Monthly Archives: October 2013

This Is England ’86 (Shane Meadows), How does Meadows control the audiences emotions?

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Within This Is England ’86, Meadows controls the audiences emotions in a variety of different ways. To begin with, Meadows makes the audience feel as if they are close to a character. Meadow’s approach to this is to do lots of reaction shots, portraying the feelings of the characters and also sound design is often partly responsible. An example of this could be shown by Shaun who is captured walking down a concrete flight of stairs, with the camera facing up at him. The audience feel empathy for Shaun after his mother has not got him what he really wanted as a present, and his body language and facial expression shows us that he is feeling down. Meadows, the director is responsible for this because he would have arranged the camera in that position so that Sean is moving down the camera and also his face is clearly shown.

In most cases, a combination of editing, camerawork, sound work and mise en scéne is used to really capture the audiences emotions so that the overall quality of the video for the audience is enhanced. In certain situations, combinations are used at the same time, whilst in other situations, Meadows focuses more on one thing, such as sound design which gives the audience more of a variety so it still remains interesting. For example, a combination of a shot of this character below, with nothing but music playing quietly in the background enables the audience to capture that this particular character is upset about something.

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Meadows also uses Montages, with music playing over the them quite loudly. This may also enable the audience to develop a bond with a character because the audience see how society might have changed , or other connections which makes the audience feel closer to the character, adding to the emotion. Meadows likes to do this at the beginning of an episode, which is good because as well as helping to control the emotions of the audience, the audience may also get a clue to what could happen in the episode.

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In particular, in the episodes of This is England ’86, Meadows spends a lot of time contrasting characters and enabling the audience to develop an opinion on the relationships between characters. Woody and Lol are captured a lot in This is England ’86 and Meadows makes sure that the audience face some of their best and worst moments together to really allow the audience to have empathy for the characters.

Overall, Meadows as the director of This is England does have the power to captivate the audiences emotions, but it can only be done with a well-planned story and good knowledge of filming. Shane Meadows definitely achieves this and it most certainly allows the TV show to become more enjoyable as a result.

-o8spencerh

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The Place Beyond The Pines (Derek Cianfrance, 2012)

The Place Beyond the Pines is a film which shows a story over 17 years. One of the things to be noted about the film is that there are no true main characters and that in fact it is said that there are 3 potential main characters.

The film is certainly not a short one, and at 2 hours and 20 minutes it may feel like the film has been running for a very long time by the end. However, considering that the film takes place over 17 years and focuses on the lives of multiple characters with interesting links between them, it is quite a success.

To begin with the film is about a motorbike stunt rider,  Ryan Gosling, who finds that he has a secret child with his lover, who is with another man. The stunt rider, Luke, quits his job and ends up working alongside a mechanic who gives him the idea of robbing a bank. The two men work together and successfully rob a number of banks , collecting a lot of money and successfully escaping every time. However, Luke’s wild desperation to rob banks drives him too far and one too many banks is robbed. It is difficult not to reveal some spoilers within this review so I will jump to the basis of the rest of the plot.

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The film jumps to another character who was had a small link with Luke’s ending to bank robberies. The film then shows how this characters life has changed because of the incidents and also the audience learn of the story of his son, who happens to be the same age as Luke’s son meet up at school and relive the past.

The film kept me interested almost throughout, except towards the end I did feel that the film had been running for too long. Nonetheless I definitely enjoyed the film and it was unique to me in the way that their were a number of different characters who all played key roles within the film.

I would give this film  a 7.6/10

– 08spencerh


Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass, 2013)

The other day I went out to see the new film “Captain Phillips” which is based on the book “A Captains Duty“. The film is about a true event which took place in 2009 where a small group of Somalian pirates hijacked an American cargo ship and then took the captain hostage. The 4 Somalian pirates, with the captain taken hostage than continued to try to make their getaway in one of the ships lifeboats.

The film was extremely tense and emotional at times. The audience can’t help but feel empathy towards the captain, who becomes close to the audience right from the beginning. Whilst anger may be felt towards the pirates for what they are doing, we may also feel sympathetic due to the poverty of Somalia and also the age of the pirates (The 4 pirates were aged 17 to 19). Either way, if the high levels of tension in this film don’t have you sitting on the edge of your seat, I don’t know what will.

