March 2013 Archives

Prompt #9: Commercials & parody

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9: Commercials and Parody. Post by 8pm April 16.
Find and share a clip that you believe counts as a parody. The parody you share may be from a television show or movie, or it may be something created for the small/mobile screen (i.e., something someone made and shared on youtube or vimeo, etc).

After providing any background/context you feel is necessary to understand the parody, clearly identify what it is that you feel is being parodied. In other words, why can this clip be considered a parody? What is it parodying?

Note: While your examples can be parodies of any number of things, I especially encourage you to share parodies of commercials (if you know of/can find one), as they are particularly relevant to our work for the remainder of the semester.

Please use the tag #parody for this post.

All the Real Girls clip

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Well folks, it looks like that clip I wanted to show you in class today is no longer online. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Hobbit Flashback Scene - Time and Motion


This scene that I chose is from The Hobbit. It serves mainly to give history and motive to one of the main characters of the movie: the leader of the dwarves' group, named Thorin. Another dwarf tells Bilbo (the hobbit) Thorin's story through a flashback sequence:

I think that this scene is especially interesting because it uses time and motion together to present it. The whole flashback itself is shot in slight slow motion, not overly obvious but still giving the surreal affect that Zettl describes. It is clear that it took place in a different time.

Time is also played with by going back and forth between present and past, although the dwarf's voice plays over the whole thing.

Another thing that is really interesting about this scene is the contrast between the shots of present and past. In shots in the past, a battle is being fought and so there is a lot of movement, characters, and event intensity. In the present scenes, however, it is dark and quiet, with many people even sleeping, and so the event intensity is very low.

All of these factors make the scene complex and interesting, just like the information and history that is being presented through the plot at the time.

Motion: Conker's Bad Fur Day/ A Clockwork Orange

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The first thing that came to mind when considering Motion was a scene from the movie A Clockwork Orange which was parodied brilliantly and more effectively in the video game Conker's Bad Fur Day for the Nintendo 64. What happens is, after the credits begin, we see the camera zoomed in closely to the main character while slowly zooming out to show all of the shenanigans that are going on behind it. This motion adds to the viewer's/player's sense of wonderment at exactly what is going on, whereas if the camera had stayed focused on Conker himself for the duration of this scene the intensity would have stayed the same. In addition the use of the slow-motion zoom out makes it seem like the scene is incredibly drawn out and that it adds to intensity of the scene itself.

At the end of the game, we see the same thing, however it starts wide and then moves in closer. Perhaps the best use of slow motion is how Conker's eyes roll up to create the effect that he is staring at you which really brings out the intensity of this final scene (The part to which I am referencing starts at 5:27)

Thanks for reading, and enjoy!

Adaptation - Time Lapse


I chose this scene from the movie Adaptation because it is a great example of a time lapse. This movie is a semi-autobiography about the main character's struggle to make the book The Orchid Thief into a movie.

The movie is two movies in one. It's about a man who tries to write an original film that doesn't follow the typical Hollywood themes of sex, drugs, plot twist, etc. Then the film turns into the typical cliché Hollywood film with life lessons and secrets. Finally this scene appears at the very end of the film with the song "Happy Together" just like a film typically would end.

This scene is a great example of subjective time because we view a scene that shows multiple days pass, but we are only watching the scene for about 30 seconds. One aspect of this scene that I find interesting is that the camera decides focus in on the flowers, while the camera continues to lose focus on the background.

Time - Family Guy


I chose this scene from Family Guy because of its effect on the viewer's subjective time perception.

After 4 seasons of trying to kill his mother, Stewie decides he loves her after she rescues his teddy bear from certain destruction. He becomes enamored with her and desperate for her constant attention, wearing Lois out. Lois is finally attempting to rest when Stewie enters her bedroom and this scene occurs.

It seems at least once an episode, Family Guy has a scene like this that starts out fine but then the pace is suddenly halted for a long, drug out something or another that, although it is less than a minute long, feels to the viewer as though it is never going to end. Also, I found the rhythm of this scene particularly interesting because although Stewie is using different forms of the word "mom" and they vary in the number of syllables, he keeps a fairly consistent beat. The words with multiple syllables are sped up and the pauses between words are the same each time, which is one of the only things that makes the scene tolerable for the viewer when the pace comes to an abrupt stop.

