I did it!

Whenever I send off my assessment ready to be viewed there is a feeling of total control and no control. Control that you’ve done everything you can and everything comes down to this, and no control because there’s absolutely nothing you can do once you leave the parcel at the Post Office.

So I was a mix of calmness and frenzy panic but amazingly there was so much going on in my life with exciting new treatments for my health, my pet portrait business that suddenly the email arrived in my inbox one day. That terrifying email that you can’t quite bear to open.

And I passed!!!

I feel so happy, my score, 57 was better than last time though I still want to get into the 70’s and the assessors gave me some really constructive feedback which I was really pleased with though. My tutor told me before I got my results that you shouldn’t even focus on the score, that is just a guide. It’s those four little words that matter PASS and what you choose to do with them.

So now I am a Level Two student (which I can’t stop saying) and am furthering my adventure over heresunset_walk_by_chloeclik-d7e5qcd

“Overall Comments and Feed Forward

There are good moments in your films – like the nosy neighbour who comes around to give a pre- party complaint! We liked the way you pushed-in to the man with the dark glasses and made him feel imposing. And these characterizations could be the source of further developments in video.

You do need to work on your editing skills if you want to continue to work in video. There are a lot of very quick cuts here – for example when the woman in The Gift receives the gift at the door. They don’t give the viewer long enough to register the narrative elements. But apart from this, your camerawork often shows a dynamism in its movement that helps push the story along quickly.

Your preparation (storyboards and shot lists) for the Assignment 3 narrative are very good.

The documentary about life in the garden for Assignment 4 was a reasonably good attempt to find a story from a lot of different material of insects and plants. You needed to take a little more care with focus and lighting in this film. Such an exploration of a set space or theme can be fruitful for any project as a way of free-associating and generating ideas and content.

Dear Assessors

Dear Assessors

Welcome to my blog for Level One – Digital Film Production 1: Creative Concepts. I have structured this blog so you can either use the menu or search mode to find what you are looking for, also for ease of access I have included links to the four assignments and respective tutor feedback.

Assignment One    –    Assignment One Tutor FeedbackFinal video

Assignment Two     –   Assignment Two Tutor FeedbackFinal Video

Assignment Three  –   Assignment Three Tutor FeedbackFinal Video

Assignment Four  –    Assignment Four Tutor FeedbackFinal Video

Thank you.

Equipment used

– Canon Leigra camcorder HR56

– Canon EOS 70D – 18-55m

Laptop – Mac Book Pro

Editing Software – iMovie – I will be upgrading to Premiere.

What’s next – Despite starting the new photography course I am not going to leave movie making behind, I will aim to incorporate it into the new course. And also create personal projects. As this is the final day for updating my blog I haven’t chance to create my new idea but I have written some notes on what I will be doing.

The other day my sister who is having a terrible relapse of a chronic illness, M.E, was using Siri to write on her phone as she was too exhausted to talk. Listening to her happy message it was such a contrast to the exhaustion I could see, she could barely keep her head up, her breathing hard. The message sounded so happy though and it made me think of how things can easily be viewed another way. Whoever got the text would think she was well and happy but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Two ways of seeing something.

I aim to film this showing the two sides, it will only be about a minute long but I hope it will be thought provoking and raise awareness.

 

Bookcase

Throughout this course I’ve read many books and below you can see some of the selection. Click on each title for my thoughts of each book.

 

The Gaze Theory

My tutor recommended looking into the critical theory of the Gaze. I wasn’t familiar with this theory and my tutor warned it was quite heavy.

Before beginning the article I thought of what the the verb ‘gaze’ conjured up. It can be to look intently at something. To be scrutinised severely. To lay your eyes upon something truly magnificent. To stare seems more powerful than to gaze  However, after an in depth study there are far more connotations of meaning relating to gaze. There generally aren’t pleasant connotations of the word stare. You would stare at someone you were suspicious of, something you were alarmed by.   To gaze however is something more powerful, relaxed or romantic, something that might take longer or be more general in a sweeping way. One would gaze at a sublime view, their true love, they may even gaze longingly at their meal in a elegant restaurant. From an art POV, I assumed we would be looking into the effect of gazing at the cinema screen or a painting. Such as the theory in The Power of Movies where Colin McGinn likens watching cinema to gazing into a new dimension.

