BSA227: Tiny Planets

Kate and I have conceived an idea for a story that involves creating “tiny planets”. At this stage, the basic outline of the story is a child imagining the exploration of the solar system with the planets, and their contents, being of a scale that a child might perceive.
These planets will be based on YouTuber KickThePj’s PJ, TINY PLANET EXPLORER.

We also looked at another similar video on YouTube by karenxcheng. Her style is slightly different and we really liked it, but the way she made her “tiny planets” requires a 360° camera which we do not have access to. Regardless, her video is still one of our main influences for the style of our project.

 

In the solar system we will be creating in our film, each planet will be a different environment that has a unique mood. The images below are examples of different planets or worlds we could create. The last image was a panorama that I took and then tested the process of turning a still image into a tiny planet. One of the challenges we will be facing when we put together our film will be creating these kinds of planets using moving images as the processes and techniques can be quite different.

TinyPlanetTest5   13866615_10153872026783990_570073969_n    TinyPlanet_Test

Another idea we are toying with, but have yet to test, is changing the textures of certain features of the tiny planets. For instance, we are thinking it would be fun to change a mountain to have the texture of pebbles. The most likely way for us to achieve this will be through masking.


Below are screenshots of the presentation we gave on the basic outline of our story, the intended style, our progress so far, ways to achieve the effects we are aiming for and the next things we will be looking at.

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BSA206: La Jetèe

la_jetee_feature_current_original
[1]

Directed by Chris Marker ❖ Released 1962 ❖ “Un photo roman

La Jetèe, directed by Chris Marker, is a science fiction film about a man who is “marked by an image from his childhood.” Marker termed the film an “un photo roman”,  which translates to “a photo story“, because of the way it is comprised almost entirely of still images. [2]
The film has been of significant influence in many works over the years, such as Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys (1995) which acknowledges La Jetèe in the opening credits as an influence. The themes of this film have also inspired Panda Bear’s song Last Night At The Jetty. [3]

I found the blurb and a sample chapter from a book, that has not yet been published, on La Jetèe. In the blurb it was mentioned that Chris Marker was influenced by his own writings and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) when making La Jetèe. [4]
In an article on Chris Marker which talks about the influence of Hitchcock on Marker, J. Hoberman suggests La Jetèe was “probably the first movie to be made under Vertigo’s spell. [5]

I found that I preferred to listen to the story being told in this film rather than watch the images, although I did enjoy glancing up at the screen every now and then. I admit, there were parts of the film where I started to lose interest, but as soon as the pace of the story picked up again, I was listening intently.

If I hadn’t watched until the end of La Jetèe and someone had asked what I’d thought of the film, I would have told them I found it quite boring and added something to the effect of “but I don’t like science fiction anyway.” I did watch until the end though, and I’m glad I did. It changed what opinion I would have had, because I found the ending to be very unexpected and quite moving. I thought the ending brought you back into the mind of the child, but with the understanding of the man, and I thought that made it quite powerful and very emotional.


References

  1. https://s3.amazonaws.com/criterion-production/posts/2351-14c84aa5aaec703950193fe45f1c1748/La_Jetee_Feature_Current_original.jpg
  2. https://www.shortoftheweek.com/2012/07/30/la-jetee/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Jetée
  4. https://he.palgrave.com/page/detail/la-jet%EF%BF%BDe-/?sf1=barcode&st1=9781844576425&loc=us
  5. http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2012/08/23/lost-futures-chris-marker/

BSA206: What We Do In The Shadows

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Directed by Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement ❖ Released 2014

This is possibly one of my favourite films so when we were told we would be watching it in class I was very excited.

What We Do In The Shadows is a mockumentary/dark comedy (or mockumentary horror comedy) and is funny – really funny – but often in quite a subtle way and I guess that’s quite typical of a dark comedy.
It stars the directors of the film, Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement, and they give brilliant performances.

I will be honest, I don’t know how to review this film. I feel I should be critically picking it to pieces and analysing it to the point where I can no longer watch it, but I find this is really just a film that needs to be enjoyed. This isn’t one of those films that makes it more interesting once you’ve analysed all the shots, angles and general psychology of the camera, this is one of those films where you can just sit back and enjoy. Yes, some of the jokes are really quite cringeworthy, but that’s the nature of the story and the characters so it’s easily forgiven (actually I find myself laughing more because of it).
I did try and do quite a bit of research before writing this review and found some interesting facts in the process, but that didn’t inspire me to write a “technical” review because, like I say, I personally don’t think it calls for one. I do think I find this film enjoyable and am able to just watch and not critique because I am familiar with the creator’s works and their humour so I know I’m going to get a good show.