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I felt the the acting in this film was very good, and also the sound design. However, when watching this at a cinema, you probably shouldn’t take the closest row to the screen because there is a lot of swaying due to the fact the film is at sea. There are of course a number of famous actors within this film, including possibly the most famous, Tom Hanks – who plays Captain Phillips. In addition to this, there were some newcomer actors, such as Barkhad Abdi who plays Muse, the leader of the Somalian pirate group. Despite the actors being newcomers, they did a great job acting and it is quite difficult to notice them being new.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and would definitely recommend watching it, either at the big screen or when it comes out on DVD.

9.0/10


The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)

The Social Network is a film showing how Facebook came about. Jesse Eisenberg, plays as Mark Zuckerberg (the protagonist) and The Social Network is set mainly in and around Harvard University. To begin with, the characters seem to talk very quickly and in some scenarios it can actually be quite a challenge to fully register what the characters are saying. However, after a while you should become more accommodated to the fast talking actors.

The Social Network probably does have some external requirements to fully understand what is going on. For example, not knowing anything about Facebook may challenge some viewers, although it is not a major necessity to have a great knowledge of the social networking site, and some viewers may manage to get through the film without it.

The way the film was set was quite good and it was fairly interesting throughout. However, I felt that towards the end, some of the film became a bit repetitive – no spoilers here though…

The film did show how Facebook was created very well, and also included a bundle of interesting background information about Mark Zuckerberg himself, although obviously some of it was largely exaggerated.

I’m not disappointed with this film, as it did include the main plot of Zuckerbergs life. However, I did not feel that the film gave me anything more than the main plot to the story, and for that reason I am reluctant to rate the film too highly.

Overall, The Social Network is a pretty good film and I would recommend watching it if you’re interested in the history of Facebook and a bit of drama whilst you’re at it.

7.4/10

-08spencerh

 

 


Preliminary Exercise – Evaluation

The actual footage for our video can be seen here:

Overall, I felt that the first film we produced wasn’t bad. After all, the aim of the task was to include the 180 degree rule, match on action and shot reverse shot, which we did manage to successfully include within our footage. However, the point is, the filming we produced was far from being perfect, and thus I will go into some detail to explain what I felt went wrong, what we could have improved and also I will outline some of the strengths within our recordings.

First of all, a noticeable problem is the aspect ratio for the footage. Unfortunately due to technical issues the footage was in the ratio of 4:3 as opposed to 16:9 which meant that the film which we recorded would not play back in full screen, and the edges had been cut off. We were not the only group to encounter this problem, but of course it does need to be examined more carefully in future filming, to ensure that the audience get an optimal experience of the overall film.

When the film begins, in the first scene where the actor walks down towards the end of the corridor and reaches out for the door, match on action is performed. However, the transitions between the two cuts does not flow very well, and the speed of the close up shot of the hand opening the door is far too slow based on the previous speed of the walk down the corridor.

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Nonetheless, if everything was in the right speeds – so it looked more realistic in terms of continuity, the different camera shots for the match on action work reasonably well.

In a later cut, where the camera is looking at the table and includes both actors, in the background a door with glass panels can be seen. The problem is not the door itself, but the fact that our group did not notice that the panels were reflecting the view of a microphone which moved within the scene. This is not good for the audience as they lose the experience of feeling like it’s reality. It is also slightly distracting from the rest of what is going on within the scene. However, the reflection is not too vivid and it is not noticeable to everyone, but it is still there which is definitely a mistake. In future to avoid this embarrassing problem, members of the group should all look around carefully at what is in view for the video recorder and make sure that reflections do not include anybody other than the actors themselves.

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When an actor sits down at the table, the video recorder which was on a tripod moved up suddenly. After looking at this problem a number of times, our group decided that we must have nudged the tripod as it was filming the clip. In future recordings, members of the group must be very careful with being around the camera and make sure not to touch it, or alternatively touch it with some other equipment as it might move and the audience watching the film may feel disoriented and of course the recording would lose its professionalism.

During the shot reverse shot, where the actors are sat at the table and are exchanging dialogue we have decided that the camera was not in the best location. The camera should have been moved in closer to the actors so the recording looked more professional. I think the reason why our group did not perform this recording perfectly was because we were still experimenting different shots and we were apprehensive with getting in too close.

