One of the things that I am incredibly happy about in the last couple years is the return of the GIF as an image format that is appreciated and shared by so many people. This 2012 article from NJ.com explains what GIFS are, why they went away, and how they have come back in a more concise way than I could. I want to focus on one project using animated GIFs that I think is pretty phenomenal.
This piece was created by Rino Stefano Tagliafierro and incorporates the use of renaissance paintings that were taken into Adobe After Effects, animated and turned into GIFS that were then put together as a film that spanned the topic of life and death. It is an amazing and beautiful use of a medium that is more often than not used for humor and frivolity.
As producers we have tools at our disposal that give us a wide range of capabilities to tell story and connect with an audience. As with all things that we do going forward, we must know which tool to use and how best to utilize it. Telling story with GIFs is much like approaching a topic with photos, you’re story will only be as strong as the ability to get the story across visually, and like a photo spread when you tie many images together in a cohesive format you can make a powerful and beautiful statement.
GIFs are fun (just don’t ask people how to say the word, the two camps are violently opposed to each other on the actual way the word is to be said) and they can be used as Tagliafierro has done to add new elements to classic static images which can change our perception of the original artwork, in my opinion embracing these old-come-new methods of image sharing is absolutely
I’m posting this video because I think the producer (notice that Liam Saint-Pierre did most everything) did a beautiful job with an interview-based short, and since many of us have been working on these sorts of projects, I think it’s useful to examine what makes this one work. In particular, I appreciate the footage Saint-Pierre got from his interviews. There are some lovely moments where although Umit is explaining the “process” aspect of his work, it doesn’t bore us because he seems to glow from excitement (I’m sure there was plenty of film that was too dry to include in the final cut, but we all know by now how difficult it can be to get experts to communicate their passion in a way that appeals to a lay audience). I found myself wondering about Saint-Pierre’s interview questions, and although we of course don’t hear them, they were obviously specific and related to personal experience. The footage about King Kong is compelling because it informs us on multiple levels: we get a sense of Umit’s history and motivations, we witness his level of obsession, and we learn a few technical things about the hobby. Then we get some great moments with him actually watching the film (I wonder if Saint-Pierre asked him to put it on after it came up in the interview? Whichever way it went, what a great decision to actually sit down with the film). Finally, there are some interesting “big S” story themes. Who will cultivate this culture when his generation dies? What do we lose from a “disposable society”? Umit speaks to both, and Saint-Pierre weaves them well into the short’s progression.
This piece caught me mostly due to light and sound. It’s short and sweet, but does a great job of showcasing how a surface of LED can be illuminated when touched by water. What I noticed about this piece right off the bat was the sound. There seems to be an example of the “stereo effect” going on that’s especially noticeable at the beginning, with the sounds bouncing between the left and the right speaker. The music is electronic and interesting, just as the subject matter, so it seems fitting.
Shooting in the dark always seems daunting to me, but since the focus of this piece is the process of using paintbrushes or water atomizers to create light paintings on the LED walls, it’s a good choice to showcase the light. In shots like that of the children and patrons “painting” the wall, it casts light on their faces allowing us to see the people while still enjoying the bright lights of the light graffiti. Other times, people serve simply as silhouettes against the designs. Shooting this piece in the dark helps make the beautiful light creations the centerpiece of the production, as they should be. Perhaps shooting in the dark isn’t so scary after all!
So, we saw many time-lapse shots in most videos in this class, and they were usually time-lapse of landscapes. But this video does a time-lapse on a woman as she is aging imperceptibly in minutes.
The Filmmaker did that by taking photos of different women in different ages who come from the same family and with he same bone structures, and then he animated them in editing to create this amazing piece. he had them sit in the same place and use the same kind of lighting and background to make the illusion as if it’s the same person. Enjoy watching!
