have definitely found a new-found and honestly a much needed confidence in cinematography and although I have some way to go to make sure everything is in focus and as steadily focused as you would expect from a professional, gaining interest from other professional cinematographers is definitely a rewarding experience.
This project will definitely change my perspective of laying out a frame more carefully. A space within a place can be two very different things to each other, most interestingly different spaces we create within places can be very different to different people.
For my sixty seconds film of a place within a space at least one of my shots had to be inspired by a particular photographer or filmmaker.
The London-based photographer Taguchi inspired me for his black and white photography. Despite the lack of colour within them the pictures still spoke to me and provoked deep feelings. He inspired me to experiment with colour within my sixty seconds to investigate the effect that colour has within a sweet shop and so our childhood.
Another technique, as you can see above in his unnamed piece, Taguchi demonstrates how a fish eye lens can be used to create obscurity. After studying this technique further I opted into filming using a fish eye lens filter to demonstrate how childhood fascination can obscure perspective.
My research into Taguchi has taught me how colour and eccentric focusing can be used to create an entirely new place for an audience.