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‘Week 1’ Category

  1. The Little Touches

    January 13, 2014 by

    I was first drawn to this video because I’m totally hooked on this song. Frankly, the actual shots themselves and their subsequent sequencing aren’t all that impressive to me. I would have liked some more solid pans, and less of the Motely Crue-type zoom ins. There are two huge things I love about this video though – the primary thing being the use of the added blue backdrop. It’s a minuscule touch, but it really frames the whole piece. It makes me realize that the perfect shot isn’t always just laid out in front of you; sometimes you have to slightly manipulate your environment so that it serves as a better foundation for your vision. By eliminating the house in the background, this little blue wall actually creates a sense of more openness.

    The second thing I dig about this video is the use of the sepia-tone in the filming. These Haim sisters have an old-school feel to their music, and by having that slight filter on the video it really adds an ideal touch to unite the images to the music. Is that an actual setting on the cameras or was that done in post-production?

  2. You Win Or You Die

    January 13, 2014 by


    This may come as a bit of a shock to some of you but yes I am a huge nerd and I have no apologies about it.  On Sunday HBO premiered the trailer for the new season of Game of Thrones later this year, needless to say I geeked out.

    But I am posting this because I wanted to talk about how even though this is a scripted show and they obviously control nearly all of the aspects to have perfect conditions, how damn near perfect and well shot everything in this trailer really is.  From the colors to the lighting everything looks great, and it is a show of what can truly be made when you have the experience and the talent to create something truly fantastic.

    What I love most about this trailer though, and this goes for all of the seasons that have come out so far, is how perfectly the music goes with the scenes they have chosen to show.  The dark and melancholy music perfectly captures the natures of teh show and the situations that we find the characters in this season.  Plus I am astounded at how the shots line up with the music so well.  Look at six seconds in with the beat on the king, cut to black, beat shot of the king from a new angle.

    To shoot as much footage as they must to make a show of this caliber, and pick out these specific scenes and find the perfect music to match to it is something that is really awesome.  I have always admired the cinematography on this show, seeing as I really want to focus on getting even better shots this term it seemed fitting to share this right off the bat.

  3. Hidden Patterns

    January 13, 2014 by

    Midday Traffic Time Collapsed and Reorganized by Color: San Diego Study #3 from Cy Kuckenbaker on Vimeo.

    This video interests me for a few reasons. For one, I think it’s a great example of when a simple concept is compelling enough to replace and/or become plot–I watched it the whole way through and thought it was mesmerizing (granted, a minute and a half was about all I could handle. I think it was smart to keep it short). I wonder if it helped to keep the rarer colorful cars at the end? I’m pretty sure I would have lost interest about five seconds into the white cars, had they come last.

    As I was watching this video, also, I couldn’t help but think about our discussions around direct cinema and how “truthful” filmmakers are when we re-arrange the sequence of events to craft a plot. This is exactly what the producer has done here, and the re-arranging is the only thing that makes the film interesting. It’s not a lie, because the patterns were there to begin with, but there is very clearly a manipulation of the original film.

    With that in mind: does it matter to you that “there are no CG elements, these are all real cars that have been removed from one sample and reorganized”? I think it does in my mind, not because CG couldn’t create the exact same images, but because the decision communicates a sort of pact between filmmaker and audience–something like “this sequence is clearly modified, but it’s not made up.”

    Finally, I was interested in the technical aspect of how the cars were reorganized. Does anybody know how you would go about doing this, and whether we have the software to pull it off?


  4. Week 1 Inspiration: Holy Grail

    January 12, 2014 by Makare

    Holy Grail: The T206 Honus Wagner from Prospect Productions on Vimeo.

    During class last week we looked at the short film that the Barnicle brothers (Prospect Productions) did about the tifo that the Timbers Army does in support of the Portland Timbers. This week I want to use one of their other pieces, as it is a great example of cinematic journalism and storytelling.

    The film Holy Grail tells the story of the most well preserved version of the rarest baseball card the T206 Honus Wagner. That particular subject matter would initially seem to be as compelling as paint drying, the artful use of  cinematic journalism concepts are clearly evident throughout this piece, and as layer after layer is unfolded during the piece the viewer ends up leaving having learned something about a small facet of the world that might not have been considered, that has interesting ramifications to the art and auction industry.

    The piece uses thoughtfully composed shots, many of which are moving and drawing attention, as well as audio interviews that drive the story forward and act as the means to unfold additional layers to increase the richness of the subject matter. The filmmakers also utilize simple effects that are subtle, but effective at keeping the eyes interested, for example the “3D” moving stills (this is not the Ken Burns effect) where foreground and background elements are separated and moved independently to draw the viewer in.

    The Barnicle’s have been using cinematic journalism as their medium to great success, and I suggest you look at some of the work that they have been doing you can find them at Huff Post and on Vimeo.

    By the end of the video the viewer should have the realization that this short film is not about a baseball card, but more about the way that something as seemingly unimportant as a baseball card can be manipulated, traded, sold, and exploited in ways that can have a substantial impact on the people that come into contact with it, and on an industry that is built on the desires of collectors.


  5. Cute Story Without Words

    October 31, 2013 by

    Table Manners from Rebecca Manley on Vimeo.

    This piece is a fantastic example of creating a compelling story without words. Also, it ridiculously adorable but the cute factor almost blinds you to how well the piece is put together. When viewing the film, while not completely distracted by grinning at the endearing characters, you see how meticulously the piece has been crafted.

    The film opens with the camera angle being the perspective of the main character, as it scurries down a forest path, thus we get the setting while having questions. We then see a shadow and then, with our curiosity perked, a fantastically detailed cardboard squirrel peers out from around the tree and you just have to smile.

