#1 Reflect and Write

Reflecting on reflective writing really makes you think, and it requires you to reflect on your learning -which might be the point. What excites me about the reading is that “it is also alright to use the first person –´I´- in reflective writing” (Moon 2004). This is a very important point because to really be able to reflect on your work, and to keep the artistic flow going, you need to write in ´first person´. If you don´t, you end up restraining yourself when you are to describe why you chose to do that particular thing. You´re not only writing what you did, but also why you did it. Reading the three examples of Mariannes´ reflection made me realise that I have to go much deeper in my future reflections. It was a real eye-opener. In the past, I´ve always struggled with the reflection part of my assignments because, obviously, I didn´t fully understand the concept of it.

An important aspect of my writing is if I´m writing for only myself or for others. “Whether others are going to see what you have written and who they are” (Moon, 2004) strongly affects, not only how I structure my sentences, but also how professional the end product looks like. I don´t like “wasting” other people’s time, whether it´s a tutor who will mark it, or just a friend who is kind enough to proofread my work. I live for constructive feedback and I always aim to do my best. I feel it´s important to get other people’s opinion on my work.

References:

Moon, Jennifer, A. A handbook of reflective and experiential learning : theory and practice, (p. 184-189, 204-209, 222-225). New York : RoutledgeFalmer, 2004.

 

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#2 Goals and Desires

With a background in journalism and a desire to tell stories my eventual goal is to become a documentary filmmaker. I´ve always had an interest in investigative journalism and feature writing.  At the same time, I don´t want to restrain myself either, so this semester I am pretty open to experimenting with different styles and genres, both fiction and non-fiction.

I want to get better at fast pace editing and learn how to deconstructing movies more thoroughly. An ultimate desire for me is to feel completely confident working with a camera. I also want to practice my directing skills, because so far I´ve come to the conclusion that directing is not my strongest side.

I don´t have an ultimate goal for this semester, but I want to get hands on with all parts of a production. By the end of this semester, I´m hoping to feel confident enough working with audio, camera operating and editing.

The skills and understanding I`ll get by completing this course will give me the opportunity to use my passion for journalism to create stories, and Sound and Image to project them. People are moving from literature to digital learning stations, wich any librarian can confirm. I want to evolve with this change and be up to date on digital storytelling.

In the future, I hope to be able to work with teams, on and off camera sets, to create documentaries and movies that reflect the world we are living in.

#3 Crew Roles

What first hit me while reading “Crew Development” was the toll a movie production takes on a director. To be honest it frightened me to read about the negative traits and that many directors may go into depression and/or physical illness at the end of a production. (Rabiger 2003). In a way, it makes sense since the director is under a lot of pressure and holds a big responsibility from the beginning til the end of the production.

Another thing that sadness me is how anyone with access to money can call themselves a movie producer and still get away with it (Rabiger 2003). Filmmaking isn´t for everyone and if you as a producer can´t work with a team, everyone suffers- Not only the movie. Such people only survive because filmmakers depend on financing, Rabiger writes, and he is right about that.

What excites me is the tip about asking potential crew members what their favourite movies and books are. I think that is a clever way of scooping out the potential ´disaster colleague´. You want to be on the same artistic page as the people you are making a movie with.

Reading “Crew Roles” gave me a broader insight into the world of production. I´ve always known that there´s a lot of different roles and responsibility, but I felt that I gained more knowledge about the different roles´ actual responsibility. An example is that I´ve always assumed that the role of the 1st assistant director would be similar to the role of a director, and that after gaining some experience, the 1st assistant director would somehow automatically become a director. Now I know- that´s not the case.

 

References:

Rabiger, M. Directing: film techniques and aesthetics, (p. 385-400). 3rd ed. Boston : Focal Press, 2003.

#4 Keyboard Shortcuts

Once you´ve got all your footage you might think you´re done with most of the work. But after comes the editing part, which can be very time-consuming. To make the process easier on yourself you really should work on memorising these keyboard shortcuts- to your fingertips.

When editing I´ve always used Premiere Pro, but I´ve never really got a hang on the keyboard shortcuts. The two first Sound & Image tutorials focused on active using different keyboard shortcuts and I found it to be really helpful.

