December 6, 2010

Cinematography


Opening Items

  • EYMF
  • Project 1 storyboard and script due; should be posted by now
  • Project 1 storyboard and script should both be in the same blog entry so comments can be made on both
  • Project 1 is required for Newbies, Laptoppers, and anyone else interested in the year-end drawing
  • Newbies and Laptoppers, please comment on your Review Team by December 13


Film Featurette:

  • Lawrence of Arabia 
  • #7 AFI Top 100
  • 10 Academy Award Nominations, 7 Oscars
  • Best Cinematography Oscar: Freddie Young


Note: If you aren't on the table, we'll count off 1-2-3 before dispersing
Team 1 (Todd's Room 215)
  1. Todd Mattox
  2. Brad Pascoe
  3. Terri Price
  4. Robyn Somolich
  5. Mike Tillyer
  6. Tim Pfeiler
  7. Mary Lou Jenkinson
Team 2 (Next to Todd's Room)
  1. Tom Borer
  2. Shawnda Allen 
  3. Courtney Simson
  4. Nicole Koncur
  5. Elizabeth Lopez
Team 3 (Mitchell's Room 219)
  1. Mitchell deNeve
  2. Tali Collier
  3. Patty Anderson
  4. Wade Lemaster
  5. Albert Ngo
Team FCP (Next to Mitchell's Room)
  1. Gerald Lake
  2. Larissa Parrott
  3. Suzanne Catalanotto
  4. Tamara Whitney (won't be here)
  5. Shannon Svensen
  6. Christy Stringfield
  7. Scott Soucy
  8. Kim Buhler
  9. Michael DeNeve


Telling your story with strong images

The story is everything, but your story will be much stronger with strong images; people will be sucked in more deeply. Here are a few ways to frame your images to help tell more compelling stories. Notice how most of them help give a sense of depth, making your 2D image seem more 3D (Click here to see examples; all of these images were taken from Lawrence of Arabia; most are from the 4 minute clip above):

  1. Make it look good—This one supersedes all others. All the other techniques are just tools to get here. Always, your final determination will be, "Do I like the way this image looks?". How will you know it looks good? Because you like it.
  2. Be exclusive—The true art of cinematography (or photography) is knowing what to leave in and what to leave out. You control the universe bounded by the LCD. Control what appears there; don't just accept it. Have you ever seen pictures in a travel magazine for a place you've been and thought, "It didn't look that nice when I was there."? It's because they focused in on the parts that looked really cool and excluded the urban sprawl you had to live with when you were there.
  3. Learn to see—Your eyes in the big world see differently than your eyes on an LCD or picture. Just because the vista of the Scottish highlands is breathtaking when you look at it doesn't mean snapping a picture of said vista will capture that. Anyone who has ever taken travel or outdoor photographs knows, there isn't a direct translation. Learn to see like a camera and learn what will transfer and what won't. Everyday, you can practice seeing like a camera as you go about your otherwise menial tasks. There are tremendous visual experiences we walk past every day and they just don't register because we just don't see. They are there. Find them.
  4. Rule of Thirds—Place focal points along thirds lines, especially where they intersect
  5. Diagonal lines or pathways—Draws the eye into the picture
  6. Foreground elements—Provides depth:
    1. Look for frames: a doorway, a window, a tree branch
    2. Include a significant subject [OTS, key prop, etc.]
  7. Vary height levels—Up, down, high, low; don't just tilt; get low or get high (I mean that in a technical way)
  8. Deep Focus—The entire image is in focus: 
    1. Small aperture [big number]; this is why pinhole cameras keep everything in focus
    2. Lots of light to compensate for the small hole
    3. *Small chip cameras (like ours)
    4. *Zoom out all the way
  9. Shallow Focus—Only key subjects are in focus: 
    1. Big aperture [small number]
    2. Reduced light to allow for big hole
    3. Large chip cameras [e.g. DSLRs, micro 4/3rds (the Apple commercial at Central was filmed with one of these, a Lumix G1)]
    4. Fast lenses [we have no options here]
    5. *Separation between subject and background
    6. *Zoom in [telephoto]
  10. Scale—Include something to show bigness (or smallness)
*=important factor for the cameras we use

Task

You are going to create a brief Montage of shots reflecting the 7 techniques above. Each shot should be between 5 and 10 seconds (decide when you edit what the optimum time to be on screen should be). Each shot should have at least one person in it (although more are fine). The shots can be static; actors don't need to "do" anything. Just make an iconic shot similar to this shot from The Graduate. You may have to do all of the shots within the classroom, so you'll have to be really creative to make the shots compelling. Utilize the 3D space you have available. You will label each shot as to the technique being highlighted. You will put an appropriate sound bed to complete the project.

Be back ready to share by 5:15.

Plan it Out
  1. Mentally create a "storyboard" for each shot.
  2.  Decide where will it be, who's in it, where's the camera go, etc.
  3. Try to make each shot visually compelling.
  4. Think in terms of depth; how can you suggest you're in a 3D world?
Shoot the Scene
  1. Place your actor(s) in 3D space; they don't have to be together. 
  2. Film each setup for 10 seconds or so (can be pared down in editing).
  3. You're severely limited on locations; really try hard to create something visually compelling within those restrictions.
Publish your Work
  1. Capture your shots into your editor.
  2. Lay them out on the timeline; decide how long each shot should be on screen. Long enough to register, not so long that it becomes old.
  3. Label each shot with the technique you are highlighting (even though it may contain other elements).
  4. Put some music down for a sound bed.
  5. Export out a version from iMovie or FCP.
  6. Put the exported version on a thumb drive and deliver to Frank; if none available, upload to someone's blog.

Subpages (1): Lawrence of Arabia
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