Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Case Study - Once Upon a Time In America

Sergio Leone uses Noir lighting with the Chiaroscuro effect in the very first scene of 'Once Upon a Time In America'. This symbolises the dark lighting and also light on dark as well. The Noir lighting is used with an artifical effect as in scene one, Eve walks into the bedroom with light on her whereas the rest of the room is dark which shows she has the spotlight on her.  Another example is this still picture of the three police in search of Noodles which as we can see the light is on the police and the background is dark, again suggesting that chiaroscuro effect. This shows the chiaroscuro lighting to be a thriller signifier and shows danger and to cast a small sense of mystery.

Camera angles 
In his use of camera angles, Sergio Leone uses a large number of close ups in his films as an essential signifier for the genre of thriller films. This picture we can see here is the victim Eve, as she has been killed by the police as she refused to co-operate in their inquests. This image is such an important image due to the fact that from this we can get out a number of things.
Firstly we can see the rule of thirds being portrayed. This may not be as obvious as other examples but we can see the policemen on the right and the middle and Eve on the left; which in turns shows she is the main feature as she has been killed.
Secondly the close of Eve here helps to allow us as the
audience to identify the characters emotions; despite the fact she
is dead she shows a blank face to indicate the vulnerbility of her.
The pearls she is wearing also signifies 'tears' which is where
the 'Femme Fatale' comes in as well. This has all led to the tragic
death of her in this opening scene to this thriller.

In Once Upon a Time In America we have a classic opening to the film from the early nineteen hundreds as the credits at the beginning enlighting us on who is present in the film and the production of it, is met with a simple noir background. However the first example of sound which is used is around fifty seconds in where 'God Bless America' is being used; remembering also it is supposed to be suggesting a more loving America and also the end of prohibition. This then is supported by a soundbridge. This soundbridge is of the footsteps of our 'Femme Fatale' Eve. These footsteps help to anticipate the next scene of the film.

This is a still picture from the second scene of Once Upon a Time In America showing again the importance of close ups although this time shows the effect to police brutality. The sound which is used during this scene in Diegetic sound. This means that the sound being used is natural and from the environment and characters respectively. While also showing the 'Mise en Scene' as well.

Lastly, if we look at scene three as a final example, we can recall seeing Noodles for the first time as he is being cared for due to the fact he is unwell. Suddenly we hear a phone ring, and Noodles hears it too. However despite the fact he is able to hear it the sound which is used in non-ambient. This is because the ringing of the phone is inside his head which in turns ends up leading to a flashback. The use of non-ambient sound helps to create a sense of mystery in the scene.

In Thriller films, especially noir thrillers we have the location which can play a major part in making it a thriller or not.
 My example for this is in scene three where as you can see we have the classic shiny streets. This shows the utilisation of the noir lighting used by Leone. The rain and wet weather here are used to indicate nightmare on these shiny streets. And also we have the bodies on the floor which shows again the brutality of the police force and also sends out a sense of danger as well.

Lastly we have the costume in thriller films. This is used to help establish the character in the film.
This picture which can also come back to the lighting of Once Upon a Time In America having the chiaroscuro effect to back up the 'Femme Fatale' of her character.
However in the terms of costume we can establish instantly the pearls she has around her neck. These can help the 'Femme Fatale' aspect of her character but also symbolises tears. These peals can help to show the fact the symbolised tears can show that they are being held within the person and when the pearls break for instance they symbolise tears being shed, however in this case her death could also show the sadness ending.

The pearls can also show a sense of purity and innocence towards Eve. We can see this due to the fact she is killed at the beginning of the film which is supported through the idea of innocence because we don't know much about her so have to think the police murdered her for no reason.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Once Upon A Time In America + Snakes On A Plane research; Femme Fatale

Thriller is a broad genre of literature, film, and television programming that uses suspense, tension and excitement as the main elements. Thrillers heavily stimulate the viewer's moods giving them a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, surprise, anxiety and/or terror. Thriller films tend to be adrenaline-rushing, gritty, rousing and fast-paced. Literary devices such as red herrings, plot twists and cliffhangers are used extensively. A thriller is a villain-driven plot, whereby he or she presents obstacles that the protagonist must overcome and these two films are example of the Thriller genre.

