Representation of Memory

What techniques do filmmakers use to represent memories in films?

Our individual memories are subjective. How does a filmmaker indicate this subjectivity (the equivalent of the first person narrative in a novel)?

Is pure subjectivity possible in film?

Do memories in film tend to resonate more with an audience when members of that audience can identify with the universal elements of those memories? What do we mean by ‘universal elements’?

Whilst viewing the following film extracts, make notes on the following questions:

What events tend to trigger memory?
How does a filmmaker indicate that what we are seeing is a memory?
Does the filmmaker engage the viewer in the memory by creating a sensory experience? How?

Band of Brothers
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Citizen Kane

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Ray
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Paper Memories
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We will do a some Formal Analysis of short films starting with The Hill (Deborah Chow)

The Hill
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Find Formal Analysis instructions here

Make sure you are using accurate film language – use THIS EXCELLENT REFERENCE to help you

Here are the films you will choose from for your own Formal Analysis. Watch them all at least once before making a choice. HERE are the instructions for your individual analysis.

Apricot

Memory 2.0
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Beyond Memories

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Porcelain Unicorn
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Colour and Memories

Experimenting with Colour Correction

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Music and Memories

We must also consider the effect of music on our memories
Just as a colour red may conjure connotations of danger, murder, life, prosperity. Or a smell of cut grass inspire memories of grandad’s back garden. A song or a piece of music has the power to take us back in time. Can you think of a piece of music which has this effect on you?

Memory and the power of music
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FILM PROJECT INSTRUCTIONS

Description of Film Roles 

FILM CASE STUDY

Film Viewing: Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind –

Viewing Notes

 

 

 

 

 

Lighting

Shooting in Low Light:

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Shooting day for night:

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Traditionally, cinematographers and DOPs (Director of Photography) use three types of light source – Key, Fill and Back (sometimes called rim light or hair light).

When used together we call it three point lighting. The position of the lights will vary depending on what kind of effect you are going for and you are encouraged to experiment with how you light your subjects and your scenes. Here are some basic guidelines:

Basic Three point light set up:

Fig-8.4

Here is how it looks:

project4_3-PointLighting

High Key light:

high key

million_dollar_baby

Low Key Light

film_noir_0013

Rear window

Back Light

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Suspense

 

Key questions for this unit:

  • What is the difference between suspense, surprise and mystery?
  • How do film makers create suspense?
  • What skills can I use to create a suspense film

Let’s learn from the Master:

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How does this work in these clips from Jaws (1975 Steven Spielberg)

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Some broad principles for creating suspense – what are the ‘rules’?

Notes taken from ‘Screenwriting Tricks for Authors’ – Alexandra Sokoloff:

1. ASK A CENTRAL QUESTION with your story. e.g. What is going to happen next, who or what is hiding in the dark corner?

2. STAKES. What do we FEAR is going to happen?

A good story makes the stakes crystal clear—from the very beginning of the story.  We know right up front in Silence of the Lambs that there’s a serial killer out there who will not stop killing young women until he is caught or killed. How do we know that? The characters say it, flat out, and not just once, and not just one character.

You need to tell your audience what they’re supposed to be afraid of.

What is scary in the physical environment, in the visual and in the symbolism of the space? How can you use sound to create chills? What is going through the character’s head that increases the danger of the experience?

4. You have to make the audience  CARE. Because if they don’t care about the characters, then they have no personal stake in the scares – they do not feel the fear for the character.

5. You have to layer in all six senses—what it looks, smells, sounds, feels, tastes like—as well as what your characters sense is there, even though there’s no physical evidence for it. You have to create the effect of an adrenaline rush. In a  good suspense scene the pace can actually slow down, so that every detail stands out and every move takes ages to complete.

6. USE FALSE SCARES.

7. USE INTERIOR MONOLOGUE –  So we know what the character is thinking/feeling

 

Script Writing Formatting

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A screen play needs to be in a format everyone understands and is used by crew and actors during rehearsal and on the set. Screenplays are written in a particular format to make them easily readable.

When writing a screenplay, you need to follow some fundamental rules to ensure it’s easy to read:

  • traditionally screenplays are written using the font Courier
  • use at least size twelve
  • begin every scene with a slugline
  • write character names, important props and sound effects in capital letters.

http://www.oscars.org/sites/default/files/scriptsample.pdf

Film History

Man with a movie Camera

chaplin

17raj-kapoor2

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Why Study Film History? 

As an art form that has only developed in the last 120 years, film is relatively new. Why then do film makers, film writers and historians find it important to study Film History?

