Category Archives: Narrative

Framing

While tyro filmmakers are encouraged to vary the camera angle a lot for various reasons, two of my favourite film directors who use film as an intelligent observer of the human condition, Yasujiro Ozu and Roy Andersson, both use the frame as a proscenium arch: the frame does not move, the action moves within the frame. This calls for astute directorial skills to ensure the viewer’s eye is continually guided to the most salient area within the frame appropriate to each moment of the telling of the story within that scene.
This is not to deny the work of great directors such as Alfred Hitchcock who use shifting camera angles to great effect (the shower scene in Psycho for instance).
I certainly do not have the skills of the two aforementioned master directors, but my project will follow their example in the avoidance of a shift in camera angle if the story can be told without the necessity of a shift.
Looking at my final storyboard, a possible area that may need a change of angle is a shift to a mid-shot to make clear the additions of the plate, fork and glass of wine before returning to the wide shot for the final moments.

A video compilation of some of Ozu’s work showing his framing within the frame.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWiaehbv1MI
The trailer for Andersson’s incisive film, You the Living

 

Timelines and buildup

I have included this here as well as in audio as an example of a video that uses the timeline of the software to reflect the timeline of a life. It tells me that a story must progress by the addition of extra information to add to the development of the story and a buildup of the picture in the viewer’s mind.
My scenario adds information to increase pressure on the protagonist which increases tension and then the action to relieve that tension comes in two stages also. The progression of the third act in his room is achieved by the gradient addition of extra elements such as the plate and then the red wine and the book and the glow.

 

Stop motion

This is a wonderful story told with great heart. It suggest to me that relationships can build character in each participant; that we can grow through those we meet, whether personally or through reading a writer’s work or all the other ways we get to know someone else. The ending is poignant and suggests to me that we finally truly meet when our egos are put aside for a moment and, for that moment, we become part of the great ocean of a more conscious life.
The audio works very well with the contrasting shifts from the warm low sound of the waves breaking on shore and the high wind rushing through the trees.
The contrasting relationships is heightened also by the temperatures of the two environments, the cold and warm seasons.
Montage to quickly illustrate a long period of time is effectively used with the series of short scenes of objects being placed in the bottle before being dispatched.

I will e telling part of my story in stop-motion and this video is an encouragement.

Transformation

Although this unit’s main focus is on digital manipulation, I will keep in mind the use of non-digital manipulation. I like the idea of a change of what we see on the screen carried out using the non-digital processes such as stop/replacement/shoot/stop/replacement/shoot. It is the same effect as knowing that a stunt seen in a film has been carried out using  live action rather than a CGI procedure.

The Conjurer

The early filmmaker George Melies was using this technique. Here is his short film The Conjurer made in 1899 accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs5BBaNJ6mg

Metamorphose

Here is an ad made for the fashion firm Hermes followed by the breakdown. The purpose behind the making of the ad was to reflect the firm’s claim of handmade craftsmanship; the film was to be made the same way with no digital special effects. If viewers watching the promotion know that computer graphics were not used, the ad would gain their greater attention.

The promotion

The ad was accessed at vimeo.com/86361956

The breakdown

The breakdown was accessed at vimeo.com/87143177

Clearly a lot of pre-planning was carried out before going into the studio. And the same applies to the next example.

“I’m on a horse.”

An example of an ad that generated enormous attention (51.5 million plus on youtube) because of its making and helped create a major increase in product sales is the well-known Old Spice ad, most of which was created without special effects.
The ad was accessed at youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE

The ad
The breakdown

And the making of was accessed at youtube.com/watch?v=rArZl8vh8aY

The other great attraction in the ad was its sense of humour, the fact it played with the stereotype of ‘man as adorable hunk’. And of course, the great punchline; stating the obvious and adding to the image by suggesting the idea of the romance and testosterone of the cowboy in a western movie.

I hope that I can put together my 30 seconds to include a mixture of the tricks of replacement and the effects of digital manipulation.

To speak of Auschwitz

I decided to begin my research by first looking at an example of a short film where the addition of elements in the progression of the telling make up the story.

Auschwitz, a video by Ravensteinstudio: accessed at
http://www.awntv.com/videos/auschwitz

I think this short film successfully uses a variety of filmic techniques in its effort to try and give at least a semblance of the feeling in which one should approach the dreadful fact of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
I have addressed the impact of its audio treatment under the audio category and will now address the progress of the unfolding of the story with regard to other mediums of expression. I have looked closely at the work to find out what it is in its detail that impresses me.
1. The jagged scratchy shaking movement of each letter of the title sequence immediately sets the tone. The letters are roughly scrawled with nervous energy as though erasing themselves as they are written or as a method of scratching over to hide and redact what lies beneath.
2. A dark grey shape against a dark purple night sky looms towards us with the camera/image shaking in fear. What approaches?
3. Then the shape forms itself : it is the train entrance under which passed over 1 million souls to their deaths. The entrance is also a mouth screaming with the ultimate in human terror. It is reminiscent of The Mouth of Hell sculpture seen in the 16th C. Bomarzo Monster Park on which is inscribed Dante’s phrase, ‘every thought flies away’, an appropriate phrase when applied to the holocaust. (Image and quote accessed at http://thevelvetrocket.com/2012/01/19/the-bomarzo-monster-park/).

mouthofhell4. We pass under the gate and the railway lines lead us into an uncertain background. We step back and see the entire entrance and barrier for the first time.
5. The camera moves in to run along the barbed and electrified wire fence. Most lines we see are straight; horizontal or vertical. The only softer curved lines are the tops of the posts curved in like talons to prevent escape and the curved extensions holding the lamps which light the area between the two rows of wire to also prevent escape.
5. The camera then takes us the next step in our progress: inside the camp. And our progress ends as we stand near trees winter-stripped of foliage and we are mocked by the open gate: the prisoners did not exit here but through the crematorium chimneys. The slogan over the gate is the ironic ‘Arbeit macht frei’ (work makes free). 

Despite no introduction or narration that explains the theme of the film, the film is clear in what it is saying in its presentation both in visual and aural terms. Every sequence within the film contains images and sound to support the desired impact. It is a reminder to me to ensure each frame in my final film has a reason to be there.

Colour/Texture

Looking at two opposing presentations in terms of colour and texture, both of which I strongly respond to.

The first is a video by Masanobu Hiraoka accessed at vimeo.com/134832670:

The hues used are mainly pastel and of low saturation with mainly juxtapositions of analogous colour so that there is a softness in what is seen emphasized by a strong use of curved lines rather than jagged edges. The gentleness in use of colour ensures the tension present is not in the presentation of colour but in the continually unexpected unfolding of the images.

The second is a texture image by ‘kleanthis’ accessed at http://kleanthis.deviantart.com/art/Textures-244421301.textures_by_kleanthis-d41isolThis image employs a use of a juxtaposition of dark and light values producing a chiaroscuro effect. The effect of the clash of neighboring colour values gives the work a texture that moves the lighter areas towards us and the darker away from us contrasting with the flatness of the canvas of the preceding video. There is a strong sense of a religious icon within the work.

While the colour and texture of the two presentations live in different worlds, I suspect one or the other will be a strong influence on my choices in the project. In an ideal situation, both approaches would appear, possibly beginning in the dark woods of the latter and resurrecting itself out of this challenging place into the uplifted and lighter tone of the former.