#1 Prompt – The abstract edit

The abstract editing exercise was divided into three stages, “sound record”, “video record” and “individual editing”.

Up till now, I still believe that this is a weird experience which is quite different from last practice. This time we have got the high quality sound record and video clips and gave us creativity free reign to edit it. I thought this is a kind of documentary that we just shot and can not say for sure what will happen. It is so abstract that I have racked my brain trying to figure how to edit it because this time we had no script in our hands.

I record the audios with Aliee. We record the sounds when students were playing ping-pong or basketball. We record the sound when we were flushing the toilet. We record the sounds on street, the traffic, the crowd babble, the footsteps, the proprietary surrounded by noise, etc. We did not understand the tasks we had to do but we were happy with the experience of sound recording because the sound recorder is simple to use. In addition, the quality of the sounds we record is extremely good. It is very pure and clear. However, I did not use it very much, only the sound of footsteps and the sound of flushing toilet I cut out.

Do not underestimate the one minute film that I had created. Strenuous effort had been made to come up with an idea for editing. In order to find order in the random which is the hardest part in editing, I scaned Haiku examples. However, I did not find any valuable information I can use directly. I finally gave up the narrativity of the film and focused on the other requirements of the task. I added sounds which were downloaded from the website. Color Grading had been embedded in all the clips which plays a role of aesthetics.

Overall, the experience of abstract editing leaves me a deep thought because I think it is not good enough. Not only the use of sound record, but also the footage we shot. 

(352 words)

Prompt #3 – The initiative post

This is my 2nd assignment for the Illusion of Life course. It’s really a big project for me that I tried many ways to finish it. I have freehand drawn the basic character’s motions and have scanned those into computer. Then I used Photoshop and Premiere to make the mouse move. It is really a good chance to familiarize myself with those software. The background music has been added in this video as I was considering that was necessary. Thanks for the lecture and the tutorials in last week, I have got basic knowledge of soundtrack. I downloaded a free background music from audio blocks and placed it into my video. The previous video looks like an old fashion silent film before The Jazz Singer  which is the first movie with synchronized dialogue sequences in the world. I want to combine sound with my video simply because the sound can make my video more attractive. In addition, adding sounds into a film can create an impression of reality to audiences. A film editor, Walter Murch, who is also a sound designer, remarks ‘the most successful sounds seems not only to alter what the audience sees but to go further and trigger a kind of conceptual resonance between image and sound: the sound makes us see the image differently, and this new images makes us hear the sound differently, which in turns makes us see something else in the image, which makes us hear different things in the sound, and so on’ (Graeme 2009). Combining Sound and Image together may create a new horizon as well as a different meaning. In my opinion, a successful movie should have its own background music which is just fitting with to express a certain atmosphere or a spirit. Take the Pirates of the Caribbean 3 for example, when I heard the background music Drink up me Hearties, I found that it is quite difficult to describe the state of my mind, but whatever it is, it helped me to focus on the scene and elicited my feelings. Moreover, the song brought me into the film and made me feel the aggressive,  powerful and strong enthusiasm to win. However, in my greedy mouse. I chose a brisk and lively music with the slap-happy sound effects instead of an exciting background music and believed that it can effectively represent the characters of the greedy, smart and tricky mouse.

(430 words)

Reference:

Graeme, H, Ruth, D & Jochen, E 2009, Sound and Music in Film and Visual Media: A critical overview, Bloomsbury Academic, New York & London.

Prompt – A scene: Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver

I played the short video over and over and found different aspects of of this video. Everything we saw in this video has its meaning and purpose that director want to present it to the audience. I would like to talk about the three characters in this video first. Two men and a woman. It is obviously that the taxi driver is the main role of this film, simply because the supporting actor not only just has a few words but also he is in the unclear background. By contrast, the main actor (taxi driver) who has a lot of dialogue appears in the scene of the beginning and leaves in the ending.

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I would like to deconstruct some shots that impressed me. The extreme long- shot in the beginning of the video shows the entire scene of the location. The director may want to show us the location where the actor decide to go and what will happen in the next scene.

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When the main actor comes into the place, the director uses POV shot that camera is acting the main actor’s eyes. It is very clear that he is looking at the actress and the destination where he goes to.

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In this scene, the director use the OTS shot to imply the relationship between this three people. In the first picture, the supporting character who is in the periphery is an outsider in the conversation. In the second picture, why director does not just use the general OTS shot? Because the director want to highlight the supporting character, therefore the supporting character appears in the centre of the scene even though he is in the background. We can not observer the facial expression of the supporting character but we can see that he is looking at them clearly. Maybe, the supporting character likes the actress. The most interesting part in film is that some details will give audience another feeling about the film simply because every scene we see in the film is the conscious choice by directors. Anyhow, there are must be some reasons why director choose this shot.

(352 words)

Prompt – Readings: Actor and Director & Sound Design

I have already read the academic article about actors and directors. It is really a fun paragraph that many new things are springing to my mind. Before reading this article, I always think actors are not related to directors at all. The directors just shoot the script and the actors just perform. There is no relationship between them. However, this article proves that my idea is totally wrong. I had tried the role of director in our practice group and I found that the directors have to read the script carefully because the directors should take every scene, every moment and every action that will be performed by actors into account. The director have to supervise the actors and direct the actions for the actors in the production of a show. On the other way, the actors personally can give some suggestions to directors when they are performing because actors can personally experience the show instead of thinking actions in mind. The actors who show themselves on the screen have to make sure they can bring the audience a clear understanding of some reactions or some emotions. Some little acts can give an actor higher or lower grade. For example, my favorite movie star, Johnny Depp, always does some small but handsome actions which make him more fascinating. I learned something in yesterday shooting practice, Aaron (the actor) did a good job because he can catch the core of the role (Lenny) and he played it well. In the beginning of shooting, when Ronak (the actress) was required to walk up to Lenny, she went too fast that she was not in the frame. I directed her walk as slow as she can and she tried again and again. She is good at facial expression, I am satisfied with the close-up sequence. A good actor can help the group saving time. I really enjoy this shooting trip. To sum up, both directors and actors are responsible for their actions they designed to make sure audience will feel good about that.  Some actions are arts which required both actors and directors to design.

In the article ‘Sound Design’, the director Akira Kurosawa said ‘The most exciting moment is the moment when I add the sound…’ . I totally agree with this point because the silent film can not describe graphically. No sound, no music and no dialogue, which makes it so boring! In the later chapter the director points out a reasonable point of view that silence is the most powerful elements which creates contrast and rhythm between dialogue and any other sounds. Take my experience for example, I do not like watch horror film. When I am scared, I always put my hands over my ears so as to filter the background music, but some frightful scenes without sound always freak me out. I think the sound is the left and right hands of the film. Sound can not only create an atmosphere but also tell the location. Sound fx synchronizes pictures, which brings true feelings to the audience. When I hold the shotgun microphone, I can feel the responsibility of the person who record sound. An admirable film requires a good quality of sound.

(534 words)