Monday, November 21, 2011

Project Reflection

I really enjoyed creating the portrait video project in this class and I am very happy with my final production. I have to admit that this project was challenging for me because I am not familiar with putting together a video and it was my first time working on Final Cut Express. However, with the help from the class (lab & lecture handouts) and friends, I was able to place all the pieces together.

I also enjoyed using the Zoom because the sound quality was just amazing, it was clear and loud, and extremely sensitive to the ambient sounds. Selecting music as a background for the audio was very tricky because I really wanted to bring in a cartoon theme song since AJ loves drawing cartoons, but at the same time the music cannot compete with the vocals in the audio. After skimming through all different songs and music, I decided to pick an instrumental piece so that there are no words in the music that would overlap with the audio. Shooting/filming was not as easy as I thought because some of my shots were not as steady and the picture quality blurred. Also I zoomed in and out of the shot to fast, so it definitely took some time editing out the "good" shots that I was able to use the clips for my video. I learned not to do that anymore. Overall, I had many challenges in completing this portrait piece but I think I managed it in the end. Nowadays, when I go to the movies, I actually pay more attention to the cinematic techniques and the choices that the editors/directors make, rather than watching the movie for just the story itself.

After making this video, I learned a lot about my partner AJ and that he is a very creative artist. I wish him the best of luck!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Clip Analysis- Caché

Caché is an Austrian French movie written and directed by Michael Haneke. The English translation for the title is “Hidden”. This is a small scene that strike out to me the most.

There are many cinematic techniques that are found in this particular scene. One of many important ones is cinematography. Without any warning or preview of what the scene is going to be about, the director gives the audience a real close up still image of the struggling rooster that was brutally held down by the boy. The next frame jumps to the splattering blood from the rooster to the boy’s face. Both of these frames are from an objective point of view, in which the audience is looking from a third person’s point of view, and not in particular the viewpoints of any character. Then, the director follows up with a wide-angle of the whole background, which includes Georges’ house and the whole yard. This provides a strong depth of field in the frame, thus, creating chiaroscuro lighting for the overall frame. As the scene continues, the viewer can conclude that this long shot frame is Georges’ perspective because he is standing at the back of the barn. This image leaves the audience a sense of mystery and unknown of what might happen next, because the viewer is still trying to make sense of the sequence of the frames. 
The close up frame between Georges and the silhouette frame of Majid shows the contrast that the beheading of the rooster frightens both boys. However, the close up frame on Georges is bright, whereas the full body frame on Majid is dark.
The scene ends with Georges’ sudden awake from nightmare just when Majid raised the axe above his head. He is sweating and panting, concluding that he was terrified in the dream. The cinematography used to end the scene is by using a full blackout of the scene, which gives the audience a break from the tensions from the previous frame. Before this scene ended, the audience had no idea that all this was a dream or reality, until the very end when Georges wakes up. This technique used by the director controls the emotions of the audience and maintain the grasp of their attention. Forcing the viewer to feel threatened or scared makes them sit on the edge of their seats, and then follow by the sudden release of tensions by Georges waking up from this nightmare. The frame shows Georges panting and grasping for air. Ideally, the audience also feels a relief as well. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What I hear...

Another long Monday has passed, I took the subway back to Queens. Thinking of my assignment I decided to take a long walk around my neighborhood to pay attention to all the sounds around me. I live close by Queens Blvd. so I walked along the busy street. It was definitely a new feeling for me since I did not have my iPod in my ears. I began to walk.

There are many cars passing through Queens Blvd. I hear the brakes from cars as they stop at the traffic lights. I hear cars accelerating as the lights turn green. I hear the squeaking of buses as they come to a stop and the rumbling noise when they begin to accelerate.

As I continue to walk slowly along the street, I hear people rushing to get to their destination. I hear their fast pace footsteps. I hear their bags rubbing against their body as they pass by me. I hear chatters of friends getting off school and/or work. I hear people talking on their cellphones. I hear people exchanging conversations as they pay for their purchases on the street food cart. I hear dogs barking whenever they see another dog.

I turn at the corner of the block and everything becomes less noisy. The block is pretty empty. I can hear my own flip-flops, my own foot steps. I can hear the wind blowing the cloth/fabric advertisement back and forth. I paused and stop moving for a couple of few minutes, I hear the wind blowing through the leaves on trees making small rustling sounds. I hear the American flag on a neighbor's window blowing back and forth making soft, calm noises.

As I walk to the park, I hear kids running around the playground. I hear the bicycle wheels turning and the thrust of foot pressure from the boy on a scooter. I hear children shouting and laughing. I hear cries from a boy who fell on his knees. I hear the bouncing of the basketballs. I hear the popping sound of the handball as it hits the wall. I hear guys giving each other high fives, I hear them laughing. They just won the game.

Finally, I walked back home, listening to my own footsteps. My cellphone rings as I reached my front door.