February 2013 Archives

Prompt #6: Building depth.

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#6: Building depth. Post by 8 pm March 11.

Find a still image or clip from a television show, film or videogame that you feel builds depth effectively.

Be sure to reference specific concepts covered in the readings in your response. You might, for example, consider z-axis blocking; overlapping planes; linear perspective; wide angle lens perspective; telephoto lens perspective; or rack focus.

Please use the tag #depth.

Prompt #5 Framing: Lindsey

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Bad Boys 2 is about two Narcotics cops Mike Lowrey and Marcus Bennett who head up a task force investigating the flow of ecstasy into Miami. Their search leads to a dangerous drug-lord, whose plan to control the city's drug traffic has touched off an underground war, catching Syd (Marcus's sister) in the middle of all of it.
This particular scene is where Mike and Marcus are chasing some guys (who tried to high-jack Syd's car and run her down) through the city of Miami. This shot in particular is a tilted horizon to convey the amount of action and also in a way focus on Marcus, shooting at his 'targets', conveying that a brother's love is limitless when it comes to protecting his sister. I surprisingly think that the clip leaves a reasonable amount of headroom considering the fast pace, thrilling shot.

Framing #5

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Within this shot you see a close up of Beast in the movie X-Men First Class. This movie for those of you who have not seen it, is about mutant people- "superhero types" (people with special powers or talents) who are banning together to protect the humans from the bad mutants. These mutants are attempting to get the humans to wrongly fight each other in order to make them less of a threat to the mutants, so by creating a world war the bad mutants can end up taking over the world.

In this image Beast is flying their air plane as he rushes to stop a potential fight created by the protagonists between two countries that have no reason to be fighting. The angle of the shot is slightly off center creating a tilted horizon putting more intensity and action into the scene to show that this is not a easy, relaxing fight. The fierce concentration shown on Beasts face tells us he's potentially dodging other aircrafts or dangers in the sky, that are trying to stop him from reaching his destination to protect the humans, good mutants and most importantly, OUR WORLD!! .

Blog 4 Sound

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I chose to analyze a particular scene from the movie The Dark Knight. The movie follows the caped-crusader Batman as he protects Gotham City from evil villains. This movie focuses on one of Batman's arch nemesis, the Joker. I found this movie particularly interesting in its use of sounds because of the way the director balances sound with silence.
The scene I chose is from the opening of the movie. So many directors, especially in action movies, begin their movies with a grand music score or an exciting series of sounds. Conversely, director Christopher Nolan sets up the whole movie with tension and suspense by using silence throughout most of the opening titles. The silence forces us to tense up in anticipation of how the silence will eventually be broken. The silence is then literally broken by the sound of shattered glass as we get introduced to our first set of villains. From this point on there is mostly a focus on diegetic sounds of cars and dialogue. In addition to seeing the skyscrapers, the sound of cars helps establish the outer orientation of the scene by telling the audience this is a bustling city. The dialogue serves its usual informational function of introducing the main villain the Joker by having his partners talk about the Joker.
With the exception of the low beat of a drum at the very beginning of the opening title sequence, we hear very little music during the first minute of the video. As the scene begins with the opening view of the city, we hear a quiet drumbeat and a single string note. The single note becomes progressively louder as the camera zooms in on the buildings, most likely to build suspense. For the rest of the scene, the music cuts in and out intermittently and becomes most noticeable three minutes into the scene as the drama of the bank robbery reaches its peak. Later in the clip, the music subsides to a quieter level and is broken again by the sound of a bus crashing into the entrances of the bank.

Prompt #5: Framing

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#5: Framing. Post by 8 pm Feb. 18.
Find a still image or clip from a television show, film or video game that you feel exemplifies a compelling choice in regards to framing and shot composition.

Post the link to your image or clip and briefly introduce it (tell us what movie or show it's from, provide a little context). Then explain the concept(s) or technique(s) it exemplifies. What framing and compositional choices were made? What kind of an impact do those choices have?

Be sure to reference specific concepts covered in the Zettl reading in your response. You might, for example, consider screen area and energy; horizontal or vertical orienation; tilted horizon; psychological closure; pull of the frame; headroom, nose room and/or lead room; or continuing, converging and/or diverging index and/or motion vectors.

Please use the tag #framing for this post.

Prompt #4 Sound: Lindsey

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When going through the Chapter, nonliteral sounds really caught my attention. Specifically, because, [the book] it states that nonliteral sounds include the hisses, boings, and whams in a cartoon that accompany the incredible feats of the main character; the romantic music during a tender love scene on a beach; or the rhythmic theme that introduces the evening news. Naturally, I thought of the Looney Toons (my childhood consisted of many Saturday mornings watching this).
However, my mind shifted after reading the part where it mentioned 'romantic music'. I use to play the computer game SIMS when I was in middle school. The computer game features a lot of nonliteral sounds, but one iconic nonliteral sound that stuck out to me was when two characters ended up falling in 'love' and would kiss. The music would build up as the two characters would move closer and closer together. At the very moment where the 'magic' would happen (when they would lock lips), the music would get louder and in a sense 'explode'.
If you really want to listen to the various sounds from the game, by all means, be my guest. But the specific nonliteral sound I am referring to can be heard between 1:37-2:05 in the clip.

