Friday, May 30, 2014

Blog #4 - Game of Thrones clip

This scene follows Daenerys Targaryen giving a speech to the enslaved peoples of Meereen. All along I was watching the clip, I found myself asking, how did Daenerys project her voice enough to be heard by the slaves who are so high up? As she projects her voice to the audience, the camera conveys her figure through a high angle shot. This shot demonstrates how small and frail she appears in contrast to all the men standing and sitting high up on the castle. Also during her speech, the camera swivels to the slaves and rulers in the form of close-ups and medium shots capturing their looks of disbelief, confusion, and fear. After all it is hard to comprehend that a woman, small and dainty, could manage to destroy so many empires with the loyalty of freed slaves. The scene does provide a low angle shot of her army, but its purpose is not to appear inferior. On the contrary the shot conveys the extent and power of her army.

At 1.41 Daenerys yells fire to her army and the camera illustrates her facial expression in a low angle shot. Thus it successfully executes her power and authority over the enemies she has come to destroy. As the collection of chains are catapulted onto the castle, that is when one can truly see how far Daenerys is from her listeners. Perhaps the greatest part of the scene is at the end. After all the chains have been catapulted, the camera follows an enslaved male picking up a chain through a low angle shot. The shot signifies a change that will come for those slaves in the form of freedom. The people of Meereen will no longer be inferior; they will have a choice to either serve or walk free. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Final Project

Link: The Daily Life of Daphne Joy

Aronson Awards Extra Credit Post

The Ceremony for the Aronson Awards was filled with inspirational speeches, examples of exemplary advocate journalism and brilliant writers in the field. Thought the ceremony was small it had a lifetime full of wisdom presented. One presenter did a documentary film called After Trayvon where he spoke with black men on how it was to live in a wealthy neighborhood. The creator gave an anecdote about how when he first moved to Brooklyn he felt uncomfortable passing black men on a stoop made him stiffen and feel uncomfortable. I was able to speak to him later in the event and saw through his work and personality how brave he was to say something that isn't but needs to be said, how stereotypes lead people to think certain thoughts and can even alter lifestyles and in some tragic cases such as Trayvon Martin's, their lives. Another prestigious writer who received an award, David Carr who writes for the New York Times spoke of how he was once homeless and built his way up using handwork, talent and   knowledge. His perseverance was awe-inspiring since he literally came from nothing to greatness.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"Memento" Opening Scene Analysis

“Memento” s (2000) opening scene begins with slow, melancholic music. Leonard’s (Guy Pierce’s character) hand slowly fades in, is shot in color, and is shown in the frame holding a polaroid picture. The picture is of a dead body, faced down, and the walls are covered in blood. He waves the polaroid picture to help dry/develop it (even though the picture is shown to be completely developed), but when the picture is back in the frame, it looks slightly less developed than it did 10-12 seconds prior. This is when the viewer notices something isn’t “right”. Leonard shakes the picture a total of four times, with a 10-12 second interval in between each time, until the picture is a light gray and no longer visible. You realize the entire scene is being played backward. We now see Leonard’s series of backward motions, appearing as if he’s putting the polaroid back into the camera, the flash of the camera goes off after taking the picture, his face has splatters of blood on it, the scene then cuts to show a river of blood shown on the ground flowing backward, cuts again to show a bullet casing, cuts again to show broken, bloodied eye glasses, then the body that was pictured on the polaroid, lying face down on the ground and covered in blood. The camera cuts back to Leonard as his gun is mid-air, flying back into his hand and makes a loud clacking sound, then he kneels down. The music turns suspenseful. The bullet casing is shown again, this time it’s spinning on the ground, the glasses come off the ground and back onto the body’s face as it’s rising off the ground, the casing quickly goes into the Leonard’s gun’s barrel, the shot fires back into the gun, and we now see the body’s face as he turns to look at Leonard, which ends of being Teddy (Joe Pantoliano’s character), and screams “No!” The camera quickly switches onto the next scene, which is shot in black in white this time, and the first scene in this sequence is of Leonard’s lips, slowly panning up to his eyes, as you hear him having an internal dialogue saying “So where are you?” You’re in some motel room. You just wake up…and… you’re in a motel room. There’s the key. It feels like maybe it’s just the first time you’ve been there, but, perhaps, you’ve been there for a week, three months… it’s… kinda hard to say, I don’t know… it’s just an anonymous room…” all while he looks around, he looks confused and observant of his surroundings as he’s sitting on the bed. Then the scene cuts out. These two scenes and how they were carefully shot, edited, and played, play an extremely important role into understanding “Memento”. The unconventional backward play of the opening scene is key, and the polaroid scene is a dead giveaway, and then made even more obvious when the rest of the sequence is played. However, why is this scene shot in color, and the following is completely different in location, and is now in black and white? The only way to make sense of it is watching the film in its entirety. Scenes are played and alternate between black and white and color, and don’t follow chronologically. This is when you realize the entire film can be broken down to 22 colored scenes, and 22 black and white scenes. The 22 colored scenes are all being played backward, not in motion, but backward chronologically, while the black and white scenes are played chronologically. This is why the first two scenes are important, especially the first one because while it is being played in backward MOTION, it is a huge clue into understanding that every color sequence that precedes is playing backward (chronologically). "Memento" is an incredibly well thought-out, amazing movie.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Brought to you by: Ricky Saiz

