Assignment 2 Analysis & Reflection
Muhajir Anuar 3726044
The Shot Construction
In cinematography, I believe camera movement is one of the technique to create the shots in films much more alive such as by tracking the subject, panning left or right, zooming in or out, tilting up or down and many more. Thus, in our previous class, we had the chance to apply and practice such technique. Throughout the exercise, I was grouped with Vishal, Ishan, and Hugo. We started by designing the shots storyboard and shooting diagram (lenny shot construction_storyboard and shooting diagram) for the initial plan and reference. After we scouted our location, we learned that the space of the location is limited. However, during production, we managed to solve such issue by figuring out every single step that the cinematographer, boom operator and sound recordist make without compromising the shot.
Moving on to post-production process I realised the amount of noise in the audio clip made by the boom operator as he moves was obvious and significant and I personally think that it is not easy to operate the boom mic without creating such noise especially if you’re an unprofessional boom operator. Overall, I am happy with the outcome that the team made, not to mention how smooth the production process was, as we managed to film our desired shot for this exercise and we as a team get an idea how camera movement works so we could practice it on our own time.
Lenny Camera Movement.
The initiative post
Film genre is varied and each genre may represent different types of theme and mode in filmmaking. Thus, one of the genre that attracts me the most and seldom discussed when it comes to filmmaking is; cinematic poem. I always admire the idea of the genre hence, the film ‘We Were Wanderers On A Prehistoric Earth ‘(2012) by James W. Griffiths is a perfect example representing the idea of the genre which also played a role in inspiring me in creating my own short film based on it. Hence, back in 2017 I directed and edited a short film named ‘Save Her Save Us Save Me’ (2017).
The film ‘Save Her Save Us Save Me’ (2017) is a film to raise an awareness on climate change by focusing on two characters in the film, the mother earth and a girl who is a victim of the catastrophe. Based on my experience creating the film, I learned that cinematic poem is simple yet complicated as it does not require dialogue, however, it requires a great amount of attention on the details such as locations, the main subject and of course the poem itself. Other than that, I believe sound plays an important role too in succeeding a cinematic poem in assisting the visuals by delivering or motivating our emotions throughout the film.
Save Her Save Us Save Me (2017)
We Were Wanderers On A Prehistoric Earth ‘(2012)
In filmmaking, there are various elements that filmmakers pay attention to including sounds and visuals. These two (2) elements in the film are the common needs to tell a story and drive the audience’s emotions and reaction. After reading Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson, there are two (2) quotes that grabs my attention in his book.
Firstly, Bresson (1986, p. 51) suggested that “When a sound can replace an image, cut the image or neutralize it. The ear goes more towards the within, the eyes towards the outer.” Based on my understanding on his statement is that the image is not necessarily supporting the sound and vice versa. For instance, I believe a hallway fight scene from Daredevil (2015) is one of the examples to support such statement, where the main character is fighting in a room closed door while the only thing that the audience could hear is the sound of them fighting while the visuals show an empty hall. Even though such method was applied, the audience knows what is happening throughout the scene and requires no extra explanation.
Marvel’s Daredevil (2015)
Other than that, Bresson (1986, p. 52) also stated that “The eyes solicited alone makes the ear impatient, the ear solicited alone makes the eyes impatient. Use this impatience. Power of the cinematographer who appeals to the two senses in a governable way.” Based on his statement, I learned that the cinematographer or the filmmaker has the power to grab the audience attention by teasing their sense of hearing and sight. In other words, I believe we could relate such statement with suspense scenes which mostly used in horror movies. For instance, I extracted a scene from The Conjuring (2013) known as hide and claps scene, where the sound of claps constantly present, however, the audience has yet to find out where the claps sound coming from and who is doing it throughout the scene, which creates suspense and impatient among the audiences.
The Conjuring (2013) Hide and Clap scene
As we move on, we can already see that sounds is not something that filmmakers should take lightly on and has the power to influence audience senses in storytelling. Hence, I did some reading on Audio in media by Stanley R Alten (1986) and I picked two (2) interesting statement that could contribute to my research and understanding towards sounds in filmmaking.