Enjoy friends!

Bjorn - Sound Prompt

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While reading about literal and non-literal sounds, I couldn't help but think about Super Marios Bros. for the NES. This is one of the few things I could think of off the top of my head that has more non-literal sound than literal sound. The soundtrack is constantly playing throughout the entire game and literal sounds are made only when the gamer performs an action other than moving back and forth. This game would be incredibly awkward without the soundtrack playing, so it was an easy decision for the creators to make. The constant non-literal sound makes it easier to just keep on going in the game too. It's always sort of pushing the player to keep moving with the music. The literal sounds that Mario makes compliment the music, so that also keeps the player going.

Sound Post

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The first movie I immediately thought of while reading the part of the chapter about predictive sounds was Jaws. The iconic melody of the is known even if you have never seen the movie. The music starts softly as Jaws, the shark (in case you haven't seen it or are not familiar with the movie..) gets closer to attacking and as he gets closer to his victim the music gets louder and faster. This acts as predictive sounds and is present throughout the movie whenever the shark is getting near, so it becomes a situational sound because it goes with the plot each time the shark is present (It is also present in each of the Jaws sequels as well). This music heightens the emotions and can manipulate the viewer's feelings because they know that this means something possibly scary is going to happen soon.


I think this clip is a good example of the predictive sound as well as ambient sounds and outer orientation function. There are a number of sounds that allow viewers to know they are near water, such as the splashing of the water on the shore and from people in the water and the seagulls.

Jaws is a perfect example of what the book refers to as "Leitmotiv" the short musical phrase that portends the appearance of a person, action or situation.

Prompt #4: Sound

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#4: Sound. Post by 8 pm Feb. 13.

Find a clip from a television show, film or video game that you feel exemplifies an interesting use of sound. Post the link to your image or clip and briefly introduce it (tell us what movie or show it's from, provide a little context). Then explain the sound concept(s) or technique(s) it exemplifies. What choices were made? What kind of an impact do those choices have?

Be sure to reference specific concepts covered in the Zettl reading in your response. You might, for example, consider diegetic and non-diegetic sound; the 'outer orientation' functions of sound; the 'inner orientation' functions of sound; etc.

Please use the tag #sound for this post.

Color post

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There were so many movies that came to mind when thinking about this blog post. However, one of my favorite movies is "Romeo and Juliet" starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. I love that the classic love story was able to be fused within modern times but still keeping the original dialogue. I think that the movie plays around with color symbolism in addition to using different hues and saturation.

One scene in particular that I believe stands out for using color symbolism:
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I believe this scene uses color symbolism particularly well with Juliet. By dressing her in a white costume (complete with angel wings) it gives the connotation that she is pure and innocent (As we often think of angels as glowing and white). Although in this particular still you cannot see it but she seems to stand out due to the contrast of other colors behind her. And although this blog is about the lighting the way the lighting is set up to accent their facial expressions reinforces the idea that she is meant to be innocent.
I really like how the scene looks a bit desaturated, the colors look a little bit faded but they do not seem to be too washed out either.

Color

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A film that instantly springs to mind when considering color as a communicative mean is "Kill Bill Volume 1". This film takes place in the present day in Quentin Tarantino's somewhat post-modern universe. The main character (who's name is not given in the first film, but is referred to as The Bride) was part of an elite assassin death-squad called the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. After being impregnated by her boss and squad leader, Bill, she left, only to be attacked during her wedding. After a several year coma, she awakens to find that her child is not only alive, but also with Bill. In an action-filled revenge spree, The Bride systematically tracks down and eliminates members of the Deadly Viper squad.

Color is used throughout the film, namely the colors red and yellow. For instance, The Bride adorns herself with a bright yellow jumpsuit and drives a bright yellow car elegantly titled "The Pussywagon" (which currently resides in Tarantino's driveway). The gore in the film is exaggerated, with excessive bright red blood that dresses each scene The Bride visits. A scene in the movie, describing the upbringing of one of The Bride's ex-coworkers, is done in an anime-style cartoon. It uses dark and light colors to emphasize the story's emotions.

