IND Media Reflection 5; Semester Review

In my first homework required by this course I wrote that I want to acquire essential knowledge about broadcasting from this course. To be more specific, I want to learn about sound recording, video filming and editing skills. I think I have got enough opportunities to learn and practise them this semester.

Now I can use cameras, sound recorders and lights efficiently, I also had enough opportunities to try different roles in a production team in other courses. Meanwhile, I’ve found the editing skills I learnt from this course very helpful in overcoming difficulties I encountered in other courses.

It was my hope that after finishing this course I will be capable of produce simple but qualified broadcasting media material, and throughout this semesters learning and practise I can claim this course has helped me in achieving this. The results are beyond satisfaction.

What I think this course should have but did not provided to me is the thinking pattern and habits of western audiences. Being a Chinese I hoped that I I can know more about western audiences and the way they think and react to media contents. Knowing this would be helpful to international media students’ learning.

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【Industrial Media】Test: Analysis / Reflection 4

Clip 1

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This is a video clip I made for Post Industrial Media course. There are two layers of videos in this clip. I adjusted RGB curves of major layer (which is the story world of this video clip) into black and white and tried to give it a Film noir feeling, while the small frame on top right is the real world of filmmaker recorded from second person perspective. I choose not to modify its color; hence there is a contrast between story world and story world.

Clip 2

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In this video I adjusted the RGB curves to change its original color into slightly green and yellow, hence to give it a vintage style looking. It is the haiku video I made for the Industrial Media and the theme I choose was “Time and Illusion”, I believe such color would help to strengthen the theme.

Clip 3

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This is a video clip I made for my friend from a travel agency which is about the starry sky of Great Ocean Road. The original video is too bright and would distract audience’s attention from stars, hence I adjusted the Luma Waveform and made it darker, so as to strengthen the existence of stars.

Clip 4

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This is the video I made for Industrial Media task 1. Our team forgot to adjust the white balance before shooting hence the colors turned out very yellow. I adjusted the Blue and Red curves of RGB curves to change its colors.

Conclusion:

Color Grading and Lighting are essential techniques for media practitioners to master. They can help to set the tone, strengthen the theme as well as fix mistakes made during shooting.

IndMedia Task 3 Reading reflections

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Zhang Zihan

Task 3

Reading reflections

1

Acting is doing

In “Acting is Doing” John Boorman raised a very interesting point about how actors can relax themselves in acting. I absolutely agree with his idea, which is “the hardest things to tell an actor is to relax” and “people cannot relax by relaxing”.

I have five years performing experience in my bachelor years and high school, and I found whenever I tell myself to relax I became more anxious. I though it was my own problem but after reading this I realized that it occurs to everyone.

When you are telling yourself to relax, you are telling yourself to forget anxiety. However, each time you repeat this, the concept “I am anxious” roots deeper in your unconsciousness.

Unconsciousness, it is almost impossible for people to control it because people are unaware of what is happening with it. It’s like when you force yourself to forget something, you will remember it more clearly. While those things you forget, etc. key rings/ wallet are all left behind when you are not thinking about them.

Now as far as I can remember, the most relaxing time for me while performing is the moment when I and my counterpart actor were telling jokes to each other. This is exactly the same like John Boorman claimed, that “good actor knows that there is little they can do to get the emotion except rely on the circumstances or the other actor.”

In‘An Actor Prepares’, Constantin Stanislavski suggests actors should arrive at his dressing room two hours before going on, and he can relax himself by meditation. However in reality not every crew have the facility or time to do it. Hence in my opinion, it is essential for crew members, especially directors, to master some joke telling technique, or at least some easy games. Crew and casts can tell jokes or practice easy games before shooting, so as to relax actors and make them perform better.

2

Writing for the Screen: Beyond the Gospel of Story

In this article Kathryn Millard mentioned Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai, referring him as “extremely inventive” as Wong generally does not use fixed script when he makes films.

In my personal opinion, Wong’s theory is very unique and other directors should really obtain its essence if possible.

Wong claimed that images can’t all be written on paper, not to say music, sound, ambience and actors, and if all these things were written down, it would make the script boring. Before production, he would prepare basic plots, essential lines, but no fixed script.

