Theme is not a one-word explanation like ‘Happiness’, as it doesn’t tell much about the film.
For instance, the movie that captured our hearts and made me into a sobbing mess in the theaters: Inside Out
The overall theme for the movie is :
‘Sadness is required to make Joy better’
Having a good theme would not only make emotional connections with your audience better, but also the message stays rooted in the audience’s mind after the movie.
A Theme = The Controlling Idea = The Message
The controlling idea is that everything (Dialogue + Scene +Props tie down to 1 idea.)
It is also essential that the Theme of the movie/film CANNOT have Conflicting Themes! For instance, Riley in the movie Inside Out cannot talk about politics in the film because it has 0 relevance to the theme of the film and that it will confuse the viewers. Thus it is important that when setting the theme for a film, we ought to revise the circle above to ensure that our themes and subthemes in the film are not conflicting.
Another example is used to figure out the theme of the local film during lesson:
Singapore Dreaming (and yes… the entire film is available on YouTube YES~)
The themes the class has contributed for this film is :
Limbo of common folks to be the elites
The pursuit of wealth + success (Paper Chase)
Gender Roles in Asian context (specifically Singapore)
Negativity is transmittable
The need for upward social mobility
Ego is what breaks relationships.
What are other ways for us to present our themes for films?
Through Characters, it embodies the theme.
Using Characters- Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Windows
Using characters, this film illustrates the urban relationship behind closed doors. The main character sees the real bitterness of his neighbors through his own window.
You will not know how person feels or think on the inside, and the exterior image they show you may be just a façade to hide their true feelings and emotions.
Choice of music in this film also shows the theme of this film, which evokes fragility & loneliness exhibited by characters in this film.
Using Motifs – Saving Private Ryan
In the film, there is a scene where the colonel was directing his troop towards his map as to where Ryan can be found. In the midst of explaining, the compass in his hand was shaking. The soldiers looked at the colonel’s hand and gave him a warm smile before the proceeded to look for Ryan.
The motif in this film is the Compass.
The colonel was nervous about the search or was suffering from physical injury from the war, but still insisted to search for Ryan with his entire troop. In the process, there was this conflicting moral ambiguity he was battling. The shaking compass was a motif to show the moral compass of the colonel along with the troops.
Is it worth giving up the entire forest for a single tree?
Yit Ling, Clara and I (Group mates for Final project in Sem 1 <3) went to watch The Silence of the Lambs afterwards to try to apply what we have learnt during lesson, and sieve out the themes involves in this movie.
>Repression from misogynist in a “male job”
>Women can handle male dominated jobs as well
>Hard work pays off
> Good things goes to those who fight for it
Hence, a Theme is consistent throughout a movie and it sets the overarching story of the entire movie; the lesson learnt at the end of the movie.
Our group or as known as Ling Teh Kam-pany(Derived from our names), consists of Kam Yit Ling, Clara Teh Ke Wei and myself, Seng Yi Ling. And here, we present to you our very own movie trailer for our final 4D assignment of Year 1 Semester 1…
Movie Title: Yi(t) Ling Genre: Fantasy + Psychological Horror
3 Act Structure
Beginning (Act 1)
Yi Ling is a shy and quiet person. Once focused on a task, she is far from being distracted. Sadly, she is ostracized by her classmates as she seemed rude and had a stuck up attitude. Her classmates disliked and gave her a hard time. Until one day, her new classmate Queenie decided to befriend her.
To her dismay, Queenie sold Yi Ling out to fit in as she got ostracized by their classmates when she was seen hanging out with Yi Ling. She ganged up with her classmates and forced Yi ling into room rumored to be haunted for fun’s sake. When Yi Ling managed to open the door after much struggling, she was transported to another dimension where there were doors which led her to places as a ghost tailed her.
Middle (Act 2)
Encounters with the ghost tells Yi Ling that the ghost wants her to stay in this dimension and never go back. The spirit was motivated by loneliness which both characters shared and was enraged when Yi Ling refused to stay.
Ending (Act 3)
The ghost is in actual fact a manifestation as her alter ego. The other dimension filled with doors was a symbolism of change Yi Ling faced in her life. And the only way Yi Ling can get back to her world is by killing a part of her: Her Alter Ego.
We watched many horror movie trailers as a form of research and shared our experiences and views on past movies we’ve watched that could be of assistance to our movie trailer! 🙂
Crimson Peak (The Ghost was constantly present, but not shown blatantly.)
Black Swan (Killing of her Alter Ego)
The Babadook (Ghost was a manifestation of main character’s fears.)
The Boy ( Placement of background music.)
