260 – Task 4

Task Four

21/10/13 This week, we have been set the task of making a tutorial video about a certain film theory in small groups. We have been given Structuralist Film Theory and have to create a film that explains this to beginners in a fun and interesting way. The first step – as with the previous weeks task – is to research this theory before going any further. So far I have found only a few facts about Structuralist film theory, one of these being that it is closely linked to semiotics. The people I will be researching are CS Pearse, Metz and Marmet as well as reading from Culture Theory – The Key Concepts and Key Themes in Media Theory.

Culture Theory – The Key Concepts

In this book, they talk about Binary Opposition and Parole and Langue, which link in with semiotics. From what I understand so far, structuralist film theory is what is going on on the screen and the meanings behind everything, say a women was carrying a handbag and pushing a pushchair, that is what we SEE, but looking deeper into that, we ASSUME that she is a house wife, who stays at home to bring up the children. This can then also be taken deeper by the way society tells us she is a stay at home Mum, and how we make those connections just be looking at an image.

Key Themes in Media Theory

This book explains in an easier way the meaning behind structuralism and semiotics. This book talks a lot about Saussure and Barthes (listed below) and their theories on this subject. From this book, I understand that structuralist theory is about how things are perceived in an image. It is about how people view certain things. The book uses helpful examples from Barthes work where he talks about a French magazine cover with the image of a black soldier, who appears to be pointing upward, we assume he is pointing towards a flag. This image is significant because of the black man on the cover, suggesting that France is a diverse country, open to all races and religions. The meaning of this image would change dramatically if say, a women, or a black women, or a white male (and so on) were on the front cover. Meaning is the key word here, as everything in cinema is placed there for a reason, and structuralist film theory is the meaning behind the reason. These books gave me a list of further reading, so I will also be looking into the following people:

  • Ferdunand De Saussure

Ferdunand De Saussure was mentioned a number of times, he wrote a famous book about linguistics and the science of signs, which relates closely to the structuralist film theory. He felt that all things can be determined through meaning. He would be a key person to mention in our video, and to research further.

  • Roland Barthes

Barthes theorised in philosophy, linguistics, critics and semiotics. His focussed on revealing the importance of language

  • Roman Jakobson

Jakobson was influenced by Saussure and talked about the structural analysis of language.

  • Claude Levi-Strauss

Claude was an anthropologist, he has a book – Tristes Tropiques – which talks about his theories and research.  (Also see The Elementary Structures of Kinship.) He focussed more on human relationships and the structure behind that, but this can be applied to film.

  • Jacques Derrida

Derrida formed a semiotic analysis called deconstruction. He was a post-structuralism figure, but may still be interesting to look into. Other Influential Figures:

Hitchcock Theory on Structuralist Film Theory

Structuralist Theory Notes

Structuralism and Semiotics

Video structure:

https://vimeo.com/groups/cinecollective/videos/52320356

260 – Task 3

Task Three

14/10/13 Task three was a group task where we had to recreate a famous dialogue scene from a film in a different cinematic style/movement. We were given the Italian Neo-Realist movement and were in a group of 6. We were all pretty clueless on what Neo-realism was so the first thing we did was research. We decided to do this individually then meet back up later in the week to report our findings and start thinking about which scene we wanted to adapt. As this movement does not have any set rules or even guidelines to follow, it was very hard to figure out the codes and conventions of Italian Neo-Realism films. Final video: Neo Kick Ass

260 – Task 2

Task 2:

7/10/13 This weeks Obstructions:

  • You only have 6 shots at 10 seconds each
  • You must try to evoke a particular emotion:
  • One of your shots should contain the use of one point perspective
  • One of your shots must be influenced by a Photographer/Cinematographer
  • It must not be within 500 metres of the university.
  • You must think creatively about the title of your work
  • You can use natural sounds only. No music.

