Month: February 2014

Non-Narrative Film

This week’s assignment is to create a non-narrative film using at least one organizing principle; for my film i decided to use the color red. I decided to use this because as I was waiting for the bus, I really liked the way the color red, stood out against the white of the snow. So I walked around campus, and filmed objects that had something about them that was red, especially where the it was apparent the snow was falling and where the background had earthy hues.

I used the song In Less Detail by Lydon Scarfe

Video Essay

This weeks assignment was to analyze the role of women portrayed in the 5 films: Behind Office Doors, Nothing Sacred, His Girl Friday, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers and Life With Father. I argued that the events of the era, such as the Great Depression and World War II had a strong impact on the role of women in society and on movies. Additionally, the women are portrayed differently based on the society roles they are portraying. For example, Hildy Johnson is the ex-wife and she is portrayed as independent and strong, where as Vinne Day, the wife is portrayed as self-sacrificing and motherly. Finally, there were a few things that remained constant through out the movie. One was the objectification of women, even if it wasn’t the main character, there was some woman in each of the films who were being used by others. And the other was that all the women had a strong dependence on at least one male character in the films. 

Short Film

Before I start, I would first like to apologize for my bad camera shots i am not the best at photography or film. 

My short film is based on my friends at Hunt Library.  This thought occurred to me as I was sitting in hunt for a few hours doing work and most of the people that were there wen I began were still there. Of course being CMU students and the the work-a-holics that we are, more often than not they were doing work, but definitely not for the whole time. So what I wanted to do was capture them (mostly with out their knowledge) trying to not do work and how they spent their time goofing off. I got a few interesting ones of a few of my friends (who were in acapella groups…thank goodness!!) breaking out into song. Then I left for few hours to take a brake, get dinner and what not and returned to Hunt Library around midnight. Thats when everything became a lot stranger, the conversations made almost no sense and sometime they distracted themselves by just staring off into space. Now I understand that this video is not as funny to others as it is to me since I know the group of people in the video fairly well. But, this group of people is good sample of the population. I have at least one person from each school represented and based on what I saw around, my friends were actually the more normal group of people. My one regret is that I wish I had done this on a Wednesday or Thursday night because there would have been more people scrambling to get work done, as opposed to a Monday night, and I would have been able to get a much funnier footage. One thing I would have liked to have done, but still can’t figure out how to do is to have soft background music while the characters are still talking, so you can hear them but there is still a melody in the back to add some effect. 

The music that I used in my short film were:

  • Meals on Wheels by Quiet Hooves 
  • Readers Do You Read by Chris Zabriskie
  • Twinkle Toes by Podington Bear 
  • Noahs Stark by Krackatoa 
  • Old Dreams with Sally Kwok by Gary Lucas 

I used these songs because I thought of the ones I could find on freemusicarchive.com, I thought they fit the best. I just wish I had more time and more music to go through and find the best ones that fit the feel/message of what I am trying to get across. 

 

Technology in Animation

Last week on Wednesday (1/29) we talked about how technology influenced the way impacts our visual experience. First we we watched Humorous Phases of Funny Faces by J. Stuart Blackton. It was the first film sequence and it was originally a vaudeville act that was then transferred to the screen. It features chalk drawings and with the use of cut out animation is able to move.

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Following that, we watched Alice’s Egg Plant. This was a cartoon created by Disney  using a similar method as Humorous Phases of Funny Faces but the twist is that it features a live action little girl in the cartoon. This show how animation was able to evolve in a few years. Although this does not enhance the story in anyway and having an animated girl would have been just as sufficient, it is an interesting use of technology.

 

 

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Following Alice’s Egg Plant, we watched Betty Boop’s May Party, which unlike Humorous Phases of Funny Faces and Alice’s Egg Plant has sound and was also one of the first animated sequences to use a rotoscope. The use of rotoscopes allowed for more life-like movement of the character. Also, the use of sound in animation further emphasizes the characteristics  and the personality of the characters. The biggest proof of the influence of sound is how synonymous “Boop-oop-a-doop” is with Betty Boop.

 

 

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After sound and color were added into animated films, Disney attempted to create a new experience for the audience with the use of Cinemascope. Traditionally, the screen was a square but with a cinemascope, the screen was a long and rectangular. The use of cinemascope was more to enhance the experience of the audience, rather than for having an impact on the characters of the story. With cinemascope, the screen covered the audience’s entire vision and had characters going from one end of the screen to the other. Disney even alludes to this new change at the very beginning when Professor Owl is running late to his class. He rushes out of his tree all the way to the left of the screen and as he his running he makes his way across to the right side; some people would have had to turn their head to keep Professor Owl in their vision.

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In addition to cartoon animation, we also saw examples of replacement animation, where the filmmakers use different puppets in each frame to characterize every movement and in turn bring the puppets to life. The two examples of replacement animation that we saw were Tulips Shall Grow and Paranorman. The biggest difference between the two is that in Tulips Shall Grow the filmmakers replace the entire puppets in each since, however in Paranorman they are only replacing the face so that they are able to show more detailed and life-like facial expression.

 

 

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In addition to animated shorts or films we also saw Television commercials and animated shorts the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales and on Disney.com. This indicates how technology has created a separation in the audiences that view the films. The commercials were specifically targeted towards people. For example, the Spots for Jello commercials was directed strictly towards mothers and housewife, informing them of the ease of preparation and how much it would satisfy either her guests or children. Also the Nash Rambler commercial was talking to the man of the house and urging him to be financially smart while still providing enough room for his family and out maneuvering all the other cars on the road. Finally the two websites were directly targeting children to be entertaining and educational.

Narrative Edits

Before I made the video, I had spent days finishing the Avatar cartoon series so the plot of my videos is modeled after a major theme in the series : fate. The Lumiere brothers videos that I had a lot of videos that contrasted the same situation for two very different groups of people; the rich and the poor. In my video I used the theme of fate to compare and contrast the two groups. The vidoe features comparisons between children in orphanages and a baby who has loving parents to look after her. Then I move to compare older the situation in different parts of life like adolescence and adulthood where the rich are seen enjoying themselves while the poor are hard at work. My video features only the videos by the Lumiere brothers, and there is no music – mainly because I the sound and video mixing refused to work on my computer. 

You can watch the video here.