Friday, Friday

On Friday we did our casting. It was so exciting but so scary. I didn’t really contribute much with questioning of the actors because I wasn’t sure I could come up with anything valid to ask. It was so fun! I can’t even explain how fun it was.

Although I wouldn’t expect you to take my opinion in high regard, here’s my general analysis of the actors. With the two scenes that we asked the actors to show us, the first one required them to seem lazy but moderately enthusiastic, while the second one required them to seem genuinely afraid and lead to a genuine expression of utter fear and despair. In my opinion, some of the actors did the first scene well but struggled with the second scene while others did well in the second scene but to the first.

By the end of the night, we were tossing up between two actors who could both fit the character. One who was young, fresh, and punctual, and the other who was experienced but slightly less punctual. Both had good attitudes. Our director seemed very torn over who to pick. In the end, she chose the second guy. His acting was just… Better. Especially his portrayal of fear.

 

I screwed up that day though. I don’t know if it was the rush we were in to leave because we’d been sitting there for hours and it was nearing 7:30, but I really screwed up. Aside from the fact that we let our producer take all the gear home and back by herself over the weekend, which in itself was a massive student filmmaking faux pas, but I stupidly left the audio mixer on and I didn’t coil the cords properly. When I was notified of this, I was distraught. I couldn’t believe that I had made such a stupid mistake. There’s no excuse for it, but at least I’ll be extra careful now, I suppose.

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LIGHTS

CAMERA, ACTION!

This week we learned about the first part of the three words that are called out at the start of movies about movies. It’s not accurate though. Far from accurate, in fact. But let’s not get into that. That would just make this blog post unnecessarily long, which I’m pretty much doing anyway with all this rambling. ANYWAY, moving on!

The Director Of Photography is in charge of lighting and exposure. These two elements are very important in aspects of a film such as the mood and the atmosphere. It is for this reason that we have to be careful about how an area is lit.

Robin identified three main reasons for being wary of how a scene is lit:
1. Lighting affects the style of the film and can be crucial in how the theme of the film is perceived
2. What we see on the camera is different to what we can see with our naked eyes
3. The way a scene is lit helps with the continuity of the film as well as the temporal continuity

I think that my group is lucky in the sense that we will be filming at night and we will not have to worry about the sun, but we will have to be more careful about where we place the lights and if we decide to use them at all. This is because the use of lights in certain places could drastically change how the film is perceived by the audience. I think we might want to also have a practice with the lighting before the day of the shoot.

On Friday, we’ll be attending the make-up class for Film-TV and doing the third Lenny task. It will be interesting to see how each of us manages to fulfil our roles and whether we will be able to work cohesively. After this class, we’re going to be casting for the main role in our short film. We’ll also be using this as an opportunity to practise setting up to shoot, although we’ll not be operating the boom mic, just leaving the mic and mixer in one place so that we can all take notes about the actors.

It’s all very exciting.

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Meanings

At Monday’s lecture, Adrian spoke about semiotics and post-structuralism. He defined post-structuralism as being the use of other things that create terms and mentioned that post-structuralism is not a lack of structure, but the ability for something to be changeable and subject to other forces. He also talked about how semiotics are how we use language to account for everything, that semiotics are made up of signifiers, the signs, and what is signified, how we take something to mean. Adrian placed emphasis on the necessity of negativity and the fact that things do not necessarily mean what they are.
After declaring that “Now we’re going to do something weird!” Adrian referred to some text he had written on the whiteboard at the very start of the lecture. What was written was “Farm/Pet/Wild/Vermin.” I had no idea what this meant at the start of class but it became more obvious when Adrian started using it as a metaphor for how we create cultural meanings. He called this example a structural analysis.
Here’s what it ended up looking like:

Farm Pet Wild Vermin
pigs, cows, chickens [DON’T EAT] kangaroos, rabbits rats, foxes

The idea behind this structural analysis is that we eat what we culturally see as herbivores. However, as Adrian point out, it fails to include our consumption of carnivores in the sea such as fish! He then asked us to question the reasons that while there are in real inherent reasons, that we will choose to only eat certain
Adrian then presented us with a second example using the topic of how we decide upon potential suitors:

Friends Family Strangers Enemies
Easy to marry Do not marry Potentially marry Tabooed

Overall, we learned that meanings are subjective and don’t necessarily have to be based on previous knowledge or cultural perceptions.

