For this final project, a good amount of preparation was required as a lot of factors contributed to filming. First, I needed a day nice weather so that I got the footage that I needed. Second, there were many takes and outtakes required to get the specific shots that I wanted to be in the finished product. My initial vision was to re-create a tennis match from an anime series called “The Prince of Tennis”. Once again I used iMovie to edit the film. Now granted I nor my fellow players could pull off any of the crazy shots that are portrayed in the show, so I had to improvise. At the 45 second mark for the ‘charged power shot,’ I used slow-motion along with a color gradient change to denote visually that this specific shot is to be set apart from the rest. The background music I pulled from Youtube to add to the authenticity of the film as in the Prince of Tennis, upbeat music such as this is constantly playing in the background. The sound bites were found on Freesound, the iPhone’s microphone is nowhere near powerful enough to get those crisp ‘shot claps’ that you hear every time a racquet makes contact with the ball. Freesound was also used for the ‘charged power shot’ and I just added the sound file over that take. I also wanted to include some inner monologuing to further add to the authenticity, this was accomplished by using Garageband’s voice recorder and then exporting that file onto the specified take (when I spin my racquet it wasn’t just for show, it was to act as a place marker in the editing process to where I wanted the inner monologue to be placed). The style by which this film is shot is meant to pay tribute to the style of anime that the Prince of Tennis is known for. The final shot of me serving and the camera emphasizing the location of where the ball lands on the court is an example of this style (See below photo for reference).
While it was a tedious challenge to make sure all the sound bites were queued up to the millisecond, the final product is one that I am very proud of. The most challenging aspects of this project were entirely in the editing process, I went ahead and filmed not knowing if the required sound bites that I needed actually existed. In fact, there is not ‘tennis ball hitting net’ sound, I instead used ‘basketball going into hoop’. Improvisation proved to be a strength of mine coming out of this project.
The most recent video game achievement I am most proud of in my recent 1st overall win in Call of Duty Warzone. Xbox allows players to record the past thirty seconds of anything once they tap the glowing jewel twice on the controller. In this clip, I am using my custom built M4A1 assault rifle that I customized to my specifications in-game. Believe it or not, this was my first ever Battle Royale win of any nature. I can tell you that from when I won I was ecstatic.
As of this week, I have been hired to take care of my neighbor’s dogs and cat while she is away. I decided to start filming a couple of seconds each time I took the small dog, Mitzi, out for her walks. I filmed from a top-down pov perspective of me walking Mitzi. The software that I used was the ios application iMovie, I added some soundtrack to it as well. Again, like the longboarding project, I was unable to export it normally (I think this may be due to the fact that I added a soundtrack to it, but I am not quite sure) so I once again took a screen recording of the final product. I really wish the limit to how much data one could send through an email would be much larger than it currently is (I believe it has to be under 25MB).
For my second Video Assignment, I wanted to show off the cool trails behind my house that I longboard on for exercise. If you watch the movie you will notice that this was uploaded with a screen recording using ios software. This is because for a reason unbeknownst to me the iMovie file would not export (however I was able to export a similar project that was over a minute and a half-length for another project in another one of my other courses… but this time I could not even export a one minute film…sometimes you just love to hate technology ya know?). As I stated in my previous sentence I used the ios application iMovie to create this ‘Point of View’ film. The hardest part was trying to make sure my camera was steady while riding my board. I like using iMovie but when problems like exporting files arise it jsut frustrates me to no end. Regardless, I hope you all enjoy my short film of myself surfing throughout my forest.
This week was video week and I have had some prior experience with videography and some filmmaking. The hardest part about having an idea and wanting to film it is obviously getting out and filming. I had a couple of ideas that I wanted to put to tape this week; one of them being the use of slow-motion shot in a highlight reel from a day at the tennis courts. This gives me an idea for my final project, I may want to use some slow motion in that as well. This week’s challenges included trying to master the exportation of files from my phone to my email to WordPress. I often found that even reducing the overall length of each project really did not help this matter so I resorted to screen recordings because plain and simple I am not going to let some data limit get in the way of submitting an assignment. Another challenge I ran into was the discovery that a good number of my fellow classmates may not update their websites as often as myself or the few peers that I commented on. I even came across one person who just had their ‘Week 1 Mid-Week Summary’.