Placement of background music was very on point here – it had us 3 covering our ears and half shutting our eyes in fear to watch the trailer. The initial beginning of the trailer has a soft mellow piano tune when the female lead approaches the mansion, and the drastic change of music when they revealed The Boy to her sent shivers down our spine. The sudden change of music instantly let the viewers know what atmosphere the trailer aims to set: Simple life of the girl -> Horror of her lifetime.
Blair Witch Project (Handheld camera shots to show desperation and fear.)
Coraline (Travelling into another dimension, and use of different colour for different world)
In Coraline, the saturation of her world is low and colours are dull like the reality she lives in. In the other dimension, she enters a door where saturation is high and colours are vibrant and lively like the life she yearns to live in.
Blackout shots – Blackout transition shots are a recurring motif. It is used as a representation of time lapse. When used in our trailer, the following scene will be of another place and another time. In addition, length of transition creates suspense and indicate a tonal shift in the scene.
Color – Adjusting of color to establish different dimensions were used. In the real world, colors are more saturated and was brighter; whereas in the other dimension, saturation was kept to a minimum and brightness was decreased to emphasize on the stark differences in both worlds, so as to make it more spooky.
Background music and audio – Music were used to build up the anticipation and gives the audience the emotion they ought to be feeling a specific sections of the trailer. For instance, mellow piano music at the start to give a soothing feeling, and high pitched fast paced music at the climax when main character was being chased down.
Parallel Universe – At the scene (0:45) where the main character exit onto the parking lot, the composition has a mirror image reflection on the extreme left of the shot, to enhance the parallel universe feeling.
Staircase scene shows main character running up the stairs away from the Ghost, but she remains on the same level as the stairway in the other dimension is an infinite loop (0:58 – 1:09) .
Still Shot was used at the start of the trailer, where a serene feeling is given of the school environment. (0:09)
Fast Pan + POV at the scene where main character looks around perplexed at the new dimension she entered (0:49) .
Dolly In and Out scenes are present at the scene to show the ominous door (0:30) and the scene where zooming in on her expression to show that she is perplexed after opening the door to another location (0:48).
Mid-shot was used at the scene where main character is pleading the classmates to let her out. (0:40)
Handheld shot when the main character is running up the stairs. (1:01)
Low Angle Shot at the scene where 3 Classmates (Dawin, Jon, JiaQi – Thanks guys!) were gossiping about the main character. (0:22)
Trucking Shot was used when classmates (Thanks Queenie and Debbie!)were pushing the main character inside the haunted room. (0:35)
Close-up Shot was used when main character was wrenching at the door handle when she is locked in (0:41). And the part where the main character’s phone is ringing (1:25).
Canted angle shot are present when phone is dropped amidst the struggle when pushing the main character inside the haunted room (0:37), and the scene where the ghost is wrenching the door to be opened (1:14). This is to create drama and suspense.
Slow Pan is used at the transition scene where the main character looks into the mirror and the reflection looks back at her (1:39-1:42).
We tend to forget that the trailer is 2 mins and thus, eventually worry that our trailer does not convey our plot properly; but at the same time we don’t want our trailer to be a 2 min summary of the movie (given that it is a MOVIE trailer).
Finding an appropriate location which conveyed the intended feeling was not easy. Our main character’s setting is in a school environment and hence the school was used. But for the horror aspect we had to find narrow and dark areas within campus and that was difficult. Given that we even trespassed ongoing construction sites in school.
Suitable. background. music. was. really. hard. to. find.
Miss Ruyi mentioned that our logo and lobby music was not very appropriate for our Horror trailer, but our group felt that the logo was a good representation of our efforts as a group and the elevator music gave it a merry feeling. This will create the drop of emotions when the horror aspects of our trailer is revealed. 🙂
Feedbacks and Critiques
Bar chart results obtained from Ms Ruyi’s Google survey for our group were more towards the positive end of the spectrum. (thank you!)
Sound effect can be toned down to hear narration of the alter ego better in the end.
The starting music doesn’t match with the rest of the trailer , perhaps a non jazzy music that foreshadows the story?
Show that the alter ego and the main character are two compelling personalities/ people by including more interactive scenes between the 2. Perhaps by voice over of dialogue between 2 person or a struggle between the 2.
Yi Ling can act! (Yi Ling says thank you >~< )
There were different shots to show the mood of the character.
If u guys have any constructive criticism or comments that we’ve missed out, do leave a feedback down below! WE APPRECIATE IT ?