I read the article here

It was very informative and interesting reading the article. I have ventured into the psychology of photography but philosophy is something I haven’t considered as such. I will research more into this in the next part of the course. The article showed how the word gaze is used in art forms. It explored the many synonyms of the word and investigated how it could be perceived. Each paragraph asked questions, focusing on a different subject each time.

In this painting, the spectator himself becomes the subject of the painting, captured by the gaze of the painter insofar as he remains a spectator gazing at the painting. As the spectator thus becomes part of the spectacle the “observer and the observed take part in a ceaseless exchange. No gaze is stable…subject and object, spectator and model reverse their roles into infinity.”2 The interplay (or communication) between the two gazes thus blurs the boundaries between the two roles until it becomes unclear who exactly is gazing at whom; the gaze becomes a mode of interaction between spectator and the work of art.

With this statement it is suggesting that the power of the gaze is so intense that the viewer abruptly becomes part of the painting. Almost as though the artist realised the full power of the painting would only be created on human contact. Though all art only comes alive with this contact. That said you could imagine a painting left in the attic, it’s eyes staring out of the painting, perhaps something worthy of a horror movie or to portray something nostalgic.

This suggests that the viewer is a removable part of the art.  Thinking about this, could one say that we are the one gazing or the one being gazed at. Just because one object may be in the real world and another in a two dimensional form is the power any more less powerful from that of the two dimensional being. Such as the intense stare of a subject in a painting.

I bring attention here to the quote in Doctor Who in which Amy Pond, one of the main protagonists, was trapped in a trailer with the deadly Weeping Angel. The weeping angel is a creature that you will never see move. Instead whenever you blink it moves violently fast so it is suddenly much closer. The only way in which to beat this creature was to keep eye contact and not blink. “The eyes are the window to the soul.” However later this is turned on it’s head as the Doctor realises, ‘The eyes are not the windows to the soul they are the doors,” and in this they have possessed her with this gaze. The intensity of the gaze between painting and viewer could be irrevocably linked as they become petrified. Indeed the article states “there is a perverse pleasure in looking and not being able to look away. Much like the gaze of Medusa turned the onlooker into stone, so too does the image hold the power to immobilize its viewer.” This makes the connection of a painting and viewer almost mystical, ethereal, of ascending to another dimension for the moment frozen in time.

The Male Gaze

The article delves further into the gaze from both genders. Laura Mulvey a British feminist film theorist saw, “that the cinema is the medium for male subjects to further exert their mastery over female objects, identifying with the dominant gaze of the camera.

This opens all new pathways from the generic gaze to the Male Gaze which has been studied in great depth. It suggests that the ‘male gaze strips all identity and humanity from the woman on screen,  rendering them as an object for the male gaze to ravish. When you read the percentage of how around only 16% of characters in the movies are female does this suggest that the cinema is made purely for the enjoyment and sexual satisfaction of men. Mulvey argues that women serve for only two functions, of an erotic subject to be enjoyed in the narrative and also for the viewers. Nowadays with feminism and equal rights we see more feminine heroes in roles usually played by the opposite sex. Katnis in the Hunger Games, Tris Prior in Divergent and Rey in Star Wars, the Force Awakens. See my piece on Feminism in StarWars 

All are good examples of strong female characters, they become characters to look up to and transcend beyond the movie screen.

It is believed that watching movies is a Socophilia practise, love of watching. However the way it is described makes cinema feel like something distasteful, that people who go to the cinema are going for voyeuristic reasons. When in actual fact we all go to the cinema or watch a movie for escapism, to see a good story. I do feel that the issues with investigation of theories such as this is that some seek to over sexualise every situation. Why can’t going to the cinema be seen as something innocent?

There are even those that see the gaze as unseeing. Becoming more blind the more one forces themselves to see the painting.

In conclusion it is clear that the gaze is a very powerful force, drawing the viewer into participating in the painting or movie, albeit it often unintentionally. The gaze can be interpreted by each individual person in a different way however the power of the gaze will always latch onto the viewer. I will finish this off with a thought from the photographer Michael Freeman, who says that the human eye is always irrevocably drawn to another person in a photo, painting or video no matter how small or seemingly unapparent that person is. People are drawn to people thus we will always interact with another person in a painting and one of the most intense ways of this is to have the eyes meet. To gaze upon one another.

