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FILM 1020 - Notes.docx

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Film Studies
Film Studies 1020E
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Week 1IntroductionFilm is a construction stemming from the imagination of its creatorsopen to the interpretation of its viewers Foreknowledge of certain concepts is necessary for the film to make senseDuck AmuckDirected by Chuck JonesGenre AnimationThe cartoon is an example of a reflexive or selfreflexive filmits aim is to make the audience aware of the filmmaking process It operates on three levelsoFilm form oFilm as production oFilm as spectatorshipThe Wizard of OzDirected by Victor FlemingGenre Musicalsee Stills 12 unless otherwise stated using Denotation The scenes in Kansas are sepiatoned whereas the scenes in Oz are in colourConnotation Kansas is depicted as a dulldreary reality whereas Oz is a happierideal dream worldDenotation The shot of Dorothy walking away in Kansas depicts her as small in size in comparison to her surroundings whereas the shot of her walking away in Oz depicts her with a cluster of charactersConnotation In Kansas Dorothy feels isolatedinferior whereas in Oz she is revered as a heroDenotation In both stills there are clouds in the skyConnotation The clouds are meant to connote the fact that she cant run away from realitywherever she goes she must face her problems eventually Denotation Dorothys appearance emphasizes her red hair white blouseblue dress in a specific orderConnotation She is a symbol of patriotism especially when considering that the original novel was written in the 1900sthe film was set in 1939 during the time of the Dust Bowlthe coming of WWIIDenotation Dorothys companions are all menare in want of intelligence lovecourageImplication Society is generally maledominated as they are portraits of strength when considering the stereotypical soldier of the time period Moreover each character represents a virtue that American societyhumanity in general seeks to gainDenotation The mystery surrounding Ozthe fact that he holds the answer to everyones problems are ideas that are prevalent throughout the film yet it is revealed that he is a fraud in some sense He reveals that what the characters have been looking for have been inside them all along Connotation In a metaphorical sense finding Oz is like attempting to find a higher being that will solve everyones problems However the emphasis is placed on selfdiscoverythe idea that only humankind can control their own destinyDenotation One scene shows Dorothythe Lion Man falling asleep in the bed of poppies with the Tin Manthe Scarecrow left unharmed They are later woken up by snowConnotation Opium is made from poppy seeds which causes its druginduced victims to sleep The Tin Manthe Scarecrow werent affected because they were lacking a hearta brain respectively Snow represents cocaine which gives its user more energySemiologySemioticsIn film the study aims to negotiate visual sign systems composing each frame Ferdinand de SaussureMeaning is created through differenceoThe signifier is the image itself whereas the signified is the reality Together they combine to create a sign For example the word fish is a noisespeech mark that elicits a concept in ones head oLanguage is used to construct reality therefore film is a language in itself that mediates reality for us oA sign derives its meaning from what it is related with therefore meaning arises from a combination of signs Roland Barthestwo orders of significationoDenotation refers to what is directly seen whereas connotation refers to all the associative meanings that are dependent on the context The two combine to form an ideology therefore signs produce cultural meaning For example fish can operate on a mythic level as it activates the Christian belief system according to the Bible oJohn Wayne see Still 3 is depicted as a cowboy wearing redwhite holding a gun in his hand denotation He represents core American values such as patriotismstrength along with the myth that American settlers have the right to overpower the natives of the land that theyre in connotation This idea of him has been prevalent throughout his films see Stills 4 56 wherein he highlights the power of America as a nation Louis AlthusseroThe ruling nation imposes its ideology upon its subjects often with the use of propaganda oThe subjects are usually in collusion or in secret agreement eg After 911 American patriotism soared to promote national identity Those who werent in agreement were often excludedthese socalled patriots began to generalize all Muslims negatively due to the alleged existence of WMDNotes from BordwellThompsonMechanics of the MoviesoThe standard shooting rate of a film is 24 still frames per second oApparent motion refers to the illusion of movement created by a rapidly changing visual display The stimuli tricks cells into sending the wrong message while analyzing motionoThe gauge refers to the width of the film stripis measured in millimeters The photographic quality of the film is dependent on the gauges size yet 16mm or 8mm ones are used in professional production to simulate amateur footage that supports the context of the filmFilm as Digital MediaoA digital camera has a fixed sensor that is covered with a grid of millions of microscopic diodes They capture a bit of light which creates pixels in the final imageare converted by the sensor into electrical impulses that are sent to a recording mediumregistered in binaryoHighdefinition video usually refers to digital formats of 720p1080p with the numbers referring to the number of horizontal lines in the displaythe p standing for progressive scan which refreshes each frame in the manner of a computer monitor The newer formats were standardized at 2K4K rendering images that are sharper more detailedfreer of artifacts Making the Movie Film ProductionoFilmmaking occurs in three phases production wherein an individual group or company makes the film distribution wherein a company rents copies to theater chainsreleases them on DVDexhibition wherein theatres exhibit the film along with TV monitors computer screens or portable displaysoMost films go through four distinct phasesScriptwritingfundingThe producer is responsible for seeking financial support overseeing the scriptwriting processarranging to hire the castcrew Heshe must prepare a budget for abovetheline costs literary property scriptwriter directormajor castbelowtheline costs crew secondary cast the shootingassembly phases insurancepublicityThe screenwriter prepares the screenplay for the film It goes through several stages a treatment a synopsis of the action then one or more fulllength scriptsa final version the shooting script Preparation or preproductionThe producerdirector hire crewcast the rolesscout locations for filming They also prepare a daily schedule for shooting The director works with specialists such as a production designer who is in charge of visualizing the films settings The latter works with a graphic artist who produces a storyboarda series of comic striplike sketches of the shots in each scene including notations about costume lightingcamera work The process of previsualization reworks the storyboards into 3D animation complete with moving figures dialogue sound effectsmusicShooting or principal photographyThe directors crew consists of the script supervisor the first assistant director the second assistant director the third assistant director the dialogue coachthe second unit director The photography unit is led by the cinematographer an expert on photographic processes lightingcamera technique Heshe supervises the camera operator the key gripthe gaffer The sound unit is led by the production recordist whose job is to record dialogue during shooting Heshe supervises the boom operatorthe third man
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