For this assignment, I was instructed to take a ‘Boomerang’ of my bedroom. A ‘Boomerang’ is an expression for a form of video media, this media specializes in a short compressed video maybe three seconds long at most, and loops it continuously. I did not need to download the ios Boomerang application like Instagram, the popular photo-sharing ios application has Boomerang built-in.
To film my Boomerang I stood in the center of my room and did two takes. To find the Boomerang tool in Instagram one only needs to go to their avatar as one would add a post to your daily story, instead select the capture medium mode (there are tons to choose from) and film.
1st Watch-Thru (No Audio):
Opening establishing shot with mobster sitting at a table with his henchmen in the background. First cut to African American mobster also sitting at the table with his henchmen. After one beat hard cut to second shot of Heath Ledger’s Joker walking into the meeting from the back right of the kitchen set. All mobsters are situated to the left of the center of perspective. This shot is ten seconds long and it is a tracking shot following Ledger walk into the meeting. Hard cut to the third shot and Ledger is the center of perspective that ends with the camera ceasing its tracking motion and Ledger move closer into the frame to induce some ‘menace or insidious’ manner to the shot. Cut to the fourth shot and some of the mobsters are becoming agitated with this stranger intruding on their secretive meeting. Shot six is of Ledger calmly explaining his presence to the group, the camera did not change any distance or angle from the last shot. The seventh shot sees Ledger come from the left and stick a pencil which he had in his coat onto the table. The camera angle would be of that someone semi squatting but not at the level of the table. Move forward to the eighth shot and the camera angle moves in a fluid motion to follow Ledger impale a mobster with the pencil by slamming his head into the table. Making the pencil MAGICALLY DISAPPEAR (ooooooohhhhh-ahhhh).
I gotta say I’ve seen the Dark Knight multiple times but I think that that trick is the funniest joke that Heath Ledger pulls off as the Joker. Shots nine through twelve are in rapid succession and they all feature the Joker, or another prominent mobster center perspective. In these shots, the mobsters are deliberating amongst themselves whether this guy is as hardcore as they are or if he is absolutely crazy. Along with the Joker defending his actions and vilifying himself with some credentials. Without audio, it is hard to argue that the topic of discussion is none other than the Batman problem. Batman has become more and more of a nuisance for Gotham organized crime and is starting to affect mobster income, this cannot be allowed to pass without consequences, this is where the Joker comes into play. No audio is needed for the audience to know that this guy is off his rocker. Shot thirteen introduces Gotham mob boss Salvatore Maroni in a close up which is the first we see of the major comic crime lord in this specific scene. Most of the talking and arguing with the Joker is done by the lower-tier crime groups in Gotham such as the Latins and the Blacks. The 14th shot is a close up of the Joker speaking. The camera is most likely situated on the table making the lens eye level with Ledger. The 15th shot is a close up of a television set that is streaming the meeting back to another member of the board overseas in Asia. The shot following this is an extreme close up of the Joker calling the mobster on the screen out for being the one who would most likely rat them out, which then hard cuts to the mobster on the television cutting the feed because he was outed in front of his associates. Following his exit, the Joker’s point has been proven and the board of mobsters loosens up a tad. Now the camera angle reflects the shift in mood as the Joker appears now to be openly conversing with the group and they in turn are conversing with him on a more even playing field. Then the mood shifts to anger as the Joker wants HALf of the collective fund for solving the Batman problem, this does not sit well with the Black mobster as he figures why does this man have to be entitled to half of our funds when he just walks in here making only promises. The camera then shifts to follow Ledger getting up from the table to reveal his suicide coat filled with fragmentation grenades which are all attached to a single pull string that the Joker conveniently has around his right thumb. Following six close-ups going back and forth between the Joker and the black mobster, the Joker slowly backs away from the meeting table with the camera situated as if someone was standing at the table watching him leave. Just like leaving any interview the Joker leaves his contact information in the form of his ‘Joker Card’ and leaves the kitchen meeting area.