For Premiere Pro, these are 10 of the keyboard shortcuts you’ll be using on a more consistent basis as you edit:

(If you’re on a Mac: CTRL = COMMAND and ALT = OPTION)

  • Navigation: (SHIFT) + LEFT / RIGHT / UP / DOWN
  • Editing Tools: V, (SHIFT) + A, B, N, R, C, Y, U, P, H, Zoom
  • Unselect All: CTRL + SHIFT + A
  • Nudge Clip: (SHIFT) + ALT + LEFT / RIGHT
  • Add Edit (Cut): (SHIFT) + CTRL + K
  • Extend Previous / Next Edit to Playhead: SHIFT + Q / W
  • Link / Unlink: CTRL + L
  • Add Default Transition: CTRL + D
  • Speed & Duration Settings: CTRL + R
  • Mark In / Out: I / O
  • Mark Clip: X
  • Export Media: CTRL + M

I have tried them out, but many off them I have never actively used.

My favorite shortcuts are the two editing tools V (Selection) an C (Razor).

(V) is the selection tool used to select clips when you´re working in the timeline. This is very handy to use because you constantly have to switch between selecting (V) and (C)- my other favourite; the razor tool. A trick for remembering the shortcut for the razor tool is “C for CUT”.  Learning to use these two tools saves you a lot of time while editing.

Another favourite is CTRL + M for exporting media. Simply because it´s quicker than having to click “file, select, import”, etc.

 

References:

Renée, V. (2016). 10 Adobe Premiere Pro Keyboard Shortcuts That Will Help You Edit Faster. Available: http://nofilmschool.com/2016/06/10-adobe-premiere-pro-keyboard-shortcuts-help-edit-faster. Last accessed 29th March 2017.

#5 A scene from Scorsese´s Taxi Driver

Screenshot 2017-03-30 16.31.14

All screen captures from the movie Taxi Driver

The scene starts with a 2-second close up of Travis sitting in the taxi. He looks determined.

The next frame is a tracking shot which follows Travis stepping out of the Taxi, crossing the road and walking into an office building. He´s wearing a red jacket, the same colour as the Palantine campaign colour and the banner outside. The colour makes Travis stand out. Maybe he put it on to impress Betsy? Camera zoom when Travis reach the door.

MCU inside the office. Travis is walking towards the camera. It´s shot slightly from the side. The low camera angle emphasises Travis´ intention. He seems persistent.

Next frame is a fast tracking shot with Travis POV of Betsy and her male colleague sitting on her desk zooming into an MCU of Betsy at the end shot.

Screenshot 2017-03-30 16.36.42

 

Screenshot 2017-03-30 16.36.51

Travis consists on volunteering with Betsy when her male colleague asks him to please come with him.

The dialogue between Betsy and Travis, a Mise en scéne, with constant over the shoulder shots. This continues til the end of the clip. Travis body language is open and overly eager as he leans over with both palms planted on Betsy´s desk.  She is seated at her desk the whole time, therefore the camera angle is low and the over the shoulder shots from Betsy´s POV makes it look like Travis controls the outcome of the conversation.

In the background, one can see that her colleague is ease dropping in a wide shot. That´s the only time the frame makes a dramatic change.

At 1:25, when Travis tells Betsy he drives a Taxi and can´t work night, her body language changes and she pulls slightly away from him. But eventually, Travis lands a date with Betsy.

Screenshot 2017-03-30 16.38.59

They shake hands. Betsy´s colleague enters the frame. He doesn´t look happy with what just went down. The scene ends with a soothing jazzy tune. Final shot: Tracking MLS shot of Travis walking past her building.

Screenshot 2017-03-30 16.42.01

The Golden Age of Netflix

Digital storytelling arose in the course of the digital revolution as a new way of storytelling (Ziska 2015, p. 2). Watching your favourite show is no longer restricted to turning on the television set on the exact time your program is starting. And if you´re watching a doco-series, you no longer have to wait until the same time next week to catch up on that next episode you´re dying to see.

(Statista 2016) Netflix initially introduced a subscription-based online service in 1999. Since the development and expansion of their streaming service, Netflix has accumulated tens of millions of streaming subscribers worldwide. In the last quarter of 2016, the online streaming service had almost reached 2,5 billion subscribers from all over the world (The Verge 2016).

Netflix has revolutionised with their production of doco-series and documentaries. I grew up in a time when you couldn´t simply log on to Netflix and watch whatever you liked. When I was younger I would watch whatever documentary that was on TV that night. When I got older, in my teens, I got my documentary kicks from www.documentaryheaven.com The list was endless and you could pick and choose.

netflixNetflix VHS Tape (CC BY 2.0)

It´s a completely different experience to watch documentaries on Netflix rather than on television. You can binge on Netflix. On television, you normally have to wait a week for the next episode to come out. The widespread of documentaries produced by Netflix is growing. Since 2012 the online streaming service has produced 14 doco-series and 31 documentaries.