Alten (1986, p. 267) stated that “In creating a sound design, you have three elements with which to work: speech, sound, effects, and music.” I couldn’t agree more with his statement, as I too believe that each of these three (3) elements does have its own role and speciality in storytelling. Each music, sound effect, and speech has its own intensity to represent the mode or the theme of a scene in films to enhance the audience’s senses and reactions.
For instance, I always admire Christopher’s Nolan work and one of the movies he directed that I could relate to on this research, is the hallway fight scene in The Inception (2010). If all the sound effects and music is taken away and replaced with a bad foley work, despite how good the visuals may be, it won’t be one of the best scenes if the sounds designing wasn’t well made. I have extracted an example of how that would be turned out, published by Mashable (2018).
The Hallway Scene from Inception Is a Lot Less ‘Epic’ Without the Music
Other than that, when it comes to spoken sound or speech, Alten (1986, p. 267) argued that “Speech interpretation is the responsibility of the director and performer, not the sound designer.” There’s a reason why the actor’s performance is important in storytelling, as they have to make it as believable as possible. For instance, if a scene is meant to be sad, however, the way that the actor expresses themselves in the scene is not convincing enough, it may compromise the whole scene and affects the audience interest. On the other hand, the director’s guidance is also important for the actor to know what is missing and what should be stressed on to make their performance believable.
Lenny – reflection
Involving in Lenny production gave me numbers of experience and lesson learned. As for pre-production, I was grouped with Maria, Anthony and Sherly. Throughout the process I managed to learn what it takes to be part of a proper pre-production process as prior to this, it is common for me to provide script and storyboard, however, preparing the shot list, shooting schedule and marked up script is new to me. Not to forget, the team managed to work together and produced well-written pre-production documents and not to mention the details of the storyboard (Pre-production_Lenny).
However, there are also some conflicts occurred in the process, for instance, lack of communications and confrontation between the assistant director and the director as a middle person is commonly used instead of direct communication. Hence, it caused misunderstanding which compromised our timeline in furnishing our pre-productions documents. Other than that, I appreciate my team who manage to put some effort into delivering the pre-production documents in the most creative way.
In the process of production, I enjoyed myself being on the set and practising all the skills and tips that have been taught in class as it helped me to have better understanding towards each role and responsibility. Not to forget, I managed to experienced handling assistant director and sound recordist role throughout the process. However, towards the end of the production, we didn’t manage to shoot a few shots as we ran out of time. Based on what I have observed, some members spent too much time on figuring what’s need to be done based on their role and unfamiliarity towards the roles. Other than that, our director also spent too much time perfecting every single shot and actors performance. As we film on the set, they were too much background noises including people talking, coffee machines and music. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it and something I shall keep in mind in the future on how I can avoid such problems from happening again.
As for post-production, this wasn’t my first time editing videos however, it was my first time in handling audio and video separately which also requires merging and labelling process prior to editing. Hence, it taught me how important is the log sheets for editors to be able to identify which clips belong to which audio and knowing how many takes were there. However, as I go through labelling process I learned that there was a couple of extra audio and I have no idea to which video it belongs to as it wasn’t registered into the log sheets hence, I decided to label it as trash. Since we failed to film all the planned shots during the production process, I ended up with a minimum amount of shot coverage in the editing room. Thus, I had to compromise and made use of what I have to still be able to deliver the whole story.
Other than that, as for editing the sound, it gave a few challenges that I had to resolve such as parts of the recorded sound had a very high pitch and spikes which compromised the whole flow of the audio. However, I managed to solve the issue by applying the pen tool method and neutralized the audio waves avoiding it from having a high pitch or loud sound in between. As I proceed to add in the music background, searching and finding the ideal music was not easy and it took a lot of time in matching the mode of the scene with the music. After going through numbers of options, I managed to find a music that I need for my video and I personally think it works well together. Overall, I managed to learn new skills throughout the whole process and conflicts as part of my case study and reference in the future.
