How to Read a movie

How to read a movie was really a quite interesting thing. I feel like most people, me included, take movies for granted. We watch them and say what we think at the end, but really miss a lot of the work that directors put into them. “How to read a movie” really gave me these tools to appreciate this more. I first tested this out on Stanley Kubrick’s one point perspective and man was it amazing! The video showed you just how consistent the shots are and how much he uses that perspective. The shots give an increased sense of depth and give a very eerie feeling. That is why his film style is so successful. The second video I watch was the shining. I had watched the film previously so that is why I chose it. This was another very interesting because I had no idea how many zooms there were. The zooms, either in or out, are extremely slow which builds tension and adds to the overall creepy vibe of the whole film. The last one I chose to analyze was Tarantino’s style of shooting from below. This style really puts the viewer right in the action as it makes you feel like the actors are looking right at you. It truly adds to the viewing experience. So many of Ebert’s principles can be applied to any movie that we look at. One that struck me in particular is right vs left. Up vs down. Foreground vs background, etc. These are things that I never really think about but make a lot of sense when it comes to this. A character moving right is more favorable than a character moving left. Because the future is perceived to be to the right, moving right is better. This theory applies to many things such as movement up is more favorable than movement down. So many of these techniques can be applied to any movie and that is so interesting to me. Moving forward I will be looking for many of these in the theaters!

Instant Replay

For this assignment I chose to take a clip of something and make an instant replay for it. I am a huge baseball fan and have always been a Yankees fan. That is why I chose to take Aaron Judge’s swing and make it a slow motion video. Aaron has hit so many home runs this year that finding a video of one of them was quite simple! To do this I downloaded a video of his swing from youtube. Next I found an online tool called MP3care.com. From there I could slow down or speed up the clip however I wanted. I chose to remove the audio so it didn’t sound all weird. It should look something like this:

And that is about it! It was a relatively simple process but seeing his swing in slo-mo is such a satisfying thing. Check it out:

Time Lapse Assignment

For this assignment I chose to do something a little different than the description. Instead of taking 1-2 second time lapses throughout the day I took one big one to show some period of time. This really gave a different effect as you can see movement in things you wouldn’t normally see. You can see the movement of clouds and water and the sun and how it all morphs together. I had never done a time lapse before and I was at the beach this past week so my inspiration was to use a sunset to make a time lapse. My thought process was the seeing the sun fall behind the horizon would be super interesting and it was all ruined by a giant cloud! But hey, it still looked kinda cool. The first step to this process was to set the camera up. There are a couple things that are useful to do before you head out. The first is to format your SD card. This will ensure that you have the most space possible to capture as many pictures as you want. With that said, make sure you don’t have anything important on there because this will delete all of it. I am shooting on a Canon 6D so this is what my menu looked like but yours may look different:

Next, you will want to pick a white balance that is appropriate for your shooting conditions. The benefit of shooting with RAW files as opposed to JPG is that we can change this later if the white balance changes.

Next, is to change your file format. I always choose to shoot RAW files because they give you much more light information and you can do a lot with them in post processing. However, they require more work than JPG’s. For beginners, JPG’s are much easier because the camera does all the touch up work. So pick whichever format you think you would like to use.

Finally, just to save a little battery power, turn off image review. This means that when you take a picture, it won’t show up on the rear of the camera.

A couple other instruments you will need are a steady tripod and an intervalometer. This is basically a thing that plugs into your camera and tells it to take a picture after so many seconds. In my case, I use a thing called Trigger Trap which is actually a wire that connects your phone to your camera and I can use the phone app to control my camera. In the case of this time lapse, I set all of the settings on my camera, and then plugged in my phone and use the phone app to tell it to take a picture every 5 seconds.

A quick side note is, for sunset time lapses, make sure your camera is in aperture priority mode. This means that the camera will change the aperture for you so you don’t have to change it as you get less light.

The final step is to do a little post processing and turn your photos into a video. For this I like to use Adobe Lightroom and LRTimelapse. The general workflow for this is to import all of the images you took to LRTimelapse, stitch them, export them to Lightroom to make all of your image adjustments, then export them to make a video. This is what it should look like after you have all of your pictures imported to LRTimelapse:

Export the video and that is it! You have a timelapse made out of the pictures you took. This was a relatively short time lapse. Only about 200 images to make this one. I will definitely be more interested  in making more of these in the future. Check out the time lapse below:

Analyze Video Clip from movie

As soon as I saw this assignment I knew exactly what clip I wanted to do. The Pursuit of Happyness has been one of my favorite movies for as long as I can think. The movie tells such a powerful story and there are so many amazing quotes from that movie. So that is why I chose to do this assignment on this movie. The first step was to analyze the clip without any sound. By just looking at the camera movements, we can get many things. The first thing I noticed is the majority of the shots are either of Will Smith, or his son. Very rarely can you see both of their faces in the shot. The first half of the scene is them playing basketball and a couple times we see both of them in frame, but the majority is one or the other. It usually focuses on one of their faces when one of them is talking. The second half of the scene is more like a speech. An interesting thing I noticed is that the camera is actually lowered down and pointed up towards will smith when he is talking (as if from his son’s perspective). And when the camera is facing his son, the camera is put higher up, as if to be from Will’s perspective. Definitely an interesting thing that I had not noticed before.  Also, throughout the whole scene, there is not much zooming. The subjects are put in frame and then the camera doesn’t zoom. It will pan a little but no zoom. Except for at the end when Will is giving his speech. I believe this is to give more impact to his words and I would say that it was successful. The next step was to listen to the scenes audio but not watch the video. The scene starts out with a funny moment where Will asks his son if he wants to go sell a Bone Density Scanner, and his son simply says “No.” Next you can almost imagine the scene in your head as you hear the basketball bouncing. Next Will tells his kid that he will not be good at basketball, so he should give up the dream and focus on something else. This sets up the next scene where inspiring background music begins to play and Will’s speech comes. It begins with “Don’t ever let somebody tell you you  can’t do something; Not even me.” These are words to live by and had such an impact on me when I was young. Next is, “You got a dream, you gotta protect it.” Another great tidbit of motivation. Finally, we end with “You want something. Go get it. Period” And that was the biggest one for me. If you want something in life, go get it. No if, ands, or buts. Go get it. When you put these two together, it brings the whole magic of the movie together. The slow zoom that I talked about previously mixed in with the background music and the amazing monologue from Will makes for one of the best scenes ever. It brings out a profound sense of pride and inspiration. That is why I love this movie. Give the scene a watch here: