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FILM 110 Mid term notes 2011

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Queen's University
Film and Media
FILM 110

EDITING  Screenwriter: Preproduction (character conflicts, chronological sequences, plot development)  Director: Production (staging, filming techniques, managing chaos of production)  Editor: Post-Production (selection/assembly of takes, construction of sequences, narrative coherence) CRASH A story built on contrasts: Racial tensions, class differences, political power, conflicting personalities Breaking and creating continuity We do this in order to tell the story – they are separate, then brought together, then brought apart again Example of a single take: Shot of Ryan waking up and helping his dad Opening: he gets up. Then: small space helping his dad. Closing: upset. All done in one shot, not having any cuts What is a shot?  During filming: series of frames exposed by the camera between starting the camera motor and stopping it (typically there are several takes of the same shot) o Frame: Still photographs. Motion pictures are a series of still photographs  In the finished film: Any uninterrupted view of a character, thing or place What is a cut?  During filming: “cut!”  In the editing process: applied to a direct instantaneous transition from one shot to another. (a point on the strip of film where the last frame of one shot is directly followed by the first frame of the next) Dimensions of Film Editing  Spatial relations: Space. Shots can be made with different people in different places but can still be brought together  Temporal relations: Time. One shot after another, stepping through time, continuity of time, ellipsis, flash-forward, flash back, simultaneity, films can slow time down  Rhythmic relations: determines duration of the shot, the pace it moves at. Sequences build up tension at the beginning and then climax is short  **These three dimensions create the whole film by working together and now the editor creates the flow that they want the film to portray  Graphic relations: the abstract layout from one shot to another, lines, volume, colour Order of how a film becomes a film  Frames, shots, sequences, scenes, film An ideal edit (Murch):  Is true to the emotion of the scene  Propels plot forward  Is rhythmically right  Acknowledges focus of interest  Respects planarity  Respects spatial continuity Choices the editor makes at the intersection of high emotion and rapidly evolving events in a confined space Editor’s challenge: manage differences between shots, conveying continuity in time/space, emphasize continuity between characters The Technique of editing:  The actual joining together of two shots, often called cutting or splicing because before the digital era the editor would actually cut it from the reel and put it together The Craft of editing:  The ability to join two shots and produce a meaning that does not exist in either one of them individually The Art of editing:  Occurs when the combination of shots take meaning to the next level (excitement, epiphany, insight, shock Continuity editing:  When the point is to tell the story as clearly, efficiently, and coherently as possible, often referred to it as seamless or invisible editing because it flows so smoothly we are not distracted by the cuts Discontinuity editing:  When filmmakers deliberately choose to manipulate shots so that the transitions between them are not smooth, continuous, or coherent (when editing calls attention to itself, not invisible) Crash and Burnt by the Sun  Both about individuals who are struggling to become themselves th  Thought of to have historical context (soviet Russia, 20 century LA) Master shot:  Establishing shot, shoots entire shot in continuous take, long or extreme long shot, covers al the action, foundation for a sequence of shots, suggests mood, establishes location, situation, spatial relationships, etc. Screen direction:  180degree rule: axis of action: determines where the camera should be placed to preserve screen direction, axis is determined and camera must remain on the same side of the line, characters must stay on the same side in relation to other characters (i.e. A is always on the left of B) Editing techniques that maintain continuity  Shot/Reverse shot: camera switches between shots of different characters, usually in conversation/interaction, typically framed over shoulders  Match cuts: shot A and B are matched in action, subject, graphic content, two characters’ eyes meet  Match-on-Action cut: shows continuation of a character or object’s motion through space without showing us the entire action  Graphic Match cut: similarity between shots A and B in the shape and form in what we see, shape, colour, texture of objects match across the edit, provides continuity, i.e. cut between bone weapon in the stone age to orbiting craft in the space age  Eye-line match cut: joins shot A, a POV shot of a person looking off screen in one direction, and shot B, a person or object that is the object of that gaze  Parallel editing: cutting together of two or more lines of action that occur simultaneously at different locations or that occur at different times o Crosscutting: editing that cuts between 2 or more actions occurring at the same time, same place o Intercutting: the editing of 2 more actions taking place at the same time but it creates the effect of a