Once Upon A Time In America

A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to Brooklyn over 30 years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life.
This film is of the 'Thriller' genre because it is a film that consists of 'egde of the seat' moments and also means there is never a monotonous moment in the film. By watching this trailer we can see that it makes you want to watch more of it and it would also make you go out and watch it as part of an audience at a cinema. Despite the fact this trailer is the 'old' one, we can establish that it still makes you want to watch on to find out what would happen during the film.

'Once Upon A Time In America' is set in 1930's Brooklyn and is based on the prohibition period between 1920 and 1933.
The aim for a thriller like this is to keep the audience alert and on the edge of their seats. The protagonist in these films is set against a problem – an escape, a mission, or a mystery. No matter what sub-genre a thriller film falls into, it will emphasize the danger that the protagonist faces. The tension with the main problem is built on throughout the film and leads to a highly stressful climax. The cover-up of important information from the viewer, and fight and chase scenes are common methods in all of the thriller subgenres, although each subgenre has its own unique characteristics and methods and these are shown in 'Once Upon A Time In America'.
For example, the beginning of this film starts with the 'Dim Lighting' of a room which creates a sense of uncertainty which can also be known as 'Noir Lighting'

Snakes On A Plane
In this film, an FBI agent takes on a plane full of deadly and poisonous snakes, deliberately released to kill a witness being flown from Honolulu to Los Angeles to testify against a mob boss. This introduction instantly appeals to the genre of 'Thriller' and makes you want to know more about this film and want to watch it once it has been released to public viewing and we can see the 'edge of the seat' moments from this trailor. 'Snakes On A Plane' takes place on a Aeroplane on it's way to the LA. Instantly the fact the setting is in a confined space; makes it more believeable and gives the actors/actresses 'No where to hide'. It has something happening at every given moment which makes you 'glued' to your television and wanting the characters to survive so we are always on the edge of our seats.
'Femme Fatale'
In other words 'Fatal female' or 'devient female' which symbolises a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms and ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. It is also common for the 'Femme Fatale' to be with the enemy; for example the 'Femme Fatale' and the gangstar, as seen in Gilda' and this clip:

This shows she has a sense of deviousness about her as she attempts to charm and seduce to viewing crowd using her 'Femme Fatale'.

Evaluation continued- Examples

Examples of 180 degree rule, Shot reverse shot and Match on action.

Shot Reverse Shot
This is an example of the shot reverse shot which is a technique where one character is shown looking towards another character and then the other character is shown looking back at the first character. The viewer would now assume that they are looking at each other.

180 Degree Rule
 This is an example of the 180 degree rule showing two characters in the same scene which should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. If the camera passes over the imaginary axis connecting the two subjects it will confuse the viewing audience.

Match on Action
This is an example of the match on action shot. This is a shot which cuts from one shot to another that matches the action and pace of the first shot to create an impression of continuity. This also creates a visual bridge which can disguise the cut from one to the other

Sergio Leone (Once Upon a Time In America)

How does Sergio Leone establish the genre of 'Once Upon a Time In America'

He uses sound signifiers in the opening to 'Once Upon a Time In America'. For example he uses the 'aural' sound through 'God Bless America'. This symbolises that the use of this music has been used ironically due to the fact that Eve dies which contrasts to the music which is supposed to show America to be great.

Sound: Diegetic - Natural sound from the actor. EG. 'Mise en Scene'
          : Non Diegetic - Sound added through the edit process.

'Once Upon a Time In America' could be seen as a non diegetic as it has most probobly been put onto the film through editing.

Referencing another film
To make the audience feel clever
Emphasise meaning
Pay tribute to another film

The Deer Hunter - 1978 = Intertextual link to 'Once Upon a Time In America'

'Mise en Scene'
Mise en scene  is an expression used to describe the design aspects of a theatre or film production, which essentially means "visual theme" or "telling a story"—both in visually artful ways through storyboarding, cinematography and stage design, and in poetically artful ways through direction. This 'black on white' effect is mostly used when applied to the cinema, mise-en-scène refers to everything that appears before the camera and its arrangement—composition, sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting. Mise-en-scène also includes the positioning and movement of actors on the set, which is called blocking. Here is an example of the 'Mise on scene' effect used in Merlin with analysis around it.

In analysing Mise en Scene,  is not just identifying the components of the shot, but explaining the meaning or significance behind those components and connecting the shot to the themes of the film. Here are 14 key points of Mise en Scene.

