Week 5 – Experimentation

Experimentation

I was tasked to do more experimenting with my theme of Film Noir. I wanted to look at shadows which is a big part of Film Noir, the use of objects to create shadows onto the characters face such as blinds on a window.

film-noir-blinds-black-and-white

The photo above suggests the character is looking out the window late at night, this effect was created by using a sheet of cardboard that I cut out line to simulate the spaces in the blinds and placing it in front of the actors face. However it had to really close to the subject as the shadow would not appear other wise as the light would disperse around the cardboard and light his face up getting rid of the shadow.

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The photo on the left is the piece of scrap cardboard I used to create the effect of blinds.

The technical name for something like the piece of cardboard is Cucocolis and Cookies for short. This is a common technique used to create shadows and outlines of shapes onto the subject in shot.

The photo below is an example of how it would work while using a cookie.

film-light-cookies

 

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This is the original image I got, it has the same effect however is in colour. It still works as a Neo Noir but isn’t as mysterious as it is if it was it black and white. I shot it in colour as it is easier to change it in post than to change it on the camera, it gives you more options when editing the photo. To change it to black and white I took it into an online Photoshop as the computer I was walking on at the time didn’t have Photoshop installed.

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caputure-close-up-saturation

When the image was in online Photoshop I changed the saturation of the photo, this took all the colour out of the image and made it black and white. This gave it a more Noir feel and felt more authentic than the coloured image. I also adjusted the exposure in post to make the shot a little bit darker in order to make it more atmospheric and fits within the film noir genre more.

 

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This image is out of focus due to the setting on the camera, however the technique used is a common Film Noir technique. I had another smaller piece of cardboard and I cut out a section roughly where the eyes would be so when I put it in the light there would be a border around the subjects face.
This technique is used to show a character looking through something and is usually used when the character is spying, such as looking through a crack in a door or a hole in the wall.

 

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The photo above is a photo that I took using two lights trying to recreate the shadow style that is commonly seen in film Noir. I then turned the saturation of the image down in Photoshop to strengthen the film Noir aesthetic.

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In this photo shadows are a very prominent part of the shot, the light is shining onto the subjects hat creating a shadow over his eyes. This adds a sense of mystery to the shot and supports the film Noir genre.

The change between colour and black and white improves the noir feel of this image. It makes the shadows stand out more as it eliminates all of the other colours being shown.

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‘Sin City’ (2005) is a very popular Neo Noir. A Neo Noir is a modern film that take techniques and ideas from Noir films but tends to use more colour and focus more on the storytelling aspect of film Noir.

Sin City uses colour in a very unique way. The majority of the film is black and white however there are certain things in the film which use colour to attract the audiences eye.

sin-city-jessica-alba-nick-stahl-4-rcm0x1920u(wrote, no date)

This is a strong example of how colour is used in Sin City, the bright yellow draws attention to the villain on the right who is the main focus of the scene and draws him out from all the dull black and grey colours.

sin-city-george-pic

This is my attempt at trying the ‘Sin City’ colour style. The subject in this shot is George sitting to the left, to make him stand out from the background better I turned up the saturation. As a lot of his clothes were orange and the light was a similar colour it gave him an orange tint overall which fits with the use bright colours in Sin City. This is a really easy effect that translate well on screen.

The choice of the colour orange in this image could represent he is a sort of anti-hero in a story. The reason being that orange is a warm colour that people could associate with fire which is both good and evil. Fire kept human kind alive thousands of years ago and provide us with a means of cooking food, however on the other hand, fire can burn us and destroy pretty much anything in its way.

To achieve this effect I used the magnetic lasso tool in Photoshop and created a mask around the subject.

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I then made that into a new layer and turned the saturation of the background down to make it black and white. I did the opposite with the saturation for the subject, I turned it as high as it could go to bring out the most amount of colour possible.caputure-close-up-saturation

 

 

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These are the two light we used to achieve the photos above. I set the lights up to the left of the subject so the shadow would cast to the right of the subject. I followed the three-point lighting setup however didn’t use a back light so i could achieve shadows on and around the subject

 

Bibliography

wrote, P. (no date) Creating the sin city effect. Available at: http://forum.tarantino.info/viewtopic.php?t=9387 (Accessed: 1 February 2017).

9417, haco (2012) Importance of color used in ‘Sin City’. Available at: https://visualrhetoricspring2012.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/importance-of-color-used-in-sin-city/ (Accessed: 1 February 2017).

Week 5 – Experimentation

Researching Film Noir

Introduction

For this task I am going to research into the genre of film noir and what makes one. I will look at classic noir films as well as more modern noir films, the techniques used to make a successful noir film and how to achieve these well.

Film Noir

On dictionary.com the definition they gave for film noir was, a motion picture with an often grim urban setting, photographed in somber tones and permeated by a feeling of disillusionment, pessimism, and despair.’ (Dictionary, no date).

