Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, 2013)

hgamesfire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second film in The Hunger Games series. The original, being released in 2012 had Gary Ross as a director. However, it didn’t take very long for the second Hunger Games film to be released, just recently this year in 2013.

The film focuses on Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who was one of the victors for the 74th Hunger Games along with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) who also plays a significant actor within the film.

After winning the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen lives as a victor for a small duration, giving speeches to the public and attending parties with other victors. However, the public, who are split up into different districts begin to rebel, and it seems that Katniss has started up a army rebellion.

This film focuses a lot on the public uprising within the districts and also President Snow trying to find a way to deal with the uprising, which results in his intentions to show the governments power and set up yet another Hunger Games, where only the previous victors battle.

Katniss is forced to attend, as the only female victor of her district (District 12) and has to battle against some of the previous contestants in a battle to the death. However, the plot unfolds out into something slightly different and the results are interesting.

Having read the books, I found that the film missed out some of the key components which were of significant importance in order to tell the story well. However, obviously the film had to be shortened when producing it based off the novel, and as a result I believe that Francis Lawrence did a reasonably good job in the way that everything was pieced well together.

Overall, I found that the film was quite interesting and did a pretty good job on copying the book.

I would rate this film 8.1/10

-08spencerh


Big Media News #3 – Windows 8.2 Update?

367-windows_8_wallpaper

After the released Windows 8.1 update, which fixed some of the problems which were released with the regular Windows 8 operating system. There have been rumours whether or not there will be another update (Windows 8.2) before Windows 9 is released.

There have been some reports that Microsoft are currently working on another update for Windows 8 but also they are working on Windows 9, expected for release in November 2014.

Windows-9

If there is going to be an update again, customers would hope that Microsoft listened to them a bit more than previously. It took the community a lot of persuading to get Windows 8 a simple start button, which is still a bit of a nuisance.

If Windows 8.2 was to be released, the community expect there will just be a little polish of the operating system and some of the main concerns such as mouse lag for some users will not be resolved.

What do you think? Will Microsoft skip the Windows 8.2 and just release it as Windows 9? Or will they release a Windows 8.2 update first?

-08spencerh


Camerawork – Movement

Tilt – Moving the vertical axis up and down whilst keeping the horizontal axis the same.

Tilt1

Crane Shot – A crane is used to move the camera and put it in difficult to reach places. The camera is attached to the front platform of the crane and is angled to suit the situation. The platform can then be easily moved up or down.

camera-crane

Tracking Shot – A tracking shot involves movement of the camera often to follow something/someone which/who is moving. However, this shot stays roughly the same distance away from the focus the whole time.

Pan – Tilting the horizontal axis from one direction to another. For example, if you were to pan with the camera as somebody was walking past, the camera would turn as the person moved towards the side of the focus.

Zoom – Literally making the camera zoom into the target by changing the focus length and decreasing the distance that the target appears.

Crash Zoom – Effectively the same as a zoom, but done much more swiftly, often to exaggerate a situation and capture a facial expression or see an object up close.

Dolly Shot – A dolly shot involves the use of a dolly, which is basically a trolley on wheels placed onto a track. The trolley (dolly) moves along the track which normally appears to look like some rails. The use of a trolley is to make the footage look more stable.

SteadyCam – A SteadyCam is a piece of equipment which can be attached to a camera. The SteadyCam has a weight which is attached and increases stability. The SteadyCam can vary in size, but overall they all do the same thing.

1large

Dutch Tilt – A shot taken where the camera is tilted in an unstable angle on one side. This is used in situations such as when filming intoxicated people or in desperate situations.

Handheld – A handheld shot is quite simply taken naturally by the person filming and it often tends to be quite shaky and unstable. Handheld shots are sometimes taken in the world of film when within a film, a character is seen to be filming something. Such as in the Paranormal Activity films.


Dr Who – Textual Analysis – Essay

“Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of gender using the following:”

  • Camera shots, angles, movement and composition
  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Mise en scene

The representation of gender is conveyed through different techniques through the director. To begin with, Martha appears to be entering a larger room with two guards armed with large assault rifles. The representation of gender is shown here through mise en scene because the male guards are shown to be in control and also have the added power of carrying threatening looking assault rifles. In this individual scene, through the mise en scene it shows that Martha is not in control. However, the camerawork of the closeup of Martha’s face shows the audience that she is fearless of her apparent capture.

In the mid shot of Martha with the guards, she appears to glance to her side as if to look for some help. This looks like Martha is looking for help and as a result constructs another gender representation and makes the female character look weak and vulnerable, despite her facial expression.

Through the directors use of mise en scene, Martha also appears to be wearing more stereotypical masculine clothing. Martha is wearing trousers and a belt which is more readily associated with being male clothing. This shows the gender representation because in the scene, Martha is recognised as being one of the more dominant female characters within the extract. Judging by what Martha is wearing, it suggests that she might be one of the more dominant female characters because she is more masculine than the other female characters.

When Martha is walking into the room, the camera tracks from the left to the right and shows different hostages all exchanging worried glances with Martha. To capture more of the emotion of the characters a close-up is performed which enables the audience to capture more of the characters emotion and be less distracted by the surroundings and any other characters within the extract. From this it can be established that the majority of the female characters are looking quite fearful, whilst the male characters are looking upset and despondent, with their arms hanging loosely from their sides.

A representation of gender is shown through this because it looks as if the male characters are not so worried about the situation compared to the female characters which makes the female characters look weaker in the situation.

