Saturday, June 9, 2012

Going Viral

The Ted talks videos that we watched were quite insightful.  It definitely gave a new perspective on how to look at where current media and entertainment trends are heading.  Despite the quality difference for video entertainment with regards to film making compared to YouTube video making, there is definitely a demand for both in our current state.  I never really thought that YouTube videos could really be studied and looked at the way they are now, but the points that were brought up are absolutely true.  The tribes, taste makers, community participation and unexpectedness are very good ways to either evaluate a current viral video or to anticipate one.  And when I look at what makes a viral video now, I cannot help but wonder that even with these qualities being recognized, it is still difficult to have a video go viral intentionally, even if you have the entire formula needed to make one fall within the requirements.  I am curious now to see how many of the student videos may actually end up going viral, or what I am expecting is to see how many of us realize how random and difficult it is to make one viral.  Another aspect that could speed up the process on YouTube would be to pay the extra money so that the video is played and advertised more frequently.  I wonder how much of it comes down to money as well.  In a sense, money to fund the advertising to spread the video faster may in part act as a taste maker when one may not be supporting your video.  This then comes down to marketing.  All the different ways that have been discussed as to what the qualities are to for a viral video are surprisingly true though.  When I started to think about all the videos that I have seen go viral, they all met that category.  But there is one quality that I noticed was most present in all the viral videos and that is the unexpectedness.  Often we are so surprised as to what we see in the videos that we feel a need to immediately share what we have seen with our friends and family.  This then continues the surprise to a larger audience which in turn shares it and so on.  Making our own video go viral will be a challenging task, but an interesting experiment.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Rough Theatre

Brooke discusses the theatre art form in an interesting way. His perspective shows that theatre has a rough edge to it and art can be created and appreciated regardless of its polished quality.  It seemed that Brooke's was sort of favoring the side of creativity with limited resources and favors that quality over any planned architectural framework with sharp edges and fine points well paid for.  I recently had discussion with a friend of mine, today in fact, and my friend was saying how one-hundred dollars is plenty to do a good music video with if you have the right crew and creative input for the final product.  I agree and disagree with this statement.  I agree with the fact that a good film needs to have good content, but that is normally with any film.  There are definitely examples of big budget films where the special effects received more attention than the character and story development.  Content is absolutely critical, and the creative input and level of improvising to meet a creative goal is a skill heavily desired and appreciated in the film world.  But, the big problem I had with the statement is that, no matter how creative you may be, if you do not have the budget to achieve the look or shot you are trying to achieve, then there is a degree to which how far creativity can take you before budget will tell the film maker that they cannot do what they intended and must re-evaluate their creative decisions and settle for less.  I do not like the idea for settling for less, and James Cameron also did not like this idea when he decided to wait ten years to make Avatar until technology caught up to provide the look he intended.  Because even Cameron knew that no matter how creative you are, and even in this case no matter how much money as well, the technology was not available at the time to complete the look he wanted, and when it became available he did not mind spending the money to make his dream come true which paid off greatly in the end.  I understand the article describes to us that you cannot recreate creativity and hard work, nor can you just buy it, but there is potential to make it happen with less resources.  This definitely translates well for this class' activities.  In the end, I like knowing what I can create with my imagination, but I prefer to also have the budget to pay for the pretty look I might desire at times if I want the polished look.  Because no matter how much creativity you have, you may be remembered for that creativity and the final product's quality with consideration to a meager budget, but nobody can say it will look as good as a two-hundred million dollar film.  The way I see it, give that creative person two-hundred million dollars worth of a budget and the may use only one-hundred million and create an amazing product that their usual fifty-thousand would not have been able to make.  We may not have seen the same shots on the lower budget because they would have decided to trash the idea because it isn't affordable, but in this case, they can use their creative sense and combine it with their capital assets and create a masterpiece.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I must say the Long-Take was quite a challenge as a camera operator.  Part of this was due to the fact that we attempted to imitate David Lynch's long-take where he made the single shot appear as multiple shots with multiple cuts and transitions.  In order for our long-take to also appear as multiple shots and cuts, we utilized the Bolex's variable shutter and closed it to create the cut and opened it to continue the shot.  As the camera operator, many rehearsals had to be done prior to shooting the take.  It was a lot of fun though.   A big challenge as the operator was trying to maintain the proper composition in the frame as I quickly switched between one subject to the other.  Because time is so limited, I had to do it fast and make sure I switched the variable shutter back and forth on time so the cuts did not appear to take too long.  Another interesting part of the long-take was seeing the footage after we developed it.  Because it was so hard to quickly adjust the shot and adjust the variable shutter, it was nearly impossible to adjust the fStop as well. I learned to make sure that wherever we are doing a long-take to appear as separate shots, we need to make sure that each subject is under similar light intensities.  Overall, the long-take assignment was an enjoyable challenge.  It was nice to know that we could film, develop, project, and transfer the footage all within four hours. The assignment also reiterated the importance of proper lighting, lens, and fstop choices.  Basically, how hard it is for film cinematographers to perform at exceptional levels.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cameraless Filmmaking

The cameraless film making was a lot of fun.  I was not expecting to have as much fun on the assignment as I ended up having.  Through the process of painting, bleaching, scratching, etc... I found a new appreciation for that style of film making.  I remember when I first watched Stan Brakage films, I always thought it looked like a kid playing with film, but I could have never been more wrong.  After doing this assignment, I realized the level of patience, skill, and thought that goes into films such as his and Norman Mclaren.  Their films are so well designed that luck and random beauty from using different mediums was not the driver for their success.  It was creativity, precision, and planning along with experimentation that truly was the heart behind their films.  I personally can say that I now have a profound appreciation for what cameraless film makers do.  Although I did end up having more fun than I expected doing the assignments, I can honestly say that I could not do that style of film making.  I love narrative film making, but I at least have a better understanding for what it takes to make a good cameraless experimental film.  I also found the different techniques to be very interesting in that, you become a true artist of emulsion, and a chemist of creativity through scratching/drawing on the emulsion, and mixing and separating inks and chemicals to create amazing effects.  I think every film maker at some point should try these techniques to say they did it and have a better understanding as to what some of their fellow film makers have to offer.