While the color in "Kill Bill Volume 1" is most definitely a thematic catalyst, a lack of color also plays a particularly important role in the film. Upon laying eyes on any of her nemeses, loud sirens start to play and the screen is saturated with a red tone. During the final gore-fest, the film is entirely black and white. Tarantino may have chose to do that to understate the violence and gore of the scene. Limbs fly and blood is spilled, but all in black and white. Later, The Bride returns to the scene of the massacre, but the scene is now in color. This way, the viewer sees the action during the colorless scene, but later sees the true mayhem when The Bride revisits the scene. This allows the viewer to get two perspectives of the scene, one in which the violence is present but some of the graphic elements are missing, and again, when the viewer can see the destruction caused by The Bride. The first perspective detaches the viewer (a bit) from the violence -- Tarantino does this to simulate the detachment that The Bride feels while killing/injuring dozens of people. When The Bride returns to the scene, she, along with the viewer, witnesses the mayhem caused by her actions. Color, and lack of color, are used to simulate, in the viewer, the emotions and mindset of The Bride.

Below is the Lucy Liu cartoon scene mentioned above. WARNING: Graphic/NSFW
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImyntxVxZyE

Prompt #3 Color: Lindsey

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How could one not think of Mary Poppins when discussing color in film? For those who don't know, Mary Poppins is a magical nanny who arrives at the home of Jane and Michael Banks (by umbrella). She challenges the stiff English upbringing the children's father (Mr. Banks) provides, while teaching the children some valuable lessons about life. The main contrast in the way color is used throughout this film is during Mary's 'magical adventures' with the kids and her close friend Bert. The first 'still' shows when Mary, Bert, Jane, and Michael were whisked away to an outing in an animated countryside. The colors portrayed in the animated countryside are all of high energy compared to the 'reality' depicted in the movie where the energy is rather low making colors appear more dull. I think this is an effective way to use color between the magical world and reality because the animated world is more playful and fun which makes sense to me why the colors would be more vibrant.

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One movie that came to mind when thinking of interesting color use was Moulin Rouge (I mean it has the French word for red after all). The movie takes place in a radically changing France at the turn of the 20th century. The story revolves around a tale of star-crossed love between two characters from different walks of life. The director, Baz Luhrmann, uses explosions of color on the set and on the characters to exemplify the crazy bohemian lifestyle of Paris' underground.
As the story progresses, the color represents the relationship between our main characters. The initial coloring before the audience experiences the Moulin Rouge is rather drab. Later, the colors are vibrant with lots of use of saturated red when the characters are falling in love. Conversely when the characters split apart the scene changes to an achromatic setting with lots of grays. In the end, though, the characters realize their love and the scene gradually becomes full of color and vibrancy with a background that resembles a valentine. This use of color is one way of telling the audience what emotions the characters are feeling and what emotions the audience should be feeling as well.
The photo I chose is from a scene when the two characters fall out of love. Ewan McGregor sits on the bed feeling betrayed and alone. The director displays his melancholy by utilizing subtractive color mixing with a blue gel in front of the key light. The diffusion of light surrounds McGregor in sorrow and loss, along with the darkness that surrounds him, symbolizing depression. Without the coloring and use of black as darkness, I don't believe the scene would have been as effective in portraying the loneliness of the main character.

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Prompt #2 Light & Lighting: Lindsey

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Like Allyson, I also share a strong passion for the 90's, this 'still' just happens to be from the "real" story of Cinderella. Ever After came out in 1998 and it's one of my favorite takes on the classic fairy tale. After the sudden death of her loving father, Danielle is made a servant by her new stepmother. Along with a stepmother, Danielle also inherits two step sisters, one is actually pretty nice to her while the other is extremely mean. Despite Danielle's hard upbringing, she grows up to be a happy and strong-willed young lady, none of this 'wait around for the prince to rescue me' nonsense. She wins the prince with her passion, outspoken nature, and the fact that she doesn't take crap from anyone. She makes her dreams come true instead of waiting around for them to happen. This image is from the scene where she walks into the 'ball' and everyone turns to look at her. I think it was important to have her look angelic, given her gorgeous costume and it's one of those moments in the movie where when she walks in, it's suppose to take everyone's breath away. I think fill lights were used all around her to soften the lighting so no shadows or sharp lines were to appear across her face or body. I think that back lighting was also extremely important in this scene because giving the image of her wings glowing helped in creating the 'angelic' 'take your breath away' vibe they were going for.

Prompt #3: Color

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#3: Color. Post by 8 pm Feb. 11.

Find a still image or clip from a television show, film or video game that you feel exemplifies a compelling use of color.

Post the link to your image or clip and briefly introduce it (tell us what movie or show it's from, provide a little context). Then explain why/how it's a good example of using color effectively. What color choices are being made? What kind of impact to these color choices have? How might these choices effect what the viewer looks at, what they pay attention to, and/or how they feel?

Be sure to reference specific concepts covered in the Zettl reading in your response. You might, for example, consider color energy, saturation/desaturation, color temperature, color symbolism, color and sound combinations, and/or the 'inner orientation' functions of color.

Please use the tag #color for this post.

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