The genre was mostly implemented into american crime dramas in the post World War 2 era. The phrase ‘film noir’ is french for ‘dark film’, french critics branded the genre film noir due to the use of low-key lighting used to strategically improve the style of these dramas. The title of film noir wasn’t commonly used in public until the publish of ‘Panorama du film noir americain (1955) by Raymond Borde and Étienne Chaumeton.’

You can normally tell a film noir from the use of black and white and the amount of shadows used, however there are a lot of other things that makes up the noir genre. One of the commonly used techniques that make up a noir film are frequent use of flashbacks, this is used to tell the story but not in chronological order. There would be flashbacks to an event in the characters life for character development or a flash back of a crime scene to explain to the audience what happened.

There are intricate plots that tend to consist of a crime or a mystery as it is common that the main protagonist is apart of the law enforcement or a hired private eye. This gives the film a mysterious story that both the audience and the characters need to solve.

‘ the dark, gritty, and often deceiving visuals are a reflection of the characters, who themselves are dark, gritty, and deceiving.’  (Sasaki, 2015). This quote really sums up what a lot of the characters are like in the classic noir film, the characteristics of the story go hand in hand with the characters and give the whole film a sense of uncertainty and makes the characters untrustworthy.

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(Reuben, 2014)

The picture above supports my explanation of how film noir uses shadows and lack of light to create a specific tone in a scene. By choosing to have little light in this shot, it creates a feeling of tension which goes hand in hand with the man is towering over the woman sitting down.

 

Neo-Noir

Neo-Noir stands for ‘new black’. This is what all the modern noir films are named under. A few films under this are, ‘The Usual Suspects’ (1995), ‘Collateral’ (2004) and ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008)

‘The Usual Suspects (1995)’ is a modern film that took techniques and ideas from the noir genre, the use of flashbacks is a big part of this film as its all told from the perspective of the protagonist during a interrogation. It cuts back and forth between the present and the past and as if he’s telling the story it shows us what happened.

(iPhilR’s channel, 2009)

The story follows a similar crime drama narrative as a classic noir film would based around a group of men who are told to work for a man that no one has ever scene before. The person they are working for is considered just a myth by some people and others fear him tremendously without ever meeting him. This is a good character for a noir styled film as it is mysterious, anyone could be him and it has you thinking the whole way through.

 

Experimenting with Noir

I went out and took some photos experimenting with noir and the ideas around it being dark and mysterious by using shadows and shots.

img_2920This shot shows three characters walking in a hallway, the shadows on the floor are strong however the ones on the wall are not as sharp which can be fixed with three point lighting, however the overall photo worked well for noir.

 

img_2913This photo resembles a chase down a dark stairwell. The shadows would have made more of an effect if better lighting was used however I didn’t have access to any lights so had to try and use natural lighting. I still think it works well and would be a nice shot to use in a noir film.

 

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This is a nice shot of light coming in from behind a set of doors. This is mysterious and uses shadows well to create a curiosity about what might be behind the doors.

 

Reflection

Film noir is a technique that is only used for certain genres and can also be called a genre in itself. It is a very powerful technique used mostly in crime thrillers which has built the reputation around it. It is becoming more popular in modern day and is being experimented on all the time such as using colour within the black and white noir genre.
I have found that lighting is one of the biggest parts of Film noir, without it the genre would be really dull. Shadows and lighting bring life to the black and white, saturated films making them more interesting on the eyes and to the audiences.

 

Bibliography

Campbell, C. (2014) 11 modern film noir movies you must see. Available at: http://www.fandango.com/movie-news/11-modern-film-noir-movies-you-must-see-748489 (Accessed: 24 January 2017)

Dictionary (no date) ‘The definition of film noir’, in Available at: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/film-noir?s=t (Accessed: 22 February 2017).

Double indemnity Blu-ray (2014) Directed by Michael Reuben Blu-ray.com. (Accessed: 19 February 2017)

iPhilR’s channel (2009) The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn’t exist. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnGo6Qm0Wt8 (Accessed: 25 January 2017).

Sasaki, K. (2015) The cinematography of film noir. Available at: http://www.screenhead.com/the-cinematography-of-film-noir/ (Accessed: 24 January 2017).

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (2005) ‘Film noir | film genre’, in Encyclopædia Britannica. Available at: https://www.britannica.com/art/film-noir (Accessed: 24 January 2017).

Researching Film Noir

Researching Fear in Films

For this task I am going to look into Fear, what creates this emotion and what different genres do to achieve fear.

There are many ways fear is implemented into films. Fear is in most genres as a tool for telling a story or developing a character whether it is a huge part of the narrative or if it is subtle part to just to keep progress the story further.