Initially I was pretty apprehensive to do group work for assignments as I am a rather ‘lone ranger’ kind of person, and having to do group work would mean that there is potential conflicts etc. But I was proven extremely wrong as I felt that our group worked really well together and even bonded closer as friends! 😀 I am very blessed to have worked with Clara and Yit Ling for this project, and I couldn’t have asked for better group mates~
Our first and hopefully not the last group photo as Ling Teh Kam-pany 😀
Our group (Clara, Yit Ling and myself) created this movie trailer for our Final Assignement 🙂
Genre: Fantasy + Psychological Horror
Beginning (Act 1)
Yi Ling is a shy and quiet person, but she was ostracized by her classmates as she seemed as though she had a stuck up attitude. Her classmates disliked and gave her a hard time. Until one day, her new classmate Queenie decided to befriend her.
To her dismay, Queenie sold Yi Ling out to fit in as she got ostracized by her classmates when she was seen hanging out with her. She ganged up with her classmates and forced Yi ling into room rumored to be haunted for fun’s sake. When Yi ling managed to open the door after much struggling, she was transported to another dimension where there were doors which led her to places where a ghost tailed her.
Middle (Act 2)
Encounters with the ghost tells Yi ling that the ghost wants her to stay in this dimension and never go back. The spirit was motivated by loneliness which both characters shared and was enraged when Yi ling refused to stay.
Ending (Act 3)
The ghost is in actual fact a manifestation as her alter ego. The other dimension filled with doors was a symbolism of change Yi ling faced in her life. And the only way Yi ling can get back to her world is by killing a part of her: Her alter ego.
THIS IS NOT THE FINAL VIDEO 🙂 STAY TUNED FOR A NEWER, BETTER AND UPDATED MOVIE TRAILER.
Our very first G05 class outing happened yesterday at NUS Museum featuring the exhibition: Double Vision! Double Vision is a selection of video works and experimental films that are inspired by the affinities between the Philippines and Vietnam in the history of the American wars in the Pacific.
Videos & artist films by: David Griggs, Gym Lumbera, Miko Revereza, Roxlee, Shireen Seno, Angel Velasco Shaw, Stephanie Syjuco and Kidlat Tahimik.
When we first entered the exhibition, the first film we watched was Shotgun Tudingby Shireen Seno
In summary, the film is about Tuding (the protagonist) who journeys to a distant town to hunt down the man who got her youngest sister Teresit pregnant. Along the way she
This film is constructed after Pancit Western, which is the Pinoy form of Spaghetti Westerns.
What I liked about this film:
Shots used are rather interesting. I found the dramatic close up of the subject matter’s face and dramatic pan out shots to be rather comedic and kind of poking fun at the mainstream western American Wild Wild West kind of films, where two cow boys would be having their showdown.
Color pallete used in this film was muted and had a rather soft and dusty feeling to me.
Nailedby Angel Velasco Shaw
Is a Filipina’s exploration of a Catholic Church and 400 years of Spanish and American colonialism woven in a montage of images, sounds, stories and performances.
Although I watched this film from the start, I didn’t have much patience to sit through this particular film. The narrations were muffled, and I think with subtitles I would actually have stayed till the end of the film…
But regardless, I took away some learning points from the video in which I really find it interesting. The way the artists juxtaposes 2 shots: The dying pig being tortured to it’s death on the ground & the baby cradled in the mother’s arms; was rather fascinating to me because, in the case of the ritual where the child is baptized in one scene ( I think?), a pig is slaughtered. The phrase, ‘A life for a life.’ came to my mind immediately after this scene, and then Yit Ling (my classmate who was sitting beside me) said :’ The pig is like a baby also… because it can only scream and cry and you have no idea what it is saying, but it is suffering.’ My heart sank when I heard that.
ABCDby Rox Lee is an experimental animation video shot on Super 8 film. It uses techniques such as hand-drawn animation, painting on film, found footage, and collage to advocate a radically new and personal understanding of the alphabet.
I really liked the use of a mixture of techniques to this film as it adds variety. The film is a socio-political commentary. By incorporating the use of the order of alphabets, it made things a little disturbing in a sense by which the use of hand-drawn animation and Alphabetical sequence usually seen on American TV shows for children to teach them about alphabets, things take a darker turn when something so innocent turns into something morbid and cruel.
Instead of the usual, ‘A is for Apple, B is for Boy etc.’ the film goes ‘ D is for Dynamite’ and then the following scene is a morbid display of explosion etc.
My thoughts at the end of the exhibition:
Sad to say, I was not as enthralled as I expected to be after watching the film exhibition as I did not understand majority of the films. Perhaps it is because I have little interest in politics. The film that kept my attention from start to end is Shotgun Tudingby Shireen Seno as I felt there was a narrative story plot goal for me to follow from start to end. But regardless, I took away some lessons from this exhibition and that is the choice of color pallete, type of shots to be excuted and use of different techniques to evoke certain emotions in the viewers.
