Supercut It!

For my second assignment of the week I chose to do the Supercut It! assigment. For those who don’t know what a super cut is: A Supercut is a fast-paced montage of short video clips that obsessively isolates a single element from its source, usually a word, phrase, or cliche from film and TV. For my personal assignment, I decided to make one about President Trump’s obsession with the word “billions”. There will be a guide for how I made this video below the embedded video. So, here is my final creation:

How To Guide: My first step was finding the video clips for my topic. I did this simply by looking on YouTube for my subject matter. Next, I would download all the footage I wanted to use for my video. Finally, I would add all my finished supercut clips into Movie Maker. All that was left to do was add a title and credits slide. This assignment was a lot easier than I thought it was. I would for sure recommend everyone try this out! I used a Vice news video and a comedy central video for all my material.

Observe Something Grow: Riley

This week for one of my video assignments, I have decided to try the Observe Something Grow assignment on my dog Riley. My family and I got Riley a little over one year ago. I thought it would be fun to go back through my phone from the day we got him and compile some of my families favorite pictures/videos of him growing up. It’s almost hard to believe that in one year he can go from being so small to almost 25 pounds! If you would like a tutorial on how I did this, one will be available at the bottom of this post. Here is what I came up with:

How To Guide: This was one of the simpler assignments that I have had to create for this class. I chose to use Movie Maker 10 to create this video, it is a free app available on all windows systems. First, I downloaded all my clips and pictures and put them into one file on my desktop. Next, I opened a new project in Movie Maker and added the Title/Credits slides by using the “Add Clip” button, and navigating to Title/Credits. This allowed me to write whatever I wanted on these slides and when I was finished I simply saved my changes. Next, I inserted all the media from my folder by simply dragging and dropping every picture/clip into Movie Maker. Once I had all my footage, I clicked on the “Arrange Clips” button in the main menu. This leads you to a screen where you are able to completely choose the order the pictures/clips are shown in. Just like before, when you’re finished simply save your changes. Finally, I added a soundtrack by clicking, “Edit AudioTrack” in the main menu. Here I was able to bring in my own MP4 by simply dragging and dropping it in. All that was left was to export the video and name it. If you have any questions or if I have missed anything feel free to let me know in the comments! Thanks for reading!

Look. Listen. Analyze.

This post will be dedicated to reviewing a scene from the movie Hulk (2003). Here is the clip that I will be going over:

Camera Work

This short clip is full of magnificent camera work. The scene starts as Bruce Banner is eating dinner with his ex-girlfriend Betty Ross. We can see Betty on the left or negative side on the screen completely clear but Bruce is on the right or positive side of the screen blurred out. This could be because the director wants us to focus on Betty at this time. The audience can clearly tell as she is listening to him that she is very concerned about him. The blurriness could also show how much Bruce is currently going through at that moment. As Bruce begins to describe his vivid dream the camera swaps to a close-up of his face. The camera stays this way for the entirety of this monologue. The director wants Bruce to make you feel how he felt during the dream. As he begins to break down the camera swaps to just Betty this time. She watches him as he begins to lose touch with reality whilst thinking about the dream. The camera angles/transitions play a big role in guiding the story in this scene.

Audio Track

The audio track from this scene stays fairly consistent across this scene other than at one point. When he starts to recall the way the dream made him feel he describes his heartbeat going, “boom…boom…boom”. I think that this was left in the scene because these long pauses without audio help the audience to understand how traumatic this experience was for him as Betty watches in horror. Other than that particular part, the actors keep very soft voices because they are in a one-on-one conversation. At the start of the clip the audience can hear some sounds of silverware hitting the plate but as the characters begin to speak it is cut off immediately.

Conclusion

In conclusion, after breaking down this scene from the two different perspectives of Audio and Camera. I feel that I have a much better understanding of what the director was trying to accomplish. It was only when I focused on one particular perspective that I was able to really derive meaning out of them. When the scene is watched normally it is hard to separate all of the camera/audio techniques going on. This scene required me watching it at least ten times. One thing I would not of noticed without paying attention to the audio track is the dinner noises that stop as soon as the scene begins to get serious. Minimizing your senses while watching a scene can give you so much more information at a time than watching it at face value.

Reflection: Robert Ebert & Cinema Techniques

Robert Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” takes the reader through various different cinema concepts that we have all seen before, whether we knew it or not. Concepts like the golden ratio or the rule of thirds. If you aren’t sure about these two concepts here are two Wikipedia articles: Golden Ratio & Rule of thirds. These are techniques that we have seen all around us our whole lives. Ebert explains in simplistic terms that, “Right is more positive, left more negative”. This is why you will often see the main character shot on the right side of most scenes in which they intend to draw contrast. For example, they could have the antagonist on the left part of the screen in the background while the protagonist is on the right side of the screen in the foreground. Another method noted by Ebert is that, “Extreme high angle shots make characters into pawns; low angles make them into gods”. This method makes complete sense to me, it is easy as the reader to picture this. If the camera is pointed way down toward a character it minimizes them into some character just taking part in the game. If the camera is from a low angle it exaggerates their frame making them so much more powerful than they actually are. Here is an example of an excellent low-angle shot:

Here is an example of a well done high-angle shot:

The difference between these two picture is drastic. In the picture of the Joker, you can tell he is in control. This type of shot carries with it a very specific visual language to the audience. It is powerful. Now on the other-hand, the high-angle shot is done to minimize the characters. It is showing that even though they are super heroes they are vulnerable, just like everyone else.

The Shining – Zooms

As the scene starts the camera is zooming along with the car, almost as if the director is drawing the audience in to the next part. It seems that in The Shining zoom is mainly used in order to build suspense for the audience. A zoom outward or inward in combination with suspenseful music can create quite a spooky atmosphere. They often use zoom to do one of two things in this movie. Firstly, they start very close to the subject an zoom outward until you’re able to see the entire environment. Secondly, they start in a big landscape and slowly zoom into the subject. A good example of this is to watch every zoom on Dick Hallorann.

Tarantino – From Below

This is a great example of the low-angle shots that we were referring to earlier. Quentin Tarantino is a master of the low-angle shot. He is forcing the audience to think of the subject matter as strong or powerful. This technique is very effective at building characters in movies.

I learned a lot by reading Robert Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” and reviewing some of the techniques in the videos above. I had no idea how prevalent all these concepts are in nearly every movie. I think I will come away from this week with an new appreciation for good directors that are able to do so much with only cinema techniques. It is a way for them to communicate with the audience without outright just telling them information. It makes the audience feel like they are coming to the conclusion themselves.