Projections of Sound on Image

Sound is a very underrated element of film form to the masses.  Film enthusiasts, scholars, etc. truly appreciate sound's value on a film.  It is one of those elements of a film where if it is done well, nobody says anything about it, but when it is done poorly, everyone complains.  I remember when our class with Dave Monahan was watching a scene from Hitchcock's Psycho and we compared the scene in two viewings, one with sound and one without sound.  This was quite interesting and a very good example of the importance of sound design, because without the sound, the scene appeared silly and did not achieve its goal to instill a sense of fear and tension in the audience. But, when sound was played with the scene, this goal was achieved quite well.  Sound can be used in so many ways too which is why I find sound design to be a very magical element of film making.  One value of sound that I truly appreciate is its ability to be empathetic to a scene, and even anempathetic as discussed in the reading. This variable use of sound can be quite useful to further convey an emotion from a scene, and even contradict the emotion that would be associated, making the scene even more emotional at times.  I think the reading really hit the nail on the head when the Psycho shower scene was used as an example because the sound of the water running continued after the girl was killed to make the scene even more disturbing in my opinion.  It was an unsettling feeling making it feel more real, as if we were truly in that room, and in reality that water would continue to run unless we pass her dead body to turn it off ourselves.  Because in those intense moments we often want to quiet any noises when we are on edge, but the film's sound design would not let us, thus intensifying this unnerving feeling.  Sound design is such a critical element in film and should never be taken for granted.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Theory of Animation

Well's Theory of Animation is a nice crash course into the realm of animation and the unexpectedly complex and valuable role it plays for the artists involved.  What I found to be most interesting is the different levels of abstract animation and their difference in novelty.  So often when people think of animation, thoughts of Saturday morning cartoons and comics come to mind, but there is a much bigger world that animation calls home.  I found value in the distinction between orthodox animation and experimental animation. I never really thought about the fact that Disney cartoons, such as Mickey Mouse or Goofy, had socially normal narratives and were psychologically normal to the viewers because they were familiar animals doing familiar human tasks, and even though the two are not normally together, it never seemed odd to me.  I love the idea that animation is now looked at with more potential and expression in art.  Subconsciously, animation and cartoons never really registered to me as an art form comparable to paintings in galleries, but they very much are similar in many ways.  Even though Wells states that orthodox animation is much more straightforward, I feel that a lot of the story and narrative, as well as cartoon character's attributes such as wardrobe, dialogue and props used in the cartoon can also be subject to detailed analysis for their double meaning and high context value.  I feel that this is also comparable to many of these expressionist styles, though experimental tends to be more complex, I'm sure other cartoons have been made with stylistic choices to metaphorically represent social aspects in a similar way experimental animators do this.  I just think that experimental tends to stand out more and is more frequent in their high context technique, so it is much easier to notice, but I do not think experimental animation stands alone in this quality.  Quite possibly more in depth analysis on cartoons within the orthodox realm may have more to offer than meets the eye.  Maybe "semi-orthodox" could be a good term for some of these animations deemed "orthodox."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cymatics and Synesthesia

Both cymatics and synesthesia are very interesting concepts. In cymatics there have been many neat tests and art forms created through the use of sound.  I find it interesting now that I think about it, when I was growing up there were many times where I experienced cymatics but did not know of the concept. It was always neat to see something move due to the vibration of sound, but it is even more intriguing that people are intentionally manipulating sound to create motion and shapes.  I will be curious to see where cymatics can be applied in the future with the integration of technology and further cymatic advances.  Who knows what applications cymatics might unlock in the future.  One question that came to my mind while watching the video was are we truly seeing sound? Because if we are then that sound should then have the same pattern every time right?  But if we changed the thickness or area of the material vibrating to the sound, then would that change the pattern?  If so we are not necessarily observing sound solely, but we are observing sound in conjunction with the vehicle in which sound travels. Will the same pitch appear differently when using different surfaces or materials?  That is the question that kept coming to my mind.  As for synesthesia, I am a little uncertain as to what the definition means exactly, especially with regards to grapheme, or color synesthesia.  According to Wiki it stated that synesthetes perceive a letter or number with a color.  What I am unsure about is do the people actually see the color when they look at the letters or do they think of the color when they see or think of the letter or number?  Because in my mind when I think of the letter 'A' I also picture the color red in my head, but I know that this is due to programming and memory growing up.  The whole 'A' is for Apple, and the apple being red comes to mind.  I also think of images with sound, but again it is due to memory and programming over time.  If I hear a screeching sound I think of tires and a car accident, but the screeching could be something else.  Even though it may not be a tire or accident about to happen, my brain immediately associates that sound with what I am most used to.  I feel like this is why Foley sounds can be created so well and trick people's brains, because they are using sounds that are similar to the sound they may be imitating, but may lack fidelity.