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Film 1000 notes unit 1.doc

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Carleton University
Film Studies
FILM 1000
Jose Sanchez

Film 1000 Unit #1 Beginning of Film Form: Elements of Film & Style – Preconditions of Cinema  Empiricism: scientific & philosophical interest in what is real.  Eadward Muybridge (1877-1879)  Urbanization o Amusement parks for working families to continue to sped money o Visual entertainment became popular  Before carnivals people would go to the morgue o Aug. 1886 150 000 went through morgue to see corpse of dead girl o Seeing bodies was way to be fascinated with “life” after death Optical Entertainment  From Greeks for kids  Thaumatrope, Phenakistoscope, zoetrope Photography  Invented around 1826  2 trends: o Desire to record reality o Desire to create different reality Technology  Several technological developments: o Improvements in photography o Invention of celluloid o Strip flexible & strong enough to run through cameras & projectors o Improved engineering of projectors  Continuous technological evolution o Chemical process, film stock, film gauge (width), colour…  Thomas A. Edison/William Dickson (1893) o Kinetoscope  Became peep show viewing machine Auguste & Louise Lumiére  Cinematographe runs 16 fps. st  1 public screening Dec. 28/1895, Paris o At Grand Café, Boulevard des Capucines Lumiére Album  Moving photographs  One-shot scenes  Camera position/angle constructs & limits action  Visual space constructed from foreground to background George Mélies  Produced over 100 films between 1896-1912  Exploration of possibilities of cinema  Single camera position BUT NIT single shot  Editing inside of camera  Single frame animation o Possibility to create new reality  Constructed in tableaus Realism vs. Formalism Cinema of Attractions: its function is to present rather than to narrate (Tom Gunning) Cinema of Attraction vs. Narrative Cinema Edwin S. Porter  Great Train Robbery  Developing concept of continuity editing  Single story line  14 non-overlapping shots, dramatically incomplete, connected by straight cuts  First time camera moves (primitive panning)  Cutting to different locations (primitive crosscutting) to suggest logical order of action  First proper story line narrative & violence Edison bought cinematographe, altered it & tried calling it his own. D. W Griffith  Credited as father of Classical Narrative Cinema  Use of complex story line, crosscutting, close ups, & any other editing techniques to invite identification of audience with characters An Unseen Enemy  Development of 2 different storylines  Use of close up to provide narrative information  Each shot is distinct and separate  Camera still influenced by stage  Primitive panning shot  Occasional diagonal angles to dramatize action  Repetition of locations to develop action  Fast pace of editing in “last minute rescue.” Shots decrease in length to develop suspense  Crosscutting  Final rescue brings together both storylines Cinema of Attractions  Present the idea not represent it  Less focused on narrative  Spectacle Story & Plot  Most important tool of analysis -> representation ex. Thompson is represented/constructed as Story: all events (seen, heard, inferred) of film’s narrative in chronological sequence -> everything we see organized a,b,c Plot: all events (seen, heard) in same order that are presented to us including formal elements o What’s not apart of narrative is part of plot -> hear & see  Doesn’t have to be chronological Classical Narrative Form  Narrative way of constructing plot, storyline  Character driven: protagonist whom we root for Causality: series of conflicts & resolutions (cause-effect) Line of Action: refers to a chain of cause-effect relationships in narrative Events: elements of causality that serves as catalysts to precipitate actions Closure: the degree to which all events of narrative are brought to meaningful conclusion -> “total closure” Classical Plot Structure 25% 50% midpoint 25% Act I: Set up Act II: Confrontation Act III: resolution Narration: way in which film distributes information to achieve effects Narration Forms: 3 prevalent forms of presenting information in narrative films Omniscient: when we know more than what everyone of characters know Restricted: when information is limited to what one character provides Mixed: when we know what characters know but when we know things s/he does not know Narrator: agent who tells the story Closure: degree to which all events of the narrative are brought to meaningful conclusion Citizen Kane Narration Forms: Omniscient: - opening of film up to Kane’s death - “news on the march” sequence - closing sequence Restricted: account of each one of 5 characters Mixed: Leland’s & Susan’s accounts of opera Narrator: 5 narrators (Thatcher, Bernstein, Leland, Susan, Raymond) - connected through two non-narrators - Thompson & voice of “News on March” Closure: provides min. answer/resolution Classical Hollywood Cinema  Style of mainstream narrative films produced in Hollywood (1910s – mid 60s)  Strong in story  High level of technical achievement  Continuity editing  Films want us to forget they are a representation Motivation  Important element of causality  Includes any element that activates