1/15/14-Technological Roots / Pioneer cinema
• 24 frames per second (fps)speed at which films are shot. (24 stills per second creates the illusion
o Along time ago it was more like 16-18 fps (looks more choppy)
o “flicks”nickname given to films because of the gaps in the film, looks like a flip book, has
• What makes a movie, a movie?
o *Critical Flicker Fusion: there is a threshold for when a series of still pictures becomes
motion. Athreshold where the human eye can only recognize motion at a certain speed.
Flicking a flashlight on and off: how many times a second would you have to flick it
on and off before you are unable to tell when you are flicking it on and off? 50
times a second when it looks like a single beam of light.
Shutter is breaking the beam of light twice for every frame, every frame is really
being projected twicethis creates the illusion of motion.
Approximately 50 flashes of light per second will look like a continuous beam of
o Persistence of vision: states that when you see an image, it lingers in your brain for a
fraction of a second after you see it. This is why it’s possible for your eyes to string all of
these images together.
o *Apparent Motion: if any visual display is changed fast enough, the brain creates the
illusion of motion.
Neon signs, Christmas lights, it looks like the light is traveling. The lights are
actually just going on and off at different timesthis creates the illusion of motion.
• Phenakistoscope (Greek deceive-turning)
o Invented in 1832
o There’s a spinning disk with a series of different pictures on it. Each photo is slightly
different from the one before it.
o Has a handle on it, and you look at it in a mirror, through slits and you can see the images.
o Why can’t you just look at it without the mirror? The images would just blend togetherthe
slits on the disk serve the same purpose as the shutter. There’s enough black in-between
each image to trick our eye into believing there’s motionPersistence of Vision carries each
image over one another.
• Zoetrope (Greek life-turning)
o Invented in 1833viewer spins drum and looks through slots at images of an objet in various
stages of motion.
• Challenges of creating film:
o How do you create a rapid series of photographs?
o How to print photos on a flexible base to pass through a camera?
o How to project this rapid series of photos onto a surface?
• Eadweard Muybridge, 1878
o First man in history to record continuous live action or series photography.
o Muybridge set up 12 cameras, each set-up to take a photo at half-second intervals.
o Bet was made that while a horse was running, at no point was all his feet off the ground.
o First person to solve the problem of “how to take rapid series of photographs”
• Kinetograph o Developed by W.K.L. Dickenson and Thomas Edison in 1891
o Uses flexible, perforated (holes on side) around electrically engaged spools to take a rapid
series of photographs.
o Created by same people
o The film travels continuously over a bank of rollers, each picture being viewed briefly
through a narrow slot in the revolving shutter.
o People had to individually pay to view a film, there were no “mass viewings”.
o It isn’t portable, created a ‘black” room where it moved with the sunlight, because the
camera was to cumbersome / heavy to move.
• Cinamatographe, 1895
o Developed byAguste and Louis Lumiere
o Combines the functions of a movie camera, film printer, and film projector.
o Improved upon the Kinetograph in that it was lighter (16 lbs) and could be easily
o Improved upon the Kinescope in that it could be projected on a large audiences.
• Vitascope, 1896
o Developed by Charles Francis Jenkins and Thomas Armat
o Edison purchased the nights and used it to prefect the projection of Kinetograph films
o First theatrical projection for an audience takes place onApril 23, 1896.
• “Watering the Gardener” 1895 – Lumiere Brothers
o The first comedy
o Pre-arranged scene, precursor to acting
o Dramatic ironywe can see the hose being messed with, the Gardner doesn’t know and is
looking into the hose.
o Designed to capture the viewer’s interest and capture a story.
• “The Sick Kitten”, 1901 – GeorgeAlbert Smith
o There’s more than 1 shotthe camera moved between shotsdevelops different
perspectivessomething happens on screen that doesn’t happen in reality
• “Life of anAmerican Fireman” 1902 – Edwin S. Porter (Worked for Edison)
o Meaning of the shots is created through the editingthe shots are not self containing
• **“The Great Train Robbery” (Edwin S. Porter -1903)
o Moving into parallel action, but within each scene there’s only one shot.