For today’s lesson, we learnt about framing the moving image!
Q: So why is a moving camera important?
Our class discussed and gave several answers!
A moving camera allows the viewers to see the actor’s facial expression & movement, it tells us where to look.
It gives a sense of flow, space and continuity.
It helps audiences to absorb information: Natural state of movement instead of stiff and flat framed images.
Gives different perspective to/ of a subject: Gives dimension and it is less boring.
The camera has character! Slow panning shows cinematic environment, up and down angle gives dramatic effect.
3 Things that move: Object, Camera and Audience POV.
Camera movement is very important, it makes things more exciting
Why do Cameras pan?
It gives the geographical location of the character.
Introduces landscape of that place.
Expresses meaning non literally/literally.
Slow pan: Gives off a serene feeling
Fast pan: Dynamic shot
Whip pan: Dramatic feeling
Exists in shots simulating the male gaze (where they scan a hot girl up and down)
Gives a sense of authority. Like in the movie, Grand Budapest, where the doorman and the manager were conversing from a higher ground and level ground, to show the status of the characters.
Gives opinion and critique of the situation.
Allows the viewer to see in the perspective of the character from behind, or follows the by moving alongside the character.
So when do you use panning or tracking shot to follow a character?
Panning is more 2D and flat, whereas tracking shots are more dynamic by following the character.
Handheld Shots are often used in Horror and Thriller genre movies.
Handheld camera shot is a video production technique in which a camera is held in the camera operator’s hands . The shots are shaky, as though we are running to escape together with the character in his POV.
Example of movies with handheld shots are The Blair Witch Project ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=girSv9UH_V8)and ‘The Celebration’ . ‘The Celebration’ goes against traditional Hollywood movie shooting process and the shots are all handheld shots and are in natural state. It gives a documentary-like feeling and seem less fictional.
Dolly in and out shots: Zooming in and out of the shot.
Crane Shot: Using a Jimmy Jib camera to shoot the process, the shots are airy and floating, like giving a bird’s eye view in the sky.
Here is a video of the type of shots to get a better idea of the shots used in movies!:
A video that I think consist of a variety of shots is a music video, Growl by EXO! (fan girl shrieks)
The Music video is entirely conducted using Tracking shots, so there must be no room for error; otherwise the whole video has to be retaken. I believe the camera for this music video is taken using a handheld camera as the shots taken are very dynamic and moves all about the place. However, the shots are very stable instead of shaky and unstable like hand held cameras, so I believe a stabilizer was attached to the cameraman to allow smooth shots when he was shooting the video.
It also consist of Panning shots ( at 2:48 minute mark), Dolly in and out shots (at 2:37 & 3:23 minute mark)
Assignment 3 was pretty fun to do as I tried to apply what we’ve learnt during lessons with Ms Ruyi, and having to work with subject matter which didn’t have facial expressions was quite a fun challenge to me!
(Exposition/Introduction) Cassandra the Carrot has lived a long and lonely life in the fridge. The other ingredients in the fridge has already gotten their partners: a dozen of eggs, a pair of apples and a pair of pears .
(Rising Action) One day, The Hand reached out and placed Cassandra on the kitchen counter. In awe because Carrot has yet to seen the warm outside world for a long time, she was happy. Then suddenly, The Hand placed a grocery bag beside her where she met Carl the Cabbage.
(Stakes getting higher) Carl and Cassandra fell in love at first sight. They were different from their own species and were very intrigued with each other. The other vegetables despised and talked behind their backs about their uncommon and odd relationship. But they didn’t care. They were in love.
(Crisis) One evening, Carrot was taken away from Cabbage’s embrace by The Hand as she was no longer fresh enough to keep. And Cabbage was placed in the cold dark fridge by The Hand. Out of misery and desperation, Cabbage rammed himself against the fridge door repeatedly to save the love of his life, in the process, damaging himself.
(Falling Action) Upon seeing the damaged cabbage when The Hand took the fishcakes out of the fridge, The Hand decided to cook the Carl . The Hand took Carl to the chopping board and he saw the remains of his lover: Cassandra’s peeled skin and carrot top. Carl’s heart was torn apart, like how he was being torn by The Hand.
(Resolution) Little did they know that they were cooked and served in different dishes, the bodies of Carl and Cassandra were reunited again on the dinner table.
My video does not include narration nor visible facial expressions. HENCE, I attempted to include expressions for my subject matters by the use of angle, proximity of the subject matters and the expression marks usually used in manga and comic books.
I used the 3 pink lines on each ‘cheek’ of my subject matters to indicate blushing.