Beyonce nearly brought the house down with her new album. She surprised everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE... even the director of the sexiest music video on her album - Ricky Saiz.

Video director and filmmaker, Ricky Saiz is not only the director of Beyonce's very sexy music video, Yonce, but he is also the co-head designer and co-head of creative for the iconic hip-hop clothing brand Supreme.

The video epitomizes a lo-fi character, one that is embedded in reality with handheld, old film cameras. The aspect that keeps me coming back to this video is the raw nature of it all - it is very natural, very raw, very New York. Even when you compare this video to other ones on this self-titled album, this one sticks out as being the realest and the truest of them all, and this is due in part to its stylistic approach. Victoria Secret models Jourdan Dunn, Chanel Iman and Joan Smalls were a wonderful addition to the establishment of this effect.

Stylistically speaking, the close-up shots of varying body parts gave us an insider look of the voyeurism that was taking place. These shots make us feel like we are a part of this 'party', from the fishnets to the shoulder and an extreme close up of Beyonce's breasts, we are brought into this very sexual session that these girls and Beyonce are taking part in. It's sexual, but appropriate at the same time. Beyonce keeps it classy, of course (she is not Miley...).

The best shot, in my opinion, is that of Beyonce's gyrating action at 1:17. How many takes did this shot require, you may ask? Two. Yes, you read right. She's a natural! Ricky Saiz has said that nothing was choreographed, and his brilliant self was able to capture such a splendid shot, a memorable one, indeed.

Fun fact: Justin Timberlake is drumming on a bucket in the background. Hard to believe, huh? Check the production credits! ;)

EXTRA CREDIT: The Aronson Awards

I received the following email from a dear professor of mine, and decided this would be a wonderful opportunity to meet one of New York City's, and the nation's best media writers:

Dear all,

You're receiving this because you're either a journalist, a friend, or a social justice enthusiast who I believe would enjoy attending this event I've been working on for the past several months. 

On Monday, April 28th, the committee I am chairing this year will recognize the indomitable David Carr with a career achievement award and Andrea Elliott for her tremendous 2013 series for the Times, "Invisible Child," among others (see postcard below).

Held at Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's elegant Upper East Side brownstone in an intimate, 100-seat auditorium, this will be a unique opportunity to hear about the future of investigative journalism from some of the field's top practitioners. 

Rebecca Carroll of XOJane (and previously the Black Voices editor at HuffPo and my own editor during our time at The Independent Film and Video Monthly) will host the event.

Feel free to write about it, tell friends, and of course, RSVP! 

Hope to see you on the 28th.


From the time the event began to the time it ended, I was in a constant process of internalizing all of the information I could as the attendees were truly some of the best writers in town. My interest in journalism and social justice peaked in the aftermath of my acquisition of an internship at NBC 4 New York, one that unexpectedly went from being a semester-long program, to an internship that lasted for three consecutive semesters. During my tenure, I was responsible for monitoring coverage on the station, including coverage written by David Carr.

Conveniently, Carr was to be recognized with a career achievement award that evening, and I was not planning on missing such a unique opportunity to ask him all of the questions I pondered regarding net neutrality and other topics he constantly wrote about in the media column of The New York Times.

Little did I know, I was going to be in the presence of journalists and social justice activists that were just as interesting and who covered such topics as the politics of business in the Middle East via Terrance McCoy's Home Invasion, investigative stories via Chris Hamby's Breathless and Burdened, and perhaps one of the most heart-felt - poverty issues via Andrea Elliott's Invisible Child.

