Practitioner’s Report

We were given a brief to create a report on one practitioner from modern day cinema, and one from classical cinema. For this task I will be looking at the cinematographers Emmanuel Lubezki and Freddie Young. I came to the decision of looking at these two practitioners due to their work on Lawrence of Arabia(1962) and Children of Men(2006).

Emmanuel Lubezki

Early Life

Emmanuel Lubezki grew up in Mexico City; however his parents originated from Russia and fled to Shanghai after the Communist revolution in 1917. Studying amd living in Mexico he says the first “magic moment happened when I was looking through the viewfinder on a Super 8 camera and shooting the film” (Lubezki, 2007). He began studying History at the University of Mexico, however after visiting the still photography department at the university he abandoned history and began producing short films at the Mexican School of Cinema. From the outset he knew he wanted to become a cinematographer and even worked with Alfonso Cuarón whilst still at University. Him and a group of other aspiring cinematogrpahers worked in, and around, Mexico City producing films and trying to fund future films through sales of VHS tapes. After some of his work was selected for the Toronto Film Festival he started to gain notoriety from agents and producers in Los Angeles. From there he began working in Hollywood and on bigger and bigger films.

(IEC, 2016)

Work

Emmanuel Lubezki is famous for his handheld wide-angle filmmaking style. This 3 time Oscar winner collaborated on films such as Birdman(2014), Children of Men(2006) and The Revenant(2015). Lubezki experimented with long takes in Children of Men; following in the wake of Steven Spielberg, who pioneered the “Spielberg oner”, he shot multiple impressive one takes through the movie including the famous car scene.

This 4 minute take took months to plan and build the rigging. Here are some photos of the car to show how they managed to achieve it.

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(Nathalie, 2017)                                                             (Mike Seymour, 2007)

Lubezki and Alfonso Cuaron originally thought about using green screen over actually shooting the sequence in a real environment, however Lubezki fought for a non green screen route, as his preferred style is to shoot using natural lighting and he felt that there wouldn’t be realistic and natural reflections through the windows if shot using green screen.

Lubezki’s experimentation with long takes in Children of Men transferred over in 2014 to one of the most impressive cinematographic feats in the history film. The film Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)(2014) seemingly runs for 1 hour and 59 minutes without a single cut throughout. Of course there are hidden cuts and the film itself separates itself into 3 acts via a transitional shot looking at the sky. Lubezki himself said the longest shot in the film is only roughly 15 minutes; most clocking in around the 10 minute mark. Still this is an extremely impressive achievement; when you consider every time the camera moved lighting also had to be altered to avoid unwanted shadows and to keep continuity.

Freddie Young

Early Life

Freddie Young began his work in the film industry in the midst of World War 1 in 1917. He began working as a tea boy. In 1929 he signed a contract with MGM British Studios doing any job from driving the studio car to an editor. Over the next 20 years he spent his time building up an impressive catalogue of films that he worked on. During World War 2 he served as “captain and chief cameraman in the Army Kinematograph Service at Wembley Studio” (IEC, 2016) and filmed major events such as the Normandy landings. In 1959 he freed himself from his MGM contract after 30 years and went on to produce critically acclaimed films such as Doctor Zhivago(1965) and Lawrence of Arabia(1962).

(IEC, 2016)

Work

Freddie Young was one of the most influential and long working filmmakers of the 20th century. Working from 1917 all the way until 1984 his career spanned 67 years before his death in 1998. He was known for shooting his films using 70mm lenses for wide cinematic shots. The use of 70mm or 35mm is usually based on the cinematographers preference. Young was a Cinematographer who thought 70mm was a better medium to shoot on for his style of work. The wider shots and better quality when projecting were clinching points for Young to use this format at the time.

Young won 3 Oscars in Cinematography for his work on Lawrence of Arabia(1962), Doctor Zhivago(1965) and Ryan’s Daughter(1970); all of which he collaborated with David Lean on.

These 3 screen grabs are shots from Lawrence of Arabia.

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Freddie Young’s deep and intense color palette used in this film is particularly evident here. The strong orange and reds bounding over the dark and bleak desert gives off a certain intensity to this shot.

