Archive of ‘Film & TV’ category

Analysis and Reflection 4

In this clip from Forbidden Lies, Anna Broinowski’s 2007 film: describe in detail all of the audio, how it may have been recorded/sourced and how you think it has been edited / layered in post. (You do not need to describe how the music was recorded)

Broinowski’s Forbidden Love begins with a short advertisement/musical piece. The song lyrics describe the culture surrounding marriage in Muslim culture. The song is somewhat cheesy in nature and this corresponds with the SFX, which appear to be part of this piece. The SFX are heavily echoed and add to the dreamy nature of the clip (achieved through heavy filters and vignettes). This clip has an abrupt ending with a woman’s voice saying, “This is not the truth”. This voice cuts into the music, creating an abrupt end to this surreal clip. The non-diegetic sound effects in this introductory clip are layered over the music and they have been edited to add some kind of echo-y sound effects.

Most of the rest of the audio is the interviews of two women disproving the author, as well as the woman reading her book. This would have been recorded when they were shooting. Some of it is overlayed over other footage they have recorded, however most of the audio and video that has been shot together is used together. Some of the clips (e.g. the footage of the unisex salon shop, the women smoking cigarettes, and the gym) are accompanied with audio (with no lyrics) and the audio of the woman reading her novel. This music is layered over all of the clips in this sequence, again coming to an abrupt end when the woman closes her phone and laughs.

Most applications reserve keyboard shortcuts for the functions that you 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 Premiere (hint, film-tv blog) and note four or more functions that you’ve never used before and why they may be invaluable to your editing. (Different functions to what you wrote last semester)

Speed/Duration – Cmd + R
While editing the footage we’ve shot already for Bluestone, we have found that we are trying to create a view of Pentridge Village as a slow-moving place, where nothing much happens. Through slowing down clips, we can increase this feeling in our footage. This shortcut will make selecting and affecting our clips much easier, as it will speed up the process.

Ungroup – Shift + Cmd + G
This tool will be invaluable in our editing process, as our film will rely heavily on the use of overlay and voiceovers. Our heavy focus on interviews in Bluestone means that we will be utilising a lot of our footage shot in Pentridge to ensure that these interviews don’t become visually boring for our audience. By unlinking the video and audio we record, we can insert other clips (i.e. voiceover from interviews) over the top of clips we have shot in the Village to make for more interesting viewing.

List/Icon – Cmd + Page Up/ Cmd + Page Down

This way of toggling the ways the bins are organised makes it easier to view and sort the footage we have shot. Because we are importing the footage through Premiere (and naming all of our clips), we have encountered times when it would be easier to view the clips via lists, or via icons. By knowing this shortcut, it will be easier for us to switch between the two views, rather than manually going through the menus every time we want to change the view.

Trim Forward by One Frame – Opt + Right
Until researching for this analysis, I did not know this shortcut was possible. Last semester in Film & TV 1, this would have been a helpful tool to know about in our editing process. As we shot a lot of action last semester, we were advised that modifying our cuts by one frame would make the action appear smoother. While this may not become as handy this semester for Bluestone, (as there is significantly less action involved) it may become handy at one point or another in our editing process this semester.

“From a distant gaze…” (1964) directed by Jean Ravel, picture Pierre Lhomme & Chris Marker, words by Louis Aragon, narrated by Jean Negroni, music by Michel Legrand. Describe a few things that intrigue you – it might be shot construction, camera work, editing, overall structure, thematic concerns etc. Describe the camera work and why you think it has been shot that way.

This piece of film was an incredibly interesting piece of film to watch. One of the things I liked the most about it was how succinctly it demonstrated the spirit and feelings of the people. I loved the fast moving camerawork, which captures the bustling streets of Paris and the people who live there. I feel like the culture of the people has been established through the use of close ups and the fast moving camera work. This style of ‘fly on the wall’ shooting has been used to great effect in this clip. The music that accompanies this clip adds to the fast paced feel of the clip.

