March 2013 Archives

Prompt #8 Motion - Lindsey


Ok, so I'm 'a day late and a dollar short' on this posting but I just had to comment! After watching friends (yet again, seriously I have no life) I got a glimpse into one of the most iconic forms of motion from an old TV series that Joey and Chandler were watching.
I seriously don't know how I didn't think about it before but it will definitely be an 'ah ha' moment for most...
For those who don't know what Baywatch is, it's a TV series of the 90's about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the beaches in California. The series I'm sure had a more complex plot but most people tuned-in to watch the sexy cast (like Pamela Anderson and Yasmine Bleeth) run in slow motion in tight bathing suits.
The first link is the episode of friends I was watching when the infamous Baywatch came on and made me think of this blog post and the second video is the actual Baywatch introduction.
Baywatch is primarily primary motion, on screen movement of the talent, but secondary motion is also evident, especially panning.

Motion: Jeffrey Long


The clip I chose is from Spider-Man 2. In the clip, Peter Parker is meeting his friend Mary Jane at a cafe to see where they stand in their relationship. Suddenly Peter's "spider sense" goes off and this happens:

This scene does a great job with slow motion to really show how much danger Peter and M.J are in and how fast Peter can react. It creates a really cool effect and it is very intense when the glass shards fly over the characters. It uses velocity changes very effectively by having the car in slow motion, and then speeding the car back up to normal speed after it passes Peter. This helps the audience see just how fast the car was actually moving. The primary motion is Peter dodging the car while the secondary motion is the zoom in on the event. Overall it is a really cool scene and the use of slow motion makes a already cool scene ever better.

Time & Motion: Zombieland


I really like the way that Zombieland uses slow motion in the introduction/opening credits of the movie. The two minute intro shows people running away and getting attacked by zombies. I think that since the scene is in slow motion it definitely helps set the tone for the rest of the movie. It gives it a more humorous tone and does a great job setting up the movie. I really like the first clip from the intro, it does a very good job capturing the attention of the viewer. It shows a car accident with a lady flying in slow motion towards the ground. When she almost hits the ground it goes back to full speed, which creates a really gruesome shot. A large majority of these shots are also primary movement, which helps create a more gruesome shot. Since the character is the object moving, it really gives the slow motion shots a good feel. There is some secondary motion going on in some of the scenes. All of the secondary motion in the intro is just a simple pan done by the camera. I think that the primary motion is very important and makes the slow motion introduction really successful. Overall, the slow motion helps set up the movie and set the tone really appropriately. If you haven't, go check out Zombieland because it is a pretty funny movie.

Wes Anderson and Slow-motion

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I chose to use a scene from Wes Anderson's "The Royal Tenenbaums". In this scene, Richie Tenenbaum (Luke Wilson) is picking up his adopted sister, Margot (Gwyneth Paltrow) by way of the green bus. The movie reveals that Richie and Margot have somewhat of a love affair even though she is married and is his adopted sister.

I chose this scene because of Wes Anderson's use of slow motion. I consider Anderson my favorite director and a pioneer in slow motion comedic shots. Even though this scene is not very comical, the use of slow motion still has some meaningfulness. Anderson is known to use slow motion while silencing all sound and then potting up a song that encompasses the emotion in the scene. For this example, the slow motion shots of both Wilson and Paltrow while listening to Nico's "These Days" forces the audience to fully relish themselves within the moment and feel the emotion each character has for each other.

Motion: 300


For this blog post, I chose to look at a clip of a fight scene, mostly in slow motion, from the movie 300. This scene shows a battle between the outnumbered Spartan Army against a larger army. The Spartans go on to win this battle. King Leonidas is the major focus of the scene, and he goes on to kill a lot of the other soldiers in a short period of time. This scene is a good example of slow motion. I would say that about half of the scene is slow-motion. It creates a cool dynamic between the slow motion and regular motion of the camera, the camera returns to slow motion when Leonidas makes kills. The slow motion of the kills creates an emphasis on them and tells the audience that even though the Spartans are outnumbered, they are much more skilled and have more courage.

This scene makes great use of primary and secondary motion. The primary motion is of course Leonidas and his soldiers fighting the other army and killing them, with the secondary motion of the camera zooming in to make the fighting more intense. The secondary motion of the camera makes the experience intensity of the scene very high. The camera slows down and zooms in whenever Leonidas makes a kill, and he kills a lot of people in a short period of time.

Motion: Aaron Bergland

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The clip I chose is from Guy Ritchie's film, Snatch. In this scene Tommy and Turkish (Jason Statham) has been forced by local kingpin, Brick Top, to enter their fighter, One Punch Mickey (Brad Pitt), into an underground boxing match where Mickey is suppose to fall in the fourth round. If Mickey does not fall in the fourth or knocks out his opponent, Brick Top intends to have them and their friends and family all killed.

The scene does a great job of picking up the intensity of the fight by using velocity change throughout the match, with a combination of slow motion shots, real time, and even effective use of freeze-frame shots. When Mickey Knocks his opponent down the first time, the camera zooms in on Tommy and Turkish showing their facial expressions of fear and discuss in slow motion that Mickey (the Gypsy bare-knuckle boxing champ) is not going to cooperate. This is followed by a slow motion shot of Brick Top, which helps build on the intensity, reminding the audience of the stakes involved of this fight.