At the same time as this the director makes good use of the sound by adding some notes from a guitar in the background which sounds like it might have been performed in a Western film before a battle. This shows that Martha might put up a fight and gives more reason for her facial expression of confidence.

After the audience meet the hostages, the camera moves to the antagonist of the extract, The Master. A mid shot of The Master is taken at first from a low angle. Because The Master is captured from a lower angle, it seems like he is more powerful, and when we cut back to Martha she is captured from a high angle which makes her look small, and as a result it makes her look weaker. This shows the audience the representation of gender because the male is seen to be more dominant than the female in the situation.

Another method used by the director relating to mise en scene is the woman who stands by The Master in the red dress. It seems that the woman in the red dress is supposed to be representing her gender in a negative manner due to the way she is dressed. The colour and cut of her dress is supposed to represent that this woman may be getting used by The Master and that as a result she is insignificant and powerless in comparison. Once again, this highlights the issue of men being more powerful within the extract which is a point about the representation of gender.

There is of course also the traditional stereotype of people with blonde hair lacking intelligence, and thus this also represents the female gender in a negative manner, making the male gender seem better overall.

Also within the extract the representation of gender is shown through The Doctor. When The Doctor changes into a new form, editing is used to add the sic-fi effects which show glowing energy. The added special effects make The Doctor look more powerful which is representational to the male gender. Also, the way in which The Doctor rises is representational to gender within the situation. The Doctor rises with his arms outstretched in the way of which a god might. This of course demonstrates the actors power in the situation which is to a great extent, once again demonstrating gender and making the male characters look superior compared with the female gender.

There are also lots of shots taken of The Doctor taken close up so that he fills most of the screen. This emphasises the power of The Doctor, because he appears to be larger and so represents the male gender, showing that the male gender visually appears to be more powerful because of the camerawork.

Also the way in which the story unfolds, shows that a stereotypical male rescues a female from the evil male antagonist. This represents gender in the way that it is showing that females may be thought of as being weaker and the hero will always stereotypically be a male character because males are thought to be more powerful within the world of film.

There is also  plenty of evidence of shot reverse shots within the situation. Especially between Martha and The Master. The 180-degree rule is also applied here to not confuse the audience. The shot reverse shot involving Martha and The Master is representational to gender because when the camera is on The Master the pace seems to be faster which might portray that The Master is more powerful in the situation.

Overall, gender is represented in a number of ways by the director within the extract. The director does this through mise en scéne, camerawork, sound design and editing. The overall effect is that the male gender is seen as being more powerful in the extract, in control, and so the representation of the gender is clearly shown.


Camerawork Shots – Video

This is a video I did in my own time to help revise the different types of shots within cinematography.


The Road (John Hillcoat, 2009)

theroad1

The Road is a post-apocalyptic film, mainly about a man and his son surviving after an event the audience does not learn about directly. In this world, there are no livestock, no plants, no trees and very few resources left on the planet.  The man (Viggo Mortensen), is first seen living reasonably well, with his presumed wife and unborn son. Once his son has been delivered, the story advances a few years into the future, where resources are even more scarce and life is becoming increasingly challenging.

The mans wife walks out at this point and soon after, the man and his son decide they are going to move from Northern America, to the south, where they believe it will be warmer and easier to survive. On the way, the two face many challenges together and the audience become quite attached to both of the actors. Along the way, they meet a variety of different people also trying to survive and there seems to be a division that the two are aware of. With some of the survivors being the “good guys” and others being the “bad guys”.

After encountering a number of other survivors who appear to be the gruesome “bad guys” who eat other humans in order to survive, the two continue to head south, but the man becomes increasingly paranoid along the way of other survivors.

The Road has both an interesting and powerful plot with good actors and a tense story. This film is worth watching.

7.4/10

-08spencerh


Camerawork – Shots

Wide Shot – the subject exists fully within the frame, although does not necessarily fill up the entire screen.

ws

Extreme Wide Shot – Used to establish the surroundings of the subject, often the camera is so far back that the subject is not clearly visible in the situation.

extremewideshotbb

Close up – A shot taken very close to the subject.

ammunition-belt-close-up-shot

Mid Shot – a shot where the entire subject is not covered, but it is at a medium distance.

mid-shot

Over-the-Shoulder shot –  A shot where the camera is held over the shoulder of somebody and directed at something/somebody else.

Eastenders - Max and Connor

Point-of-View Shot – A shot taken which is supposed to resemble what the actor/actress is seeing through their own eyes.

point-of-view-shot

High Angle Shot – A shot taken above the target which makes the target look small.

high_angle_shot

Low Angle Shot – A shot taken below the target to make the target look large.

low angle

Eye Level Shot – A shot where the target is looking directly at the camera.

eyelevel1

Aerial Shot – A shot taken from somewhere high up, often to establish the surroundings.

aerial-shot-of-the-beach-volleyball-stadium-on-horseguards-parade

Long Shot – A long shot is almost the same  as a wide shot where the subject takes up almost all of the screen.

the-biggest-long-shot

Two Shot – A shot where two characters are within the same shot.

3_two_shot

Oblique Shot – Also known as a dutch angle shot, it is a shot taken from an unstable angle to represent what is happening within the scene.

CantedAngle

Dolly Shot – A shot taken from a cart on tracks.

Graveyard Dolly Shot 3 preview

Crane Shot – A shot taken from a crane in order to view something from above.

varizoom-reach-camera-crane

-08spencerh