    The sound choices are perfectly done, and on about the third view I was able to take in how essential the audio is in making the cardboard characters come alive. The little bells as the squirrel is scurrying, the oinks for the pig, the crunching leaves, the bees buzzing, the marching tunes, the nice natural forest sounds and the final burp, all made the piece really come together.

    Lastly, one has to give a nod for the craftsmanship in creation and handling of the characters. The details were exquisite!

  6. Dogs Shaking in Slow Motion (ACE 1)

    October 30, 2013 by

    Today’s a slow week.  This inspires me to think about all the minutia involved in any action, and how the naked eye  simply doesn’t see it.  In a sense, this is a reason to take up a camera, to document the fascinating and inane nature of life at a different speed. Also: who knew??? I guess film can actually teach us while entertaining.

    In terms of set up, I like how they’ve got the pooches in a controlled environment, almost interview style, to mitigate any interference and focus on the important elements. Namely, exactly what happens when a dog shakes? 🙂

  7. Interactive Multimedia Feature from NY Times

    October 16, 2013 by

    As technology continues to grow and change around us, Multimedia is an ever-evolving mechanism of storytelling. As we are all discovering, that may come in many different shapes and platforms to maximize how we understand and effectively absorb the material. I found the NY Times article Syrian Refugees in Lebanon to be a very powerful and contextualizing form of multimedia. Now this is not quite a form of “Snowfall” but it provides us with a great example of a smaller scale and more simplified version of the same general idea. The Times presents stories from three different families who have been fled from Syria to Lebanon in attempts to escape the horrors they left behind. I particularly like the interactive photograph of the families in their home because it allows the viewer to see an entire 360 degree view around the room (oftentimes the only room shared amongst multiple families). It gave me a sense of perspective on exactly how big the room was and how many people were sharing that space on a daily basis. Overall, I think this is an effective piece of Multimedia Journalism and left me with an overall feeling of empathy for these people that have lost their homes to warfare.

  8. Birds without words (Allyson)

    October 14, 2013 by

    So, I’ve been thinking about how to tell a story without words, and I keep coming back to this movie. In my disgustingly oversimplified view, there are three types of nature documentaries: 1) a narrator tells you things about plants and animals, with video of them; 2) intrepid adventurers show you rare creatures you will never have a chance of seeing in real life; 3) filmmakers exploit their medium to highlight aspects of nature we would never pay attention to otherwise. Personally I like when my nature flicks lean towards option 3: I like documentaries that trust the power of their shots, and don’t necessarily depend on narration or how exotic their subjects are.

    Which is probably why I differ from everyone I know and prefer Winged Migration to Planet Earth. It went to just as absurd lengths to get the raw footage, but instead of filming creatures bound to get a “wow!” it took boring ole’ geese, went on this crazy mission TO FLY IN THE AIR WITH THEM, and through skillful cinematography, editing, and a perfectly-matched score, turned them into protagonists that are just achingly beautiful.

    I wish I could find a higher-definition clip to do this film justice (for those who haven’t seen it). But I think these 3.5 minutes do tell a great story without words, and it could exist in no other medium.


  9. False Perceptions Of Wealth Equality in The U.S.

    October 14, 2013 by

    Besides the obvious information this video presents about wealth inequality inAmerica, much can be learned from this video about alternative ways to get your somewhat disheartening message across.

    First off, the information being compared is slightly unusual. Instead of the normal financial numbers being thrown together, we are adding in the notion of what Americans believe the ideal economic distribution to be. It’s a merging of the actual and the hypothetical, and adds an interesting take on the way we each personally interact with and interpret numbers. The next outstanding feature about this short video is the method of visualization. The creators use two different infographics to emphasize their point – it’s a powerful use of reiteration without falling into redundancy. Equally, I think there’s something to be said about the use of colors here. This is a depressing topic and I could potentially see a good number of viewers not wanting to sit through the whole thing. The use of bright colors though, and the accompanying visually stimulating motion draws you in and in a way lightens the mood a touch. That being said, there’s also this dark piano music playing lightly in the background so as to let you know this is an issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Overall the entire presentation has a perfect mesh of light and dark, both visually and emotionally.

    The other thing to note about this video is the fact that most people came across it via the website Upworthy. I’d be willing to wager that if you ask facebook users if they’ve ever been to Upworthy’s homepage, the majority would say no. And this would be in direct contrast to the number of people who would say yes when asked if they’ve ever watched a video on Upworthy. The site is a powerful tool for producing virality on the web – so much so in fact that it allows the videos and pieces to stand alone without their message being lost in the mode of presentation. It’s an inspiring way to reach the masses.

    Here’s the link to the Upworthy blog, where you can see the time line commentary by their staff.

    Here’s the video itself:

  10. Awesome Music Video/Doc_Summer Hatfield

    October 12, 2013 by

    Django Django – WOR from Jim Demuth on Vimeo.

    This is a really well done short documentary/music video. It is very original and is a great example of how to tell a good story in a short amount of time. We get a good sense of the people and characters by the way they have been captured. The filmmakers begin with some dialogue from the characters before they are ever shown, and this establishes what the video is about. Then they introduce each character by showing a shot of them in front of their bikes, which really establishes who they are and what the environment is. It is important when trying to really capture something to really get in there, show perspective shots, establishing shots, close-ups, shots where the characters are being really candid. This video is a great example of all of that. It also shows how extreme close ups make nice transitions and help avoid jump cuts. And sometimes music over a video can be too much, or kill the natural sounds. But this is a good example of where the music really works for the piece, and the natural sounds are allowed to come through.

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