 

 

Symbolism – Death’s Head Hawk Moth and Assignment Three Thoughts

“Symbolism is the language of the Mysteries. By symbols men have ever sought to communicate to each other those thoughts which transcend the limitations of language.” – Manly Hall 

In a Skype conversation my tutor brought to my attention about the symbolism of the Death Hawks Head Moth. As a keen wildlife enthusiast, I had heard of this beautiful creature, however, I did not know of its great role it plays in symbolism. Featured in everything from the Pre Raphelite painting, The Hireling Shepherd by William Holman Hunt to the sickening and twisted movie, the Silence of the Lambs (which I have no wish to watch) Dracula, Un Chien Andalou it’s fluttered its way throughout history as a hidden symbol. The symbol it represents however always has dark connotations. It serves as a symbol of the death of the church in the Hireling Shepherd painting. A dead moth is found in Un Chien Andalou an equally dark movie.

william_holman_hunt_001

My tutor suggested including footage of a Deaths Head Hawk Moth in Assignment Three as he felt it would be stronger to have something suggested earlier on about the poison. I wasn’t sure where to find such footage. I have used occasional stock sounds such as the dawn chorus in Assignment Four but felt it would be cheating myself to use stock footage of a moth, plus I wasn’t sure it would be allowed. I considered several ideas of how to incorporate the moth into my assignment. Some of my ideas were.

  • A moth flying by as the man cuts the roses. Or flying generally. Peter said you could even just include it with no reference.
  • The moth featuring as a phone wallpaper. This would involve a new narration or plot though.
  • A moth tattoo on the mans neck which she sees as he walks off in slow motion.
  • The moth on the gift card with a butterfly symbolising resurrection on the other side.

I printed off an image of the moth planning the gift card but as I did so I noticed the sun slanting onto the wall. I held the moth up to the light and it had such a dramatic shadow. The wings of death.

Acherontia lachesis MHNT Female Nîlgîri (Tamil Nadu) Dorsal

Found on Google images

The problem was holding the moth so my hand didn’t show. I held it up with scissors. I dropped it from a height.

Some of the versions that didn’t work. As you can see the moth is washed out under the torch light and you can see my hand in the other picture.

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-08-11-41screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-08-12-14

Eventually I used the ornamental flowers. As I set it up I happened to move the torch and the shadow extended upwards with the moth. This was the shot I needed.

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-08-11-56

I removed the shot of the rose being cut and replaced with the moth. It’s very ominous as the thunder strikes. I sent it to my tutor who am I waiting to hear back from.

Here is the finished version –

Assignment Three – ChloeClik from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

Positives.

  • The moth does look quite lifelike
  • The reeds add extra interest.
  • The thunder clap is ominous.

Negatives

  • I wish the shot could be longer but with the time limit I would have to remove something else.
  • Perhaps it appears slightly random the sudden inclusion.

However on conferring with my tutor he said that whilst the idea was good he didn’t think it blended with the film which he felt was more documentary. As such he suggested that I leave it out though leave my analysis and reasons for doing so as above. With this in mind the final version does not include the moth.

Tutor Feedback Assignment Four and final video

tutor-report-assignment-4i-wanted-to-do-something-quite-different-for-assignment-four_annotated

I received my feedback in a different way. My tutor provided me with the annotated version of my written work and then he gave me the rest via Skype. This was the first time I had done Skype with Peter and it was great to see him and to ask questions.

I think to be able to Skype your tutor is something that’s very important and whilst perhaps nerve wracking before hand it’s something I would like to do with all my tutors, if they offer that option. It’s good to talk face to face and build a tutor student rapport.

Peter spoke to me about the painting The Hireling Shepherd   and when I asked what all the hidden meanings he was only too happy to tell me. It was fascinating   I felt more inspired to research symbolism in paintings. He also mentioned the Deah’sHead Hawkmoth which I will speak about more later.

As I am submitting for the November assessment, Peter returned my report very quickly so I could amend anything. I was really pleased that he enjoyed Assignment Five. And below is the annotated version.

After speaking he sent me a list of subjects we discussed. I was also really grateful as he suggested how to fix this particular part in Assignment Four. There is a moment where I want to use silence and negative space to convey the fact that the bee has been winded by the strimmer. I had tried many different shots to fix this but still felt it didn’t quite work. Peter suggested that the reason it doesn’t have this impact is mostly to due with the fact that a) the strimmer sounds too suddenly and b) the silence is much too long. I am going to be changing this and including it in the edited version of Assignment Four.