In the lab on Monday, Lisa had us fill out a chart about how we had been finding the assessment tasks. It was difficult to fill in the chart because we weren’t sure if it should be measured by how much fun we had or by how easy we found the task to be, because some tasks were easy but not necessarily enjoyable. Lisa did later clarify that it should be based on FUN!

On Friday, I’m going to my assessment for the Korsakow assignment. I’m a bit apprehensive about having people judge my work and give me feedback, but it’ll be helpful to receive some constructive criticism.

Wow, that turned into a pretty long post.

C

Weak arms

Oh boy are my arms weak. Totally did not realise that before today.
In class we did the second Lenny task where we had to edit in camera, which is essentially taking all the shots in order, one after the other. We were only allowed to do four shots. Fortunately I was grouped with Daniel, who was able to open my eyes to a few things about being in charge of sound that I had not realised. Besides the fact that I was unable to hold up the boom mic for very long, I also learned how to position the mic on the end of the boom pole (is that what it’s called?) and I got a refresher on where all the buttons and knobs are. Definitely a good day for learning.

Also! Today my film group went to have another look around our location. We’re pretty excited because the car park is so, so perfect. I’m still on the hunt for some awesome sound effects and music. Wish me luck!

C

Cause a cow

Korsakow. But I guess it’s actually pronounced “core-sah-kov.”

If you’re a follower of this blog of mine, you would have seen the videos I’ve been embedding and explaining in my last like, twenty or so blog posts. All of these videos and posts lead up to our major assessment that is sort of a compilation of the videos we have made.

Here’s the link to the video:
http://www.themediastudents.net/im1/2013/christine.luong/index.html

And here is my reflection:
A major part of these tasks was making an effort to notice something that would fit the constraints we were given. This was brought up in one of our readings, ‘Researching Your Own Practice: The Discipline of Noticing’ by John Mason. Mason gave pointers about how to “increase the likelihood of noticing in the future” where he gave us tasks to notice specific things. I think this really reflected the constrained sketch tasks.

The project that I have completed using Korsakow has a ‘thread’ that I would consider to be personal. I found that the videos that I made all reflected me, especially the ones that had the theme of me. They were all things I do or see or notice and so the text that I added to the videos were also a reflection of me. These sentences are either what I was doing, thinking, feeling or wanting at the time, but in present tense. The idea behind this was to really exemplify my personality to create a more casual tone for the piece. The effect I was hoping to have was that the audience feels like they are following me through random parts of the day, watching what I do, see and think. I think the similarity with each of the bits of text that are used makes the videos flow better by providing some relativity.

This work was conceived through the use of key words that linked videos together based on what key words they used. Using Korsakow meant SNUifying the clips and in doing so, one has to add out words and in words which link and determine which videos will show in the previews. The key words I used reflected what was in each of the films and the ones that would show up as previews would have opposite features. Essentially, the structure for my work is varied according to the key words for whichever video you are presently watching but regardless of the lack of linearity and chronology, it’s like me in a sense. It jumps to different parts of my life and daily life while representing the fact that I’m a complete scatterbrain. This is especially obvious when the audience reads my text because it’s not necessarily relevant to what I’m doing.

I think the nature of this program is that it shows videos to people and allows them to navigate each video until all have been viewed. My understanding of this lead me to put each of the videos on a loop. The fact that the other option is for the SNU (/biggest) box turns black afterwards doesn’t seem as appealing to me and I think it would make more sense for each video to keep playing until the viewer decides to click another to watch. The looping also helps because after uploading it onto the server, the previews take a while to load. So the viewer can just keep rewatching until each of the three options finishes loading.

I believe that some aspects of my work was successful. I managed to complete all the required tasks associated with the project, or at least all the ones I was aware of. I think that there are ways that I could have improved. I noticed that the quality of the videos becomes quite pixelated in Korsakow and I would have liked to be able to get better quality videos, or even just less pixelated videos. I do enjoy the concepts of most of my videos because they are really representative of me. (As an aside, I would like to add that I just realised how conceited and self-absorbed it is to make myself my thread). As I was saying, there are some videos that are perhaps too rushed and don’t really express my theme or my thread as much as I would like. I do think that it is able to portray me and my insufferable quirkiness sufficiently.