In black and white movies, the dominant contrast is generally achieved through a juxtaposition of lights and darks. In color films, the dominant is often achieved by having one color stand out from the others. Placing one object in sharper focus than the rest of the shot can also create a dominant.
The lighting key in this shot is moderate. The scene is not brightly lit, but there isn't a lot of shadows either. Also, there isn't a great contrast between lights and darks in the shot. Moderate lighting fits the genre, a character-based comedy/drama. It's not as bright as a light comedy, as dark as a thriller, or as dramatic as a tragedy or melodrama.

Next is shot and camera proxemics with six basic catagories:
  1. Extreme long shot--taken from a great distance, showing much of the locale. If people are included in these shots, they usually appear as mere specks.
  2. Long shot--corresponds to the space between the audience and the stage in a live theater. The long shots show the characters and some of the locale.
  3. Full shot--range with just enough space to contain the human body in full. The full shot shows the character and a minimal amount of the locale.
  4. Medium shot--shows the human figure from the knees or waist up.
  5. Close-up--concentrates on a relatively small object and show very little if any locale.
  6. Extreme close-up--focuses on an unnaturally small portion of an object, giving that part great detail and symbolic significance.
There are five basic angles in film.
    1. Bird's-eye view--the shot is photographed directly from above. This type of shot can be disorienting, and the people photographed seem insignificant.
    2. High angle--this angle reduces the size of the objects photographed. A person photographed from this angle seems harmless and insignificant, but to a lesser extent than with the bird's-eye view.
    3. Eye-level shot--the clearest view of an object, but seldom intrinsically dramatic, because it tends to be the norm.
    4. Low angle--this angle increases high and a sense of verticality, heightening the importance of the object photographed. A person shot from this angle is given a sense of power and respect.
    5. Oblique angle--for this angle, the camera is tilted laterally, giving the image a slanted appearance. Oblique angles suggest tension, transition, a impending movement. They are also called canted or dutch angles.
Common lenses and stocks:
  • Telephoto lens--A lens that draws objects closer but also diminishes the illusion of depth.
  • Wide-angle lens--A lens that takes in a broad area and increases the illusion of depth but sometimes distorts the edges of the image.
  • Fast film stock--highly sensitive to light, it can register an image with little illumination. However, the final product tends to be grainy.
  • Slow film stock--relatively insensitive to light, it requires a great deal of illumination. The final product tends to look polished.
The main subsidiary contrast in ome shots is one character. For example, he doesn't stand out as much as the other because his clothes may blend in with the background and he also may not have as much light on him as th second character does. However, size can besignificant, and his size is the focus. The other subsidiary contrast can be something in front of them as it's the only other object in focus.
Although there may be a lot of objects in some backgrounds, an image may not very dense because the focus limits the viewer to taking in only three main objects: character one, character two and perhaps a last object in front of them.

The objects in the frame can be placed to suggest underlying designs or shapes.
  • Horizontal--compositions based on horizontal lines seem visually at rest and suggest placidity or peacefulness.
  • Vertical--compositions based on vertical lines seem visually at rest and suggest strength.
  • Diagonal--compositions based on diagonal, or oblique, lines seem dynamic and suggest tension or anxiety.
  • Binary--binary structures emphasize parallelism.
  • Triangle--triadic compositions stress the dynamic interplay among three main elements.
  • Circle--circular compositions suggest security and enclosure.
The most nebulous of all the categories of mise en scene, the type of form is determined by how consciously structured the mise en scene is. Open forms stress apparently simple techniques, because with these unself-conscious methods the filmmaker is able to emphasize the immediate, the familiar, the intimate aspects of reality. In open-form images, the frame tends to be deemphasized. In closed form images, all the necessary information is carefully structured within the confines of the frame. Space seems enclosed and self-contained rather than continuous.

  • Shots where the characters are placed at the edges of the frame and have little room to move around within the frame are considered tight.
  • Longer shots, in which characters have room to move around within the frame, are considered loose and tend to suggest freedom.
Depth of the shots
Deep-focus shots allow all planes to be in focus at the same time. More commonly, only one or two frames are in focus.

Character placement of a shot
  • The area near the top of the frame can suggest ideas dealing with power, authority, and aspiration.
  • The areas near the bottom of the frame tend to suggest meanings opposite from the top: subservience, vulnerability, and powerlessness.
  • The left and right edges of the frame tend to suggest insignificance because these are the areas farthest removed from the center of the screen.

