PIM Task 3 Draft

Adventure of Superman

https://vimeo.com/107146556

This story will be a stop-motion project shoot by mobile phone. The affordance I am looking to explore is mobile phone’s capacity of making stop motion works. Mobile phone’s accessibility has made it a handy tool for video makers to create works with ease.

The story I am preparing is Toy Superhero’s Adventure in Human World. This idea may sounds like Disney’s Toy Story, while the uniqueness of my project is toy in my story will interact with real people and real world, not animated ones.

The draft I made is literally a draft, with very rough video quality and only tells the beginning of the story. The whole story will be toy superman discovers he is no longer satisfied with indoor life, and wants to go outside to explore. But when he comes out, he soon discovers the outside world is too dangerous for him.

This idea is inspired by a photographer whose ID is “VSE OK”, he keeps creating photos about superhero toys in human world, and his works have a strange sense of humour.

The draft part is done indoor, and due to the poor performance of my mobile phone camera there are lots of noises in it. I am planning to use a better phone to improve the image quality, also, I will use a better superman toy, which has more junctions and can make more moves.

In future shots this toy superman will be shot at Melbourne’s landmarks in different times of days, so I can play more with light, as well as include more contrasts between toys and human. Also, I will add dialogues between toy and human into this project. What’s more, text as narrative will also be added.
Created using a SONY Xperia M, edited in Adobe Premiere. Music from private collation of classic music.

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Clown Train Reflection (Reflection for IndMedia Question No2 )

Use of sounds

Short Film Clown Train showcased its original maker’s good mastery of sounds, especially how to use basic sound elements to generate tension without using sound track.

Following sounds can be heard in this short film: shaking train carriage, train wheels friction, train brake, air conditioner/ exhaust fan operating, running train, electric spark, knocking sound, high and sharp zing sound.

The film starts with black screen and sounds of train wheel’s friction against railway, it creates a feeling of unpleasant, and disorder. Then the sounds stopped with the opening scene: a young man woke up in a train.

Then audiences can hear the sound of an operating exhaust fan while shots were given to the young man. In my personal opinion, though the sound of exhaust fan is not easy to identify in the presence, it plays an important role in creating a “tension within silence” atmosphere. It is a type of hidden anxiety.

A sound of electric spark comes into audiences’ ears when the young man notices there is also a joker inside the train. Its sudden appearance emphasizes the young man suddenly noticing of the joker.

With the young man starts talking with the joker, sound of electric sparks appears more and more frequent as their conversation gradually becoming awkward, and when the young man realizes this, a wave of knocking sound appears, which indicates that he also discovers how strange the situation is.

Then the high and sharp zing sound occurs, when the young man finds himself is lost on the train, and the joker is some kind of mysterious threat to him.

Most of these sounds are environmental sounds. Some of them are used between different shots, and they links different shots to each other naturally. Other sounds, like two characters talking and moving, function naturally.

I found similar scene in Matrix (1999), when Neo first meets Morpheus and takes the pill. When Neo enters Morpheus’ room, all background music stops as a sound of thunder strikes, at the same time, Morpheus is given a close up shot. In my personal opinion, the sound of thunder helps to emphasize Morpheus’s significance in the film: he is the thunder who tells the truth to Neo, a thunder who wakes Neo up from Matrix’s illusions. During Neo and Morpheus’ conversation audiences can only hear small sounds of thunder, and no other sounds plays as room tune. When Neo is about to take the pill, the sound of thunder becomes louder again. All these use of sound emphasizes the tension and Neo’s anxiety.

Deconstruction visual aspects 

Lighting and color:

Generally the light inside the train is sufficient but cold. I suppose the director did this intentionally in order to create a mysterious atmosphere. Lighting outside of the train is dark enough. When the young man steps out of the carriage, audiences can only identify his figures yet not details of his appearance. In my personal opinion, such contrast helps to create a feeling of isolation, or dungeon/ secret chamber style environment, which makes people want to excape.