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The use of a wide angle lens for this shot accentuates the vast expansiveness of the desert, furthermore the leading lines of the shot point to a character in the distance of great significance, therefore representing an imminent scene of importance.

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Again the use of a wide angle lense shows just how dwarfed the characters are by the vastness of the desert. A lack of identity is shown by the silhouettes of the characters in this shot.

This task gave me a lot of insight into the detailed styles of cinematography both directors of photography have. The natural lighting style of Emmanuel Lubezki, but still using a lot of diffusers and reflectors I found particularly inspiring and would like to implement that kind of lighting technique into my final major project.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2008/may/04/features

http://www.cinematographers.nl/PaginasDoPh/lubezki.htm

http://www.cinematographers.nl/GreatDoPh/young.htm

https://www.fxguide.com/featured/children_of_men_-_hard_core_seamless_vfx/

http://www.mentorless.com/2012/05/01/alfonso-cuaron-and-the-art-of-long-takes-the-children-of-men-example/

http://deepfocusreview.com/definitives/lawrence-of-arabia/

Practitioner’s Report

Skateboarding Research

skate

I used Google Scholar to research, as it is a more academic research tool than plain google or bing; therefore I am able to find more relevant information online, as it filters out a lot of non relevant and non academic information.

We were tasked with creating a mind map with the general knowledge we, in our groups, had about skateboarding without doing any exterior research. I was surprised as to how much information we were able to conjure up once we all put our minds to it. We realised that skateboarding isn’t just the sport but a major influence on culture in Film, Print, TV, Gaming and even the Olympics.

mind-map

Skateboarding’s influence of fashion

“Look at any streetwear brand or personality today. Whether they picked up on 5-panel hats, camo-print pants, or fly sneakers, there’s a good chance their style was influenced by East Coast skaters of the ‘90s and early 2000s.” (Welty, 2013)

The culture of skateboarding in the 90s was a major influence on the streetwear fashion scene. An early adopting brand like Supreme opened it’s doors in New York City 1994; over the next 20 years Supreme would keep to it’s traditional values and not sell out to non-skating, non-streetwear audiences like other brands have; for instance Vans and DC.

These skate fashion brands have grown exponentially since their inception with Vans posting annual sales figures of over $2 billion. (Connelly, 2015)

Influence on music

Perhaps the most famous piece of music featuring skateboarding culture is Avril Lavigne’s “sk8er boi”peaking at number 8 on the UK charts and 10 on the US top 100 (Official Charts, 2017). The genres of pop punk and punk rock heavily featured skateboarding in both their lyrics and music videos.

Some examples of skateboarding in music videos are:

Iconic 90’s pop punk/ punk rock band Sum 41 heavily feature skateboarding in this music video and the majority of the location of the video is set in a skate park.

Another example is Lupe Fiasco’s Kick Push which follows the story of a young boy and his love of skateboarding.

The origin of skateboarding

The original invention of the skateboard is widely debated; however it’s relatively commonly accepted that surfers on the west coast originally concocted the idea. The Skateboarding Magazine says “Surfers in California get the bright idea to surf concrete and invent Skateboarding. The origin of the first skateboard has never been proven as it seems to have been the spontaneous invention of multiple people. Wooden boards with roller skate wheels slapped on the bottom where the makings of the original boards”

Here is an infographic of the evolution of skateboards:

evolution-of-the-skateboard-infographic

http://www.bestinfographics.co/evolution-of-the-skateboard-deck-infographic/

http://www.skateboardingmagazine.com/the-evolution-of-skateboarding-a-history-from-sidewalk-surfing-to-superstardom/

http://uk.complex.com/style/2013/02/how-east-coast-skateboarding-influenced-streetwear/

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/vans-652130-brand-brands.html

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/70881/lavignes-sk8ter-boi-is-big-screen-bound

http://www.officialcharts.com/search/singles/sk8er%20boi/

Image

Term 2 Week 5

Experimental Lightning

For this experimentation task I wanted to look into how the emotion in a scene can be altered via what type of gels used when lighting a shot. I decided that i’d shoot the same shot multiple times and use different gels over the ARRI lights and see if there was a difference in the emotion portrayed just via changing what colour of lighting was present.