Fear can be transformed into many media platforms such as film, books, music and games. Fear is most commonly related to the genres Horror and Thriller. Horror and Thriller is made to create fear and tension in the viewer, people want to experience fear while still being in a safe and comfort environment so turn to watching, reading or listening to these types of stories to achieve this type of feeling and emotion.

 

The definition of fear according to the dictionary is ‘a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc.,whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.’ 

There are many ways to present fear in film, specifically placed music or the perspective your film is shot.

A good example of changing the perspective to increase fear is ‘The Blair Witch Project’ (1999). The film was shot in first person from the perspective of three filmmakers filming a documentary in a woods, this was a new technique that not many people had seen or used before. It helped the audience put themselves into that situation by pretending it was real life footage recorded on a camcorder. After this film this technique became more popular and developed into its own sub-genre called ‘Found Footage’.

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‘Paranormal Activity’ (2014) is another film which uses an interesting style, all the camera angles are fixed as if they are security footage set up by a couple that have moved into a new home and are experiencing strange paranormal events. It also uses the found footage style in the film as well which ties together well with the security footage to create a realistic situation.

paranormal-activity

 

Fear isn’t just related to the Horror genre, it could also be represented in dramas and other genres alike. An example of when fear is represented in a more normal day scenario is the film, ‘About Time’ (2013). In this film the main protagonist has the ability to travel back in time to visit his deceased Dad, however his wife want to have another child which will stop him from being able to go back and see his father. The reason for this is if he went back before the time the child was conceived, the child would be different every time he returns due to genetics. This ultimately leaves the protagonist with the fear of losing his dad and moving on. This is a great example of how fear is more than just horror and being scared, it can have a more personal meaning to it and be quite upsetting.

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Another type of fear in a film is being alone, a good example of this is ‘The Martian’ (2015). The character Mark Watney played by Matt Damon is stranded on Mars when his team presumed he was dead and left without him. Throughout the film he is alone and is the main role in the story, his character is optimistic and continues to attempt to get off of Mars alive. He keeps his sense of humour, however this could be seen as a fear mechanism to stop him from losing his mind and freaking out due lack of social interaction.

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The similarity between the four examples of films that use fear as a tool is emotion, however they are used in very different ways.
Media skills used to create fear are mainly presented through music and camera work, for example, a scene shot with a dutch angle could invoke the idea of confusion. Using the past examples of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’ they both have a specific camera angle chosen to provoke the idea of fear. ‘The Blair Witch Project’  uses handheld camera which creates a very erratic feeling once the character is being pursued. On the other hand ‘Paranormal Activity’  flipped the idea around and uses a camera which is in place to imitate security footage. This creates an opposite feeling as instead of it being jittery and erratic, it is somewhat calm and slow. This creates a false sense of security and from a viewers point of view, knowing what genre of film it is creates a sense of fear as a consequence of waiting for the inevitable.

 

In comparison to that, ‘The Martian’ and ‘About Time’ uses fear in a narrative sense as it invokes emotions in the audience. It uses fear as a tool to invoke other emotions such as sadness. ‘About Time’ is the best example of this as it uses the characters fear of losing someone and translates it into sadness for the audience to experience.

Films like ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’ use techniques to try to create fear however films like ‘The Martian’ and ‘About Time’ uses fear as a tool to create other emotion instead of trying to create fear itself.  

 

 

Bibliography

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/fear?s=t

 

Researching Fear in Films

Researching Cinematography

Introduction

I’m going to be looking into the skill of a Cinematographer within film and television.
I am going to look specifically at the people that have that job title, what they actually do and how it effect the outcome of the product. I will also be looking at the technology used within that role, how it is used and again what impact it has on the final product.
The reason I am researching this specific job in media is research for my Final Major
Project, (FMP).
The main type of research I am going to do is secondary research. I am going to use the internet to find out what I want to know about cinematography.

 

Cinematography

The Cinematographer is the person that makes a lot of the decisions about what will be on screen and appear in the final piece. Although the Cinematographer works along side the director in this process who ultimately decides which ideas to go with, ‘The Director is still the “creative tyrant”.’ (Moura et al., 2014)

Cinematography is all about using the correct techniques to portray the correct emotion, this is done by picking the correct location for the camera, the correct angle, the correct colour palette and even the correct weather. All this tactically put together will create the exact feeling the film is meant to have.

 

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The first feature film ‘The Story of the Kelly Gang‘ was made by three Directors. ‘Charles Tait’ , ‘Millard Johnson’ and ‘W.A. Gibson’. The cinematographers for this film were ‘Millard Johnson’, ‘Orrie Perry’ and ‘Reg Perry’.
This was an Australian production and the first dramatic narrative to run over sixty minutes.