Lenny 4 Assembly Edit
Stages of editing figure.
TK2 Taxi Driver Deconstruction
After watching a scene from Taxi Driver (1976) directed by Martin Scorsese, there are a few numbers of things that I would like to point out and discuss.
- I admire Robert De Niro’s and Cybill Shepherd’s performance throughout the scene as they manage to convince me as an audience that the character Travis are so driven to ask Betsy out for a coffee while at the same establishing the presence of strong connection happening between the two characters.
- Throughout the conversation, I noticed that Robert De Niro speaks in a very calm and soft voice while talking to Cybill, and I believe such method was used to represent that the character Travis persuading Betsy to go out with him in a very charming way.
- Other than that, I also appreciate the pause that the character Betsy made before agreeing to go out with Travis. With that made, it creates a natural flow of decision making and also a slight amount of suspense in the scene.
- As for the camera movement, I personally think the handheld camera movement is perfectly done and sort of representing the character’s movement and nervousness towards his obstacles. Not only that, but it also gives a natural human eyes perspective.
Find a Scene
When it comes to filmmaking, I have always admired Wes Anderson’s work which I decided to discuss on one of the scenes that grabs my attention called ‘I’m gonna mace you on the face’ from The Darjeeling Limited (2007) by Wes Anderson. What attracted me to the scene is;
- The first minute of the scene, there were no cuts in between instead, the camera moves and changes framing and shots as it goes without failing to include all of the threes characters in.
- I also noticed that they manage to utilise the mirror in the room to frame or place the third character, Jack without placing in front of the camera as he doesn’t have significant dialogue in the first minute of the scene.
- Talking about shots, one of the shots that attracts me is the flat lay or high angle shot during the character Jack loading his mace gun and during Francis and Peter fighting on the ground. The shot helped me as an audience not just to see what’s going on but also the insight of the character life and the characters expression.
- Other than that, the first minute of the scene, I can see the choreography of the camera movement and the characters were well planned and done as it doesn’t require cuts between the scene, instead, the characters move and place themselves along with the camera. Witch such method, it creates a rhythm and builds up of the scene.
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Cinematic Poems. (2018). “We Were Wanderers On A Prehistoric Earth”: A Cinematic Poem Short Film Featuring Joseph Conrad Directed By James W. Griffiths (2012). [online] Available at: https://cinematicpoems.com/2014/04/09/we-were-wanderers-on-a-prehistoric-earth-a-cinematic-poem-featuring-malaysia-and-joseph-conrad-by-director-james-w-griffiths/ [Accessed 3 Sep. 2018].
W. Griffiths, J. (2012). We Were Wanderers On A Prehistoric Earth. Available at: https://vimeo.com/34127945 [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].
W. Griffiths, J. (2012). We Were Wanderers On A Prehistoric Earth. Available at: https://vimeo.com/34127945 [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].
jirpboy (2017). Save Her. Save Us. Save Me. Available at: https://youtu.be/MQZ1v43xK8s [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].
Alten, S. (1994). Audio in media. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth Pub. Co., pp.266-286.
Bresson, R. (1986). Notes on the cinematograph. 4th ed. London: Quartet Books, pp.50-52.
Netflix (2015). Marvel’s Daredevil. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B66feInucFY [Accessed 5 Sep. 2018].
Movieclips (2017). The Conjuring – Hide and Clap Scene. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhMWopjJiI8 [Accessed 5 Sep. 2018].
Mashable Watercooler (2018). The Hallway Scene from Inception Is a Lot Less ‘Epic’ Without the Music. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUkB8Tqj83w [Accessed 5 Sep. 2018].
Movieclips (2015). The Darjeeling Limited (3/5) Movie CLIP – I’m Gonna Mace You in the Face! (2007. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy6ANzdhy1s [Accessed 5 Sep. 2018].
Taxi Driver. (1976). [film] Directed by M. Scorsese. USA: Columbia Pictures Corporation.