• **Director D.W. Griffith
o Considered grandfather of modern directing
o Moved the camera into the scene for emotional reasons. Breaks each scene into a series of
o Birth of a Nation – 1915
o Cuts for emotional changes, not physical changes (scene changes, getting off a train, etc…)
1/22/14-Content and Form / the camera as a tool
• Difference between two songs
o Same lyrics, music was slightly manipulated to create different feelings
• Content: story, characters, themes • Form: camera (angles, etc…), cinematography (lighting), sound, editing, performances (casting),
• Three different kinds of time to be aware of in movies:
o Running time: how long the movie actually is
o Story time: the time in the movie
o Internal structural time: how does editing / music manipulate the appearance of time…
stretching our / slowing down time
Final play of a game seems slow
Fast and Furious seems faster
• *Cinema is not only space, but is also time
• The camera position helps to manipulate our emotional involvement in a scene
o Cutting to a new position can create rhythm, tell us when something is important etc…
• Camera positions:
o Long shot (also called an establishing shot): establishes the scene or environment. Helps
give us a sense of the location.
o Full shot: show the whole body of the subject
o Medium shot: waist up essentially, not entire actor
o Close up: face of the actor
o Insert shot
o Extreme close up: eyes, hands etc…taking a very tight shot of a detail.
o Single: shows one person as subject
o 2-shot: shows two people
o Over the shoulder: can see who the main character is talking to, other person is out of focus.
• Camera angle:
o Low angle: camera is looking up at the subject
o High angle: camera is looking down at the subject
o Canted angle (also called a Dutch angle): frame is slightly slanted / tilted
• Shot: everything between two points of editing / an uninterrupted segment of film
• Camera lenses:
o focal length=length from lens to the film. The longer the focal length,
o Telephoto lens (usually greater than 50mm): lens is very far away from the film
Depth of field: how much of the shot is in focus
o Normal lens=50mm
o Wide lens=less than 50mm
You get a wider angle of view than you would normally get
Surface area is greater, light is curving to get into the lens.
Opens up the angle of view
Greater depth of view
o Zoom lens: has a focal length that can change. Lens moves farther away from the film.
• Motion parallax: what separates a zoom move and a dolly move
o The relationship between objects in the shot will change with a dolly move
o In a zoom lens, that relationship wouldn’t move
• Camera movement o Pan: the camera moves from left to right on an axis. The camera doesn’t move through the
space, it’s usually moving on a tripod.
o Tilt: the camera moves up and down
o Dolly / tracking shot: usually you say “tracking” when you’re literally following a
o Boom / crane shot: when you use a camera on a crane and it can move through space both
laterally and up and down
We’re most likely to not experience this feeling as humans, out of body experience
o Steadicam: camera operator has the camera attached to him on a rig, but weights and such
eliminate bouncing etc that you would get with a handheld. It allows for tracking in small,
tight spaces where a track couldn’t be put down for a dolly.
1/29/14: Silent Film Stars / Cinematography
• Charlie Chaplin
o Known for his “tramp” character (down on his luck, hobo, always getting into trouble
o One of the first international “movie stars”
o Championed the underdog or exposed some kind of social injustice
o “The Kid” (1921)
• Harold Lloyd
o Put himself in physical danger for laughs
o “Safety Lasts” (1923)
o Pure entertainment / sight gags (less concerned with story or important plot, no social
o “Glasses” character
o Dumb and Dumber (harry and Lloyd)homage to his name
• Buster Keaton
o The Great Stone Face
o “The General” (1927)
o The less he does, the funnier it is (facial expressions)
o Known for elaborate stunts he would do (trains, etc…)
o Most expensive shot ever was in this movie (blew up an actual bridge and a real train went
into the river)
o Used to describe the overall visual design of a film. How all the visual elements of a film
create the overall feeling.
o All the elements in front of the camera.
• Saving Private Ryan
o Hand held