His main points were

  • Move on from iMovie – think about something like a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Pursue some tutorials on audio editing – for example Adobe TV (more about Photo and Video editing) or Jason Levine’s videos on Audition
  • Matters discussed
  • ‘Underwater’ look?- try different combinations of stabilizatio
  • Think about the sound of the trimmer-fading it in and shortening the silence after
  • Comment in your blog about any of the issues raised in the notes or our tutorial.
  • Practice smooth handheld tracking and panning and/or look into DIY dolly and steadycam ideas

We discussed the underwater look, this is due to the image stabilisation of iMovie. Instead of changing the shot he recommended mentioning what this was due to and I agreed I would use different software in the future.

Peter finished his report saying “In general you have engaged well with the unit well.” he  also said I had been on a journey and regarding Assignment Four said;

“I did like it. I think it works pretty well. Seeing as you’re using ordinary kit I think you’ve done very well. When you floated the idea, I thought well I bet you don’t do it in the end because it’s a good idea but I wasn’t sure that you’d make something that would satisfy you. But no I think you’ve done well.”

The final version. Uploaded at a very slighter resolution due to Vimeo upload limits.

Tiny Cities -ChloeClik – Assignment Four from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

Assignment Two – Tutor Feedback and final video

I have just seen my tutor feedback for assignment two failed to upload hence why I am posting it now.

Assignment 2_

annotatedtutor report assignment 2

Having read through Peter’s feedback several times I am feeling motivated to investigate different aspects of film making and also to try things outside the box and beyond what is expected. I’ve ordered the British Documentary movement boxset which I’m sure will keep me busy with 40 movies! I found it on Amazon secondhand for only twenty pounds as opposed to eighty pounds for brand new.

Some points I found especially useful –

  • To take it to the next level, perhaps beyond what you were asked to do, I think you need to ask yourself if the movie itself in total tells us something we don’t already know, or at least think we know. It may be that you need to exaggerate or repress certain elements to achieve this, even to totally inventing something to do it. Perhaps looking at some of the early British documentary films (see below) will give you some idea of what I am trying to say.
  • Think about the relationship of rehearsal to impromptu to unscripted/improvised ways of working impact on the outcome and how you may best utilise these different methodologies to best express your particular ideas in the different projects you are engaged on.
  • As a video making the ‘mundane’; perhaps the everyday is a better description; interesting I think it works pretty well. However, I wonder if it really says anything much about your chosen topic, Mindfullness. It is more a narrative than an exploration of a state of being and I take Mindfulness to be the latter; that it touches on Mindfullness I have no doubt and there is no reason why a narrative should not explore a philosophical or psychological way of being but it is important to privilege the one over the other and for me it is the narrative of wish making that is foremost here. Only you can say if that really matters in the end.

His comment regarding the theme of the assignment is a good one. Perhaps it would have been more suited to choose the atmosphere of calmness, relaxation or purely peace. It did seem to encompass mindfulness with all the elements though. I will have to think what to do for assessment.

I’m pleased Peter thinks my blog is progressing and that I could be successful in final assessment. It feels like the end of the course is creeping up fast and I’m going to miss it when I finish it. So I want to learn as much as I possibly can and research a wide and diverse range of subjects. What appealed to me especially of his comments were ‘to think about more relevant or less relevant subjects (sometimes the ‘less’ ones are the most revealing and useful in the long run!)

I’ve been thinking about assignment three and have decided to go for the poisoned drink scenario. I don’t usually start with the assignment plan in mind but I feel for Part three it will be interesting to take part in the exercises and determine how it will work with the assignment.

Finished Video (Note due to Vimeo upload limits I had to submit at a slightly lower resolution)

Assignment Two – Updated ChloeClik from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

I took on board the points Peter had made and changed the following.

  • The atmosphere. As mentioned above Peter felt that the title didn’t quite match the video. Could mindfulness be an atmosphere. Personally I feel it can, it’s a feeling of being aware of your surroundings, using all your senses but I decided to follow his advice and change the atmosphere to ‘tranquility’ I do feel this works well now, the video doesn’t change and nor so does the mood but the title now works fluidly with the video.
  • Sound levels of the crows. Blending them a little. Fixed any sound issues that had escaped me such as the sudden decrease of volume of the crows.
  • Trimmed the shot when I walked around my actor. Due to shaky camera.
  • Added clink as pebbles touch. Replicated with stones in garden.
  • Evened out sound level.