March 2014 archive

Film and TV 1 – Analysis 2

In the film Clown Train how does sound contribute to the atmosphere of this film? Describe what you heard? Can you make reference to another genre film and how they utilise sound to create tension and a unique filmic space?

Clown Train creates tension within the film, in conjunction with the flickering lights and the dialogue. The flickering lights and accompanying sound create a high level of drama within the film. The ambient noise within the film also adds to the creepy feel of the film.

While slightly different, the non-diegetic film in Jaws also creates a high level of tension within the film. The trademark soundtrack creates a unique filmic space which is specific and recognisable to the film.

Select from one of the readings, up to but not including Week 5, and briefly describe two points that you have taken from it. Points that excite you, something that was completely new to you. 

The reading I chose was Alten’s (1994) on sound design.

  • “…the sound designer is responsible for the overall sound of a film or video” (Alten 1994, p.5) – I think this is incredibly important to realise, as we are just about to go into our film project. Often, the score of a film is left to last or forgotten until the last moment.
  • “A trumpet or violin played loudly and rapidly at a high pitch could also suggest excitement, agitation or gaiety – perhaps agitation in deader acoustics and gaiety in livelier acoustics” – I think it is important to recognise and utilise the versatility of each instrument and what they can bring to a film

Question Three is answered on blackboard




“Welcome to Pine Point” – An Example of an Interactive Documentary

“Welcome to Pine Point” an is an excellent example of an interactive documentary, released in 2011 by Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge. It chronicles the story of a mining town called Pine Point and the memories of the people who used to live there. It combines photographs and video footage, as well as interviews from the people who used to live there.

Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 8.28.45 PM

Pine Point was a prolific mining town, which produced high quantities of zinc and lead. A town was created around the mine in 1963, and the town was closed in 1988. The town, which had a population of 1225 in 1971, had all the basic amenities of the town – houses, shops and schools, as well as an airport.

The documentary, which has a simple click through interface, is an interesting way to demonstrate and represent the memories of the people who used to live in this town. Because of the interface there is only one way to navigate the story, which gives the whole documentary a novelistic or photo album feel.

One of my favourite parts of “Welcome to Pine Point” was the stories of the people who went to the high school, and the follow-through of their present day stories. The most touching was that of Richard Cloutier, who was a self confessed high school bully, who in the time since Pine Point has developed MS and now spends his time documenting the stories and organising reunions of the people who used to live in Pine Point.

The most interesting visual aspect of “Welcome to Pine Point” was the archive footage of the town of Pine Point when it was an actual town and the streets of Pine Point today. The buildings and infrastructure of Pine Point were all burnt down on the closure of the town, leaving the streets paving the way to nothing.

In conclusion, “Welcome to Pine Point” was a really interesting interactive web documentary which provides an excellent example of online story telling.

The Impact of Cellphone Documentaries

When doing the assigned reading for this week, I was interested in the discussion of how new technologies can have an impact on mainstream and traditional media forms. As Sørrenson’s article was written in 2008, he was not able to write about the impact of smartphones in his article.

In the last 6 years, smartphones have become an increasingly integral part of everyday life. With inbuilt cameras often at a similar quality as DSLR’s on the market, consumers now have an increased access to high quality equipment that professionals have. With the lines progressively blurring between professional and amateur, consumers now hold an incredible amount of power within the market.

I was interested in how smartphone technologies have awarded consumers with this power, and decided to explore the rising phenomenon of cellphone technologies. I found this article on PBS, which provides some excellent examples of well-made cellphone documentaries. Delaney (2012) explores how equipment to assist with excellent cinematography for smartphones is growing, stating that as “technology in ‘real’ camcorders is improving, one can expect smartphone technology to continue improving as well”.

The second example provided in Delaney’s article “Apple of My Eye” is a short documentary produced and edited purely on the iPhone 4. While the film is cute, interesting and well made, I was more interested in the behind the scenes aspect, which is attached at the end of the film (and which is actually longer than the film itself). The filmmakers are seen using dollys, tripods and other film equipment made specifically for iPhones. This manufacturing of equipment specifically for smaller, handheld, consumer devices is completely in tune with Astruc’s vision and predictions, which was discussed by Sørrenson in his 2008 article.

The development and sale of filmmaking equipment made specifically for smartphones has a massive impact on the mainstream film industry, and particularly modern documentary makers. If just anyone can produce a high-quality film with their phone, what point is there in investing in expensive equipment and crews? If just anyone can produce high-quality, real footage, what point is there in investing time and money in documentary makers?

Delaney’s article provides excellent examples of cellphone documentaries and begins a discussion about the impact that smartphones will have on the mainstream film industry.

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