a narrative 2 types: o Psychological -> when relates to character o Motivational -> when relates to action & generic conventions  Narrative structure follows classical paradigm o Clearly defined conflict (exposition) o Complications that intensify to rising climax o Resolution that emphasizes formal closure Genre Film: film which belongs to a particular group of films that are very similar in conventions:  Subject matter  Thematic concerns & characterization Conventions  Sets of accepted thematic & formal rules that films follow & which are accepted among filmmakers & audiences  Each set of conventions categorize films in genre Audience Expectations  Expect the film to offer something familiar BUT also demand fresh variations on it Narrative Functions of Central Character (Protagonist)  Plot action organized around him/her  Moves plot action forward  Viewers access organized around him/her  Point of identification for viewer/spectator  Other characters (major & minor) are organize in relation to him/her  Traditionally rep. moral right side/on side of justice/order/the law Socio-Cultural Functions of Central Character (Protagonist)  Gender roles  Models of individual social identity  Mark out limits & responsibilities of individuality  Introduce new ides into public consciousness  Relationship to socio/cultural institutions or formation  Naturalize contradictions & discrepancies in our society  Social, political problems displaced into personal, moral psychological problems Continuity Editing Classical Hollywood Cinema  Stylistic system: conventions & rules  Objective: to present stories in seamless transparent & linear way  Causality & continuity editing o Content: relationship between cause & effect  Form: effect on editing techniques designed to maintain certain narrative continuity Editing  How those techniques appear on screen  How they contribute to story telling (how they influence narrative form)  Basic techniques of editing -> cut & fade out/in Continuity Editing  System of editing: to maintain continuous & clear narrative action by matching screen direction, position & temporal relations from shot to shot Objectives:  Produce spatial & temporal continuity  Produce continuity of action between shots  Maintain audience orientation & involvement  Create rhythm appropriate to action & dramatic conflict  Produce a transparent form & style Some Techniques  Axis of action  Crosscutting  Cut in  Establishing shot/re-establishing shot  Eyeline match  Match on action  Screen direction  Spatial continuity (180 rule) o Eyeline line has to match o Re-establishing shot -> show shift of movement Spatial & Temporal Continuity 4 basic areas of choice & control Relationships Influence Construct  Graphic (design &  Image  Filmic space composition)  Pacing  Filmic time  Rhythmic (duration)  Spatial  Temporal Spatial Continuity  Construction of space along axis of action  Establishment, breakdown & re-establishment  Inform us about spatial boundaries of action AND  Create omniscience (all-knowing & all-seeing effect that we associate with objectivity) which -> produces effect of detachment & impartiality Temporal Continuity  Organization & manipulation of time  Construct & regulate narrative development  Story time organized through o Order: chronological arrangement of events in sequence or in successive chain of cause-effect o Frequency: single representation of given event o Duration: expansion or contraction of time The Night of the Hunter  Angles to show numerous & various perspectives  Sky changes through night when they’re sleeping o See it in sky Cinematography Shots – distance of the framing  Reference to human body Extreme long shot – ‘panoramic view’ - Exterior shot Long Shot/Full Shot –general view of a full space - people = 1/3 or half of screen Medium shot – most useful for exposition - human -> knees/waist up Close-up – full body part of human body - ex. Leg, head, torso Extreme close-up – magnifies small object or part of an object - ex. Eye, nose Angles Bird’s Eye – directly overhead - Highly expressive - God’s eye, can see everything High Angle – camera on a crane at a high level, filming from above - diminishing size of character - Isolation, insignificance Eye level – straight angel - Mainly dialogue & narration (seen a lot) Low Angle – floor level or below - Defensiveness, characters larger than life & dominance or entrapment Oblique – side angle - Characters & objects placed diagonally - Ex. Hit by car, lying on ground Lighting – 3 point lighting – 3 directions Key light – brightest source of light - placed in front (Freq. at 45 degree up & face on to character) Backlighting – from behind the subjects to define figures Fill Light – used to soften deep shadows High Key/Low Key –brighter or dimmer light to create chiaroscuro - (light/dark) Colour Hand Colouring  as film advanced started experimenting with tinting  till mid 50s – reality in black & white – ex. Wizard of Oz  early 60s – colours represent dreams & fantasies Colour Symbolism  cool & warm colours Special Effects  matte painting o painting on glass Mise-en-scene  Location, set, props, lighting, etc. o everything seen in shot  meaning is created within shot  physical setting  framing & staging C
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