My inspiration this week comes from a commercial for Captain Morgan. What I love about this commercial is that it tells such a great story in only a minute, and no one ever says a word. Well, except the guy at the end who gives the Captain Morgan tag line. Not only does the Captain save the servant girls life, but he also turns it into a crazy fun time for all these stuffy people, and we are witness to all of it just through the narrative. The first scene sets it all up, and then the eye contact really tells us everything. I think it teaches us that if you can catch little things like that on camera, the eye contact and movement, the little gestures, then it can really add a lot to your video, whether its a fictional scene or a documentary. It also has some nice sequences, great lighting, and a cool shot where one of the glasses hits the camera. The casting, costumes, make-up, and set design also really work in this piece.
Adam Curtis is my hero. BBC documentary filmmaker who uses found footage to tell essay-like stories critiquing everything from bureaucracy to psychology to technology. As New York Magazine puts it, “He’s more like a wildly heterodox, extravagantly assured, occasionally quite loopy and often self-ironizing history lecturer.”
Technically, his cuts are quick, he edits to music, he weaves narratives from found footage, which is impressive. In this trailer, his style is early-90’s on purpose -low-tech text–TV footage–presumably because the show is interrogating our mediated world itself, the absurdity of which is easier to see in it’s earlier iterations.
The trailer, posted below, promises “Donald and Ivana Trump, Nicolai and Elena Ceausescu, Jane Fonda and Ted Turner, Hamid Karzai and his brothers, everyone in Goldman Sachs who made a killing in 2008, the neutron bomb, the Siberian punk movement, Bambi, and all your own worst fears. ”
I fell in love with this video when it came out in the Spring, and not just because it’s a perfect visual companion to the song. The video uses a backwards sequencing of events to create the dynamic flow – reverse chronological order. This is a technique used before in movies like Memento, and Irreversible, and Betrayal all though I’ve never been able to find a copy of that last film. The first two are obviously must-sees if you haven’t already, and I’ve heard Betrayal is too but I’ve never wanted to pay $80 for a VHS copy of it to find out. What I think is wild about this video is that they use this specific cinematic trick to make a four minute video utterly compelling. It’s amazing to see it work so well in such a short amount of time, although there is also that great episode of Seinfeld where they pull it off too – but still not this short amount of time.
It makes me wonder how this technique would work in a documentary format. If the most shocking part of a story is the introduction, then would it potentially be possible to film and chronicle peoples’s reactions without actually revealing the event they’re discussing or reacting to? The best part of this video and any format of film using this technique is that your first reaction when it ends is to immediately watch it all over again.
The dance fan in me loves this video so, so much. It’s a music video, but evidently the choreographer, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, is a bid deal in the contemporary dance world. What strikes me is how closely he must have worked with the director, Christian Larson, on film decisions: there are moments where the video is sped up and slowed down, and this could only have been intentional from the outset since the music was pre-recorded and all the movements stay on its beat. With that and things like quick cuts from different angles, the camera isn’t just filming a dance, but helping to create it. I would love to have sat in on their planning sessions…it’s so well crafted! Also love the bleak colors.
This video is by no means documentary, but I thought that it was still an excellent example of dramatic storytelling. While studying the fundamentals of multimedia work, we understand that so many powerful stories are based around peoples emotions and how we as communicators evoke similar emotion in our audience. I thought that this piece was worth sharing because it makes use of many techniques we must master as digital storytellers: presenting multiple characters and their backstory, match-action and intentional jump cut editing, choosing a supporting and powerful soundtrack, and evoking a strong response from the audience (I will admit, I shed a tear or two). Does this type of storytelling work for you?
I was captivated by the honesty and simplicity of this film. It is shot on 8mm film, taken in the 1970’s by Vivian Maier, capturing daily details of urban street life. The pacing is very slow, with long, mostly unedited, shots. The viewer is allowed to enjoy the observations and is not quickly pulled from one shot to another but rather is given space to relax. The beauty is in the mundane. Sometime simpler is better!