I did not mention the lighting up to this point as they are meeting in a well-lit kitchen in the back of the restaurant and there is no specified front or backlighting. Imagine a kitchen right before closing and that is the illumination that is present. The lights are not as bright as they have been on all day.
2nd Watch-Thru (With Audio):
Taking what I observed without audio and adding onto my observations with audio- the scene begins with a door opening and the Joker’s slow demonic laugh. The only music playing is the distinctive ‘menace’ theme from the film which plays whenever a character of true evil nature is nearby. Ledger’s first line in the scene is “And I thought my jokes were bad” which sets off the animosity in the room. Then the Joker slams his pencil into the table to begin his short magic show at the expense of the Black crime families henchmen. The audio is spaced out to give the audience a chance to absorb what they are hearing and seeing. To this date, no other film portrayal of the Joker has done as much justice to the fictional character as Heath Ledger did. I know I am supposed to be talking about the technical aspects of this scene but I cannot deny the quality of performance that Heath Ledger gave Batman fans. One that could have given the fanbase much more to be proud of had Mr. Ledger not passed away as early as he did.
Following his magic act, the Joker continues his introduction like any normal person would. The conversation that ensues is one of anxiety and intrigue. Where the Black mobster wants this “Joker” out of the meeting, taken around back and beaten, the Latin boss wants to hear him out and see if what he has to say is legitimate. His solution he presents in a very simple tone is “We kill the Batman”, he says it so casually like he thinks it is even feasibly possible to kill the Batman. The only DC comic villain that came close to killing Batman was Bane, the Joker is Batman’s biggest adversary because he loves to see the world burn, he could care less if he killed Batman because Batman is what drives him. It is almost as if the Joker and Batman have a love/hate bromance going on. This scene is filled with classic one-liners such as, “If you are good at something never do it for free.”. The way the Joker requests half of the collective crime fund is pure gold. He is like, “Uh, Half…” knowing he is going to catch heat for asking that much, which is part of the joke. The Joker is not crazy, he is a madman. When the Black mob boss gets up and slams the table his slam is louder than his speaking tone. There is also a rattle of the fragmentation grenade pins on his coat. Another classic one-liner, “We wouldn’t wanna blow this out of proportion”.
The whole scene is filmed at very close angles and the background audio is present but almost non-existent, if it was any louder it would take away a lot of weight from the scene.
When dissecting movies there are many ways one could go about ‘dissecting a movie’. For this week we were assigned to watch three short clips about different directors and their filmmaking. The first clip that I watched was ‘Kubrick// One-Point Perspective’, this one minute clip began with a diagram of Kubrick’s ‘one-point perspective’ superimposed on clips from his films that he has directed. A few I have personally seen, and a few I have not. The quick shots that really caught my eye were the barracks scenes from “Full Metal Jacket” where PVT. Pyle is standing in the center with the camera a little below waist height. Fast forward to the next shot and it is from “The Shining” depicting Jack Nicholson’s character walking down the hallway with his ax.
Acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino loves to film scenes and shoot his establishing shots from a below looking up fashion/manner. This makes for a very good quality film, I myself if I ever became a Hollywood director I would probably mimic Tarantino’s style not entirely but put my own spin on it of course. To be honest I do not know what it is about Tarantino’s directing style that intrigues me so much but he’s one of my all-time favorites without a doubt.
Alfred Hitchcock describes filmmaking as almost ‘magic’. You can change a scene entirely with the addition or elimination of certain shots to convey another story or message. Alfred used the example of switching out the mother and baby characters with a woman in a bikini while still keeping the same establishing shot of him as the male character looking on.