single scene rather than two distinct actions  Point of view editing: used to cut from shot A directly to shot B, editing of subjective shots that shot a scene exactly the way a character sees it Other transitions between shots  Jump cut: presents instantaneous advance in action  Fade: fade in and fade out are transitional devices that allow a scene to open or close slowly o Fade in: shot appears out of a black screen, gradually brighter o Fade out: shot grows rapidly darker until screen turns black for a moment  Dissolve: transitional device in which shot B gradually appears over shot A and begins to replace it midway through the process, usually shows passing of time or implies a connection or relationship between the two shots, process occurs simultaneously on the screen, nothing separates them  Wipe: transitional device, indicates a change in time, place or location in which shot B wipes across shot A vertically, horizontally or diagonally to replace it o Soft edge wipe: indicated with a blurry line o Hard edge wipe: indicated by a sharp line o Jagged line: suggests violent transition  Iris shot: everything blacked out except for what is seen through a keyhole, telescope, crack in wall, etc. o Iris in: brings a shot gradually into view, begins with a small circle that expands to a partial/full image o Iris out: gradually closes an image, works in the reverse direction, used to open out or close down to a partial image that is isolated within an otherwise dark frame  Freeze-Frame: still image within a movie, created by repetitive printing in the lab of the same frame so that it can be seen without movement for a length of time, stops time and functions like an exclamation point in a sentence, halts perception of movement to call attention to an image  Split-Screen: produces an effect that is similar to parallel editing in its ability to tell more than one story in the same cinematic time, portrays both participants in a phone conversation on the screen at the same time, does not cut back and forth like parallel editing Resonance Classical continuity:  complex system based on creating a coherence and clarity that is obvious to the viewer  “An ideal edit is true to the emotion of the scene” (Murch)  “Even if the action doesn't match at all, the viewer will be more inclined to follow the emotional flow of the scene than its technical shortcoming” Tension, Release and Synchronization  “A movie depends on tension and release for their impact…the audience is made to expect something, the event draws nearer and tension builds, then that thing happens and the tension is released” (John Sayles)  Modulates cycles of intensity and relaxation  Direct address to the body, direct address to emotion  By modulating tension and release, rhythm acts on the spectators a generative aspect of their acceptance and understanding of the film Synchronization  Rhythmic “ride”, influence viewer’s pulse, breath, attention, etc.  Social synchronization: people coordinate rhythm to others’ and synchronize so there is an effective transaction/interaction  Film acts as a rhythmical partner in a social exchange to which the viewers synchronize Japanese Influence  Sergei Eisenstein “The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram”  Compares cinematographic principle and montage with Japanese hieroglyph and ideogram  Montage= group of shots, put together in succession  Hieroglyphs, or characters, have a single meaning on their own  Compares Japanese ideograms to a portrait and a mask. Looks like the artist put them all together  Relates art, ideogram, and montage: each is one product made up of different parts, all which have separate meanings than the finished product Resonance:  The ability of a film to evoke strings of emotional and intellectual associations Intensified Continuity:  Visual style in contemporary American film  Stylistic Tactics: Four tactics of camera work and editing are central to intensified continuity More Rapid Editing:  No film is one long action sequence, most scenes present conversation, fast cutting is applied principally to shot/reverse-shot exchanges, editors tend to cut at every line and insert more reaction shots, when shots are so short, eye-lines and angles in a dialogue must be even more definite and the axis of action must be strictly respected Bipolar extremes of lens lengths:  Filmmakers turned to long lenses, remains all purpose tool, frames close-ups, medium shots, over the shoulder shots, establishing shots Close framings in a dialogue scene:  Baseline framing for dialogue became over-the-shoulder medium shots, filmmakers relied on long shots and medium shots, wide format gives close singles an advantage: tendency to place the actor’s face off-center, leaving fair amount of scene visible, lessons need for establishing shot Freely ranging camera:  Longer takes, fuller framing, meaning the camera is in motion, prolonged following shot: camera tracks a character moving along a lengthy path, lighter cameras and stabilizers like Steadicam allows this to be easier, same with crane shot, push ins: camera slowly and swiftly tracks to a character’s face Some likely sources:  TV cutting accelerated at the same time that movies did, cutting on a computer makes things faster and easier to do the cutting The Aesthetics of intensified continuity:  Represents a shift within the history of moviemaking, style aims to generate keen moment by moment