Visualization - Romeo & Juliet

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Since I mentioned this in class today, I thought I would post it so everyone could see what I was talking about. There are so many elements of visualization that we discussed today in the few short minutes of this clip from the 1996 version of Romeo & Juliet. There are low and high-angle shots, POV shots, as well as both inductive and deductive approaches.

Romeo + Juliet Opening by gmprunner

Prompt #8: Time & motion

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#8: Time & motion. Post by 8 pm March 24.
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.

Rear Window - POV


In Alfred Hitchcock's film, Rear Window (1954), he used many point of view shots to put the viewer into the position of the protagonist played by James Stewart. In the film, Stewart's character, Jeffries, has broken his leg and has nothing better to do than look out the window at his neighbors. Production Design is very important because he lives in an urban apartment complex were all of the rear apartments face the same courtyard. So Jeffries' view is of the rear windows of the people who live across the courtyard. As he takes interest in one his neighbors, a salesman, and after finding out that the salesman's wife has died, begins to suspect that the husband killed her.

The film is very suspenseful and much the thanks is to Hitchcock's use of point of view shots. Jeffries observes his neighbor through a couple different mediums, binoculars and then later a camera with a telephoto lens. In these point of view shots, overlapping planes are important because it give the viewer a sense of depth in the shot, you can see the frame of the outer window, then the neighbor and his furniture, then the back wall of his apartment. This also give the viewer the sense that the salesman is boxed in.

I also think this is a good example of the difference between wide angle lens and telephoto lens shots. The shots of the neighbor are telephoto lens shots and they effectively shot the narrow depth of field and gives the shot a cramped feel to it. The reverse shots of Jeffries as he watches the salesman are wider angle as more of his surroundings are in view.

Visualization in Platoon


For this post, I used the opening scene from Platoon. The scene takes place on an airfield and Stone seems to go with an inductive opening to show us this. The text mentions that filmmakers have only recently begun using inductive openings, so I can't help but think that he helped pioneer this. He begins with a CU of two Army jeeps. The jeeps actually move toward us on the Z-axis, providing us with some of that depth we learned about on Monday. Once the jeeps go offscreen, we get a CU of an Air Force plane along with the title. Then he finally dollies (or maybe zooms? I can't tell) from a CU of soldiers leaving the plane to an LS of them and the soldiers working around it. All to ensure that viewers can visualize and feel like they're in Vietnam.

Stone also uses the Objective to Subjective POV in order to immerse his viewers in the film. I feel he did so rather successfully here. We see Charlie Sheen's character trying to shield the dust from his eyes when someone from screen left points toward screen right. The camera then switches to Sheen's POV to show us soldiers in body bags getting unloaded from a cart. Shortly thereafter, we get Sheen's POV again as he passes some soldiers on their way back to the states. I feel that this entire sequence visualized Vietnam well, and really helped viewers feel as though they truly are in Vietnam.

Stone still had to worry about misc-en-scene in this clip, though he didn't have to be concerned about all the elements. They were outdoors and on a giant airfield, so I feel like Stone didn't have to worry about lighting and blocking.

However, I'm certain he had to worry about set design and costuming. No doubt, he wanted props and costumes that were as accurate as possible so that his own experiences in Vietnam could be shared through this medium. If you pay attention to the background, there are military helicopters, vehicles, buildings, and possibly about 100 extras. That's not to mention the dust flying around in every clip, and actually getting into Charlie Sheen's eyes. All of those props serve to accurately represent an Army airfield. He did very well with the costumes too. The uniforms on the incoming soldiers are brand new and crisp. The ones on the outgoing soldiers are tattered and stained, and it makes them look like they truly just spent a year in Vietnam.

Prompt #7: Visualization and production design

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#7: Visualization and production design. Post by 8 pm March 12.
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.

Please use the tag #visualization for this post.