Shots:

While about the shots, obviously lots of reverse shots are used. The inner reverse shots are used to catch two characters’ individual emotion and actions, and outer reverse shots are used when they are having conversation in order to record their reactions on each other’s words.

Framing:

Two characters have fixed position in frames. The young man is in the left, lower side of the frame, talking and looking to the clown that is in the right, higher side of the frame. This helps audiences to avoid confusion when camera angles are changed.

Also, the clown always looks bigger than the young man in the frames, even when shots are made from the back of young man, who is closer to the lens. In my personal opinion, this is due to director wants to express that clown is the more powerful character in this film, and the clown is always the more positive one in the conversation.

Reflection for IndMedia (Question No1 Reading)

Drama

Slogan:

If you’ve got a beginning, but you don’t have an end, then you’re mistaken. You don’t have the right beginning.

This slogan reminds us the importance of beginning in producing media content. What kind of end that directors should bring to their audiences? A “close ending” or an “open ending”? Open ending is gradually common in filmmaking nowadays. Open ending does not provide all of the details and leave audiences wondering how the story will end.

In my personal opinion, open-endings are sometimes more real and convincing than close endings.

I still remember the open ending that left in the Life of Pi. An Lee left the audiences with two choices, one crucial story between human, and one fairy tale with tiger. It provides audiences freedom to choose their favorite one, it elevates the theme to a higher level, it’s exploration about human nature also makes the film more real and convincing.

Open endings are also very common among Christopher Nolan’s film. In his iconic film “Memento”, Nolan left the audiences questioning whether the protagonist really has amnesia. Another significant open ending is in his “Inception”, the top totem did not stop spinning even when the film ends, which makes audiences cannot help but keep asking whether it is in dream or not.

An open ending is also good for producing sequels in the future. The film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” ended with Caesar’s back figure, which makes audiences guess what would happen in the future. Now “The Planet of the Apes” serial is back in cinema with new stories, which echoes well with that open ending in the previous film.

In my personal opinion, open ending will become more and more popular in the future, for today’s audiences are not satisfied with one fixed story, they are hope that film can reflect their own choices. Similar thing has been happening in electronic game industry for years, as those Sandbox Games (games which have no fixed main story and plot, and allow players to explore world and do whatever they like) like Minecraft and Elder Scrolls are quite popular.

Let’s back to the slogan. I think it should be modified into this: “If you’ve got a beginning, but you don’t have a proper end, then you’re mistaken. You don’t have the right beginning.” I suppose films with open-ending will become more and more popular in the future.

Doco

Point

Pawel Pawlikowski claimed in Imagining Reality (1996) that at his time (Mid 1990s), documentary needed TV for its survival, though TV was also the major factor killing documentary. In fact, he took TV as the future of documentary.

This seems interesting nowadays, as only after 20 years TV documentary phenomenon has become the past. With online streaming service developing, today’s documentary makers no longer need TV channels to present their products to viewers, and audiences can simply choose whatever they would like to watch on the Internet rather than sitting in front of TV and wait for content passively. This has made documentary more accessible and popular.

A Bit of China, a Chinese documentary series about the history of food, eating, and cooking has achieved great success online. When it was first shown on Internet this year, it was watched altogether 1.4 hundred million times in first two months. This is generally an incredible record for documentary in the past.

Being media practitioners we have to stay alert and keep ourselves updated to the latest technology development. Internet as a carrier format has been proved successful, apart from that, record techniques of documentary have also changed a lot during past decades and they are expanding the borders of documentaries: virtual-reality tech can bring sense and smell to viewers, while equipment like Google Glasses can record real POV materials. We should definitely make full use of conveniences brought by technology.

With the help of cutting-edge technology documentary industry has changed a lot. However, there is one thing that documentary makers should not forget: audiences watch our works for what we record, not what we record with. As Pawel Pawlikowski claimed, the most successful documentaries are “human stories” which requires lots of time to polish.