At the very end of the fight, Mickey soars backwards through the air in slow motion and lands in a pool, which gives the audience the false sense that Mickey has fallen down for the count. As Mickey become alert once more, the slow motion stops and real time begins briefly as Mickey deals his opponent a knock-out punch. As his opponent receives the blow, slow motion is reapplied followed by a freeze-frame, where Turkish tells his audience his life is over.

The Beacons Are Lit!


Here is an example of motion from a very popular film that most of you have probably seen, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. In this scene the young master hobbit, Pippin, is tasked by Gandalf the White (previously Gandalf the Grey) to light the beacons of Amon Din. These will signal the Riders of Rohan to aid Gondor in it's time of need.

In this scene we follow the climb of Pippin upto the beacon and from the camera angles we can tell that he is climbing vertically and at an extreme height. That really isn't as important as the following sequence after the first beacon is struck. Taking full advantage of Large-screen Digital Cinema, Peter Jackson, portrays a beautiful landscape view of the mountains upon which the beacons rest. We get the sense that we are moving, like the signal itself, from the movement of the camera over the mountains, while they remain stationary (as do the fires). This is a cool effect because we know that the fires are visible but they are not a moving signal. It is a conveyed sense of motion through sight, a motion paradox.

The last thing I wanted to mention was the percieved speed of the scene. The camera moving over the landscape seems ot be moving rather slowly, but at the same time shows the huge expanse of space that is being traversed. This feeling is amplified once you realize how large mountains are, and also if you are familiar with a map of Middle Earth ;).

Prompt #8: Time & motion

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#8: Time & motion. Post by 8 pm March 25.
Find a clip from a television show, film or video game that you feel exemplifies an interesting choice in regards to the perception of time and/or motion.

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 time/motion 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 experience intensity; open future; slow motion; accelerated motion; velocity change; the perception of primary motion; secondary motion; or tertiary motion.

Please use the tag #motion for this post.

Prompt #7 Visualization - Lindsey

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This still I chose is from the movie Unknown. Unknown is about Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) who travels to a foreign country with his wife to speak in a conference. After arriving at the hotel Harris realizes he left his ever important brief case in the taxi and leave the hotel to go track it down. In the midst of tracking down his possessions a car strikes his taxi knocking himself out on the window and off the bridge and into the water. He awakens from a coma, only to discover that someone has taken on his identity and that no one, (not even his wife), believes him. With the help of a young woman, he sets out to prove who he is.
In the still I envision posting for this prompt (but couldn't find anywhere online) is where they show the nurse caring for Harris (who is in a coma) in the hospital. The shot then switches to Harris laying in the bed. And switches again back to Harris's point of view of him awakening from coma and seeing the nurse. This repeats it's self multiple times until he fully becomes conscious of his surroundings, sometimes awakening to an empty room and sometimes awakening with the doctor in view. This is an example of subjective camera.

Prompt #7 Visualization

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In this clip of my favorite tv show, The Office, there are many different examples of visualization and camera techniques. The first shot is of Dwight simply talking to Jim, who can not be seen at the time. The next shot starts off as an over-the-shoulder shot of Jim, but it also shows Dwight's face for a short time. Early on in this OTS shot of Jim the camera zooms in to a cross shot. Although Dwight is still in the shot, he is not in focus and there is very little of his face showing, that is why i would consider it a cross shot.
After this, the camera switches to a subjective camera style that is referred to as the direct -adress method (Zettl 218). This style of the subjective camera technique requires the actor or talent on screen to be talking directly to the camera, and therefore communicating directly with the audience. The Office uses a lot of this technique and that arises from it being shot as a documentary style tv show. Another show that uses a lot of this technique and is shot in this same way is Trailer Park Boys.

Mise-en-Eternal Sunshine

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Oh man have I been waiting for a change to post a clip from this film. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is probably one of my top 3 movies of all time. This film is about a couple who meet, fall in love, and meet and fall in love again. I don't want to give away what happens, so if you haven't seen it, go watch it! Joel Barish the main character played by Jim Carrey is struggling to keep his memories after he makes a terrbile mistake, and throughout the film he is cycling through them. Through the use of mise-en-scene, they are able to effectively demonstrate the hectic and exciting world of his inner mind while dealing with this crisis. Near the middle of the clip he begins to flash back to his childhood, specifically a day where it was raining, and in his present mind, it begins to rain in his living room. Then his bike from his youth appears at the corner of the screen. The most interesting part to me is when he dives under the table to take cover from the rain. In his past he hid under a wood structured awning with a plastic ribbed top. The table is made of the exact same material, although constructed differently. I think this film is just awesome. There are little things like that scattered throughout the entire film. It gives it an excellent amount of narrative set design as well.
Lastly the filming is a style of its own and creates a really darkish mood at some parts, while being really light-hearted and exciting at the same time. Pretty much the whole film is shot in the telephoto sytle as well.