anticipation, close-ups, singles, rapid editing, aesthetic of broad but forceful effects showing strain and sometimes summoning considerable power, intensified continuity cuts itself off from resources of classical filmmaking, neglect of ensemble staging, two options are dominant: stand and deliver, walk and talk Long Take Examples  Example: Fred and Ginger dancing  No cutting, must get it perfect every time, continuity of the shot mirrors the continuity of the dance number, camera follows them, they utilize space  Example: Swing time  Long take of them arguing, emphasizes the repetitive routine  Example: touch of evil  Long shot following car with a bomb, movement of camera gives us a sense of a dynamic event  Example: Birth (Nicole Kidman)  Close-up, we see facial expression and see what they may be thinking/how they’re feeling The long take  Visual narrative, recurrent focus on face and eye-line, constant reframing engages audience, rising tension, climax, release, centered on principle character, sequence built around him/her Time Codes  System for identifying individual frames and shots, finished films provide audience with references to time, i.e. historical time, time of event (lighting, dialogue, direction of time), time as adversary, often the question is, will they make it in time A good film needs a beginning middle and end, but not necessarily in that order Mise-en-scene  Originated from theatre  Literally “putting into the scene”  In film, it is designated to the entire visual field and everything that is in the frame, scenery, lighting, props, costumes, make-up =, character movement Movie examples  The searchers (Texas 1896) o The mother is wearing a white dress which is kept very clean o The girls stay on the porch implying that it is an unsafe are for women o There is a lot of attention to detail  Firs the details tell their stories through images  Tells stories and values through the way the images are shot o Sets up two types of themes  Nature/culture  Wilderness/civilization  Manifest Destiny (Teddy Roosevelt) o It is set as a moral code (ethics/religion) o Justifying euro-Caucasian appropriation of aboriginal lands o Claiming the natives are savages o The western theme is based on a set of binary opposites  Wilderness/civilization  Individuals/community  Nature/culture  Desert/garden Spaghetti Western  Graphic violence  First to show the impact of bullet wounds  Random violence  Takes place in a border region (generally during war time) Genre  Aesthetic (iconography, location)  Similar plot lines  Themes, ideologies, pre-occupations  A particular style or category of works of art especially a type of work characterized by a particular form, style or purpose o Similar characters o Similar plot lines Realism and accuracy  Representation of reality  Formal aspects o The story telling aspects (such as continuity editing, mise-en-scene, cinematography, method acting) are all meant to seem invisible o Characters actions and situations seem to “simply” exist on their own o The cinematic device is hidden and the viewer is positions as a voyeur, someone who is peeking in on the actions through an invisible fourth wall  Social Aspects o The film conveys a commonsense understanding of everyday reality o The world viewed bears a strong correspondence to the historical world o Represents psychologically comprehensible emotions, anxieties, social pressures, all catalyzed in the hero (who can do more than regular people)  Realism always operates within a dominant ideology that seems natural and neutral to most viewers in the case of the films discussed so far, it is a middle class ideology that operates within capitalist democracy Camera vs. Art  The camera is a machine that document/records, it is accurate to what is really happening, it is objective or detached, and it show the truth of what is happening  The person creates images, is fallible, subjective, and creates fiction  The subjective nature of the camera o Framing (what is included/excluded) o Camera angle (high/low) o Lens (depth of field) o Lighting o Choice of subject matter o Cropping (in post-production) Verisimilitude  Literally mean true likeness; appearance or reality, realism  Generic verisimilitude (codes of genre)  Cultural verisimilitude (cultural, epochal)  Does not come about through conventional or image likeness  Conventions of meaning are constructed Movie example  Saving Private Ryan o The cinematography and surround sound contribute to the realism o The camera is hand help (moving and shaking) o You can see the machine guns and the Americans coming down from the water o Costumes and props are consistent with what we attribute to the second world war Colonialism  Started officially with Columbus’s discovery of America  At the cracks of it lies economical interest; in terms of trade  Colonialism’s crust is based on an economic interest: The exportation of cultural and material good of the America, Asia, and Africa  It implies a center of power (Imperium) and peripheral, the colonized nations  European colonialism emerged with the renaissance and the enlightenment  Based on Eurocentric myth that science is more enriched and more advance  Dark ages in Europe is a Renaissance in Asia  Policy and not superiority led to Europe colonizing the American in the 16 -17th centuries  Slave trade introduced from Africa  England active in India since 1614  England and France take over