Al in all, a fruitful event all around. I urge social justice activists and journalism geeks at large to attend future events organized by Hunter College's Department of Film & Media Studies - a great way to get an inside look into how these stories came about, and a wonderful networking opportunity with some of the industry's top writers!

Museum of the Moving Image - Visit Reflections

March 28, 2014. I must say, I spent the most valuable and memorable hours in this museum. If you had asked me if I cared to go to a museum a couple of years back, I would have nodded my head without hesitation. Today, art and the history and culture that comes with the latter is of primordial interest to me as I strive to better myself and take as much knowledge as I can following the guidance of revered philosopher, James Mills.

The few times I had been to Astoria was to visit my cousin, and that usually entails an 8 minute walk from the train station to her apartment and back to the train station and to my dorm. This, however, was an entirely different experience. I felt refreshed as I dragged myself out to get to work shortly after my visit.

First of all, Sesame Street is my all time FAV show, so finding out that it was shot in Queens was a pleasant surprise. Besides the numerous surprises I discovered while I was there; the staff at the museum were wonderful and incredibly helpful - I couldn't have walked out of a museum more knowledgeable than when I walked out of this one.

Jim Campbell's exhibition, Rhythms of Perception was incredibly inspiring; we are often presented with work that fits the norm when it comes to resolution, but Campbell took it to another level with his low resolution videos. His use of computers and other technology devices is a wake-up call for the endless opportunities for creativity that we have as human beings. I walked out with a memorable epiphany: anything is possible when you set your mind to it. His innovative nature reminded me that things do not have to be used for a single purpose, but instead, anything can be used to create, and recreate, aspects of nature.

My ultimate favorite of his works was the Last Day in the Beginning of March. The title is intriguing and the artwork itself is one you don't want to take your eyes off of as it is original and innovative. 26 light bulbs were suspended as they swayed with a combination of original sounds that evoked the feelings and memories of Campbell's brother's last day, hence the title of this unique artwork.

Overall, my visit to the Museum of the Moving Image is one I will cherish forever, and I plan on dragging every creative soul to this gem every chance I get.


It's difficult to live in New York City and not walk around the city without earphones. Plugged in. All the time... is how I go to work, to school, down the hall to visit my friend in his dorm only a few meters away.

Yes... I use meters (the entire world does). But anyway, let us not get ahead of ourselves.

Recently, I vowed to take in the world around me. I live in one of the most diverse cities, and it would be a pity not to.

I walk out of my dorm onto the busy streets of the Lower East Side and rowdy New Yorkers are honking at each other, not surprising given the profuse amount of tension people live with as they get to and from work in their stressed selves.

I, then, walk down the block toward the subway station and arrive at the staircase which will lead me downstairs to the platform. Before I even set foot on the staircase, I am taken back by the repugnant smell of fried potatoes (the hashbrowns and their intense smell are taking over the streets). The smell of the hashbrowns isn't the only thing to bother pedestrians like myself; two men I usually see on the side of the McDonald's bother women as they pass by, and today, they decided it was my turn.

"Eh-oh mami! Como estas? Can I getcha numba"

The other one chimes in, "Hey-hey-hey. Why you gotta be like that? Come-on, now!"

And as if that wasn't enough, I hurry down the stairs, disgusted.

I spot a man in a white tuxedo staring me down from head to toe. I can't say I didn't see it coming, but the insistence was unbearable.

He simply did not stop. The word, ashamed, does not suffice to describe the feeling I felt at that time and for the rest of the week. Why was I ashamed? Of what, exactly? I cannot say, and I don't even know if this feeling is even justifiable as I had nothing to be ashamed of. I was dressed in a very appropriate manner, and regardless of my attire, I was not to be addressed to in that manner.

You're probably wondering why this post turned into a complaint, and from a subject matter being "what I hear" to "I can't stand people"! But that is how I felt at that moment, and this is how I feel at this moment, right now. Shame. Shame - not for myself, but shame for our civilization.

We have come so far, and yet fail to do the same with our behavior.

Monday, May 19, 2014

blog 4 Eden

I chose to analyze the short film Eden, in which two boys, one older and one younger, are walking through a caged enclosure, over an abandoned highway. The only things we hear are the wind and a pipe the young one is dragging along the caged enclosure. They look out to the empty road, and the little boy asks what happened to the cars. The older one answers ominously “They’re all gone, things were a lot different before.”  The young boy coughs. The older boy says “but you’re different from everyone we’re gonna find you a doctor” he says in a reassuring tone of voice.  One can safely assume from the characters’ interaction with one another that they care for each other in the way two brothers would. They continue to walk through the caged tunnel and there is a low angle close up of the older boy’s face- we are looking up at him, and up to him just as the younger brother character does. This establishes the older brother’s role as the protagonist.  

