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‘Winter Week 3’ Category

  1. Making Non-Hokey Interview Docs

    February 3, 2014 by

    As Wes has pointed out so adamantly before, including yourself in your piece is sometimes hard to do without looking like a complete doofus.  Eva Sollberger has been doing this Stuck in Vermont series for the local alt-weekly there for about seven years now, and she does a spectacular job of including herself without making it be focused on herself. It adds a nice personable connection to her work and also brings a degree of ease to the people she’s interviewing. It’s really something I’m contemplating doing with my Deadhead Bowling league piece.

    Eva films and edits all these pieces herself, and puts out one a week. It’s actually really interesting to watch early episodes and compare them to brand new ones – you can see how easy she now makes it look. The other part that arises from her including herself in each piece is the fact that her viewers become comfortable with her and thus are more apt to watch videos on topics they may otherwise skip over.

    The video I’ve included is one that comes at just about a year and a half into her program. It’s got great cuts, solid uses of time-lapse, non-cheesy use of text on screen, and also some great footage on one really cool music nerd in particular.

  2. A view from above

    February 3, 2014 by

    Pipeline Winter 2013 from Eric Sterman on Vimeo.

    With access to more gear this term, I’ve been thinking about the options that different equipment can provide. Here is an example of a new perspective we can gain with the help of fun gear! While it might seem kind of predictable, this piece gave me the chills. It may be that I’m a bit of a softy for ocean imagery but I thought the filmmaker utilized fancy tools with a distinct and effective purpose, creating a striking final piece.

    Some choices by the filmmaker that struck me were, angle of the film, the soundtrack and the manipulation of speed. The angle of the footage was achieved with help from a quadrocopter, equipped with a GoPro, which I though was an effective chose as it highlights the immensity of the ocean and made it possible to capture people being flung by waves. Thus, highlighting the beauty as well a the danger of the sport. I also really enjoyed the soundtrack, which matched well with the imagery and was a great pacer for the film. Lastly, I thought that the use of both slow motion and increasing the speed of the film was well timed, well placed and well executed.

  3. Triangulation in “Running on Fumes in North Dakota”

    January 30, 2014 by

    Every since I saw the localore project Black Gold Boom I have been pretty interested in the stories coming out of North Dakota about people working in the oil fields there. This piece was especially exciting because I find the experiences of women in this environment particularly telling about how “wild” the area is as it navigates the transition from small town to oil boom town.

    The visuals and her interview help situate the viewer. She expains that she has nothing, while we see a landscape that is barren. It was supposed the land of promise, but nothing about swirling snow or roads clogged with tractor trailers looks promising. The emptiness means that there is room to build something, but what are we building? Unfortunately for Jonnie, this new frontier is occupied by anxiety and loneliness, which is what a lot of people experience, but because she is a woman she experiences it in a different way. In a land full of men, there are no girlfriends and the men only want sex. Her little dog is her only companion.

    What I appreciated a lot about this piece was the way it confirmed the reporting. Though Jonnie is our only character, we still get a triangulation of sorts through the tv reports and radio announcers confirming/backing up/supporting our character’s experiences. Her anxieties are confirmed because other women have gone missing as noted through the new reports.

    Another interesting technique is the use of titling to move the narrative along, and also hold some of the reveals. In one instance we learn that her employer moved her into a trailer. After a beat the next line says that it didn’t have running water. While this feels like cheating sometimes, it seems like it can still be used effectively when you need to move quickly. 

  4. Warning: Might be Disturbing to Some

    January 23, 2014 by

    SKIN from SkinShortFilm on Vimeo.

    This film is a bit on the long side, but after thinking about it for two days, I had to post it. It also contains some graphic imagery, seeing that its about a young boy that is a taxidermist like his father. I was first drawn to it because of the display of all of the awards it has won. (Won’t it be so nice when we can do this with our films??) But after watching it in it’s entirety, I couldn’t get it out of my head. So I invite you to see if it has the same effect on you…

    Firstly, I think the opening shot is the most brilliant shot in the entire piece. The film opens with a reflection of a boy sitting on a bench and as he moves to get up and grab something in the water, the camera slowly pans up and meets his real hand as he is touching the water. Beautiful! I really admire that the filmmaker is telling you exactly where your focus should be and she directs that focus with the moving shot and action in the frame. I also really like the shot at 2:16, where the fore frame is out of focus, and the boy is watching the little girl interact with her dog and turns and rides away. The filmmaker did a really good job of letting the action play out in the scene. A lot of times, we are tempted to cut things as tightly as we can, and we can lose good moments like this that really help with the pacing of the story.

  5. Eckerson Week 3: Stop motion!!!

    January 23, 2014 by

    I went to a Laika open house this week, and it was really cool to see their studio and production space.  From stop motion to sets and puppets, what’s clear about Laika is that they maintain a connection to artistic detail –there is a person who knits miniature sweaters, for example.  In a world where we increasingly rely on computers to similate realities, I find it impressive when people use maintain high cinematic as well as artistic integrity. So: check out this stop mortion. One of videos’ tops for 2013, it’s kind of amazing to see the amount of detail work that went into the cutouts. I like that it’s abstract, synced to music, and holds it own as an artistic piece while using film.


  6. Documentary Short Film Nominee

    January 21, 2014 by

    Since the Internet is abuzz with Oscar nominations, I thought it would be beneficial for us to scope out the competition. One of the nominated pieces for Documentary Short Film, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed) features the world’s oldest living pianist, Alice Herz Sommer. She is also the world’s oldest living Holocaust surviver, making her a registered BAMF.

    What I wanted to pay attention to, although it’s just a trailer, is what is working in terms of this piece. We have an incredibly interesting subject, check. We have interviews from other sources, (trying to remember the triangle, here) and archival footage, photographs and illustrations. Finally, we have the unanswered question; how did music save this person from the Nazis? Along the way we’re sure to learn about the romance and power of music and its influence on all of our lives and the world, hopefully letting us walk away with a warm fuzzy feeling in our heart. What do you think might make this piece award-worthy?

  7. Week 3_Summer Hatfield

    January 21, 2014 by

    Notes on Blindness from The New York Times – Video on Vimeo.

    Some of you may remember the audio pitch I made last term about having my friend who is blind record a day in his life. Well, this is another take on a similar concept, but in this case there is a video dramatization to go along with the real life recordings of John Hull, who became completely blind in the middle of his life. This is a really interesting idea to me, to take real audio recordings and try to make a video to match them.

    The way this video is made, it feels very surreal, very dreamy. It feels like I am watching someone’s memories unfold, somewhat hazy and choppy, moving from one scene to the next the way sporadic thoughts sometimes come and go.

    I am curious if some of the sounds, such as the sound of the ocean, were really in the recording, or if they were added just for the video. Either way, it makes for some good transitions and intriguing background noise.

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