much of the Middle East in 1918 (end of WWI)  Colonialism entail geopolitical control  It became costly quite fast  By the mid 20 century most colonized nations achieved independence  Neo-colonialism replaced colonialism (economic rather than physical control) Imperialism  Implies euro-Caucasian superiority  In North American is postulated that o The land was empty o The aboriginals are not equal being, but childish, savages; converting the to Christianity was considered “bettering” them. **the difference between colonialism and imperialism, is that imperialism is that colonialism is the act and the policies of one county going into the other country, imperialism is the act of spreading their culture through different areas of the land Documentary  Entails a relationship between the film and the pro-filmic event based on accuracy truthfulness (not to be confused with objectivity)  Produces a desire for knowledge In cinema  Audience gaze, Camera gaze, Main character  Point of view editing o Physical (view point), psychological, epistemic, ideological  Focalized in colonial and neocolonial film it is usually a white, male, American o Examples: Blood diamond, the last samurai, hurt locker Visual Sovereignty  Self representation intended to combat stereotypes  Self representations as a self empowerment tool  Claiming cultural sovereignty  Stepping out of the “virtual reservation” Move example  Nanook of the North o Binary Opposites of colonialism  Self other; center periphery; colonizer colonized; modern- backward; fist world/third world; mind body; developed underdeveloped; white/non-white; human bestial; man/women; west-east (Europe)/ north-south (America) o Photography and cinema invested at height of colonialism o Unused for ethnographic purpose- the study of other cultures o The camera represent the theologically superior Europe o We are looking as if we are visitors o We are not one of them and we are learning from them o The test compared human beings with puppies o The test interoperates the images they do not just describe them Colonization and Decolonization of the Mind  Colonized people internalize their positions and accept it  Decolonization o The idea that there will be a self-realization- the mind has been colonized o Production of alternative image bank and story world o Self-conscious work on nation identity o Rejection of western models of story and history Films dimensions of History  History of the even represented  Historical contest of production  Historical contest of reception History  How does history “get” into a film? o Period costumes, technology, back and white, music  What conventions are usually employed to represent the past/ o Choosing a genre  The camera seems to “just record” o Considered to be objective, neutral, value free o Is photograph objective? Detached? Simply reporting?  It is not just mechanical and it is not incidental  Photography- 1837  Motion picture- 1895  Synchronized sound films -1927  1940’s approaches to Cinema as Art o 1. Formalist approach: montage, expression, futurism, all designed to foreground to constructed nature of cinema o 2. Realist approach mimetic representation seamless editing, naturalist lighting, long takes, designed to effect the filmmaking process  The Studio System (1927-1948) o Stylized, controlled, quick, production line  Neo-realism o Post WWII o Response to years under the fascist rule of Mussolini o Film industry before 1945; bug epics; sentimental melodrama; upper and middle classes storylines o Equipment and sets destroyed in war  Italian Neo-realism o Revealing contemporary social conditions in non-conventional narrative form o Location shooting o Documentary Style photography o Non professional actors o The beginning of Modern cinema, in which realism is a desirable style Movie examples  The Bicycle Thief o Shot on location, real streets and natural lighting o Very little dialogue, can pay attention to what is going on in the environment o The child gets a lot of attention in the film o Very controlled shots o Diegetic sound  Sound that emanated from the scene and is not extraneous to it, (such as music that is not being played within the scene or a voice- over) Orientalism  A form of cultural criticism challenging the notion the that orientalist simply present studies the orient  What is produces is an imagined entity, romanticized or demonized according to the researchers own ideological positioning Representation  Whenever a “self” studies and present the “other” that self is also, inevitable, and maybe mostly, describing the self  Representations is therefore never value free, or neutral  When the “represented” belongs to a hegemonic class (male, Caucasian), he is more likely to produce a hegemonic view of the other (women, the colonized) that justified the weak social/political position of that “other” Decolonization  Process of decolonization is always internal and external  The violence of decolonizing process: cleansing or purification; purging the colonizer from both the lands and the mind  Culture and decolonization o Major decolonization movement in post-war period from 1945 (India and Indo China/Vietnam, North African countries, Algeria, Latin America) Cinema Verite  Documentary style focused on non-intervention  No interviews, camera just records strong sense of the presence of the camera as things evolve  No voice over narration Move example  Le Corbusier o