Cut to a medium shot of a very dry and dead looking field.  They walk through the field, a map in hand. There is no music in this film, only the sounds of the wind in the abandoned setting, the boys’ dialogue and the young  one’s coughing.  After wandering through the field for a bit they stop and the older boy kneels down and tells the younger one to wait there while he runs over the hill to the hospital where he’ll find a doctor to help.  As he runs to get help while the little one sits down, coughing away. There is a low angle shot of the older boy climbing over the hill and standing at the top of the hill and dropping the map. There is a grim feeling. He is looking toward the completely abandoned and empty hospital. The POV shots allow us to see what he sees, and feel what he feels.  He looks around and sees nothing. No one. Not a soul. There is an eerie feeling of isolation and hopelessness.  Cut to an over the shoulder shot of the hopelessly empty hospital. Close up of his face, the look conveys a feeling of helplessness. He slowly walks back into the field toward his little brother.

Cut to the older boy walking back to the field towards the little boy, with a grim look on his face. He reaches out for the young boys hand and tells him to come play. The young boy stops in his tracks and asks “what about the doctor?” When the older boy tells him not to worry about it with a more chipper tone of voice, young Max pulls his hand away from his brother, stops in his tracks and says, “I’m going to die” in a tone which can not be distinguished as a question of shock or statement of disbelief.  Before turning around the older boy, with a heartbroken look on his face, takes a deep breath as if he is about to explain something and turns to the young one with a cracking voice “Max…” only to see that the young one has vanished into the thin dusty air of the dried, dead field. He calls and screams out “Max? Max! Max?!” and the audience can clearly see and hear how panicked he is. Extreme long shot of him running into the field screaming out for his little brother.  We hear only the wind.

I think that these shots were cut in the right places, seamlessly. I found it to make sense. From the first scene, it was clear that the characters were on a journey of some sort, and that one was powerful and the other was weak. The editing allowed the audience to get a sense of the setting, and I think the lack of a musical soundtrack added to that. The ambient noise was just right for the tone of the piece.  The relationship between the different images is clearly linked by the desolate settings.  The land in the piece is dying, just as the young boy is.

Muslim Students in NYC

Short Film Comments Blog 4

Short Film: Bad Motherf***** by Biting Elbows

This action-film/music video is uniquely shot in a mostly first-person view. The video keeps the viewer thinking its fast paced even though some shots are slowed. There are several edits that are well done such as when taking the dead men out of the care and then climbing in the car, the edits make it appear as if it were done in one shot and that filming is consistent even while shifting views. Some scenes are brilliantly slowed down to add effect to the high speed action, such as the scene where he jumps onto a man's body, a slight slow-motion has been added to the clip to show the actor spewing blood so it would be more apparent. My favorite scene has to be when the main character is thrown off the building into a hole that does inside the building and he falls about three flights until his arms catch a pole to hang onto.  The music also added to the speed and flow of the film, the beginning was ironic and gave a sense of death coming since it was so slow and soothing juxtaposed with a violent, rough fight.

Sounds of the City

As I make my way down 14th street, with no headphones in my ears, I hear the sounds of the city and the city’s people. To my left a woman walks in her 5 inch stilettos clicking-and-clacking, chatting away on her cellphone. To my right a group of girls are giggling about a good looking man walking beside them, while their footwear is flipping-and-flopping. As I approach Union Square I begin to hear the drums and bells used by the Hare Krishna worshipers. The closer I walk to the group on the ground, the louder the music and chanting becomes. I continue to walk and as usual the street venders are all trying to sell their products, bargaining with passers-by. A man selling beauty salon promotional packages asks me, “Excuse me, Miss, when was the last time you got your hair done professionally?” Having lived in New York City for the past 6 years, I already know that this is a rip off and I am not interested, so I politely tell him “I’m broke, no thanks” and continue walking. I make my way through the park and as I pass each bench I hear bits and pieces of different conversations. A man and a woman, who appear to be co-workers, are talking about 'work ethic', a young couple confesses their love for one another, and a man on his cell phone is talking about a meeting he had earlier in the day. In the background I hear some dogs barking and birds chirping. And as I make my way out of the park I am greeted by the sounds of city traffic; a girl is yelling for a taxi, the sound of a bus stopping, and of course the honking of horns, belonging to drivers in a hurry.

