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
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:
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
a) Individually write down the following details about the best film you watched this summer. If you can, make a note of:
genre/type of film
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)
Make a very short (1 minute) film about yourself. Use a Vado camera, phone or Photo Booth on Mac. Things to include:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org