One thing that intrigued me most was the use of voice over (particularly 0:57-1:39) by Jean Negroni added to the ‘fly on the wall’ or ‘people watching’ feel of the clip. The mysterious nature of this clip was confusing, however I feel like it would make sense when watching the whole film, rather than this short clip. With out context, this mysterious voice over takes on a rather ominous feel, which is very contradicting to the joyous or happy tones of the footage and music used in this clip.

The fashion of the people, particularly the women, is particularly important in establishing the geographical and historical context of this film. By only seeing a few clips, even before the voiceover comes in, the audience quickly understands that the film was filmed in 1960’s Paris, purely through the way the people are dressed. This quick establishing of context through non-verbal means is really interesting, as it is not often seen in films made in the present day.

Select from one of the readings and briefly describe two points that you have taken from it. Points that interest you, something you could apply to your own documentary.

“It’s not shooting like a fly on the wall because a fly doesn’t have a brain” (Maysles, cited in Cunningham, 2005, p.89)

This discussion of ‘fly on the wall’ style shooting (or cinema verite) is an interesting one because of the discussion of how real life can be manipulated or pushed by filmmakers to create more of a story. Haskell Wexler, interviewed by Megan Cunningham, tells a story about when he was shooting Salesman, (a cinema verite piece), in which the filmmakers pushed action onto the participants in order to help forward the narrative. They discuss how this kind of choice is the same as a choice about which camera/lens/shot type you chose, the editing choices you make, when you shoot, and whom you shoot. This stimulation of natural drama is really important for our piece Bluestone, as it is an interesting way of considering how to construct a story. Throughout our preproduction, we have struggled with our overall vision and contention, as well as finding people to interview. By considering that we can push the conventions of cinema verite into creating drama, it gives us freedom to create a narrative where they may not have previously been one.

“There was a lot of experimentation in that project, and it gave me a lot of confidence in the different ways you can film what is real” (Johnston, cited in Cunningham 2005, p.156)

Kirsten Johnston, a filmmaker who has worked on several independent features in the last 25 years, discusses working with French critic and philosopher, Jacques Derrida, who had very strict control over how he wanted to be shot in his documentary. Johnston talks about how this impacted on the documentary that was created in the final product. This reflection of Derrida’s thoughts became a founding aspect of the documentary, which went on to win several awards and was screened at Sundance film festival. Because the subject had such strict rules about how he was going to be framed in his piece, Johnston talks about how she was forced to think outside the box in relation to the framing of the shots. One of the more interesting things I took away from this documentary was when she talked about how, when shooting Derrida working in his office, instead of shooting him behind from inside, she chose to shoot him from “in his garden, filming him through the trees, through the window, into his office” (p.156). I liked this because it made me think about how our interviews for Bluestone can be shot, outside of the traditional and conventional ways to shoot interviews.

Film & TV 2 – Analysis and Reflection 2

Question 2
In this semester I want to learn more about the codes and conventions of documentary – and how they can be broken to make an interesting and exciting piece of film. Having no previous experience or knowledge about what it means to make a documentary (I haven’t done True Lies either, which I feel like puts me a little bit behind the 8-Ball this semester). I want to make a really interesting and experimental piece of film, which does not resemble a traditional interview based documentary. This semester I also want to immerse myself more in the technical side of film production this semester. Last semester, as I took the role of director, I feel like I did not learn enough enough about the more technical aspects of filmmaking (particularly sound and lighting). This semester, however I want to learn more about how these areas work and can get my skills to the same level of my peers. This semester I want to work with a really interesting and skilled group of people, and to work really well together and hard to create a really interesting piece of film.

Question 3
In the lecture in Week 1, we watched an excerpt from Brian Hill’s “Drinking for England”, which is one of Hill’s most famous documentary musicals. While I thought the use of song was an interesting and unexpected way to break the conventions surrounding documentary, I don’t think it was a particularly engaging way to communicate the ideas Hill was trying to show to his audience. Although, it may have worked when viewing the film as a whole, the excerpt on its own did not exactly convince me this was an effective way to create a documentary. While I wouldn’t call it repelling, exactly, it didn’t convince me of the wonders of the musical documentary.