During my bit of research on What We Do In The Shadows, I found a couple of interesting facts:

  • They shot 125 hours of footage
  • They basically lied to Stu (who plays Stu) convincing him he wouldn’t be in the film much, but gave him quite a big role in the final cut

BSA231: Resolve

Over the last two weeks we’ve been learning how to use DaVinci Resolve, an editing and colour grading system.
Compared to Premiere Pro, it’s quite confusing because it works very differently. The most obvious difference is probably the way Resolve creates layers. In the adobe programmes, the layer that appears on top of your list is the dominant layer, the visible layer, but in Resolve it works the other way around so that the layer at the bottom is the dominant one. So far I haven’t found this particular feature to be confusing. What I find most confusing and difficult to remember are the keystrokes and what they do. Thankfully we’re still being given tutorials and so reminded of these keystrokes and what they do, but sooner or later I’m going to be needing to use this programme by myself. Since Resolve is free to download I’m going to get it on my computer so I can use it at home in my own time.


This week we also gave a presentation to show what research we’ve done on our clients and the progress we’ve made on the project so far. I was expecting to be the only unorganised one who’d only just contacted my potential client and not heard anything from them, but I wasn’t. That was a bit of a relief to be honest.
Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 8.34.12 amI put as much information on my presentation as I could, but since I’ve not yet met with the Foundation it was difficult to things such as their promotional needs. When it came to talking about that I just made some assumptions from what I had read or seen on their website, and also mentioned the obvious reasons for promotion like gaining publicity.

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BSA231: Finding a Client

I had planned to make a promotional video for one of the local churches, but I was told that a church wouldn’t quite fit for being a non-profit organisation. I was a bit put out about this as I had already been putting together a rough plan of what to have in the video and I really thought it would work out well.
Instead I had a look through the list of possible clients we were given whose details had been collected last year. There weren’t many organisations that stood out to me. I was really interested in approaching the Invercargill Public Art Gallery, but after looking on their website I discovered the art gallery is closed until further notice. Another organisation that caught my eye was the Dan Davin Literary Foundation. They work with New Zealand writers, supporting and promoting them. Having an interest in writing myself, I thought that it would be a good idea contact them and find out if they would be interested in working with me.
Since I had admittedly forgotten about this project during the week, I only sent the email on Saturday evening. Hopefully I’ll get a response in my favour soon.

BSA231: Promotional Videos

As an introduction to our Practical Filmmaking class this semester, we read through the handbook (riveting as usual) and did a little research on promotional videos to start on us our first project of making one.

Below is the list of questions we had to answer when looking at two different promotional videos.

 

  • Who is the client?
  • What is the product/service?
  • What is the message?
  • What specific filmmaking techniques do they use to deliver the message/highlight the qualities or benefits of the product/service? Camera techniques? Post-production? Narrative techniques? Music?
  • Is the promotional video successful? If not, why?
  • Do you like it? If not, why?

 

 

  1. Dove
  2. Helping women understand they are more beautiful than they think.
  3. “You are more beautiful than you think”. Dove Real Beauty Sketches.
  4. Handheld camera helps the people feel more real (part of the message is real beauty). Soft, nautral lighting. Filmed in an open space with plenty of light. Gentle music. Not revealing the sketches until the end, and throwing in other people describing the women (which I wasn’t expecting) made is quite emotional.
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes.

 

 

 

  1. Evian
  2. Pure and natural water.
  3. Live young
  4. Fun, upbeat music. Changing relfection to be a baby (hence “live young”).
  5. It’s catchy (mostly due to the music). It’s fun. It’s short so it keeps your attention. It begins in way that catches your attention, but is also in a style that many “hipster” style ads are which lets you know it’s going to be fun and not too long.
  6. Not sure. It’s quite odd. I didn’t dislike it. I enjoyed the music, but I think showing the product, even subtly, would have been good, although it wasn’t necessrily needed.

 

I found another video that I really enjoyed. It’s not exactly a promotional video, but it was created by Airbnb as a way to engage with their customers.
They decided to ask people to make vines that followed a certain story they had created, and then Airbnb would piece it all together to make a short film.