This is not an official weekly post, and there’s not a ton to say about it. I just thought this video was really beautiful and wanted to share it. It has a great message shown in a simple but stunning way. The colors are amazing, I love the brightly colored balloons that explode into a different but equally lovely colored liquid. The lighting, with the subject being completely isolated against a black background, really accentuate the colors and keep our focus on the subject. Brilliant. Oh the possibilities…
This short video animation was made by a collective in Venezuela that operates out of barrios where there is no running water. It is a piece for a pirate radio station, whose antenna literally sits on a cinderblock rooftop, but the quality is akin to MtV. It shows an impressive use of CS6 integration, from the movement to the winking eye, and also how a bit of fancy video art can add new dimensions to an old speech. I’m continually amazing by the professional quality work that comes out of the people’s movements of Venezuela, and the guidance they provide for how the tools of the 21st century can be used to break down traditional barriers to power.
So, Wes suggested I watch this video when he and I talked about some ideas for my own project, and I thought I’d post it to highlight a scene of “first person” storytelling about 1 minute from the end. Although I appreciate that the filmmaker kept it to a short segment (I think there’s more impact as a result), I really like what looks like a GoPro on someone’s head–switching from steady shots to the shaky image a boxer would see stepping through the ropes, it immediately put me in the headspace of someone about to get punched in the face.
I also like the pacing of this sequence, because it supports the messaage. With the quick succession of “first person” shots mixed with tight shots and a few others composed with objects in the foreground, the result for me is a bit of a frenzy. Considering my own piece, I think what I want to communicate in one sequence isn’t a frenzy so much as the rhythm you get into when you’re skating laps, but the lessons here do translate. I like the feeling of speed I capture when I hold my camera while skating, so by weaving a couple of these shots together with action and detail, I’m excited to see if I can emulate this short in its ability to capture physical sensation.
This Sundance accepted short follows Kendrick Domingue, a black southern man, as he makes his way through the predominantly white world of roping horses at rodeos in the South. He hopes to one day make it to to the Las Vegas Rodeo Finals. At only six minutes, it seemed like a tall order to show him going from the rodeos of small Southern towns to the finals in Las Vegas, while also developing his character. It became apparent that the short would leave this unanswered question unanswered. He has done well on the regional circuit, but whether or not he will ever make it to Las Vegas is never answered.
I struggled to some degree with this decision by the filmmakers, even though I understand that the time required to create the movie that shows the longer journey to Las Vegas was possibly more than the filmmakers could afford. Still, the character development is strong and the possibility of his success outside the region is demonstrated through his performance at the rodeo in small town Louisiana, so it’s not like we don’t get the feeling that he could make it to Las Vegas. It does show that not all questions that are raised need to be answered in order to have a complete piece.
Virtually every aspect of this opening scene of Soy Cuba is impressive. Most notable for me, however, is the timing and cinematic movement of each of the shots. Notice how long each shot goes on for, and in the rooftop dance scene starting around minute 2:30, it’s almost continuous despite multiple actors and objects to move around. It actually hurt my brain to figure out how they did that, but I’m grateful for having to think about things like cinematographic movement, and thereby notice the genius of scenes like this.
David Wilson started out studying illustration at Brighton University. He then began using his drawings to create movement and animation videos, and when YouTube sprang up, he started putting them online, where they started to garner quite a bit of interest. They’re so unique and creative, featuring hand-drawn illustrations as well as stop-animation with face paint and more.
This video takes you behind the scenes as you get to see the making of the creations as well as the end result on the screen. It’s really interesting to see not only the kind of props and cameras they use, but in addition to hear David talk about the inspiration behind the stories of his music videos. The video as a whole is also an interesting look at how to layer backstage b-roll over a simple two-camera interview.
MediaStorm’s fantastic embed code that was much hyped doesn’t seem to be working. Please go here to see the film that I am talking about.
After seeing Brian Storm speak last week, I wanted to check out MediaStorm for my weekly inspiration this week. I want to start off by talking about the MediaStorm website, it is clean and easy to navigate. I personally had never been to the MediaStorm site before, but for someone who had never been there it was easy to figure out. Exactly what we should want in the websites that we visit. I was able to easily find their videos, to things that were done by commission. I also took some time to browse the training videos that Storm had talked about at the end of his talk. I plan to watch as many of these as I can, they can be very useful for any filmmaker no matter how experienced they might be.
Now lets talk about this video. When I say in the title that it is as simple as can be I am not lying. These are simple one camera set-ups filming New Yorkers talking around town in the wake of the September 11th attacks. These are genuine feeling that are being expressed by the people that are being filmed, even though they know they are being filmed as some of them, like the younger man at the beginning, will look to the camera. But what is interesting about how the filmmakers made this film is that it’s not clean shots that they went for, instead they set up their cameras as if they are watching the people from across the room, allowing the people in the shot to just have their conversations without the feeling of being filmed.