Celebrated Swiss architect and urban planner o Revolutionized the modern housing projects o Efficient single family units Reflexivity  The medium referring to itself acknowledging the cinematic device, and thus reminding the view that they are watching a film Ajami  [Skander Copti, Yaron Shani, Iseal, 2009]  Neorealism: contemporary social problems, no professional actors, no access to script  Hyperlink film: parallel plots which affect each other, but do not merge or culminate  Aspects of Neorealism in the film o Shot on the streets, not on a set o Does not use big name actors o Actors play pars that are close to their real lives, making it more real o The characters and languages are authentic o People are talking over each other, which is never done in Hollywood films o Hand held camera, a little shaky  Ajami’s style o Intense dramatic events, it related in a meandering style (unlike the pong- pong of His Girl Friday) o Documentary feel: non-professional actors; no script; “snapshot” style cinematography and mise-en-scene Narrative  Innate to all cultures, naturally available to children  A beginning, a middle, a climax and an ending  The climax produces catharsis ( a huge release of emotion)  A typical narrative will follow a structure like this o 1. Introduction of setting an character o 2. Explanation of a state of affairs o 3. Initiating event o 4. Emotional response or statement of a gal by the protagonist o 5. Complicating actions o 6. Outcome o 7. Reactions to the outcome  Modern films do not always have closure  “A narrative is a chain of cause and effect relations occurring in times and space.” – David Bordwell  plot information is all the audio-visual tracks available in a film. It includes explicitly presented events such as action, dialogue, etc. and non-diegetic material (such as sound effects) Drama in narrative films  Based on the quest of one main character, whom audience identify with  We see things through their point of view (physical, psychological and ideological)  We understand their psychology/history Relations of spectator’s knowledge to characters (s=spectators, c=character)  S know more than C: suspense  S know as much as C: mystery  S know less than C: surprise Mainstream cinema main character  White, Male, Heterosexual, Capitalist (upward mobility), chauvinist (patriarchal/national) Terrorism  Coined after the French revolution when the government killed 17 00 0 citizens  Terrorism includes violence ( and fear and intimidation), which is directed at civilians, in hope of obtaining political goals  Terrorism as a communication act: a message to a target audience  As such it is a rhetorical and media event  Sub-state groups have limited access to the public sphere  Terrorism becomes a performance, geared for public attention  Terrorist and/or Freedom fighter?  Unheard grievance against a state  While war rhetoric acknowledges positionality, the discourse on terrorism does not  The consequences of this ahistorical and essentialist discourse are that a once terrorist can become a Nobel Peace Prize Winner (Nelson Mandela)  Or a former US ally (Osama Bin Laden) “all of a sudden: becomes a terrorist  No account for state terrorism Why the lack of information  News media mostly owned by entertainment industry (ABC- Disney; CNN- Warner Brothers)  News media is cutting down on foreign reporting  News item-max is 1.5 minutes  Leads to Binaries  Hollywood pre-figures our experience of terrorism (X files, the Matrix trilogy, Alias, 24, The agency, Battle Star, Galatica, The 4400) Teshome Gabriel  Oral/non-Western o A scene follow into another, cyclical progression o Multiple episodes that have their own centers o Expects viewers participation o Man defined as “exchangeable” as interactions with community o Concepts of “human, rather than “man”  Print/Western o Linear and casual progression link thematically o Singular episodes, each with its own center o Discourages views participations o Man is capable of affecting change and progress o “Man” spate from social fabric  Non western films o Camera angles-symbolic of ideological perspective o Minimal use of close ups o Camera often hand held moving as if a character o Parallel editing to convey ideological tension  Western films o Camera angles neutralized at eye level to connote realism o Close ups used Jean Louis Comoli and Jean Barboni  A. The vast majority of films, whose form and content both carry and endorse the dominant ideology unthinkingly  B. A small number of films which attempt to subvert the dominant ideology through both their content and formal strategies that breach the conventions of realist cinema  C. Moves whose content is not explicitly political but whose formal radicalism renders them supervise  D. The revers of category C: movies whose explicitly political content is contained within the realm of dominant ideology their convention form. Mise-en-abyme  Media events (re) presenting media memories  The intertextual “dance” between politics and entertainment: Fight club Move example  Fahrenheit 9/11 o Aimed as political intervention o Organized as a conventional narrative (with a villain, a hero, and a quest) o It is a “leftist” film? Art/Literary crthicism  Up to 20 century, emphasis on author/artist’s own biography  Understand the author= understand the text Formalism, Structuralism  Meaning is derived from the text
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