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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve had a couple discussions around how to use sound design and the capturing of audio that can push a story forward so I thought I’d share a couple videos that highlight in an entertaining way how you can change the context of a video with audio.
For the record, I really wish I had thought about doing my sound design projects in film school the same way. While I had a ton of fun redoing the audio in Jaws, I think cutting out the original audio of a music video and doing sound replacement to it is genius, and it really makes some drastic changes to the feeling of the video.
These videos are shown for artistic and entertainment purposes, which can be in conflict with the ethical guidelines that we heard during Peter Laufer’s course recently. There is a definite fine line that we as journalists have to be cognizant of as we produce pieces. Should you ever have questions relating to whether or not you are pushing ethical boundaries with the way you use any of the media you produce you can always reference The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
My personal opinion is that sound design (the specific manipulation of sound) is bordering on breaking ethical guidelines, but that if the use of sound design, or foley does not change the context within the story, and provides a richer environment for the viewing public to learn from and engage with your story it can be used, provided there is some transparency in the way you tell your story to account for the use of the effects.
I just found this very cool video that is made up mostly of someone illustrating what the narrator is talking about as she is talking. The illustrations are time-lapsed. This is yet another great alternative to animation, and I find it a very intriguing way to present a subject that, while very important, might otherwise lose some people. I especially like some of the more unique things the illustrator did, such as at about 2 minutes when she tore pieces of the paper away to reveal the picture underneath and create a new image. Also, at about 3 minutes when she started pulling out the pre-painted illustration. In addition to illustration, the filmmaker incorporated the use of sound to highlight some of the points.
This video made me cry. Not only is it beautifully shot, but the story is just amazing as well. These are the kinds of stories that I think a lot of people always hope to find. One that is gripping, and that has a happy ending, and one that you feel good about making. By taking the time to talk to this person and get his story, the filmmaker actually changed his life.
There is a lot of great sequencing in this video as well as some interesting angles and camera movements. And the lighting on the subjects was really well done. But the thing I really love about this video from a technical standpoint is the way the translation was done. The handwriting that stands as if it is part of the landscape, then fades out as we move past it was really striking to me.
I love the colors in this short! Particularly given my presentation last week, I enjoy the lighting choices: there are a lot of reds and greens, and often in subtle ways. Watching the opening shot where Markova is putting on makeup, it looks like the filmmakers chose to use the fluorescent lighting in her dressing room rather than bring in their own (or, they simulated that impression). Either way, they also didn’t correct the green tint with a white balance setting on the camera (like we would probably be tempted to do), and I love the result: it sets an appropriate tone for the viewer, and it also makes her red make-up and dress pop. Subtle choices, but I think they add a lot.
I also enjoyed the film portraits we get, first of the dogs and later of Markova herself. This time the whites are balanced perfectly and we get some studio-type lighting styles which deliberately suggest a painting. I don’t think I would have thought to put the main light above the subjects, but again, it creates a sort of eerie, circus-y tone that supports Markova’s interview beautifully. She’s a performer, and the lighting helps us to understand that.