Prompt #7: Visualization and production design

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Find a still image or clip from a television show, film or videogame or provides a compelling example of one of the visualization concepts discussed in the reading, or that serves as an interesting example of production design.

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 choices were made? What kind of an impact do those choices have?

Be sure to reference specific concepts covered in the readings in your response. You might, for example, consider inductive or deductive sequences; low angle and high angle shots; subjective camera; point of view; mise-en-scene; shallow space; deep space; or deep focus.

Use the tag #visualization for this post.

Prompt #6 Depth: Lindsey

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(the image is too big to display I guess and I don't know how to resize it so please check the link to see it)

I don't know why my paragraph explaining the 'depth' of the picture I chose decided to just erase... bare with me, like I've stated before, I'm not the best at this whole technology thing. ha

When I was doing the readings on depth my mind immediately wandered to the movie Inception. For those of you who have never seen the movie, I promise you it will not disappoint! Inception is a movie about a skilled thief named Dom Cobb that steals valuable secrets deep within the subconscious during the dream state when apparently the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb is offered a chance at redemption with one last job but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Cobb and his team of specialists have to (instead of steal an idea) plant one.

In this specific scene, Cobb and Ariadne are in a dream where Ariadne is the one creating the dream-like place.
The still is from a Linear Perspective (wide-angle) meaning the parallel lines coverage much faster than when seen normally. Also, it is easy to see that because of the wide-angle lens, a bit of distortion screen left, where the building seems to turn in to the street. Lastly, depth is also established through overlapping planes (the buildings).

Depth - Bjorn

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Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 7.39.28 PM.png

The above image is from a short film called Windows, by Peter Greenaway. The shot has a lot of depth. Relative size is being used, especially with the bed. One leg of the bed is significantly larger than the other. Also, the trees outside are very small. There are overlapping planes in this shot too. The outdoors are covered everything inside the house. I just watched this short film in another class of mine today, and it's pretty awesome so check it out if you want.

Depth in Forrest Gump


The shot I chose is a very famous shot seen in several movies. It is seen several times within the scene when Forrest Gump has stumbled upon a a congressional and he is asked to share a few words to the masses of people. It is a linear perspective with very powerful and convincing view. In a linear perspective all objects look progressively smaller the further away they are, and parallel lines converge in the distance, with the vertical and horizontal lines becoming more crowded as they move away from the observer. All parallel lines converge and stop or disappear at the vanishing point, which always lies at eye level or camera level on the horizon line. Most people have probably seen this movie, but it is about a young man growing up and we watch him go through his childhood falling in love with his childhood friend and going into the army.


Depth in No Country for Old Men

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This is one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies, the Cohen brothers' No Country for Old Men. I think the use of a wide angle lens perspective throughout the scene, and the film as a whole, is really great for establishing the old western movie feel, with a large amount of horizontal depth that you can't get without a wide angle lens. In this specific scene, where Llewelyn is hunting in the middle of a super barren, rough terrain in the middle of nowhere, I think the wide angle lens really captures the barrenness and openness of the setting. By showing as much of the horizon as possible, it's even clearer that the main character is completely alone, and I think that depth translates that feeling of solidarity to the audience.

Depth in Les Miserables

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This scene does an excellent job of portraying depth in my mind. Unfortunately I couldn't find a clip containg both this and the very beginning with the song as well. In that part the ship is being dragged into port and lines of men are staggered along ropes. They get progressively smaller moving towards the back of the scene near the Z axis.
This part in particular emphasizes the Focus on Front bit of depth, the focus is on Javert and Jean Valjean but we know that there is stuff going on behind them, which is obscured a bit. In the rear of the scene we also have a focal point on the horizon line being the ship, but the focus is again on Jean Valjean.
The scene where Jean Valjean reaches the top of the steps looks to me like a piano key narrow angle lens, and steps along the sides of the dock are excellent lines of direction giving it an excellent linear perspective. The relative size of everything in the scene seems so compressed and close thanks to the narrow angle effect.
The ship in the background is a good example of relative size, because it doesn't seem very large in shots where it is farther away, but we can see that as we get closer to it, it is much much larger. Therefore, it gives a good sense of depth itself. It is also and example of selective focus because it has the most focus of all the background imagery.

Building Depth

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Game of Thrones is often credited for having beautiful cinematography. The below screenshot is from the end of the first season, in which Khaleesi becomes the "mother of dragons". This still is a good example of depth. Khaleesi and her dragon take up the center and left sections of the screen, while blurred out worshipers are kneeling in the right side background. This shot displays clever depth of field, as Khaleesi stays the center focus, while her devout followers are shown in the background (with little focus). Z-axis blocking is used to line up the worshipers in the background, creating a larger sense of crowd density. There are only six or seven worshipers in the scene, but the angle of the camera, the focus on Khaleesi, and the blocking of the worshipers creates a sense that there are more worshipers surrounding Khaleesi off-camera. Planes are overlapped to create a larger sense of depth. While the furthest worshiper is likely 20 or 30 feet from Khaleesi, the in-focus Khaleesi and the out-of-focus worshipers make it seem as if the worshipers stretch much further back than they do in reality. These techniques of creating depth add to the dramatic aura required by the scene.

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