Question 4
“The Idea of North” was an interesting way to present a documentary which features several people’s impressions and attitudes towards Northern Canada. The most interesting thing about this documentary for me was the introduction – the layering of several voices each talking over each other. When I listened to it initially, I thought there was a mistake with the audio or how I was playing it, that I had accidentally opened several different tracks at once. However, after I figured out what was happening, I really got into the swing of it. I actually listened to the introduction bit several times, just to try and hear what each of the voices were saying.

I thought the rest of the documentary was really interesting as well, however this introductory layering was, for me, the most interesting and capturing part of the excerpt. It definitely inspired me to think about how this can be used in our projects for this semester – and how this can be transferred into a video medium as well. This more poetic and experimental approach to a more traditional interview based documentary was definitely very inspiring in terms of our work this semester.

Question 5
This recording exercise for me was very challenging for a few reasons. First of all, due to odd numbers in our class, I completed this task on my own. This, in tandem with my lack of proficiency and confidence in the technical side of filmmaking, means I did not complete this task as I well as I feel I could have if I was in a pair. However, this exercise also taught me to have confidence and to be brave in both my own skills and my choices.

When doing the activity, I wanted to explore sounds we here almost every day as RMIT students, the sound of people playing basketball outside of Building 9, waiting in line at the Student HUb, the fountains that are on Bowen Street, people talking and laughing. All of these sounds evoke memories, for me, of being at university and being apart of the culture that surrounds us. Looking back and reflecting on my recordings, I wish I had thought more about what I was trying to achieve with these sounds as a whole (instead as of isolated incidents and recordings).

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


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.

Week 1 reading: Interactive documentary: setting the field

Ashton and Gaudenzi’s reading discusses the growing production and relevance of interactive documentaries in the last 40 years, since the Aspen Movie App created by Lippman in 1978. Interactive documentaries are defined as a media product with “an intention to document the ‘real’ and that uses digital interactive technology to realise this intention” (Ashton and Gaudenzi 2012, p.126).

Ashton and Gaudenzi outline define and explain four distinctly different types of interactive documentaries as being:

  • Conversational – The original form of interactive documentaries – it contains an interactive video reconstruction of an experience. This type of interactive documentary positions the user to be in a discussion with the computer interface and the documentary.
  • Hypertext – In this form, the user interacts with pre-existing options. The most structured way to explore the ideas presented by the documentary makers.
  • Participative – This type of interactive documentary actively involves the users within the production of the documentary. This relies on the user to create the experience for themselves
  • Experiential – The newest type of interactive documentary harnesses mobile technology to combine the movement within physical space to create a digital experience.

Each four of these types of interactive documentary creates a different dynamic between the user, the author and the artifact – each one presents a different construction of reality and proposes a different kind of interaction.

Ashton and Gaudenzi then go onto discuss different peoples thoughts on interactive documentaries, which were presented at two symposiums run exclusively on this topic. Two of the viewpoints I found most interesting were:

  • Alexandre Bratchet (Upian) discussed the importance and relevance of a good interface in creating a successful delivery and the creation of meaning. He also stated that participation around a interactive documentary is as valid as participation within an interactive documentary.
  • Nick Cohen (BBC) discussed the 90-9-1 model, which is assumed for many modern media forms. This model states that, within any media form, 1% of people are actively creating the content, 9% are viewing and contributing to the content, and 90% of people are viewing it but not actively contributing. Through the creation and viewing of interactive documentaries, this model is becoming less and less reliable, as more people are involved with creating and contributing to content.

In the conclusion of this article, Ashton and Gaudenzi discuss how interactive documentaries allow for new ways to present multiple points of view. Through multiple entry points and storylines, interactive documentaries offer a deeper level and of discussion and engagement with the presented ideas.