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Red
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Dark Blue
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Light Pink
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Amber
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Light Blue

I think this experiment went very well. The goal of this task was to try and show how emotion could be changed in a shot just via the colour of the lighting and I think I achieved that. The emotions trying to be portrayed in this experiment are as follows:

Red – In this shot I was trying to create a feeling of anger and rage. The shadows cast from his hands in this photo cover his facial features adding an air of mystery.

red

(Garland, 2015)

I found inspiration to use the red lighting from the film Ex Machina(2015). Without the strong use of red lighting in this shot the anger and rage emotions wouldn’t have had as deep of an impact.

Dark Blue – This photo has a feeling of damp and coldness. I has originally intended for a lighter blue colour, and for the photo to have a different kind of meaning, however I still like how the colour came out. I think I put too many layers of blue gel over the Arri light. I’ll now know in future to double check the gels i’m using to make sure the colour is correct.

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(Nolan, 2008)

I found this still from The Dark Knight(2008) very interesting and inspirational. The blue tint to the entire city is giving the effect of a cold and unhappy place. Which is precisely the crime riddled city that Gotham is; therefore the lighting really adds to the shot.

Light Pink – I wanted this shot to have a romantic feel to it. I think I’ve achieved this relatively well, however I think the pink could have been a little deeper and darker, as it is a little too light to garner the effect I wanted to produce.

Amber – This is my favorite shot from this experimentation. It reminds me of a strong early morning sunrise and I think the coloring works really well. I was actually surprised at how realistic the lighting looks for the shot and didn’t expect it to come out as well as it did. I found a large sheet of amber gel and folded it multiple times to get the darkness right.

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(Mendes, 2012)

The silhouette created by the amber lighting in this shot gives off an ambiguity to who the character is.  The glowing amber light gives an effect of the growing danger about to occur in the following scenes.  The amber light signifies more of a warning over a red light that signifies ongoing danger or fear.

Light Blue – For this shot I used a very light blue gel to try and have a slight blue tint in the photo. When looking at the photo in full screen it is there, however I think it may have been a little too bright as it does look like quite a natural light instead of blue.

Here is a set photo of me working on the Arri lights to attach the correct gels for each experimentation shot. I made sure to use gloves when handling the light, as the barn doors can get especially hot and could burn my skin without protection.

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Term 2 Week 5

Term 2 Week 4

Fear

In this task I will be looking at how fear is portrayed in scenes from a multitude of movies. The Cambridge Dictionary defines fear as “an unpleasant emotion or thought that you have when you are frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful, or bad that is happening or might happen”. I thought about looking into horror movies as that would be the most obvious place to find dear in a movie, but I more wanted to investigate characters that instil fear in non horror movies. Being one of my favourite films of the past few years J.K. Simmons’ “Terence Fletcher” in the movie Whiplash(2014) stood out to me as a character who inflicted a lot of fear onto the main character Andrew.

I’m looking into Cinematography and so I wanted to see how the shot types, framing and composition effects the theme of fear in the scene.

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The framing of Fletcher looking down on Andrew represents his position of power over him.

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The composition of this shot showing Fletcher looking directly at Andrew and Andrew not being able to look at Fletcher shows that he is scared of his teacher and that he is inflicting fear onto him.

The close proximity of Fletcher to Andrew with Fletcher almost shouting into Andrew’s ear raises the level of intensity in the scene, as Fletcher has no regard as to Andrew’s personal space and feelings it’s clear from this point that Fletcher is a different kind of teacher.

The colour palette for this scene has a lot of strong orange and red colours included in it. Red and deep oranges often represent passion and violence. Both of these emotions are clearly represented in this scene through Fletcher’s brutal teaching style and technique to try and filter out the weak students and find the truly talented musicians who can withstand his torment.

At the beginning of this scene the shots can be seen with quite high apertures; being able to see the walls behind Fletcher and other members of the band behind Andrew. However as soon as Fletcher begins his torment of Andrew and is in close proximity suddenly the director has chosen to use a very low depth of field to make us focus on the emotions and performances of the actors to up the intensity. The moment Fletcher walks away from him the depth of field reverts to encompassing the whole room.