Dreams of Jewel's, music by Beats Antique

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Blog 4

The scene that I have chosen to analyze is from the 1985 movie "Back to the Future" staring Michael J Fox. In the scene, Marty  punches antagonist Biff in the face after Biff tries to beat Marty's father up. Afterwards, Biff and his group of friends try to chase Marty down to get revenge on him. The scene involves a few instances where continuity editing needed to be precise, including when Marty  runs on top of Biff's car, and when he trips over the woman waking down the street.

This type of scene proves how important it is to have editing that is on point, or it would negatively impact the suspense of the scene. Because it is a high-energy chase scene, then shots are relatively short and cut very quickly to one another. In addition to fast cuts, there is always something moving in the shot, even if it is only a background character. This is important because if action is not present in a shot, it will lose its buildup of suspense to the scene.

The music I  the scene is also high-energy. The song that plays is the same one that plays any time throughout the film when the audience is supposed to root for Marty. The familiar, successful tune gives the audience hope that Marty will escape the chase, but because it is fast paced, it still allows excitement to grow during the scene. The careful editing was essential to this scene, and worked well to make it an iconic part of the film.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Leticia Infante Blog Entry#4: Scene Analysis from City of God

          The film City of God, directed by Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund, captures the inescapable corruption and savagery that lingers throughout one of the most violent slums, Cidade de Deus (City of God), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Although the film is replete with disquieting circumstances, one scene, in particular, creates an extremely unsettling atmosphere for the viewer, which unfolds after a group of young, aspiring hoodlums called “The Runts” rob a merchant. In order to reinforce the “rules of the ghetto” and test Steak n’ Fries’ worthiness, Lil Z obliges Steak n’ Fries to kill one of the two children who failed to flee from Lil Z and his gang.

        The camera work and editing executed in City of God, help enhance viewer’s experience and add meaning to the action that is unfolding. The editing in this scene includes an abundance of short shots from the beginning and longer shots as the scene unravels. This creates a rhythmic style and embodies the improvised lives of many hoodlums. The editing expresses the way hoodlums approach situations. They only react, they do not rationalize. Additionally, the unsteadiness of the camera shows the disorganization of their actions. In the beginning of the scene, Lil Z, his gang, and Steak n’ Fries are seen walking through the ally way, as the camera focuses on Steak n’ Fries; after, it cuts to The Runts, who are shown playfully conversing at several eye-level shots; the use of eye-level shots proves that The Runts share a mutual status. As they continue their conversation, the unsteady camera pans quickly to catch the reaction of a character. The shots are short and the pans and tilts are quick, in order to embody the pace of their conversation. The sudden cuts and parallel editing are used to allow the audience to be ahead of The Runts and instill anticipation.
             Finally, Lil Z appears behind one of The Runts and after he slaps his head, the camera is immediately tilted to reveal Lil Z from a low-angle shot. Because of this, the status is now adjusted. As the children try to run away, they are shown from a high angle shot, which displays their fear and weakness. When two children fail to escape, they are shown, trapped, as they are surrounded by guns. There is a close-up of Lil Z’s profile when he asks the children where they wanted to be shot (hand or foot); the shot continues as the camera pans, following Steak n’ Fries, as he turns around and slowly walks away. A match-on-action edit reveals him from the front, walking away and out of the frame, showing the viewer his facial expression of disapproval. This action illustrates Steak n’ Fries’ morals, for he is walking away from what contradicts his ethics. The children are shot from a high angle, as they are terrified, helpless, and are forced to decide which body part they want shot. The camera tilts from the younger boy’s face to his hand, then pans to the older boy’s hands, and finally tilts to his face. This is done various times throughout this scene, as it is capturing a character’s action, reaction, decisions, and emotions. When Lil Z shoots the older boy’s foot, instead of his hands, the scene cuts to Steak n’ Fries’ reaction of empathy, and then cuts to the bloody foot of the younger boy. The camera zooms closer to the younger boy who is hysterically crying and clenching his wounded foot, which enhances the child’s suffering.
           Now, Lil Z challenges Steak n’ Fries, after he gives him the power to kill one of the two children. Although Steak n’ Fries is shot from a low-angle, his expression seems apologetic, almost as if he is guilty of having this power. One sees the younger boy crying from a subjective POV shot (through Steak n’ Fries’ eyes), then one sees a close-up shot of Steak n’ Fries from an objective POV shot. The viewer can sense Steak n Fries’ emotion and ethical dilemma; Steak n’ Fries must make a decision. The duration of the shots and the practice of The Kuleshov Effect are used in this moment to heighten the suspense and intensify the emotion of the character. The shots become longer. The older boy is shown from an over-the-shoulder shot, which foreshadows Steak n’ Fries’ decision. The scene cuts to Steak n’ Fries, Lil Z, and two other hoodlums, and is shot from a low-angle; we see the direction in which Steak n’ Fries points the gun and the audience is aware, even if they did not see the action; While Lil Z makes the surviving boy limp home, we see Steak n’ Fries’ head and shoulder focused and the dead child from an over-the-shoulder shot; however, this time the child is out of focus. In that shot, the audience is able to perceive Steak n’ Fries’ anguish.