Mood and Atmosphere of situation
Camera Angles: Canted angles are often used to indicate dramatization and shock during the Crisis stage where Carl and Cassandra were separated at the sink, as well as when Carl was damaged after he got damaged in the process to save Cassandra.
The two lovers were separated by The Hand by the sink
Timing of each image: Heavily inspired by La Jetee’s use of timing for each image to give the mood and situation of each scene, I set the timing for the images to be short (2 seconds) to indicate speed of each scene. For instance the scene where Carl was being taken away by The Hand from Cassandra, and the scene where he was brutally ripped apart by The Hand.
The process where Carl was taken away by The Hand was quick. Hence the image timing was quick too.
And I extended the timing for the images (~7 seconds) for the scenes where time seem to stop, to sink in the moment. Such as the scene where Cassandra and Carl were in love and admiring each other.
Time seems to pause momentarily for them as they fell in love
Reoccurring Motif: Inspired by the film American Beauty where the color Red was a reoccurring motif, I decided to use the red mug with the Chinese character ‘囍’ as the reoccurring motif. ‘囍’ means double happiness where it is usually used in traditional Chinese weddings. It acts a semiotic in my images to describe the mood of double happiness when Carl and Cassandra meet.
Time seems to pause momentarily for them as they fell in love, represented by the red mug.
The mug was seen again in the scene where Carl was kept in the fridge, but this time, the Chinese character 囍 was halved as he is now alone and not with his other half: Cassandra.
囍 is halved in this scene where Carl is viewed up-close.
Lighting: I edited the refrigerator photos to a blue-ish lighting to emit a sterile and lack of warmth environment, and increased the saturation level of the subjects that experience warmth/love in the fridge such as the coupled fruits and eggs. This is to emphasize that amidst the cold and lack of warmth environment, the coupled subjects obtained their warmth from their partner’s love. Whereas Cassandra the carrot does not have the warmth lighting like the rest as she is alone and at that moment unloved.
Blue-ish tone of fridge
Pears in love has a warmer tone as compared to the blue-ish background
Background music (BGM):
BGM chosen are non lyrical and usually includes instruments and white noises. I didn’t want lyrical BGM to distract the viewers as the words may create a different meaning. I wanted to choose a BGM that conveys the mood of the situation, and that was the main point for me.
One big and one small object in Wally Wood’s 22 Panels
Cassandra is often in the distance and blurry whereas the coupled subject matters are up close on the right or left, to create depth. My intention was to create an implied line, to emit this feeling where Cassandra is looking from afar in slight envy of the loving fruits.
Depth is created here as eggs are closer to the camera while the other veggies and fruits are further behind
Use of dark foreground in Wally Wood’s 22 Panels
Contrast in color and tone is often used in the images in my video so as to allow the viewers to focus on a certain area only. This contrasts creates variety in the images and prevents them from looking flat and non- emotive.
Bright central subject matters against a dark background
Subject matters in the foreground are much darker as compared to central subject matters.
It was quite a challenge for me to portray the feelings of my subjects as they were non- living and expressionless. I have learnt that the use of timing of each image, lighting, angle and music to give emotions to my subject matters and every tweak or post photography edits changes the mood and atmosphere the original image could convey! Ru Yi suggested that I should have removed the blushing effect and startled effect over the subject matters as the music and color contrast was already pretty much self explanatory :0 . Nonetheless, it was a real fun for me in this project as I was able to be my own director and portray my expressionless subject matters the way I want to create a narrative story!
Today in class we learnt about what makes a good story!
Miss Ruyi showed us a video of filmmaker Andrew Stanton on TED TALK on what he thinks make up a good story, and I find that highly inspirational and I was blown away by how much thought was placed into story making in films and animations.
Story telling is knowing when to insert your punchlines.
Stories in films give us affirmation that our lives have meaning.
A good story is able to transcend through past, present and the future.
‘Make Me Care’. By evoking emotions of audiences to care about the characters, it engages the audience’s heart and minds.
Make a promise to the audience that watching your film is worth their time. It acts as a pebble pulled on a slingshot, it propels one forward in the story.
Story form without dialogues are very innocent. Well absent information draws the viewers into the story and capture our hearts. An example of a film without dialogues is Wall-E !
‘Unify Theory as 2+2’ make audiences think and ponder instead of feeding direct information to them.
Character with a spine (story/goal) gives depth to the story.
When thing goes static, the story dies.
Global tension exists to help the story.
Like Dory’s bad memory in Finding Nemo and Finding Dory where her memory was a constant worry for the audience to reach a final resolution to the films.
Drawing a (tragic) backstory of a character also helps to build a good story. Like Woody in Toys Story where he is selfless, but his back story is of him being very selfish in the past.
