This weeks screening of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) was an extremely enjoyable and memorable one. My first ever viewing of the film, I found it visually incredible. The continuous amount of action was not overwhelming as I previously predicted it would be. The action fitted in place on screen perfectly, working well throughout the entirety of the film. Going into the film, I did not think that I would enjoy it however I was proved wrong. What would usually strike my as ridiculous or strange with the post apocalyptic setting and narrative grew on me throughout the duration of the film, as I found myself intrigued to discover all that the plot was not sharing with me. Overall, it exceeded my expectations, with skilled acting and flawless editing, creating a fast paced, yet enjoyable piece of work that I could not help but marvel at for days following.
This week also included work on the major project as the due date creeps closer and closer. With editing reaching its end, the exegesis has been the task that has promptly become a force to be reckoned with. Linking the exegesis to the project proposal has been manageable and familiar, as the concepts have come full circle in their implementation in my own work. Whilst attempting to write the exegesis, it has somewhat allowed me to personally reflect on how well my ideas have been demonstrated throughout the final product. It is accurate to say that majority of my original ideas have translated well, with initial research spurring additional research of different concepts that have assisted in my project exploring the frame in a deeper and more thorough manner. It has been interesting to see how each of my of ideas work well together, further expanding my intended concept of the “out-of-field”, bouncing developed concepts off one another and intertwining them in a way that I would never have considered.
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Directed by George Miller [Film]. Australia: Warner Bros. Pictures.
This week my major project has progressed reasonably well. Filming the first half of my project last week was successful to some degree. The shots went well and overall I accomplished everything I had set out to achieve on the day of shooting. Although this was the case, upon reflection, the footage I had gained was somehow missing something; it did not perfectly correlate with the ideas I had developed in previous weeks. This somewhat was realised when I began editing, as the colouring was not continuous throughout each of my shots. The individual shots were both light and dark, with the ending shot a slightly darker. After much deliberation of perhaps changing it to black and white instead of a blue overtone, this issue resulted in me promptly reshooting two of these individual shots to match them to the others, then adding a cooling effect on Premiere Pro to make them appear dimmer. This has effectively changed the footage to satisfy my intended aesthetic and overall feel of my project. The problem I generally encountered whilst beginning to edit was that my ideas did not translate from mind to the screen in the manner I had hoped due to the grand image not being able to have been achieved – simply because my amateur filmmaking status did not allow for a big budget shoot. So far, I am happy with what I have created, both in the production and postproduction stages and believe that with some tweaking it will result in a product extremely close to what I had envisioned.
Shooting the second half of my project did not run as smoothly as the first. Due to shooting outside, the weather, which was assumed to be dry and bright temperamentally, changed for the worse. After setting up and then being greeted by wind and rain, shooting came to a halt. After waiting, the weather changed and shooting than ran in a smoother manner. After hanging the frames, I shot the individual frames and the final shot, making sure to match the lighting to the best of my ability to ensure continuity. The editing of this footage has so far been successful and positive, as I begin to finish with this stage of the project and work on the written exegesis. The whole process so far has been a great one of learning and has allowed me to gain knowledge that will be effective for shooting in the future and how to make it easier for all involved.
After reading academics’ ideas on the construction of the frame, its configuration and the elements within it, these concepts have assisted in the development of a broader understanding of the frame as a whole and as singular parts. This investigating of a range of attitudes and ideas could then be applied when watching films each week within a tutorial. Concepts such as the invisibility of style, subjectivity and media materialism were translated into films such as In the Mood for Love, Drive and Inception. After analysing and exploring filmmaking crews and their implementation of film theories and concepts regarding the frame, as a class, it has allowed each of us to implement them into our own major projects. As a process it has developed a personal understanding of the frame, from academics, to filmmakers, to our own creative practice.
The exploration of the frame has developed an understanding of the frame – what is within the frame and what is omitted. Through this, the process that is the creation of a frame has become more detailed and intricate. Due to gaining an awareness of the frame as many components, the current practice of creation has been developed to thoroughly think through a frame and the through process behind creating an intended image.
This studio is extremely beneficial in developing your own personal and intricate understanding of the frame. Through studying academic resources and concepts, then seeing them translated onto the big screen, it is pivotal in creating an independent and thought out understanding that has been influenced by a range of other complex and well-practiced individuals. After developing more thorough understanding, projects created will be mature and advanced, reflecting a better-informed understanding of film and the art that it is.
The creation of a personal vision is a difficult and strenuous task to achieve when uncertain of others’ understanding of your own visual process and style. In order to stay on track with my ideas and not stray from my solidly orchestrated concept, the pre-production stages has relied heavily on internal reflection of my content and the aesthetic I wish to communicate, along with writing and sketching brief ideas that will assist in creating my desired image. When explaining to others my ideas and aims, I have found it somewhat difficult to get across what my final piece will look like and the symbolism behind the frames and placement – or lack of – in relation to my concept of what is being excluded from the frame. Due to this barrier of understanding and communication, over the past week I have been concerned with how complicated my ideas may appear to anyone that does not possess the original and progressive artistic thoughts that I do. This has encouraged me to simplify the brief of my idea – individual shots of elements within a scene (characters and objects), followed by a zoom out of the entire scene where frames are situated around these elements to outline where they came from. This outlines the out of frame – with is not included and what needs to be understood by audiences.
By simplistically collating my thoughts as much as I can, while I plan and organise myself for my shoots in the coming weeks, it allows my to concentrate on the main objective, rather than digressing and becoming distracted by small things that may not be an important part of the overall project. I have found that this brief summary that describes my project will not only benefit myself, but my assistants who will be working alongside me, along with the girls who will be acting in the short clips. It will allow them to properly understand what the final image will hopefully look like, and how each of the elements included in the creative process tie together. Hopefully whilst shooting this week, all on set will be on the same page of understanding, which will ensure an enjoyable, stress free and productive environment.
