May 2014 archive

Film&TV1 Analysis 6

Consider Sandra’s lecture “Directing Actors” and describe at least a couple of points that you took away from it (even if you’re not the director).

Two things I took away from Sandra’s lecture were;

  • When rehearsing with the actors, get them to talk about their interpretation of the film and each scene in particular, rather than telling them directly.
  • Sandra recommended shooting outside wherever possible, and if it was possible to try and shoot near windows, as it is easier to use the natural light than create complicated lighting set ups (also cuts down on time)

In this clip screened in the lecture from the Coen brothers’ ‘Blood Simple‘ describe what is happening in terms of the edits specifically in terms of the audio and video. Also name the different kinds of audio you can hear.

Sounds you can hear in “Blood Simple:

  • Diagetic sound – fish being put on the table, lighter, the envelope, chairs, the gun etc
  • Background noise  – fluro lights buzzing (?), cars outside
  • Dialouge

The sound in this clip establishes the characters in this relationship, as well as the relationship with them. The stark silence between lines of dialogue communicates to the audience that these characters aren’t friends. Because of the lack of non-diagetic music in this scene, the audience’s attention wholely consumed by the dialouge.

Keyboard shortcuts. 

Most applications reserve keyboard shortcuts for the functions that use most often. It is really good to learn all of these as it will speed up your editing and additionally alert you to functions that the software developers and other users find important. (You can learn much about the software by looking at keyboard shortcuts). 

Find the keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Premiere and note two or more functions that you’ve never used before that may be invaluable to editing.

Cmd+N for new sequence

Shift+9 for audio mixing

= and – for zooming in and out on the sequence


Dovey and Rose’s “We’re happy and we know it”

Dovey and Rose’s 2012 report, “We’re Happy and We Know It: Documentary: Data: Montage”, discusses various ways in which happiness can be recorded and mapped out on a digital scale. They cite mobile applications and interactive documentaries such as I Want You to Want Me (p.g6), We Feel Fine (p.6) and Mappiness (p.7) as examples of expressing emotions in a digital sense. They discuss how these platforms can “produce unexpected new insights” (p.7) into the human condition and how it can be expressed in a digital form.

One of the ideas I found most interesting in this reading was the discussion surrounding the differing and ever changing nature of online documentaries. As Dovey and Rose discuss, “the exact nature of the experience will emerge from the interaction [with] whatever is available online to respond to [it]” (Dovey and Rose 2012, p.18). The main problem I feel most students have been encountering with Korsakow this semester is giving up the control to shape the users experience. Most of the software we work with gives the creator complete control over how the user views the product, and it is strange to work with a program, which leaves the users experience so much up to probability.

Another idea which I found interesting in this reading was when Dovey and Rose discuss how “watching work online is, some might argue, already difficult enough, finding it in the first place is already a challenge.” (Dovey and Rose 2012, p. 12). I think they main problem most students are struggling with this subject is finding the point in Korsakow, as it seems to be a program which very few people use. It is hard to see and understand the audience for interactive and online documentaries when they are such a new phenomenon.

Film&TV Test 5

Select from one of the readings from week 5, 6 or 7 and describe two points that you have taken from it. Points that excite you, something that was completely new to you.

From the reading about developing a crew;

1. Rabiger dicusses how working effectively as a crew can make a real difference in a production. While I already knew this, it is important to think about how you can create this kind of environment. As a director, you are putting an incredible amount of pressure on everyone (Rabiger also discusses how directors can be typically neurotic and can be problematic on shoot). It is important to remember this when we are shooting.

2. Rabinger discusses the traits you are and aren’t looking for in a director. When we shoot I will be trying to remember the things you are looking for in a director (especially being organised while still informal, and making instinctive judgements) and avoiding the negative traits (mainly not deserting the actors for the crew and vice versa).

Blow Up is a 1966 film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.
In this scene note the choreography of the actors, camera, frame and focus. As covered in the lecture describe the things Antonioni would have have to consider when directing the actors and the camera.

In this scene from “Blow Up”, the camera uses a variety of still and panning shots, which follows the actors movement though the scene. The amount of shots in each individual scene (a combination of long and close up shots) allows for the whole set to be seen by the audience. To achieve this, Antonioni would have told his DOP to ensure that all of the set can be scene through a variety of shots. The choice of shots and how they are framed is incredibly interesting. Antonioni has made some bold choices in how he has chosen to frame certain shots

A few of the shots I found interesting in this scene were;

At 1:37, the frame includes a beam which cuts off both of the actors at the shoulders, which is an interesting choice, considering the importance of the dialogue in this scene.
At 3:42, the close up shot of the male character on the phone cuts from a high angle shot to a close up which appears to be shot from ground level or slightly above.
In directing the actors, Antonioni may have instructed them to appear uncomfortable with each other, which adds to the high level of discomfort between the two actors in this scene. There is constant space between the two actors, which also assists in that. Before they begun shooting this scene, Antonioni would have breifed the actors on the relationships between their characters and the motivations for each character.

Will Luer’s “Plotting the Database”

Will Luer’s “Plotting the Database”, published in 2012, discusses the features of database narrative including entry points, collecting data, relations and attention. Through 8 separate sections, Luer explains how all of these elements tie together to create an engaging and interesting piece of work.