Artificial Intelligence

Another form of fear is the fear of artificial intelligence. Common themes of artificial intelligence and whether it can be created, if AI stay loyal to it’s creator and  if AI can be trusted. The film I thought i’d research into is Ex Machina(2015), as I thought it was an excellent portrayal of the relationship between a human and an AI and the fear of what the AI could become.

Stephen Hawking once said “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race” (Hawking, 2014). The director of Ex Machina, “Alex Garland”, talks of how the general population don’t understand the technology behind most of the devices we use today and we don’t know how they work. This is links directly to the invention of AI and how trustworthy it could be around people.

I’ll be looking at the cinematography in this scene from the film between 0:05-1:00. What particularly interests me in this scene is the colouring used; deep red lights are used as the pair of characters engage in powerful conversation after the character of Nathan believe’s that he has figured out his plan to break out the AI, however as the scene continues it comes to light the plan has already taken place and Caleb has duped him.

Throughout the scene the camera is positioned so that Caleb not once looks at Nathan and Nathan is always positioned behind him. Much like in Whiplash where Fletcher towers over Andrew in this scene it’s clear Caleb is shown to have power over Nathan by his positioning.

Research – Unrequited Love

For my practical experiment I want to create some shots that give the feeling of unrequited love. I’ve looked at films such as 500 Days of  Summer(2009), Forrest Gump(1994) and Love Actually(2003) and am going to try and create some shots that have a similar feeling and tone to what i have seen from my research.

These are the shots i took:

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This shot represents the longing of the male character for the female watching her from afar.

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This shot shows the male character finally getting what he wants, but also contrasting that shows the female not looking as happy in the situation; as it’s clear the emotion is not reciprocal.

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Finally this shot shows the female character meeting someone knew and the male still longing for her can’t let her go and so watches her.

Term 2 Week 4

Research – Cinematography

I will be looking into Cinematography; what the job role is and what effect it has on a film.

I thought I’d begin by looking into one of my favourite DPs Wally Pfister. Commonly known for collaborating on almost all of Christopher Nolan’s films. In 2011 he won an oscar for Best Cinematography for the film Inception(2010). He has his own style of giving the effect of natural lighting

http://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/wally-pfister-dark-knight/

http://www.avclub.com/article/whats-it-be-second-unit-director-hollywood-blockbu-220582

Research – Cinematography

Personality test

This is a personality test that I conducted which asks you questions and then predicts what kind of personality traits you have. I did find that the conclusions the test came to about me were very accurate in some places, however I found that a couple of my answers seemed to change a lot about my results. For instance I answered a question about being truthful over caring about peoples feelings in an argument; in which I strongly agreed about the truth and that answer alone seems to have shaped the majority of my results.

Personality type: “The Debater” (ENTP-T)
Individual traits: Extraverted – 58%, Intuitive – 71%, Thinking – 60%, Prospecting – 81%, Turbulent – 51%.
Role: Analyst
Strategy: Social Engagement

Link to your profile: https://www.16personalities.com/profiles/5874bb9f9b7cf

When George did the personality test on me it got quite different results. Whereas I got “The Debater” George got “The Logician”. After reading the results of “The Logician” I think it better suits me than “The Debater”. This is interesting to me, as potentially George doesn’t know as much about me and so got a different result, or he sees me for what I really am where I wasn’t being truly honest with myself.

Personality type: “The Logician” (INTP-T)
Individual traits: Introverted – 54%, Intuitive – 59%, Thinking – 78%, Prospecting – 83%, Turbulent – 58%.
Role: Analyst
Strategy: Constant Improvement

Link to your profile: https://www.16personalities.com/profiles/5874eb8eb87a9

 

 

 

 

Personality test

Interview task

I found this work particularly interesting, as I felt it was more centered around journalism. We were tasked with practicing how to conduct a proper interview with more in depth and open questions rather than closed ones.

I pre-planned some open ended questions about things I knew George was broadly interested in. Including questions:

What brands are you wearing today?

  • Why are you wearing those?
  • What are your opinions on Kanye West?
  • Do you like his music?

Do you like to skate?

  • Did anyone get you in to skating?
  • When did you start?
  • Can you do any tricks?

I only had 2 or 3 relatively broad questions to ask George, but I then expanded on his answers and got some more in depth information about the subject at hand.

 

Interview task