Having littlesecrets in the story, the plot is driven forward as the audience would be curious of ‘the secret’ shared by the characters.
Use what you know. Express values of what you truly feel. It is the truth and it is genuine, which I believe audience can feel. After all, your story is unique and not replicable.
Understanding types of genres also aids in story telling.
A film can be exciting when mixing of genre is involved. (e.g. Action + Thriller) But eventally as a whole, the movie ought to have a primary genre.
Like ‘Her’ by Spike Jonze, it is a mixed genre of romance and sci-fi, but the primary genre of this movie is Romance~
The use of ‘The 3 Act Structure’ is very relevant and aids one to organize their story boarding in films.
The setup (Exposition) consists of the facts the audiences need to know, like the establishment of characters an motive
A movie I had watched recently that I felt was… bad and a total waste of my money and time was …
YES. I had really high expectations of this movie initially because the male lead was Jason Statham, the actor in one of my all time favorite action movie, ‘The Transporter’.
Using ‘The 3 Act Structure’ to breakdown the action-thriller movie,
The Introduction and Exposition was rather clear, he was a highly paid for assassin who faked his death so he could lead a ‘normal life’. And in the midst of enjoying civilian life, his identity was found and was given a job he didn’t want to continue anymore.
The Rising Action at the Conflict stage began when he escaped to Thailand to seek refuge from an old friend. Long story cut short, his plan was ruined when some damsel in distress seeks for his help, who turned out to be a spy who was held hostage by the employer who wanted the male lead to carry on his assassin job.
And this is when the plots starts dwindling… the following scenes were so fast paced and everything that came after seemed rush. He traveled to 3 different countries to execute missions in 36 hours… did he teleport through a portal or??? I felt that sexual tension was exploding between the characters even though there was no proper build up to their relationship. Now, I felt the build up was essential even though it was not a romance film as he took up the assassination job which he avoided for years to save her: someone he ONLY met for 2 days…
I got bored really quick as the only thing that kept me alive in the cinema was the gory fighting scenes and the constant flashing of the male and female lead’s hot bodies. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE STORY?!
The falling action in the resolution category was that the female lead was saved and they lived happily ever after. THE END. *roll eyes* SO PREDICTABLE… At that point I just wanted my 1 hr and 40 mins back.
Amazing casts were in this movie, like Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Michelle Yeoh etc. But the plot and script just killed it all.
Even though there was The 3 Act Structure in the movie, I find that the process of buildups and transitions were very badly handled. But of course, this is purely based on my opinion while comparing it with other films I have watched. Sorry for the spoilers and unplanned movie review.
Food for thought I had during today’s lesson was ‘ Does good looking actors/ characters help to drive a story?‘ I had dual perspective on this… Yes, because good looking characters help to keep the audience’s attention. And No, because attention is so drawn to the visual appearance of the actor, the plot of the story is casted aside and that defeats the purpose of the entire film because… if you want to look at good-looking actors, just go stalk them on social media right? Why bother paying so much to watch a movie?? Unless the whole use of good-looking casts is for publicity reasons. #SadTruth
This was our 6 word story class assignment for today and we (Group members: Queenie, Yit Ling, Zoelyn, Hui Min and Myself) were given some time to portray this short story into photographs using what we have learnt in class today!
I have learnt that framing is very important as it determines how the audience is able to get the full experience of the emotions and message the director wants to convey.
Lead room/ lead space
Character looks to the right and has a lot of space to his right. This allows the audience to assume that the character is going towards that direction.
Rule of Thirds( applies to close up, mid-shots, full body shots)
Golden Ratio of the rule of thirds puts character the director wants to focus at the intersecting line. Allowing the audience’s eyes to be drawn to the character, creating a hamonious balance.
In the movie, ‘ In the mood of love’, the door frame/ widow frame is often used as a frame for the main character. This is because our eyes to be naturally drawn towards open frames,The inclusion of a light source such as back light or lamp brings about attention due to the contrast of lighting between the dark hall way and the main character’s position.
Another movie , ‘Ida’ the main character is always framed at the corners of the screen, going against the rules of third even though she is the main character.
This is highly intriguing to me because without knowing the actual reason why the director chose to shoot the scene in a specific manner, I would have assumed he is bad at filming. But the reason for her being at awkward areas of the frame is because of her story. She is framed out of place. Just like her situation where she feels out of place as she is a Jewish nun. The breaking of conventional framing rules are exceptionally meaningful in this case where the way the character is filmed links to his/her story.
Horizontal lines gives a sense of peace and serenity.
Vertical lines gives a sense of stability and power
Diagonal lines gives a sense of dynamism, instability and is often used in futuristic films
Types of shots
Full body shot should have head space and legs of the character should not be cut at ankles, otherwise he will look awkward.
