Prompt #1 – Lenny reflection on

2 days video shooting provided us a good chance to learn the process of film making. We had met difficulties when we were shooting, which resulted to the harsh editing following by. It is hard for us to make a beautiful stuff in the first time. However, it is just a practice of learning new things, not of accomplishing a project.

Pre – Production (we are planning)

The first stage was all about discussion and sharing ideas among the members of my group before we started shooting. We started by assigning different jobs but based on everyone’s skills. I believe that is very important to arrange ourselves into the correct position, so as to enable us to do what we are good at and in which aspects we can make a great contribution to our group. For example, Francis is good at camera, so he was decided to be the cameraman, and he can teach us a lot about camera during the period of time when we were shooting. Afterwards, we looked at our script personally, I (1st AD) had freehand drawn the storyboard drafts with different scene, which can help me to express to Arron (Director) the pictures of script in myIMG_0932IMG_0931 mind clearly before we outlined and scheduled the script. After that we confirmed the script with the actress and the actor that they were to have a clear understanding of some particular actions, emotions as well as the relationship between Lenny and Sharron. Finally, we locked on the location where shooting would take place.

Production (just do it)

The first day, we set all the things but failed to notice that the camera does not working because of some unpredictable problems. Obviously, this is my mistake because this is part of 1st AD’s job which is double checking whether the equipment functions well or not. We wasted approximately 50 minutes on resetting the camera. The first day was wasted, whereas this lead us a successful shooting next day. We cherished and made full use of time to shoot. Due to the absenteeism of some people, Arron was changed to be the actor whilst I got the important role (Director) in the group. That was the first time I operated a veritable filming and experienced the whole process, which was impressive.

Post – Production (make it alive!)

I could not conceal my inner excitement when I had stepped into the awesome studio downstairs. We had been divided into 2 people groups before we started working. After that ,each of us was required to put the group videos that we shoot together last time  into a folder named Lenny in a computer then we could use the files, and create a new project into Adobe Premiere. We referred to the file, ‘Starting Off – Premiere’ , which is published in Paul’s blog and needs us to follow the steps about how we import the footage into Premiere. Everything went well in the beginning. However I got mad when playing with each of the clips because one third of them were duds. The second problem was that our clapper loader did not operate the clapperboard properly in the beginning of each take, which slowed down my process of renaming the clips.  (i. The clapperboard is not in the frame. ii. The wrong scene, shot and take order. iii. Repetition of scene, shot and take.) From this point, I realize organizing and renaming all of the clips is time-saving for the following edits. I have tried to montage the clips, which was aiming to make it a real video. I did 3 projects of Lenny shooting, but concern that they are almost the same with slight differences.

(609 words)

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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)

Prompt – Crew Roles

I still remember the first time I watched the cast and the crew list at the end of the movie carefully. It was long and boring, but I had nothing to do except keep my eyes on the screen and enjoy the background music. Only a few of the crews will be known by audiences, including the directors, the actors and actresses, but there are still hundreds, even thousands of people working on just one production for years to present the fantastic two hours in cinemas.Then I realized what the huge production a movie is as the crew roles in that paper sheet.

And of course, I want to be one of them. There are so many different departments in a film making crew, and each department also has different key roles. For example, I am the 1st AD in our practice group. When I heard this word from Jeremy, I was confused because there are so many directors, the director, the 1st AD and the 2nd AD. What’s that? What’s the difference? The duty of different roles excited my curiosity. Jeremy explain the jobs of 1st AD and 2nd AD to me. It is very important to arrange yourself into the correct position so that you can do what you are good at and make a great contribution to your group. If you want to be a director, you shall know that a good director is broadly knowledgeable and possessed of a lively, inquiring mind and so on. “Developing a Crew” shows us the requirements of every role in film making, such as script supervisor, producer, director of photography and sound recorder.

For now, as we’re all students, we cannot make our crew so skillful and professional. That’s fine because a low-budget film crew is also small, perhaps 6 to 10 persons take our practice group for example. However in our shooting practice, we failed to notice that the camera does not work. This is my mistake because this is one part of my job. We wasted approximately 50 minutes on resetting the camera again and again. Maybe we are lack of practice and experience, but we’re not lack of the love of our work. Problems always allow us to analysis failure and avoid the same mistake next time.

(377 words)

Prompt – Reflect and Write

I have already read those articles about writing reflectively and learned some notions which are new to me. The most interesting thing I find is that every time we review the paper, we can get some new points which make the paper more profound. Every time we review the paper, we can improve the paper by fixing some mistakes. We usually write articles with some superficial thinking, however, writing reflectively means we have to think deeply afterwards. This process can actually improve our writing skills in some way. Also, by comparing with others’ articles, we can get some unexpected points which can make the paper more logic, as the 3 examples that the article have given to us.  I am pretty interested in some subject matters for reflective writing because there is a point saying your non-work activity is related to your reflective writing. Initially, I am confused how non-work activity can influence your academic writing. However, it is true because it is the process of reflection. Every detail in daily life will remind you of some good ideas. To conclude, writing reflectively is a really good process which can improve ourselves not only for writing but also for rethinking the process. I am really looking forward to write a deep reflection paper in the future.

(230 words)