During his production Wong would create and design lines and concepts base on casts’ performances and conditions, as well as elements in shooting scenes, hence more space are provided to the casts, and their potential can be stimulated to achieve their limit.

I believe Wong is referable, as directors should not be locked in original script, they should make full use of the real situation in shooting scene. They should sometimes modify the script base on actors’ performance, so as to make characters and casts fit each other better. Also, certain improvisational performances from actors should be allowed and encouraged if they are really good and natural.

Another point is, Wong always use lots of time in watching playbacks of previous filming records during production, sometimes he would spend days polishing lines and would talk to casts for long time, hence every frame of his work is polished.

However, we should also remember that we could hardly copy Wong’s experience, as it is also highly personal. Before Wong started his directing career, he was a screenwriter, he is experienced in making lines and he always spends lots of time in polishing his film in post-production.

Also,most of Wong’s films are slow-pace artistic ones, which allows him to create and polish. Other directors, especially directors of commercial films, need to exam themselves whether they have time and budget to make similar works.

IndMedia Task 3 Abstract Reflection

Elements analysis of the product:

Most of the video clips I used in this abstract product are scene shots made by other students, including “bee in the flower”, “water tap”, “snooker boys” and “chimneys”, the only shot made by my team is “dancers on the floor.”

Most of the sounds I used are original sounds of the video clips, the BGM I used is “Gymnopedie No. 3”, a royalty free music piece downloaded from incompetech.com

The shoot

“Bee in the flower” This video clip has fatal error: apart from its first few seconds, the rest of it were totally out of focus, also the camera was very unsteady as it moves in a random track, making the original video clip blurry and dizzy. If I was the cameraman, I would try to hold the camera firmly to avoid dizziness, and make sure most of the frames have a focus.

“Water tap”, considering the simplicity of this video clip, it is a good one. But it seems to me that there was only one tap and its water stream in this video, and all of them were in the foreground, making it lacks of depth and richness. If I was the cameraman, I would add more things, especially moving objects/people in its background so as this video clip would be more vivid

“Snooker boys” this video clip was shot in the cafeteria of Swanston Library. It has good depth, as well as moving objects/people to make it vivid. However, the camera was still shaky. What’s more, due to the lighting in background was stronger than foreground, everything looks darker, which makes it’s hard for audiences to recognize details in this video clip. Had I been given the chance I would pose the camera in another position to avoid lighting issue and use a tripod to capture steady shots.

“Dancers on the floor” this video clip captured a ground of students dancing. We only shoot their feet and reflections on the floor. It has a relatively good composition, as the floor divided the frame into two equal halves.

“Chimneys” This video clip was made on the street. Shaky hands happened again in this video. Apart from that, the comparison between a functional, smoky chimney and a “silent” chimney without smoke is interesting. But if I was the camera man, I would add more flavor into it by zoom out and capture more items/elements.

The original sounds in these video clips were not very satisfying, as too many environmental noises were recorded. You can hear people talking loudly in almost all files, which were very distractive. Arguably, people talking is an important part of environmental sound but in my personal opinion they should only be an equal part of a whole sound file. I would pay more attention to the direction of mic in recording, for example, avoid pointing it towards talking people for a long time.

The edit

As I have mentioned above, one of the most fatal mistakes of those video clips is shaky and blurry, while another one is lacks of depth. Considering this, my editing goal is aimed to change the disadvantages into advantages.

In my personal opinion, the lack of depth can be overcome by superimposition, which is requested by the course. While to solve shaky and blurry issue, I chose a Haiku which theme is “time and illusion” as I believe blurry can be explained as illusion.

I cut “bee in the flower”, “water tap” and “chimneys” into two halves and overlapped them on each other’s halves in order to create a concept that all these clips are illusions of same things in different time

I used fade in and fade out effects in order to make the transition between each clip more smoothly.

I lowered the sounds by using pen tool, hence the people talking sound would not be very distractive.

The background music I choose seems works well with the concept. It is a beautiful and haunting melody, which is calming and mysterious. I believe it echoes with the haiku I choose.