Mid body shot should be cut at the waist of the character.
Close up should be cut at the shoulder. It is recommended if director wants to focus on the main character’s facial expression, close scrutiny of details. Close-up shots of main character should not be cut off at the eyebrows or chin area, otherwise expressions are more difficult to be read and character will look awkward as well.
Macro Close up shot signifies importance of the object
Canted angle is when the shot is tilted at a 45 degrees angle.
Like in Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire film’, scenes shot at 45 degree angle seem more chaotic, dramatized and intense.
Out of focus shots gives a sense of losing consciousness.
“Longed for him.” Rules of Third are applied here . Down up angle, close up shot to create a feeling of admiration and focus on facial expression.
Close up shot of subject matters to emphasize on expressions. Line of perspective created by railings at the back allows viewers to draw their attention to both. Rules of Third are applied here too.
Stairway acts as a line of perspective and railing acts as a frame for 3 subject matters. Full back body shots are used.
Subject matter on the left is cut off half way to create a feeling of mystery. Rules of third are attempted to be applied here whereby the two subject matters on the left are the main focus.
“Got him.” Subject figure on the right is in the center to create focus on her facial expression, and subject figure on the left is still cut in half out of frame and out of focus to create the feeling of mystery.
“Shit.” Rules of third are applied here a well. Subject figure on the left is out of focus. Railing in the back creates an implied line to draw viewer’s attention in the direction of the second subject figure on the right. Subject figure’s expression are in focus to draw attention to facial expression.
Found this class assignment to be very entertaining and helpful in making me understand the types of framing, composition and shots that can better help convey the story the directors want to portray. I believe that now after this lesson, I would pay more attention to the types of framing an angles in films , and question myself more often as to why the director chose to shoot the scenes this way! 😀
Q: Why does it make you feel the way you feel? Are there any particular features or qualities about the place that evoke those feelings? Is it people, the environment or a combination?
I like to feel safe and stick to the things I am used to and familiar with, because I already know nothing bad is going to get to me.
My grandmother is very similar to me when it comes to preference. We both like things of the past. So she tries to retain the way things were when she first moved in the HDB flat, and never buys something new or modern unless the new replica of the broken product cannot be found anymore. Hence, the place is very much like the way I was as a child as far as I could remember.
The non-slip mustard tiled grid floors, traditional Chinese tear-off calendar, wooden rice container etc. looked the way they were for my whole life. Being in my grandmother’s house makes me feel like a little girl again every time I visit.
It is a combination of both the people and the environment really, that evoke those feelings of nostalgia, safety and lots of love. My grandparent’s house will not be the same as it is without my grandmother nor the feeling will be the same if my grandmother is living in a totally different house. I felt that difference the most upon the passing of my grandfather. Hence, the emptiness portrayed in the photographs is evident in my photos.
Q: What would you like to share with us?
Richard Billingham, Untitled (Ray’s A Laugh 6), 1995
I was quite inspired by one of the reference artist, Richard Billingham. He was able to evoke the personalities of his subject matter and scenario, while being frank and authentic. He say he feels better when he doesn’t use a digital camera as he does not want to keep looking at the photographs behind the screen be bothered by how he can repetitively take a better photograph and he no longer knows what is he doing, so he thinks it is better if he cannot see what he has done at that moment, and then look later when the film is developed. I could relate to how Billingham feel regarding using a digital camera or smartphone to take photographs, as I would be so concerned about how pretty a photograph looks, I forget my initial intention: to take a meaningful photograph instead. A lot of his inspiration comes from childhood, which is what captured my attention initially.
The reason I shot the photographs from a downward angle is because I wanted to recreate the perspective I had as a child: Small and curious. I enhance the colours to replicate how the actual scenario looked like off camera, it is because this is how I see things: In colour, the way it is.
Upon taking the photographs, I was trying to look at the parts in the house that caught my attention the most at that age. I recall climbing up the table counter from the kitchen stove area so that I can reach the ‘Mamee Noodle Snack’ in the cabinet my grandmother hid from me before dinner. Hence, this photo of the kitchen counter. (Photograph 2)
The area where I played ‘Masak Masak’ with my grandmother’s bowls in the wooden cabinet, mixing my milk powder formula with the raw rice in the wooden bucket. (Photograph 4)
The cooking area where I watched my grandmother cook as I snuck a few pieces of piping hot luncheon meat into my mouth the instant she plated them. But of course, I think she knew. (Photograph 1)
All of these scenarios ended the same: My grandmother carrying and scolding me in Teo Chew dialect while I writhed and kicked in annoyance all the way to the living room where it is ‘safer’ for me to play as my grandfather would be watching me while he dozes off.
