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Tag Archives: film-tv

This week’s lecture was on the topic of focal lengths and their effects. I personally thought the lecture was both interactive and engaging, and I found it really helpful that Robin had set up a camera in class and gave up on-the-spot examples as we went on about the lecture.

Then in tute, Paul showed us how to properly set up and connect the mixer to the camera. Working in groups of three, we started setting up the audio mixer, which took no more than two minutes, followed by the camera. That, for me, was the tricky part. It took us a while but we managed to figure out where the cables connected to. Then, we were told to do a status check to see if the camera was indeed connected to the camera and that the camera was picking up sound. After that, Paul talked about the some mistakes students commonly make when handling the equipment and while filming on set. He also lectured us about white balance and exposure. Playing around with the white balance was never my strong suit. I’ve always struggle with white balance, in the sense that I’ve never been able to get it right, at least not on my first try. So the tute as well as the reading for this week helped clear things up a little.

On a separate note, I found the “Producing Videos” reading rather interesting and helpful. To elaborate, I was never good with white balance (as mentioned above) and prior to doing the reading, I was unaware of the common mistakes when fiddling with the white balance. So it was good to know exactly where I’ve gone wrong in the past. Besides that, I’ve always been a stranger when it comes to the camera aperture. Before this, I had always assumed that aperture only came in one setting. That its size was fixed. So I was surprised to discover that there are several different aperture settings and that the images shot with large aperture openings have less depth of field.

And that pretty much sums up all that I’ve learnt this week and all in all, I think I’ve learnt a lot.

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This week, we venture into the world of sound. More specifically, sound analysis and sound recording. First off, we talked about sound analysis. Our discussion revolved around a short film titled “Clown Train.”

So to start things off, Clown Train’s sound design consisted of an array of noises, which in return gave off an eerie, unnerving vibe. Some of the sounds I’ve picked up on while watching the film include piercing noises, the sound of a train moving on a railway track, loud ambient noises deriving from a moving train, static, the sound of a electricity jolt, the sound of lights flickering, ambient noises within the train, knocking sounds, and creepy music playing in the background. All of the fore mentioned sounds helped orchestrate tension as well as create a unique filmic space. All in all, I thought the sound design was very well done and it really helped set the mood of the film.

Moving away from Clown Train, Paul brought in a new ‘toy’ for us to play with during our tute. It was an audio mixer; the most confusing contraption I’d ever come across. We explored the sound equipment, which mainly consist of the audio mixer, loom, and boom mic, in groups of two or three. After that, we were given instructions on how to use to equipment and what not to do before attempting to connect the boom mic to the audio mixer. Looking back at the class exercise, I didn’t expect myself to struggle much at all trying to work the equipment seeing as I’ve never had any issues familiarizing myself with the sound equipment I’ve come across in the past. But then again, I’ve only ever handled simple or basic devices such as the H2 Zooms and they’re nothing compared to the audio mixer in terms of their features and quality.

Next, it was time to put our coiling skills to the test. It’s frustrating to have to deal with tangled cables, more so when they’re a few metres long. Not only that, tangled cables are equivalent to self-sabotaging. Tangled cables damage the wiring inside and once the wiring gets stuffed up, no sound can or will be recorded. So, to ensure all of the above does not happen, we were taught how to properly coil the cables.

Overall, this week was a pretty technical week, and weeks like these are the ones I enjoy most.

This week we dove into the topic of characters more extensively. Sitting through the lecture made me realize just how little I know about developing a good, well-rounded character. And so here are a few things I’ve gathered from this week’s lecture.

For starters, characters are never typical or ordinary. They’d just be boring if they were. An easy way build character and to ensure they aren’t banal is to give them a want – an external or conscious drive, and a need – an internal or unconscious drive. In addition to that, we must also ask ourselves what’s at stake. Take a boy who deals drugs for instance. There’s nothing out of the ordinary judging by that action alone. It’s when you add in the ‘why’ factor that gives it meaning. For example, the boy deals drugs in order to pay for his mother’s gambling debt.

Subsequently, when building a character we must always consider the believability of it all. That being said, we must take into consideration whether or not the character’s action is appropriate or in sync with the character’s personality. For instance, you wouldn’t make a person who’s allergic to fur to rare a cat. It’s implausible. Unless he/she is absolutely insane or mentally unstable.

Lastly, not all genres require character complexity. Horror, mystery, and comedy genre films are often filled with twists or unexpected events, hence they are considered plot driven and it is for this reason that they do not require well thought-out characters. Conversely, dramas play on the viewer’s emotions, and so the employment of complex characters are essential in order to bring about an emotional response. Thus deeming dramas character driven. Below are some examples of plot and character driven films.

Plot Driven Films

Inception (2010)

Panic Room (2002)

Character Driven Films

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Into The Wild (2007)

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Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

This week’s tute was conducted by Christine and on the agenda was character development and story ideas. We were given approximately ten minutes to come up with a character bio before we went around the class sharing and discussing our characters. But before we began, there were a couple of things Christine stressed on:

1. Strictly NO ORDINARY CHARACTERS allowed

2. Assure the believability of your characters

Seems easy enough. At least that was what I thought. It wasn’t easy creating an extraordinary and original character. Every character idea I had written down seems to be on par with the ones I’ve seen in blockbuster movies. That was my main struggle with the exercise. All in all, I really enjoy the class exercise and so I’ve decided to write up another character bio as part of my reflection this week.

My Character Bio

Name: Sandra Marx

Age: 20

Gender: Female

Nationality: American

Religion: Christian

Sexuality: Heterosexual

Temperament: Introverted, feeling, sensing, perceiving, deceitful, manipulative, spiteful, cautious, reserved

Hobbies & Interests: Playing the piano, painting

Background: Born and in Oklahoma and was abandoned by her parents at a young age. She then went on to living with her wealthy grandparents in California

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California

Family type: Only child family

Family of origin: Pure Americans; only child

Education: Home schooled, Santa Monica College, UCLA

Friendships: Various acquaintances; no close friends

Pets: Dog

Beliefs: People know what is right but they go on and do what is wrong anyway

Early traumas: Abandoned by parents

Relationships: None

Financial situation: Well-off

Goal in life: Desires to find out the truth her abandonment, seeks love and closure, motivated to succeed in life in hopes that her parents would regret their decision of giving her up.

Physical characteristics: Attractive, brunette, brown eyes, long and sexy legs, feminine, elegant and classy style of dressing, eight-figured body and is obsessed with knifes.

Occupation: Inherited her grandparent’s wealth after they passed on and has been hosting galas and giving back to charity – esp. orphans, participates in various clubs and societies, president of the student council.

How they differ from everybody: Vulnerable when it comes to the topic of abandonment, utilize this vulnerability as a drive to achieve anything and everything she sets out to do, focused on her goals, good at concealing (if not dealing) with her emotions, instead of accepting/letting go of her past she feeds off it. This attitude is important to the narrative of the story especially when she finds out the truth behind the disappearance of her parents.

A strong, single moment in their background defining their character and/or actions: Sandra belongs to a family of three. Being the only child, her parents loved her very much. One morning, her parents suddenly left her with nothing but a letter saying they love her very much but they had to leave her behind. Sandra was abandoned by her parents and was left to live the remainder of her live under the care of her grandparents. All this happened when Sandra was only 5 years old.

Evidence of their strong desire: The abrupt and unexplained disappearance of her parents and the vague letter they left behind.

Basis in their character for conflict or opposition: Rage and the longing for the truth serves as the basis in Sandra’s character for conflict/opposition

That’s all for this week!