  • Staging positions
    An actor can be photographed in any of five basic positions, each conveying different psychological overtones.
      1. Full-front (facing the camera): the position with the most intimacy. The character is looking in our direction, inviting our complicity.
      2. Quarter Turn: the favored position of most filmmakers. This position offers a high degree of intimacy but with less emotional involvement than the full-front position.
      3. Profile (looking of the frame left or right): More remote than the quarter turn, the character in profile seems unaware of being observed, lost in his or her own thoughts.
      4. Three-quarter Turn: More anonymous than the profile, this position is useful for conveying a character's unfriendly or antisocial feelings, for in effect, the character is partially turning his or her back on us, rejecting our interest.
      5. Back to Camera: The most anonymous of all positions, this position is often used to suggest a character's alienation from the world. When a character has his or her back to the camera, we can only guess what's taking place internally, conveying a sense of concealment, or mystery.
    Character proxemics
    The way people use space can be divided into four proxemic patterns.
      1. Intimate distances: the intimate distance ranges from skin contact to about eighteen inches away. This is the distance of physical involvement--of love, comfort, and tenderness between individuals.
      2. Personal distances: the personal distance ranges roughly from eighteen inches away to about four feet away. These distances tend to be reserved for friends and acquaintances. Personal distances preserve the privacy between individuals, yet these rages don't necessarily suggest exclusion, as intimate distances often do.
      3. Social distances: the social distance rages from four feet to about twelve feet. These distances are usually reserved for impersonal business and casual social gatherings. It's a friendly range in most cases, yet somewhat more formal than the personal distance.
      4. Public distances: The public distance extends from twelve feet to twenty-five feet or more. This range tends to be formal and rather detached.

    Thursday, 11 October 2012


    1 - For my preliminary task, I used a planning sheet specifiying what everyone in our group was doing in our short film. It consists of the different types of shots that would be considered when we were shooting our film. For example, the tracking shot was used for walking around a corner and following that person around. I also used the order in which the shots would take place. Lastly I also used a storyboard which helped to show where the scene were to take place and what shots would be present at that specific moment in time.

    Planning this way was useful because then I was able to know what was supposed to be happening at each moment during this short film. However, our actual film differed very slightly to my plans due to the fact that we included an extra shot showing the main character moving towards the camera which wasn't included on my plans.

     2 - During this process of making this short film, I believe that I have developed my skills in all of the camera shots I used and also practised. However one shot I think that I have developed and perfected the use of the close up shot due to the reason that I think the shots i performed using the close up shot were wonderfull. Secondly, I feel that I know the cameras well and how to use them; at the beginning of the project I was unsure but as it has progressed I've become more associated with them. With the cameras I had to zoom in and out which has improved the usage of the camera to give the films better effect in a sense. Throughout are short film I was able to use camera angles more effectively which in turn makes for a better film. For example, I used the close up shot on a few occasions which gave utilised to closely identify the action being partaken.

    3 - Throughout this process of making the film we had to edit it as well. I believe that I had developed many editing skills in this time. One being having to include all the transititons onto the film in order to make it look extravagant and professional, however making it look realistic at the same time. I feel now that I have developed this skills effectively so I think I can do it better now. Secondly, using this editing program at first I was a little confused on what to do and how to edit it, however as it has gone on I feel I have gotten more confident with the software, despite the fact I am still blind t some of the software on it.
    One certain area that I feel I have improved and developed the most is that of 'input' and 'output'. These ensure that the certain pieces of the scenes can be edited to make sure you have the bits you need and the other pieces can be discarded.
    I think there are still areas that I need to improve on; the first one is to make use of the transtitions more effectively and to use them more. This would ensure my films don't have any 'laggy' bits and so it keeps my film and the transititons between each of the different scenes even smooth.

    I feel that working in my group had many benefits; despite the fact some of us didn't know each other throughout but we do now. The group worked very well together and we had a laugh while making it as well. Lastly, our film turned out very successfully and the reason behind this was we ad fun while making it, which in turn resulted in our film being a successful piece.
     It was also successful through the 180 degree rule not being broken thoughout the entire short film which in turn kept the audience orientated and left them knowing where and what the characters were doing.

    Wednesday, 3 October 2012

    Shot List

    Over the Shoulder shot while tracking is taking place
    Close up of the hand opening the door
    Tracking shot walking out door and around corner
    Longshot of the walk down the corridor
    Birds eye view of the walk down the corridor
    Over the shoulder and close up of opening door
    Shot reverse shot of the conversation

    Tuesday, 2 October 2012

    Rest of the camera shots -birds eye; worms eye and rule of thirds

    This is my worms eye view of a motor bike. This is a object view from below as though the observer was from a worm.  A worms eye view is used commonly for third persepective which is also usful when making movies.