Sitting down in a lecture room watching Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010) was an interesting yet rewarding experience. As it was not my first time viewing the film, I had a preconceived expectation that I would not be disappointed upon the films conclusion. The high expectations that were cemented within my mind from prior screenings were live up to, as the film progressed throughout its narrative, as with other complicated films, elements of the narrative became more apparent to me than ever before. The storyline of Cobb and Mol personally, was comprehended in an easier manner, their relationship and its influence clearer when considered in the broader context of the film. Understanding the characters on a deeper level required less focus and strain, their purpose and motivations, along with the complications of the different levels of the dream and its intricate elements clearer due to my developed understanding of them. It is interesting to think about what a film can reveal to audiences upon multiple screenings, as focus in the frame can shift between many visual, audible and narrative elements.
Another reflection of watching the film is that the space one is in truly alters the viewing experience. Sitting in a room completely different to our usual lighting impaired room to a darker lecture style room was interesting. The space appeared darker, more for viewing rather than working, however for some, the light escaping the blinds was somewhat distracting, along with the dark smudge across the projected surface that was raised by a peer. This setting completely curbed my concentration to the narrative of the film, and how it was reflected in the visuals within the frame. I found that this occurred due to its complicated storyline, that the visuals almost took a back seat, replaced by the desire to understand and concisely comprehend. Whilst viewing this film again, I believe my focus would shift more to the visual components of the frame – the use of the “architecture” within the film world and the types of shots used t o achieve the overall aesthetic and style. Overall, the viewing was useful in prompting to the idea of the narrative being reflected through visual components, something that I would like to outline through my major project.
Inception (2010) Directed by Christopher Nolan [Film]. USA: Warner Bros. Pictures.
Week seven’s class time was dedicated to the creation and presentation of my project proposal. After completing my written project proposal, I was unhappy with what I had given. My ideas were a puzzle in my mind, all meshing into one rather than being structured and coherent. At this point I wasn’t feeling too positive about my ideas, I thought they were something, something with possible potential but I was having difficulty have complete faith in my ideas that may never even work. In Tuesday’s class, speaking to other class members reassured me that my ideas were not completely useless, that they could be the beginning of something great. Going into the presentation on the Thursday was nerve-wracking for me. I felt nervous, intimidated, and doubtful of my ideas, of myself. After watching the other studio members’ presentations, some which were well developed and some not as much, I became more anxious. What if I was asked a question I could not answer? What if nobody actually understand my ideas? Could I even understand my ideas? After all of this, it went smoothly and successfully. I was extremely surprised and slightly ecstatic at the feedback I received. To be told that my ideas were well thought out and “inspired” were refreshing, reassuring and have created a great fire of positivity and believe within my attitude towards the project. The other feedback regarding sound within my pieces and the number of pieces to be created was greatly appreciated, as it was insightful to hear feedback from the panel members who I would consider “outsiders”. It was definitely a beneficial experience in which I gained some constructive and encouraging advice and feedback, which will push me to create something that reflects the potential the panel members believe it has.
Since the Lumiere Brothers, film has transformed into something that perhaps it was never initially predicted to be. The evolution of the ratio of the frame and the amount of space occupied by the visual has changed dramatically. From being screened in a regular cinema in comparison to viewing in IMAX, the viewer experience is dramatically different. The larger the image, the more overwhelming it is in the processing in the mind of the audience. Due to the competence of humans themselves and their capability of viewing, when looking at an IMAX screen, the eyes cannot focus on every element within the visual, therefore each shot is not seen as a whole, but in smaller factions. In contrast, viewing film on technology such as a laptop or mobile device allows viewers to see all that is projected due to the sheer difference in size. The hunching over the image brings focus to the entire frame, however it may not allow certain smaller focal points to be noticed due to their miniscule decrease in size. Whilst watching action films such as The Amazing Spiderman in IMAX, I have found that they are an extremely immersive experience, yet slightly overwhelming at times due to the sheer size of the image being projected, especially when an appropriately booming soundtrack accompanies it. In conclusion, IMAX is definitely an experience that differs from the regular viewing of a film and can be utilised to reach viewers in a way that is not always achieved on a daily basis.
Immersing oneself within the world of a film is a task that is not achieved by all films. Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011) is a masterpiece that tunes out an audience members’ perception of their own self and reality and plugs them into the reality of the film. As the film progresses, Ryan Gosling’s character donning his Scorpion embroidered jacket seeking a heavily desired rush of adrenaline, sees the point of view shift numerous times. Within some moments, it appears that the narrative is being told in Gosling’s point of view, as his behaviour in a range of situations is observed. The point of view then shifts to be told from the perspective as an audience member, overlooking the present situation, scrutinising Gosling’s and Carey Mulligan’s characters constantly surrounded by a deep and tense atmosphere accompanied by accelerated car chases. Audiences are removed for their own senses, and placed within the film, specifically in the shots in which Gosling is driving down the highway, the camera shot- a point of view shot where the eyes see the dashboard and the illumination of the road. Through this, perceptual subjectivity allows insight into the characters’ mind, as the shots flow into one another in smooth coherence. The film is an experience within itself. The pace throughout its entirety and its cinematography allows every single shot to be an engrossing image. This leads to the question of whether the film would give the same experience if the camera techniques had been different. If Drive had consisted of short sharp shots, enhancing the action aspects of its narrative, the film would not have created the same transfixing effect, specifically in the slow burn that is its first half. Overall, the sophisticated style of the filmmaker is one that transforms the world of the film into the immediate world of the audience for its duration.
Drive (2011) Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn [Film]. USA: FilmDistrict.