Thought process:

I looked at some Vimeo videos by simply typing in “Cinematography” and found the videos below: Move – Rick Mereki – This is a video of a guy standing in different places around the world and gradually moving closer to the camera. He then moves off in different directions but always in a different place. It is edited nicely with the music. I like this idea because it shows how different locations can effect us as people. I would love to do something along this line but as I only have 6 shots, each at 10 seconds I don’t think this would work very well and is something I might recreate in another project. Dark Side of the Lens – Astray Films – I love how this video looked and made me feel, you could see the dedication and thought he had put into each shot so I thought I would look at other videos on the same Vimeo page: Esmeralda (Ben Howard) – Astray Films – At 3:57 there is a nice shot of a man standing alone at the top of a hill with the camera slowly moving backwards, it shows a vast empty space, which symbolises loneliness. Maybe this could be the emotion I create with my own work. This shot is one I would like to recreate but maybe with an object instead of a person. Old Pine – Astray Films – I liked all the wood scenes in this video, maybe a wood would be an ideal location to film. Looking at these videos made me start thinking about what type of emotion I wanted to portray in my piece, and felt that as the weather is quite downcast and cloudy this week, the best emotion to go with would be one that’s not particularly cheerful. I started to look at the idea of loneliness and re-watched the videos above, which kind of displayed this theme. I then typed the word “loneliness” into google images and this is the first page I saw: Screen Shot 2013-10-10 at 17.37.38Most of the images above are in black and white or have a greyscale to them. They often show vast spaces, with one single person in the image. They often show people with their head on their knees. I like the first picture in the image above, but would prefer it without the person as I think the image on it’s own would have been a strong enough symbolisation of loneliness. I also like the second image on the second row down, which is in a one point perspective. I think this is a powerful image when trying to get across the emotion of loneliness because of how far away the person is from the camera, and how they are indistinguishable as a person.  There were also a lot of images of people on park benches, but this has been done so many times I am going to try and stay away from this in my own creation of this emotion. I came up with the idea of filming in a park that’s not really in use, is quite run down and unused and creating the emotion of loneliness here, maybe from a child’s perspective, so using very low angles and mostly hand held work. I know of a park very close to town, which fits this description perfectly and I now have a solid idea to work on and expand. I thought more about this idea and found that this kind of gave the back story of lost youth and growing up too quickly, maybe the playground is so abandoned because children want to grow up too quickly or are being forced to by the media and modern world. I then had a look at last year’s work and found this: Swings and Roundabouts – David Bird Which is very similar to my idea, I decided to not look any further into filming in a wood as a lot of the videos I saw seemed to be in woodland, I also think the weather isn’t going to be bright enough to get any decent footage, so I am sticking with the idea of filming in a children’s play park. I liked the second image in the video above and am going to create something similar to this in my video. I want my video to be in colour though as I feel black and white just over kills the idea. I also like the see-saw clip and was thinking of doing something similar but with a round-a-bout. I wasn’t keen on the girl being in the last clip and I don’t want any human contact with my video as I think this will emphasise the thought on being alone, the camera is the person in my piece and I want the audience to feel like they are the ones at the park on their own.

– opening scene in harry potter, 1:20 nice shot of round-a-bout. something I had in mind.
 – Blue colouring is nice, night time – don’t have resources to film then. 1:16 – swings start moving – feeling of loneliness, afraid… Whole scene kind of what I want to create but less frightful and more lonely.

Influences:

I looked again at the lecture slides from Mondays lecture and found the one point perspective video, which led me to look at John Alcott, who was the director of photography for The Shining, Clockwork Orange and half of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I liked all the one point perspective shots he had used in his work. I thought I could use his style for my inspired shot and also my one point perspective shot, after thinking about it in more depth, I feel his cinematic style is right for the emotion I am trying to portray, as The Shining was all about a man trapped in a building alone, which drove him to insanity. http://film-grab.com/category/john-alcott/ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005633/bio My final video: https://vimeo.com/76821916

Video

260 – Task 1

Task One

Thinking/Creating

30/09/13 Our first brief was to create a long portrait of ourselves which raises questions on what is going on in the image. It has to be 1 minute long and one single shot with no sound or music or text. We need to pay attention to detail and really think through the idea we have. When this brief was first handed out I was a bit apprehensive as being in front of a camera is not something I am most fond of. Having said this, as I read more through the brief and Pete showed us examples of some long portraits, I realised this would be quite a fun and exciting first task. I then came up with a few ideas that I tried to tailer specifically to the things that I like or dislike, these ideas were:

  1. Me infront of a camera with a white background, from the shoulders up. I would be looking down through most of the video and the viewer would not be able to see what I was doing but would know I was writing/drawing something. Then, towards the end of the video, I would hold up a picture of myself and place it in front of my face, this picture would be the version I see of myself. This would play on self confidence issues as I have a feeling my drawing of myself would be very different to the actual me.
  2. The next idea I had would be to do something that I love, this was inspired by the David Beckham asleep video, as sleep is something I definitely love doing. I thought I could either sit with headphones in and just chill out to some music or I could eat my favourite food in front of the camera. This piece would focus on emotions and how different simple things can make us happy.
  3. I toyed around briefly with the idea of wearing a lot of jumpers and gradually taking one off as the video progressed so I ended up in just a bra. This would be a more personal video for me as it would express how I cover up to try and hide the real me? I think this particular theme would take a lot of confidence for me to pull off.
  4. The fourth idea I had was inspired by the long portrait of Debauchette. She raised a lot of issues in this video of sexism and identity and this is something that I would like to put my own spin on. I had the idea of me starting out in a video, set out much like that one, but I would have a face full of heavy make-up, with my hair done up as if going somewhere special, there would be quite fancy things around me like expensive wallpaper and maybe a posh mirror. As the video went on I would gradually wipe away the make-up and undo my hair. Once this was complete, the mirror would be taken off the wall by a man dressed in black, and the wallpaper would be removed to reveal a blank, bare space. I feel this video is the strongest of the four and would be quite effective. For me, it would symbolise the pressure on women to be the “perfect girl” with the rich and fabulous lifestyle and it would also show that when women do achieve the “perfect girl” look it is all a facade and underneath is a normal human being, who has issues just like the rest of the world.

My next step is to look at each of these ideas more closely and pick one that I like the best. I will then look in more detail on making the video and booking equipment and maybe a studio. I will also look at the links given to us on the brief to give me more inspiration. I went to Pete to ask some advice on my ideas and see which one he thought was the strongest. He liked the 4th idea the best, as did I. This is the one I will now concentrate on. Tomorrow I will search for inspiration online to give me some more ideas on how I can make this video visually stronger.

Planning/Research

01/10/13 I had a look at some of the second years work from last year to see what kind of thing they had produced. I copied the URL’s to the ones I felt had more connection with my own theme: https://vimeo.com/groups/cinecollective/videos/50766835 – Paige Thomas. murger I liked this piece because it is very similar to the point I am trying to get across, with the heavy make-up and the drast contrast between that and the natural face. https://vimeo.com/groups/cinecollective/videos/54451246 – Chelsea Ballaam Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 12.37.19 This shows a girl with a natural face, who gradually ends up fully made over. This is basically the video I will be creating but in reverse order. It is good to see how it may look as an end product. https://vimeo.com/groups/cinecollective/videos/50931104 – Ashleigh Hodgson Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 12.38.29 This was done in a similar way to the first video, but this shows the two sides of the face for longer, so we can compare them easier. I think I prefer the narrative to this story, but prefer the visuals to Paige Thomas’ piece. https://vimeo.com/groups/cinecollective/videos/50935307– Joshua Farmer Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 12.39.34 I liked Joshua Farmer’s video mostly because the more you look at it the easier it is to see the zombie-esk image. I think this idea worked perfectly for the long portrait task, but felt he should have opened his eyes more suddenly and more towards the end. I like how this shows two completely different images and two completely different people, which is something I am aiming to create in my own video. I also looked at some others on Vimeo, the hair whip one has the lighting perfect, this is how I want my lighting to look. https://vimeo.com/24938204 – hair-whip heartbreak https://vimeo.com/24938204 – Reconnoitre

Background research:

http://ffffound.com/image/fc150efb190cc0ec11fcc80b36e7d2c90d475137?c=4513256 Perfect for imagery I want to create!!!!!!!! I found this image whilst I was looking into Debauchette online. dFCy4zqE1jluodhip2J9Bw9yo1_500 Recreating this image…. Will keep the image tight on the patterned background and when all make-up is removed and hair is down, will zoom out to reveal a not so perfect image. Now I just need to find some fabric and find a decent location to film in. After thinking this through I have decided to film it in my home. We have a spare room downstairs with black out curtains, I can attach some fabric to these, pull them really tight so there are no kinks and use this as my background. I will book out Dedo lights to add more depth and meaning, creating shadows and highlights.

Shooting

2/10/13 Once I had planned the video out, I decided to film it as early as possible. That way if something went terribly wrong I would have time to re-shoot it. The filming process went fine. I used the spare room in my own home as it was spacious and had the backdrop I needed. Long Portrait, Final