    This is a rule of thirds shot that i took from my holiday in turkey. This is a shot of the boat on the left, the water in the background and the chairs on the right. The image shows that the picture should be divided into 9 sections. It also shows 3 important elements in the picture.

     This is a birds eye view of my back garden when it was being refurbished with concrete. I took it from my back room window. This view is elevated from something from the floor and gives the perspective of a bird up high.

    Monday, 1 October 2012

    Anna Karenina powerpoint

    Anna Karenina Powerpoint

    Questionaire - 2 - Mrs barton

    Maths -C
    Science - B
    I.C.T - C
    Science/Additional science - B/D
    Catering -B
    English Lang/English literature - B/C
    Philosophy and ethics - A
    French - C
    History - B

    Sport - Football - playing and watching

    I dont usually read newspapers but on occasions i dip into the sports section of thw advertiser and the sun. I read this section because i am most interested in this.

    I listen to BBC radio norfolk for entertainment as i listen to the norwich city football mathes sometimes. I also listen to BBC radio 1 and kiss for music.

    I like nearly all types of music; however not too keen on classical music.
    I dont belong to a band
    I sometimes access music from youtube
    My opinion on illegally downloading music is that i think it's fine because you shouldn't have to pay for the music you love.

    My favourite video game is fifa 12 because i have a passion for football and enjoy it a lot, especially now fifa 13 is now out. Video games do have a negative effect to video games in terms of gender and solutions to conflicts because an example is call of duty which uses different and bad solutions to resolve some conflicts which aren't acceptable in the real world. It can affect attitudes to gender as one can instandly ignore the other because of these.

    New technology has increased my understanding of the world because we now rely on these technologies to go through life.
    Technologies allow use to use new and improved phones so we can socalise and play games on them.
    Technologies also allow improved ways to do more in your spare time such as watching tele, but also being able to play games on consoles and using headphones aswell
    We can also view media through the internet as we can read texts on it such as newspapers

    My favourite channels are comedy central and sky channels such as sky sports. I really enjoy sports programs and comedy programs.
    Favourite tele genre is comedy as it always makes me laugh so i enjoy it a lot.
    Horror films stick in the memory because certain scenes can make you remember for a long time because of it being scary or like that. Such as women in Black because it has a lot of horror moments in it which makes it memorable; same as paranormal activity and inception.

    My favourite genre is action because there is a lot happening in these films so it makes it exciting.
    1- Independance day because the action is fantastic and a lot is happening all at one time. The storyline consists of the invasion of aliens to earth. The use of longshot and close up's are phenominal in this film as it makes it more dramatic.
    2- War of the worlds because the performance of the actors are so realistic. This is also about an alien invasion to earth and how people have to hide from them which makes it exciting in itself. The use of high and low angle shots in this film are inpecable because it makes for such a brilliant film.
    3- Women in Black because the music creates a sense of tension and not knowing what is going to happen next in the film. The storyline is of a haunted house and Daniel Redcliffe. His performance is so realistic you would think it was happening there and then the way he portrays himself as being frightened.

    I prefer to consume film at the cinema or normally on the television
    My favourite cinema is the vue because when you watch the films you are so comfortable and its reletively easy to get to. However it is very expensive.
    I prefer to watch films in a group
    I'm not a media producer but have made a short picture film with music in my ICT GCSE course.

    I saw on wednesday 12th september, documents concerning the Hillsbourough disaster were going to be revealed to the public after 23 years of hurt for liverpool and their fans and families. I was offended with disbelief to learn that the blame for the disaster was out onto those fans that died and fans when actually the police were to be at fault. They hide from covering the story up for so long and i feel sorry for those 96 people who lost their lives.
    Source: the sun
    Italian Footballers caught in match fixing scandels which was interesting seeing pro footballers bet against their own teams.
    The mum who murdered her own daughter was another interesting one. Who would murder their own children? This made my open my eyes and realise that there are people out there who are like this and we need to be aware and be careful.
    I would choose the 'sky sports news' channels or news channel as good resources because they are up to date and know what is happening the world and the world or sport.

    I chose media studies because honestly i just had to pick one more and thought media sounded a good subject. I also thought it would have been fun.