Problems faced when I was doing this project is that I was unable to capture the entire scenario. Like for instance, this photo feels incomplete without having that table. But if I were to manually move the table into the photo I am taking, the photo loses its significance because it feels staged.
However, if I were to stand in a position where both the table and the scenario I want to capture can be simultaneously captured, it still feels wrong because there is an extra materials in the photo that I don’t wish to capture.
Doing a panoramic shot of my world feels very spherical and some objects have too much depth when it is actually rather flat. Hence, the photos I have taken feels… missing of some emotions, or too many elements to focus on.
These are the 4 images I have selected that best convey the world that is significant to me:
Photograph 1: A panoramic view of my world
To conclude, as I grow older I have learnt that society does not work the way it does at home. I have to learn to try new things, be adventurous and take a leap of faith. But very much, most of the times I feel that doing these are very daunting and foreign to me, and that is where I rely on things that remind me of my safe haven. Since childhood is something I can never ever go back to, holding dear memories of it and being in places that reminds me of them is the least I can do to comfort myself when things gets too scary, it allows me to know how much of a person I have grown into, and how much more I have to know and grow.
Yu Yee Oil has been with us for as long as many of us can remember. I believe that every Singaporean is able to recognise this brand just base on the packaging design and colour. It is a go-to medicated oil for children who has stomach-ache and an essential item for parents to apply this on the belly and bottom of the feet for their kids every time after their bath.
Yu Yee Oil is a significant object that greatly reminds me of my childhood. It has been with me since I was a baby.
Even today, I still use it. Not only because for its function to cure stomach-aches, but because the smell itself is very comforting. I even bring it with me to places I am unfamiliar with. A familiar scent that has been with me since childhood. A scent that is highly distinguishable. A whiff of it instantly calms me down. It makes me feel grounded. The moment the minty scent hits the back of my throat; a surge of warmth spreads within me and I feel all soft, mushy and warm; like a baby wrapped in a bundle. And I like feeling like that. A baby wrapped in a bundle, safe and sound with not a thing to worry about. And I think this is a way I can take myself away from reality, even if it is only just for a while.
References and Objectives:
I used maternity, family and baby photoshoots as visual references.
I wanted to capture the essence of family love, tranquility and purity. So I studied how the position of subject matters in the photos can help achieve the mood I wanted to convey.
Hence, with that, I wanted to capture these bolded words above in my photographs.
Close up of the object in a neutral background from various vantage points
Front view of object against white back drop.
Top View of object on soft towel
Side view of object lying down on soft towel.
Full Figure shot of myself with the object.
Normal Standing pose with the object.
Full Figure shot of myself interacting with the object. Aim to capture my feeling about the object.
Cradling my object like a baby bump.
Mid-range shot of me interacting with the object. Aim to capture my feeling about the object.
Playing with my object as though it is like a newborn.
Close- up shots of me interacting with the object
My final top 3 photographs that I felt conveyed the mood of my story:
I deliberately wore white to create a juxtaposition between the bright and vibrant colours of my object. So that more attention can be drawn to my object and my expressions which I wanted to use as the main elements to set the mood of my story.
My object keeps me safe when I am scared.
I chose a specific timing in the afternoon to capture this image as the lighting from my window casts a shadow behind me. Shadow is casted towards the interior of the room which represented the internal darkness I have inside of me, and the bright light casted towards the exterior is a representation of my bright personality on the outside.
My Object is soft and delicate to the skin like a baby.
My object is small and close to me. Literally and metaphorically.
I attempted to create depth in this photograph as I brought my object much closer to the camera and pulled myself far behind. I wanted to show that a small and bright object like this, can also have a great impact in my plain white life.
These are just some of the photographs that failed the cut to get selected as my top 3 images because I couldn’t capture the emotions I want to convey in the photographs.
I brought my hand around the object to draw the viewer’s attention by framing it, and tilting my head at that direction. I thought looking at it would provide an implied line in the direction of the object. I tousled and spread out my hair to give a more relaxed feeling. However, I felt that after the shot was taken the mood was more…sensuous than pure and tranquil. Hence this photograph did not make the cut.
Physical contact is a way to draw people closer because of intimacy and entering of one’s personal space. Hence, I plastered the object close to my face and cropped a mid-shot photograph to a close-up photograph obtain this. My objective for cropping is to allow the viewer to feel closer to us (me and my object). And placing the object against my face is a form of physical intimacy.
This photograph failed the cut because my object’s function is not to be used anywhere near the face (application on face may burn). In addition, this photograph looks like a cosmetic advertisement instead, which totally goes against the function of my object.