I think the best shot of the film was not the argument at 6:20 between the two women, although that did have the most emotion clearly. In fact it is the moment with the mother and her little girl around five minutes in. You only see the girl’s face in an over the shoulder shot of the mother, as if the filmmakers are putting us into the shoes of the mother for a moment. It is the only shot like it in the film and that is why it is really significant and lends the most emotional moment in the film.
A local film made by local ad firm Juliet Zulu, this short (<2 min) piece is about arborists, but what it’s really about is craftsmanship. I love the cinematography, the way the film crew didn’t remain on the ground shooting up, but actually got in the tree with the Hedgehog guys. We have a central narrator, the main character, who talks about his work as we see beautiful slow motion images of men in trees.
The thing that stands out the most for me is listening to the pride in the man’s voice and the seriousness with which he approaches this job. It’s a job all about safety and responsibility, and the solemn music and pacing conveys these values brilliantly. Nice job, JZ.
Did somebody post this before? Because I can’t believe I’m the first one here to stumble upon it. I suppose it’s only been up on Vimeo for a few days, but anyway… I love this piece. Not only did the directors interview people in a position we’ve never seen done before, but they found a moment where people were inherently willing to put their guard down. There’s something about the existential connection between our inner monologues and our physical beings that makes any kind of motion cause your mind to drift. There’s been times in my life when I’ve been a runner, and the cerebral clarification part of the process was always my biggest reason for doing it.
There’s an awesome article with these fellas at The Guardian that shows the cool bike trailer they created to film the interviews, but also talks about how willing the majority of the people were to start speaking. I think some of the comfort level not only arises from this mindset that people are in mid-run, but also the quick realization that these directors were doing everything they can to not get in the way. I’m finding in my own work that sometimes creating that comfort zone with your interviewee is the biggest part of the process. While filming Grateful Dead bowling, I’ve been having a surprisingly difficult time getting folks to loosen up around me. I think a good degree of the uneasiness comes from the stereo typical angle of mockery that is often used in news pieces in regard to the Deadhead community. However as tomorrow will now be the 3rd week (three and a half) I’ve spent at the lanes, as well as the 2nd time filming, I feel as though I’ve now built up a long enough track record for myself with these folks that they’re finally ready to be themselves in front of the camera. There’s nothing worse than a stiff hippie for some bad interview footage – take my word for it.
Back to The Runners though, this video reminds me of Taxi Cab Confessions. The stories all seem to have that fairly direct and quick path to deep insight, caused by a near instantaneous degree of acceptance.
I’ve been spending a little time thinking about how viewers interact with the shows and media that they consume. The last few years has seen a rise in what is called “second screen” meaning that the shows on television are being augmented with an online experience that is meant to engage with the audience. The idea behind this type of engagement was that it would drive viewers to your sites where they can then access behind the scenes clips, or interact with characters via games, while getting more time for advertisers on their mobile devices or laptops. A perfect example of this is AMC’s The Walking Dead where you will see a notice pop up right before the beginning of the show that is a prompt for viewers to start their second screen experience.
To my thinking this second screen experience is an awful distraction to viewers. While the content that can be shown on a second screen might be of interest, and relevant to the viewership it feels like something that can pull the audience away from the story that is playing out in front of them and that can lessen the impact of the message you are trying to convey.
I have started putting my phone in another room to lessen the temptation to use it while watching tv shows or movies. I’ve done this because I feel like viewers like me have become so easily distracted that moments that feature silence have become times when you check into your Facebook, or Twitter and in that moment you are lessening the impact that the filmmaker/storyteller is trying to convey by using silence as a storytelling device.
I think back to one of my favorite scenes of all time and how being a distracted viewer would have ruined that moment for me, and ultimately taken the moments leading up to it and rendered much less impactful.
While I might not like the idea behind second screens according to recent reports by Nielsen the use of second screens is successful for content providers and networks…that does not mean that the viewers are getting the best means of consuming the media, but that they are using second screens to access their social media accounts, or shop for products being advertised within the show.
At least one major network is looking to stop using second screen applications, as this quote from Disney’s Digital EVP Albert Cheng in an article by GigaOM indicates:
ABC did a number of tests with second-screen applications that pushed out contextual information for shows like Grey’s Anatomy, and Cheng said that one of the lessons learned during those tests was that it just doesn’t matter enough to viewers. “It was interesting to viewers, but not essential,” he said. What’s more, when engagement did happen, it ended up taking people’s attention away from the show’s story. “Second screen becomes a distraction,”
As we produce our works, and attempt to have people connect with the stories we are aiming to tell it is important that we explore all of the tools, and capabilities that are available to us, but I can’t say it strongly enough, that no matter what choices we make as creators those choices need to serve the story, and not come at the cost of silence.