The most important thing I have learnt through doing this task is to be patient. Despite the fact that in the first lecture, Adrian advised us to be dirty, messy and noisy, I think it is important to incorporate patient in media making. I think I initially took the notion of dirty, messy, noisy to mean that we could be reckless and careless in what we made, but I have found that it is very crucial to be self aware and persistent. From filming and doing several takes, to editing, cutting out the important parts, to learning Korsakow and making sure each of the SNUs are adequate.

C

Leonard?

Today I did the first Lenny exercise. I found the instructions to be pretty straight forward which made it easy to follow through and do the task. It was a good way to see how a marked up script would be useful in editing and piecing together the shots. For the last shot in the last scene, I was torn between two different angles for the shot. The first one seemed to fit the marked up script more because it was actually a midshot, but then the acting wasn’t as good as the second one and Sharon smiled at the very end. It was a ten minute internal conflict of whether I should go with my gut. Ended up following the script. Was too worried about being penalised.

As for the film itself, I REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. I think they did a fair job framing and shooting but the location caused a distracting amount of buzzing. The lighting also changed later on but that’s not something that can be helped if we can only shoot in one day. Other than that, I would commend their efforts.

C

Above dried fruit

An update that is…

Before we got an opportunity to experiment more with the audio mixer, I was feeling a bit apprehensive about being in charge of sound. So while I was away on a trip during Easter break, I’d downloaded the manual and a couple of sound guides onto my phone so I could read up if I got the chance to. A couple of my friends were a little bit thrown off by myself and a couple of my other friends who had brought homework with us, but I guess it was a good way for me to not completely float off into happiness and forget the real world. It was actually quite hard to comprehend what the manuals and stuff were saying. I was so relieved when we got to the class and Robin gave us instructions and came around to help us. I’m probably going to need a couple more practices before the day of the shoot so that I remember everything I need to switch on and check, as well as getting some confidence and not being too nervous about looking after all the aspects of sound. I actually went to the doctor to ask if I needed my ears cleaned, just in case I was in any way impaired in doing this job correctly and efficiently. That was probably too much information to share on the internet but OH WELL. I mean, I am part of the generation who overshares eeevvverrryyyttthingggg.

C

Focal length

Today, Robin taught us about focal length by point a camera in our faces and having it project in front of us.

He explained the characteristics of focal length –
1. Field of view (how much of the world we see) – a longer focal length shows a narrower field of view whereas a shorter focal length shows a wider field of view.
2. Depth of field (how much is in focus) – a longer focal length gives a shallower depth of field whereas a shorter focal length gives a greater depth of field.
3. Space (perspective) – a longer focal length makes the objects with in the frame appear more compressed whereas a shorter focal length gives a greater sense of space.
4. Shaking – camera movement is more apparent with a longer focal length… Wait, that doesn’t seem right. I’m gonna have to have the checked.

I’m confused. I’d better do some research just to make sure I took down my notes properly.

C

Literacy

This week in the lecture, Adrian spoke about literacy. Network literacy to be more specific. He explained the ideologies of the course we were undertaking and how at the end of any course we should be T-Shaped people. The T represents an idea that we should have breadth and depth, the horizontal line of the T being the breadth and the vertical line being the depth. The breadth is the amount of knowledge you gain that is broad and surrounds the topic and the depth is the amount of information that is specific to the topic. So essentially, by the end of this semester, we’ll have both of these types of knowledge and be network literate.

Adrian used the example that we all already know the function of things like books, but when we deconstruct its use and its place in society, we can be more literate of print. He said we have to be more aware of “the objectness of the thing.”

C

Road

So I was just walking along this footpath when I realised there was a dotted line in the centre of it. I immediately stepped to the left because I’ve actually conditioned myself to always do so since having begun schooling in the city and having to take the stairs and escalators a lot. As I continued up the path, I noticed a more sign that I was doing the right thing and I no longer had to follow an assumption. This was the first time I’d ever seen a path with this kind of signage and I thought it was the most clever thing ever, assuming that this footpath has high traffic.

As Tigger was always said, TTFN, ta ta for now!
– Christine