The Story of the Kelly Gang was six reels long, or close to 60 minutes, a duration that was unheard of. (Curator’s notes the story of the Kelly Gang (1906) on ASO – Australia’s audio and visual heritage online, 2017) However there isn’t much left and the remaining footage is damaged.

 

 

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(1995, Seven [Se7en])

There are basic rules that cinematographers follow such as Rule of Thirds. Rule of Thirds is a technique where you position the subject of the shot to the left or right of the frame so it isn’t dead in the middle. This attracts the human eye and makes the scene more appealing to the audience.

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(2001: A Space Odyssey)
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(1980: The
Shining)

 Natural framing is where the cinematographer using the surrounding environment to create a path leading to the main focus of the scene. It is a common technique used by cinematography and directors alike.
The pictures above are two good examples of natural framing, they are both from the cinematographer ‘Stanley Kubrick’ who using many great techniques in his work and is very famous for it.

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(2009, Inglorious Bastards)

Low angle shots are used to give off the idea that the subject that were looking at is powerful and in charge. The scene above is from the perspective of a character that is being intimidated by the two in shot so by having them tower above him adds to that intimidation.

 

‘The Usual Suspects (1995)’

In this scene starting at 1:34. They use slow zooms to as the character is slowly working out that the whole story that he had just been told was all made up and consisted of names from the pin board behind him the whole time. This technique is used on many productions for the same purpose.

 

Reflection

Cinematography is probably one of the biggest parts of what makes a film, it’s what the audience sees and how they experience the narrative story that it playing on screen.

A lot of experimentation was used to achieve the amount of techniques that are used. The biggest examples of experimentation are ‘The Blair Witch Project’ (1999) and ‘Paranormal Activity’ (2014). These sort of films eventually led to the creation of the sub genre ‘Found Footage’.

 

Bibliography:

Curator’s notes the story of the Kelly Gang (1906) on ASO – Australia’s audio and visual heritage online (2017) Available at: http://aso.gov.au/titles/features/story-kelly-gang/notes/ (Accessed: 20 January 2017).

Moura, G., Rajan, Barrasse, L., Amboy, K., Kumar, S., Zadok, C., Bee, V. and ranoliya, sunny (2014) Editing. Available at: http://www.elementsofcinema.com/cinematography/cinematography-basics/ (Accessed: 17 January 2017).

RocketJump Film School (2015) Cinematography 101: What is cinematography? Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXAr2yiYCV4 (Accessed: 18 January 2017).

Researching Cinematography

Personality test results

https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

When I did the Myre’s Briggs personality test my results were ‘The Meditator, INFP-A’.

mediator

The results are split into different categories which are Mind, Energy, Nature, Tactics, Identity.

Mind

According to the test I am an Introvert, this means that I prefer solitary activities and get exhausted by social interactions.
This is true to an extent, I really enjoy being alone. I would much rather spend my time at home watching a film or a television programme or even playing a video game. However I enjoy playing games with my mates online, we spend hours on games talking to each other so in this way I enjoy social interactions.

Energy

The test said I was Intuitive. They explain it that Intuitive individuals are very imaginative, open minded and curious. They prefer novelty over stability and focus on hidden meanings and future possibilities.
I agree with this statement, I am open minded about everything and am curious about all the unanswered question the world has. I am also interested in the future possibilities and wonder where the word will be in the next hundred years.

Nature

For the nature part I was a feeling individual, they are sensitive and emotionally expressive. They are more empathetic and less competitive then thinking types, and focus on social harmony and cooperation.
This is another half correct statement where I am not very competitive and prefer cooperation than fighting however I am not a very emotional person.

Tactics

This test said I was Prospecting. This means ‘ They are very good at improvising and spotting opportunities, They tend to be flexible, relaxed nonconformists who prefer keeping there options open.’ I think this is true, I do prefer to be spontaneous and not really plan ahead when it comes to personal hobbies and social events. I am very relaxed and laid back about most things unless it is important.

Identity

I am assertive, this means i am very even-tempered and am resistant to stress. This is very true, I always try and have a good time no matter what the circumstance and try my best not to worry about anything.

 

Bibliography

Limited, N.A. (2011) Free personality test. Available at: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test (Accessed: 25 January 2017).

Personality test results

Interviews

 

Todays task was to interview someone and find out about them and who they are. I ask him about his childhood and his interests. During his childhood he moved around a lot and went to about 3 different schools which were all around the same area. He goes onto say how there wasn’t many boys at one of the schools he was attending so he changed.

When I ask about his interests he mentioned music, films and games which all fall into the same sort of category as media related, This shows the type of person he is and that he is media driven and enjoys digital products.

When I asked what got him into his interests he said how he had always be into them and that music in particular is everywhere. It is used in films and videogames as well which was his other interests.

Finally I asked if his interest were always enjoyable to him, he said that there were times were he had not liked certain songs from the artists he followed so didn’t quite enjoy it.

 

Interviews