Depth: The Lord of The Rings


The Lord of The Rings, one of my favorite movies. Therefore, I found an image from this movie as a demonstration of depth. The director of this movie have used different techniques to create a depth feeling for viewers. First, the director added a z-axis, which described how far the castle seems to be from the camera (viewer's angle.) The castle is located away from the right front of the picture. You can tell that the castle is the major object from the viewer's angle. The director also used the relative size technique to tell the viewer how big the castle is. Gandalf, a wizard in the film, is located at the right of the bottom in the image. The story background of this image is Gandalf is riding a horse to the castle, the previous scene before changing subject. Compared to the Castle, the size of Gandalf is much smaller. The director used a long shot to make Gandalf looks smaller than natural meanwhile emphasized the outlook of the castle. It also make the viewers interpret the castle is far away from their angle.
Overlapping plane, which describes how object partially covered by another. In this picture, you can see that castle is partially covering the mountain one, and the mountain one is partially covering the mountain two. The director is trying to emphasize the depth effect through overlapping planes. We will able to perceive which objects are in a "behind" or an "in front of" position through overlapping-planes.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Lord-of-the-Rings-castle.jpg

Raphael - Depth



When I studied abroad, I went to Milan for a weekend trip and I ended up going to a museum that had the painting, The Marriage of the Virgin, by Raphael. I instantly fell in love because of the way it was painted. Raphael uses many techniques in all of his paintings to give us the feeling of depth. In the picture, The Marriage of the Virgin, Raphael uses the z-axis, which shows that the Church is located away from the font of the picture. He makes it look like the Church is higher up, along with farther away. He also uses relative size because we can approximately tell how far away the Church is from the people. I remember looking at this picture and getting the feeling that I was looking out a window and looking upon this picture, with the people right in front of me and the Church farther in the background. He uses the people as a close up, and the Church as a long shot. This makes us interpret that the object in the background is farther away. Another technique that Raphael uses is forced perspective. He uses lines that are horizontal in the picture that go from the people to the Church. They start to get smaller and smaller and start to disappear. Raphael is making us think the image is getting smaller, which makes it look farther away. Raphael also uses aerial perspective in which he makes the highly (the dark yet brighter) saturated colors closer to us, and used less saturated (less bright, neutral) colors farther away us, enhancing the illusion of depth.

Building Depth

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Building a sense of depth can relate meanings to the viewer about the story or about a character. Paul Thomas Anderson uses depth and negative space in the opening shot of his film Punch Drunk Love to great effect. The opening shot in general is very important because it is what sets up the rest of the film; from the beginning of the movie we see the protagonist, Barry Egan, alone at his desk with a lot of negative space around him. This shot enhances the isolation and loneliness that the character feels and gives a visual representation of his character. We learn that Barry is very uncomfortable around others and has some pent up rage because of his feeling of isolation, it is fitting that we first see the character in such a large warehouse space working alone at a desk.

In addition, the color of the shot enhances the character. The wall and even Barry's suit is a deep blue color that recurs throughout the movie, mirroring his anxiety and saturating the image.

Punch Drunk Love.jpg

Depth: Inception


When thinking of depth the first movie that comes to mind is the film Inception. When I think of this film I just remembered all of the buildings and how they would shift and move into different places to create the illusion that they were in front of you one minute and the next they were like a wall next to you. The movie is all about creating illusions and making these dream feel like real life and that is what depth is all about; giving something three-dimensional space to make it feel real. When Ariadne, the main female character, starts messing with this aspect of the dreams it starts to look different. She plays with the z-axis plane first, when she moves the buildings and city from far away and makes it so they go above her and appear closer to her than they were before. These buildings in her dream also make an overlapping plane, because some buildings are covering another. The relative size of these buildings also increase when she chooses to move them because before you could not even see some of them but then they get bigger and bigger when she alters them. When the city finally is right above them they experience a height in plane with the camera from below because the camera is not shooting parallel to the ground.

The clip from Inception that I chose to talk about starts at 40 seconds. This is the part of the movie when Ariadne learns how to "build" dreams and how to make them feel like a reality. She then starts to mess with the buildings and the city and by doing this creates various depths throughout.

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