“TV viewers are no longer zoning out as a way to forget about their day, they are tuning in, on their own schedule, to a different world. Getting immersed in multiple episodes or even multiple seasons of a show over a few weeks is a new kind of escapism that is especially welcomed today,”

In Making a Murderer (2015), A doc0-series which follow the trial of Steven Avery who is convicted of the murder of Teresa Halbach, the public only got to see the lopsided documentary that left out key facts to make their case stronger. Not long after the series premiered on Netflix, petitions calling for the government to pardon Steven Avery made the rounds online and gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures. In the article –‘What Steven Avery and O.J. Simpson Both Prove About Justice’ Adam Tod Brown (2016) writes that “Good documentaries, especially investigative documentaries, are meant to challenge the accepted, official position on whatever story they´re telling. That is why these documentaries exist”.

Netflix has often touched what other networks wouldn’t. Covering lots of different subjects whether they be controversial or ground-breaking (Netflix 2016). I guess it´s safe to say that the 2,5 billion´s favourite streaming service is here to stay.

 

References:

Brown, A. (2016). What Steven Avery and O.J. Simpson Both Prove About Justice. Available: http://www.cracked.com/blog/what-steven-avery-o.j.-simpson-both-prove-about-justice/. Last accessed 22th March 2017.

Popper, B & Erlick, N. (2017). Netflix added a record 7 million new subscribers last quarter. Available: http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/18/14312826/netflix-earnings-q4-2016-7-million-new-subscribers. Last accessed 22th March 2017.

Ziska, A. (2015). Netflix: an example of digital storytelling on an institutional level? Examining Netflix’ provision and production of content regarding the characteristics of digital storytelling. Available: https://dspace.library.uu.nl/handle/1874/311620. Last accessed 22th March 2017.

-. (2016). List of original programs distributed by Netflix. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_original_programs_distributed_by_Netflix#Docu-series. Last accessed 21th March 2017.

-. (2013). Netflix Declares Binge Watching is the New Normal. Available: https://media.netflix.com/en/press-releases/netflix-declares-binge-watching-is-the-new-normal-migration-1. Last accessed 21th March 2017.

-. (2016). Complete List of Netflix Originals. Available: https://www.whats-on-netflix.com/originals/. Last accessed 21th March 2017.

-. (2016). Number of Netflix streaming subscribers worldwide from 3rd quarter 2011 to 4th quarter 2016 (in millions). Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/250934/quarterly-number-of-netflix-streaming-subscribers-worldwide/. Last accessed 21th March 2017.

 

 

When The Lights Go Out

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Melbourne Noir

An issue that I have been thinking about in relation to this assignment is the lighting. While I managed to bring in lots of darkness in my photos and videos, I also tried to emphasise the shadows and harsh lighting, as I was playing with the contrast, using the city lights and the protagonist´s pale skin up against the darkness of the night.

The light has to tell something. There’s a meaning, and it establishes a mood. John Alton said when he tried to persuade the directors he worked with, that a cinematographer didn´t simply ´pump light into a scene (Hollyn 2008). He was a master of light.

I would be more pleased with my work if I could get that chiaroscuro effect without the poor quality and pixel resolution that occurred when I tried to bring the contrast up a notch. The image and video resolution played a huge role and the video would have looked darker and more mysterious with a higher pixel count and a stronger low-key lighting.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the most beautiful music is sad, and the most beautiful photography is in a low-key, with rich blacks.” – John Alton.

My personal opinion is that in the Noir genre, the lighting plays a stronger role than the sound. Don´t get me wrong; the sound is almost as important. It´s just something about the low-key lighting that makes the visual feel more powerful.

That is why one can only hear the natural sounds in the video. It jumps from the sounds recorded, too silent. I like that contrast. It´s effective.

Since the assignment instructions read “Melbourne Noir”, I decided to go for some well-known locations for the shooting. The focus did not lay on capturing the impressive scenery or to fully show where it was shot, it was more about keeping it visible but not in focus.  It is more important to advance the story and emotions in a film than it is to simply make beautiful pictures (Hollyn 2008).

Another inspirator would be the photographer Annie Leibovitz. Though her work is really impressive, her way of working is more enchanting.

It is often claimed that film noir is more a matter of visual style than of content  I couldn´t agree more. The genre is luring and mysterious. And don´t necessarily need a ´deep´ story in order to be compelling.

