Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blog 3: Production Notes

During the production of the second assignment, I ran into a few challenges. Planning the concept of the video was simple and came somewhat easy to me. The challenges however were in deciding on the execution for the project with the consideration of the allotted time and resources. My attempt trajectory began from still vector images, to a humble attempt in flash animation, and ended with video footage. In order to achieve this decision, I had to cross a questionable boundary regarding this semester’s regulation in whether or not personal equipment can be used. Although I originally respected this notion and have accepted it, I found myself in a very restrained situation and eventually decided to break this rule. If I didn’t have the freedom to use my own equipment, film where and when I wanted, then there was no way I could complete the project in time; and I am not the kind of person that would risk a reduced grade just to follow a rule that did not consider situations similar to what I had. At this point, I was only able to rely on fruit as actors and so I did. I also remembered that one objective for this project was to improve our ability to produce proper shots. So with that in mind and the pressure of time, I decided to have a little fun. I took things less seriously by ignoring the fact that it is a project for school that will get a grade and turned it into more of a personal study by focusing on different pans and ways of shooting.

If given the opportunity to represent my concept, I would use human actors instead of fruit. If I can’t use human actors, then I would probably replace the oranges with a different kind of fruit as their peel is difficult to mark with any ink; perhaps a fruit with a similar skin as pears would do a better job. But then again, if I were to use that kind of fruit, I would not have been able to erase and replace the face expressions that way I did with the oranges. I would have to buy more fruit and find similar looking ones for the multiple face expressions I needed. So at this point, I’m not so sure anymore whether I would change my process. In making this particular film, I learned the most on editing with Final Cut. Though, my process of filming and editing has worked in the past. This time, I encountered a problem with Final Cut that baffled me and those who tried to help me. Even with the recommended file format by the professors, Final Cut still wanted me to render everything. The video below is what I found after searching numerous internet forums that solved my problem. I recommend those who read this to incorporate the method shown in beginning a project to prevent similar problems and just to be safe.

Overall, I’m happy with my project. However, I have noticed a few discrepancies. I understand that the scene of the mother orange in the bathroom may disrupt the consistency of the color scheme that ran in the entire film. Another thing that the audience might notice is the mole originally drawn in the mother’s face had disappeared as the movie progressed; I completely forgot about it as the shoot went on. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the characters that emerged. I thought that their respective role was enhanced in image and personally with which fruit they were. Though the oranges did a great job, I was specifically drawn to how well the pear played the part as the detective. At times, it made me laugh and others, it made me admire the combination of pear and detectives with sincerity. Obviously, that pear was my favorite. It was sad when I had to eat it; only if I could have kept it like a toy or any object that did not rot. I did however keep his hat; the one I had the hardest time trying to figure out how to manufacture. It was a personal achievement in my part; I’m very proud of it and how it helped the pear’s character and image. In producing this project, I learned the most about pans and zooms. Not only in their composition but in the consistency and smoothness higher forms of video media execute them. It was really difficult to prevent any shaking or to pan or zoom in a steady speed. I’ve made videos before, and through my past experiences I’ve learned that shooting and editing is ridiculously effortful; but this time, being that pans, shot composition and zoom improvement were our goal, I am now more aware of and admire that which go into shot those in the movies and film I watch.

Walter Biscardis Secrets for Real-time Sequences

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog 2: Sound-Image and Image-image Relationships

The beginnings of movies often involve editing for various reasons. Some present different shots of a place in different perspectives to establish the setting of the movie; and some, tell the story of the protagonist's past in a short amount of time. The latter approach suggest more of a challenge as the specific scenes chosen have to be significant and impactful in order to communicate an explanation as to why the bulk of the movie is. The clip above displays the introduction to the movie The Brothers Bloom. The editing from 1:30-2:45 contributes greatly to the story telling as it presents a water-shed event.

During that scene, the audience witnesses the first time Bloom’s brother, Stephen, writing Bloom’s life for him in the form of a con. With regards to the editing, sound, different shots and zooms contributes to the success of this scene. The music that is played throughout this scene is only Nathan Johnson’s Brothers in a One Hat Town, a jazzy overture. It complements the images and the scene well because of its ability to provide subtleness and power where it needs to.