An idea I found the most interesting was Luer’s discussion of ‘Entry Points’, and how it can relate to our work this semester. Luer discusses how entry points can set the tone for the whole database narrative. Because of the randomness of the Korsakow program, the user and the program determines “when and where to exit a database narrative” (Luer 2012, p.2), as opposed to a traditional narrative, where the author determines the entry point. With Korsakow, you can select the any of the clips your film can start on (by selecting, or not, the start SNU), and this still allows the creator some control over the users entry point into the work.

Another interesting point, which I found in Luer’s writing, was the discussion surrounding ‘Distributed Attention’, and how a user can understand, draw meaning from, and interact with an interface. Luer discusses how the “spatial juxtaposition of media – text, links, image, video and audio” (Luers 2012, p.4) allows the user to become more engaged in the work and draw meaning out of it. This is relevant to our final assessment for this subject, as an interesting and engaging interface can often make or break a Korsakow film, as we have seen in the work viewed this semester.

Reflection on my sketch film

Yesterday I had the viewing and assessment of my sketch film. It was a really interesting way to have my work assessed as it provided real time feedback from Jasmine about my work.

The most important thing that I got feedback on was how my work was understood by the audience. When reviewing my work, I thought the major theme would be the comparison of inside and outside, or night and dark. However, when Jasmine watched my film she picked up on a theme which was entirely different. It was an interesting way to see how my work can be interpreted by other people. This is important to keep in mind for the final project for this subject, as we want the audiences to understand what we were trying to communicate to them. We can achieve this by audience testing and receiving feedback from people before we submit it.

Another interesting thing was getting the opportunity to view someone else’s work for this semester. As we are all given the same constrained tasks and framework to work under, it was interesting to see how other people responded to the prompts.

Reading Week 7 – Frankham

Frankham considers how list-like structures can be used to create artistic materials and can aid in creating new connections and new levels of complexity. She states that, “certain documentary projects use non-narrative form as a way to prompt dialogue between the spectator and the work.” (Frankham 2013, p.137).

Frankham explores how lists alienate the elements of a project and how the connections between these elements (i.e. in and out keywords in Korsakow) can create something with more complexity and meaning than may have been originally intended. She proposes that these list-based artworks lend themselves towards online exhibition, as they move beyond linear narratives and allow for interactivity between the user and the creator.

Specifically, in relation to Korsakow, Frankham considers how these interactive web-docs can be considered a montage, or a “complex system of linking discrete objects” (Frankham 2013, p.142). She discusses the how the multiple connections that can be created allow for different interpretations and a more poetic approach to documentary.

The two things that stuck out most for me in Frankham’s reading were:
• Frankham’s discussion for how “potential for a more keenly felt and critical engagement may be enabled by relinquishing absolute control over the way the work is read” (Frankham 2013, p.144). In my personal experience with Korsakow, I’ve felt that the little amount of control I’ve had over how the audience perceives my work is frustrating. As an author or creator, you often struggle to predict how the audience will react to your work, and with Korsakow you have even less of a guessing ability.
• Frankham proposes that interactive web-docs can be seen as a more active and present form of creating media, as more of a thinking process than one which has been previously thought out. The sentence which caught my attention was when Frankham discusses the benefits of lists, exploring how lists “follows the structure of memory, impulse and flashes of association”. This inspired me to come up with an idea for the final Korsakow project we are undertaking this semester.

Frankham’s discussion of interactive web-docs, such as those created through the Korsakow program, and how they reward both the creator and the reader with deeper levels of complexity, was particularly interesting to me as it allowed me to further understand how the Korsakow program can be used.

Reflection on the Shields readings

Shield’s collection of writings discusses the ideas around narrative and non-narrative rejects traditional ideals of story, narrative and collage. He chooses to write through a collection of numbered thoughts (each a sentence or three long) linked through key ideas. The most striking thing about Shield’s writing is its lack of traditional narrative flow or cause and effect as traditionally seen in narrative.

Shield’s main argument is that narrative and story are “predictable, tired, contrive and purposeless” (Shields 2011, p.116). It is clear that he aims to combat this through the idea of collage and mosaic, which he states are an “evolution beyond narrative” (Shields 2011, p.111). This idea of a postmodern story telling is an interesting idea, and Shield’s ideas of stories making sense through items being placed together, seemingly at random, is both a thought provoking and intriguing matter.

The main ideas surrounding Shield’s writing link incredibly closely to ideas that Korsakow also deals with. In particular, the ideas surrounding adjacent data and how to arrange this data are obviously problems, which people who create in Korsakow have to deal with. Two of the ideas I found most interesting where:
• Shield’s ideas about “picking through options and presenting a new arrangement” (Shields 2011, p.116) – I found this interesting as it proposes that you could take a linear story and rearrange it in Korsakow, and that through the use of keywords it would create a very interesting and engaging film for a user to view and navigate
• Shield’s ideas about “the problems of scale” and engaging the reader (Shields 2011, p.119) – Shields briefly touches on how to keep the viewers (or readers) attention beyond basic engagement – how they can “stay charmed, seduced and beguiled” (Shields 2011, p.119)