I am really impressed by Alton´s use of light in the films  T-Men (1947) and The Amazing Mr. X (1948). Especially with T-Men. In the same frame, Alton slammed together the darkest blacks and the brightest whites.

“I could see more in the dark than I could in color,” Alton claimed, “I could see in the dark.”(Alton 1995) Using his remarkable talent, Alton made it possible for the audience to do the same. And he still does.

 

 

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References:

John Alton (1995). Painting With Light. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press. -.

Norman Hollyn (2008). The lean Forward Moment: Create compelling stories for film, tv, and the web. -: New Riders. -.

Rachel Somerstein. (2008). Annie Leibovitz: Life Through A Lens. Available: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/annie-leibovitz-life-through-a-lens/16/. Last accessed 14th March 2017.

-. (-). John Alton Biography. Available: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0023003/bio. Last accessed 14th March 2017.

-. (2002). John Alton: Painting with Light. Available: http://www.celtoslavica.de/chiaroscuro/dop/alton.html. Last accessed 13th March 2017.

-. (2015). The Amazing Mr. X (1948). Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPcSRFFAO1k. Last accessed 13th March 2017.

-. (-). Great Cinematographers. Available: http://www.cinematographers.nl/GreatDoPh/alton.htm. Last accessed 13th March 2017.

-. (2014). T Men (1947). Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA8AQwzg_jg. Last accessed 13th March 2017.

 

 

 

Don´t forget to clear your cookies

Sites such as Skyscanner- one of the biggest search engines for flights- claims they are unbiased and that clearing your cookies will not change the price you see on their site.

Fair enough, they´re not responsible for increasing the prices. They´re simply a page which helps you look up all the airlines and the different flights.

 How cookies increase prices on flights

A year ago, I experienced it firsthand when I was booking a flight from Oslo to Bangkok. I would roam through Skyscanner every day from both my MacBook and my iPhone. I then started to notice that all the ads on every website I would visit were recommendations for rental cars and hotels in Bangkok.

After about a week, when we were ready to book our flight I discovered that the price had gone up. At this time, I was on the phone with my boyfriend –whom I was going to travel with. I asked him to go in and check the same flights. He was at his mom´s house and therefore he used her computer, which had a clean cookie browser when it came to Bangkok tickets. We then discovered that we were offered the same flights but for totally different prices. On his screen, the tickets were cheaper.

That´s when I decided to go incognito. I began to google keywords like “cookies”, “flights”, “increased price” etc. I stumbled upon this article which states that several travel experts have reported that airlines and booking engines are using cookies to show potentially higher airfares on routes that you have searched often. It goes on explaining that some even think the airlines are tracking IP addresses.

https-::creativecommons.org:licenses:by:2.0:Cookie Monster  Artist: DISOH (CC BY 2.0)

In 2012 The Wall Street Journal reported that Orbitz had found that Apple users spend as much as 30 percent more a night on hotels, so the online travel site is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, options than Windows visitors see.

All the way back in 2001 attorney Robert M. Weiss published a paper called Online Dynamic Pricing. Weiss (2001) writes that cookies allow different sites to store information about your past interactions with that particular web page. Using such stored information, Web sites can tailor subsequent interactions with these users based on past viewing preferences. Likewise, “click-stream” technology allows a Web site to track the paths that users take as they view advertisements, different Web pages on the site, and even links to other sites.

To summarise Weiss´ research we´ve been cookie trapped since the beginning. It´s just now in the later years that the sites are getting more sneaky- and we, the users, are becoming more aware.

For cheaper flights next time; book the tickets from your mother in laws computer.

 

 

References: 

Mattioli, D. (2012). On Orbitz, Mac Users Steered to Pricier Hotels. Available: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304458604577488822667325882. Last accessed 07/03/2017.

McGee, B. (2013). Do travel deals change based on your browsing history?. Available: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/columnist/mcgee/2013/04/03/do-travel-deals-change-based-on-your-browsing-history/2021993/. Last accessed 07/03/2017.

Weiss, R. (2001). Online Dynamic Pricing: Efficiency, Equity and the Future of E-commerce. Available: http://www.vjolt.net/vol6/issue2/v6i2-a11-Weiss.html. Last accessed 07/03/2017.

-. (2017). Do cookies increase flight prices . Available: https://www.skyscanner.net/news/tips/do-cookies-increase-flight-prices/. Last accessed 07/03/2017.

-. (2014). Seven Mistakes to Avoid When Booking a Flight. Available: http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/travelers-ed/seven-mistakes-to-avoid-when-booking-a-flight. Last accessed 07/03/2017.