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On top of this, during the shot reverse shot, the camera is never is the same place twice, even when trying to mimic previous shots. I think that this could have been prevented by looking at the video recorders previous footage and then trying to set the camera down in the same location as previously at the correct height and angle.

Another problem with the film was partly due to acting. In one scene, despite the camera trying to focus on an actor, the head of the actor goes out of view. This is a problem because it is important for the audience to see something in enough detail if they are supposed to be concentrating on it. Besides this incident and also the timing, overall the acting did not produce too many problems.

However, one thing which should have been noted down previously was the fact that in the film, where the actor is being called and pulls the phone out of his shirt and holds it in his left hand, the next time we see the actor which is in a small space of time, the phone reappears in his right hand. This might be hard to notice, but it is still a problem and it emphasises the importance to note things down such as how everything was in previous clips before more clips are recorded.

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There were also some sound issues, but this could not have been helped too much as on one day of the filming, we did not have the sound crew, and in the next we did. However, the different qualities of the recorded sound are definitely noticeable and it outlines the importance to use the same sound capturing device for the entirety of the filming process.

Overall the lighting within the film was good especially if you include the circumstances we were in. There were no problems with things such as silhouettes or  strange sun rays casting through the space between the camera and the actor/object. Our group were quite impressed with this, especially since we recorded some parts of the film at different times within the day so you would expect there to be some fairly noticeable lighting differences.

In future, members of groups must work efficiently as a team and also not leave individual members too much responsibility as it will only cause overall problems for the film. Since doing our first recording, I felt that I have learnt a great deal of the importance of planning before filming. If everything is planned well, the filming process will be reduced in time and less problems may occur. In future exercises, I may resort to this post as a reminder of previous mistakes so that I may learn from them.

-08spencerh


Preliminary Exercise – First Impressions of Filming

After we had prepared some of the essentials needed to film, such as the storyboard, our group got together and began filming. This procedure  was initially delayed due to some inaccuracies in choosing the right room for the second scene. However, after the complications we managed to get a reasonably good room for filming and we began the process.

Once we had moved all the equipment into the room, we needed to get set up and we faced some technical difficulties as it was the first time we had used the majority of the equipment. However, after solving the problem of plugging in all the wires into the right slots and working out how to safely attach the video camera to the tripod we began to look at our storyboard as a guide for filming the scenes. Fortunately, our storyboard was planned out quite well and we knew where to film and in which order to film in.

After we had moved into the second scene, we realised that we had not properly planned out a prop list for the room. However, fortunately this was resolved quite quickly, primarily due to the nature of the preliminary exercise. After the room was arranged how our group wanted it we started filming for the second scene. However, unfortunately due to the delay in choosing a room for the filming, the lesson ended and our filming had to be postponed to a later date.

When we set up filming for the second day, we were well organised and got all the equipment together in the correct places in record timing. A problem we noticed though which we could not find a good way to resolve was the lighting. Due to different times because of the lessons, the sun was shining into the scene in different places to previously which made the continuation between the two cuts look a bit different. In future, this would have been solved by filming at the same time of the day in the same weather conditions or by trying to add artificial lighting so that it looked similar to previous cuts.

The next part of the preliminary exercise is to edit the footage we captured and then compose it so that it looks like a more professional bit of footage. Stay tuned for more!

-08spencerh


Looper Review (Rian Johnson, 2012)

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Looper is a film set in the future (2074) whereby a form of highly illegal time travelling is available. The film is pretty much set around this theme of time travel, and we soon learn that a future mob is paying “loopers” good money to dispose of people from the future. Bruce Willis plays the role of one of the “loopers” and unfortunately comes into the uncomfortable situation whereby he is expected to kill his future self.

He lets his normal killer instincts slip for a small moment and his future self manages to escape. The film only goes on from there, and the audience face tense moments when the mob work out that Bruce Willis has let his future self escape. The penalty is death.

The story unfolds into one massive chase and throws the audience mixed feelings. At times the film is funny whilst at other times it becomes sad, emotional and tense.. Although some of the plot is confusing, it becomes easier to pick up after a while and eventually becomes much clearer.

The film is worth watching and I definitely consider it to be one of the best Sci-Fi films of 2012.

8.7/10

-08spencerh