The shots are well thought out; they shift rather quickly to represent the heartbeat of Bloom as he makes all these discoveries about himself. However, some shots are slowed down as well to represent instances like Bloom’s wonder at his brother’s con. The dolly zoom technique is also utilized to display the significance of Bloom discovery of the girl, his instant feelings towards her, and how much he gets lost in that moment. Then, a long shot follows as his moment is broken by a powerful push from his brother encouraging Bloom to talk to the girl. The shots in this scene are determined by both of the brothers’ perspectives, though not all the time. Different angles are also used to create diversity, preserve interest, and establish things like authority and clarity. As mentioned before, the shots shift quickly so the cuts are obvious. But, be that as it may, it does not hurt or hinder the story as it becomes a representation of the character’s emotions. This creates a better communication between the audience and the characters which results in a more intimate experience.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blog 1: What I Hear

A sound walk is exactly what its name suggests it to be: a walk focused on sounds; it is where a stroll is dedicated to practicing the art of listening. In this fast paced society, mundane sounds get devalued and become ignored. As a result, people lose awareness in the aesthetic experience and benefits gained by listening to their current environment. A sound walk is then a perfect solution to this. Through it, people can appreciate the simple things in life and may sense things they wouldn't have otherwise. 

Urban places like New York City seem to be one of the most ideal places for a sound walk because of the diversity and abundance of sound it produces. However, those who prefer nature would find a sound walk to be more appropriate in a rural environment. A good setting to find a combination of these opposing situations is in Sunnyside, Queens. It is close to the city, fairly dense while maintaining a less chaotic environment where certain aspects of nature can still be found. After all, the reason why it is called Sunnyside is because it used to be a place of small farms and marshlands. 

I took my sound walk an hour before today's twelve o'clock mass. Just after I left the apartment building, I was greeted by the sound of a strong gust. I thought it was a pleasant start to this experience; I took it as a kind of hello from the upcoming fall season. I then walked down the sidewalk where my curiosity had forced me to stop in front of a Korean religious center. There were drums banging, guitars playing along with other different instruments, and a man singing his lungs out to the point where his diction was barely present. He was so focused on singing and reciting the lyrics as fast as he could that the sound he made seemed singular like a word made up of a million letters. 

As I continued, I heard the footsteps of a little boy rushing. When he got closer, I noticed that he was his aunt had gone missing and he was trying to find her. He kept saying out loud the word ‘tia,’ which means aunt in Spanish, in a worried inquisitive tone. At this point, I was beside the church on my way to the park. As I walked further away from the boy, I heard an old man try to help him which pleased my ears as I knew how the boy felt because the same had happened to me as a kid. 

Passing the church’s stained glass window, I overheard the Spanish mass in session. What interested me about this experience was the sound their mass made compared to the English version. You’d think it everything else sounded the same besides perhaps the language spoken. But, what my ears found out that they sang different songs, not translated versions either. Also, they used different instruments. I heard a guitar: an instrument I never hear or see during the twelve o’clock mass. 

After that, came the subtle sounds: the lone dry leaf scratching the concrete sidewalk as it was pushed by the wind, the jingle of a dogs leash as it hits the collar, the footsteps and breathing of joggers as the run on the asphalt against passing cars. I also got my fair share of cell phones ringing and car alarms; those were annoying to listen to. 

By the park, I heard a big group people playing soccer. I heard the ball being kicked and knocked about with everyone’s legs; I heard the ball scratching the concrete floor as it zooms from player to player; I heard the ball graze the net, making that swoosh sound. Then, more subtle sounds: the gate squeaking and it banging on the lock mechanism causing the lever to fall thus locking itself; I heard the cooing of a baby and a few little ones playing in the toddler’s jungle gym; I also heard the occasional birds chirping about which was normal for my ears especially in that location. However, a noise stuck out. Something I don’t usually hear in Sunnyside. It was so weird I tried looking for the source right away. I found it sitting on the highest post; it was a seagull making noise.