 

You will be given a decade of cinema history to investigate. Through research,  you must explore key developments in the film during your decade.

a) What were the important films of the decade? Why – were they critically acclaimed for their style, acting, editing, sound track, special effects? Did they challenge conventions of film making or epitomize a particular film movement or genre? Who were the dominant directors and actors?

b) What technological advances dominated your decade? E.g. coming of sound, colour, 3D etc. How did these impact on individual films? Use examples from later films that show this impact.

c)    Investigate the commercial and industrial context of the films in your decade. E.g. were films being made within the studio system or independent of it? Was it a decade of blockbusters? Was the film industry financially threatened by other entertainment industries e.g. television,  VHS recorders, DVD, internet. How did the film industry respond?

d)   Historical, social and political trends. What were the key events happening outside of the industry e.g. Vietnam War, rise in feminism, AIDS, revolutions, peace movements, 9/11 attack, space exploration. How were these reflected in films of the time?

Things to consider:

  • You must go beyond Hollywood. Explore at least three national cinemas e.g. UK, France, Germany, Russia, Korea, China, India.
  • You must use at least 3 different text book sources and 3 internet sources (from reliable sights.)
  • Produce a documentary using visuals and voice over. This will be viewed by the rest of the class to help them to understand each decade of film history.  It will also be shared via Google docs.
  • Your research and your production will be graded (See Rubrics for Knowledge and Understanding and for Transfer of Learning in film history folder) You must cite all of your sources for images and information.

Some suggestions for internet searches:

Customized ISM Film Search Engine

BFI – British Film Industry Webpage

IMDB

FilmSite.org

University of Minnesota

Greencine.com

 

Film Magic

The Big Picture for this Unit:

What are the essential similarities and differences between ‘primitive’ and ‘modern’ film-making ?

How can learning about early film help us to learn about film language?

Persistence of Vision

Film v Video

One of the fundamental differences between the films of primitive cinema and the films we create today as part of the Intro Film Course is contained in the two words

FILM  VIDEO

Video stores moving images digitally. They can be played back instantly and saved as digital files on a computer. Film stores images in such a way that the film has to be chemically processed before the images can be seen. 

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To understand how we make sense of moving images and how the cinema was born it helps us to understand the concept of persistence of vision.

Eadweard Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope

Make a Thuamathrope

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A Flip book

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An Animation

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The Earliest Cinema

Do some research about early Film pioneers like Muybridge

Online Treasure Hunt

Although you will have seen from your research that there where a lot of people in Europe and America all developing cinematic techniques around about the same time, the Lumiere Brothers where the first to show their moving images to a paying audience.

Make a note of the similarities and differences between early cinema and modern cinema

The Shot

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Workers Leaving The Factory (1895)

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Arrival of a Train (1895)

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Shots of Lyon (1998) – What is different about this Film?

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The Sick Kitten (1901) – And what about this major breakthrough?!

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Or this one is even earlier Grandma’s Reading Glass (1900)

The Cut

Look carefully at this film  – Fire, by James Williamson (1901). How is it different to ‘Workers Leaving The Factory’ ?

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The Narrative

By 1903 pioneer filmmakers had already begun to create film narratives based on popular fiction of the time.

The Weird and the Wonderful

In Europe the people who were most excited about the invention of the moving image were kind of divided into two groups, those who were interested in creating art and those who were interested in creating entertainment. Both groups created some weird and wonderful films.

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GM

The Magician

George Melies is was a magician and show man. He was one of the first to see the Lumiere bothers films and realised the potential of showing films to audiences for a profit. As he began making his own films he developed a number of techniques which have since led to him being called the father of special effects.

Here are some of the techniques he used and how they are still used in modern films.

 

The Stop Edit

How is the magic being created?

What is happening in the narrative? What is reaction of the people at the end of the film?

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This is a bit scary folks! Can you spot the stop edit?

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The Ring ( Gore Verbinski 2002)

The Dissolve

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This one used amazing stage make up and robotics but is essentially the same technique

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The American Werewolf In London (John Landis 1981)

Double Exposure 

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Now we use the same technique but we call it split screen

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Jack and Jill (Denis Dugan 2011)

Another director inspired by George Meilies is Martin Scorsese. He made the magical film “Hugo” about him in 2011 based on the amazingly illustrated book by Brain Selznick. Well worth a watch!

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Special Effects have come a long way with CGI but still some of the most effective special effects are not done with computers but with practical techniques and creative ideas.

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Production Instructions

Film Language

 How to create Split Screen Magic!

Pleased to meet you!

Exercise One
a) Individually write down the following details about the best film you watched this summer. If you can, make a note of:
the director,
star(s),
genre/type of film
storyline
Why did you particularly enjoy it and why would you recommend it to others in the class?
b) Discuss your ideas with the two other people. Find a Youtube trailer for the film.
c) Present your ideas to the rest of the class.( You can do this in pairs if you share the same film recommendation)

Exercise 2
Make a very short (1 minute) film about yourself. Use a Vado camera, phone or Photo Booth on Mac. Things to include:
Your name
Country of origin or culture you most identify with
Films you have enjoyed watching and why
What you are looking forward to on the Intro course and what, if anything, you are nervous about.

Upload the video to the server and export to youtube – make sure the video is ‘unlisted’
Embed the video in your Film Intro Googlesite
Send the site link by email to hartleyn@ismanila.org