Project 3: Finals Week

Jessica Granato

Blog 4- Django Unchained Brittle Brothers Scene (Big Daddy Plantation)

Quentin Tararentino is undoubtedly one the greatest American filmmakers of our time. This scene is a excerpt of "Django Unchained". A 2012 film Quentin Tarantino won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. I chose the brittle brothers scene because of the sequence in continuty and content made the scene an effective one to the realizing of the power of the main character "Django". This is where "Django" played academy award winner Jamie Foxx expirence retribution for the very first time. There is a very extricate dolly shot is very appropriate to the genre being that this was Western the tale of revenge an ex-slave turned bounty hunter in knee deep in America's atrocious pastime of American slavery "Django" executes "Big John Brittle" in an awesome reverse angle and immediately whips his brother "lil Raj Brittle" before he can pull out his pistol for all the "field hands" (field slaves) to see. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blog #4 by Saraa Elkhaloui



The clip I decided to due my blog on is this speech given by Daenerys from Game of Thrones. In this clip there is very little use of additional audio and musical tracks, however it is important to note the complete silence occupied only by her voice for most of the clip. It is apparent that the audio track was added to this scene separately after shooting because of environmental factors. For example the wind would have accounted for some noise that may have resulted from shooting the scene outside.  However, listening very closely a very low note can be detected and it slowely eculztes as she makes her speech. It is also important to not that the first sound we are introduced to in the clip, is the sound of the wooden barrels being launched. This sound could have been recorded on site at close range and repeated. However, the sound of chains as the launchers are moved forward was most likely added by a foley artist with the use of chains to use the sound effect. Another sound added by the foley artist is like a fan at slow motion (to me), right before she commands them to fire.  After this drums play in the background accompanied by simple acoustics of human voices. The collective screaming of the men and women was probably recorded once and added onto the clip at different volumes. The chains falling to the ground was probably recorded separately by a foley artist. When the chains hit the wall it like balloons popping and a mix of chains to make the allusion of the chains falling.

Hunter Stone - Blog #4

Blue Velvet Opening Sequence Analysis

The editing of the opening sequence of Blue Velvet dramatically contributed to the storytelling and feel of the film. The sequence of shots, music, sound effects, color, composition, and camera movement all come together to set up the theme: a perfect, cookie-cutter small town with unimaginable darkness and evil lurking beneath its sugary coating.

The sequence opens with the sounds of birds chirping and the song from the '50s, "Blue Velvet," playing over the image of a bright blue sky. The camera's slow descent as it tilts downward foreshadows the town's dual identity. However, the series of images that follow reinforce the mood of a utopian world: the white picket fence and bright red roses, the old-fashioned fire truck with waving fireman and his dog, schoolchildren crossing the road, the man watering his garden, and the woman sitting drinking tea while watching television.

And yet, the viewer knows all is not as it seems. The music paired with the images, especially the fireman waving robotically, reveals that the town is too perfect, to the point where it's creepy. This tension is increased when the image of the gun appears on the television screen and the music is cut into by the sound of the pressure building in the hose. From here, the tension grows until it's almost unbearable for the viewer.

The man struggles with the hose and we see it getting twisted. The sound of the water pressure grows louder and is supplemented by an unidentifiable sound that can only be described as impending doom. We see the man grab his neck and fall to the ground, landing in a puddle of mud, apparently dying of a heart attack. The water continues to spray from the hose in a perfect arc, and a close-up of it makes it appear as though it's simply a sprinkler. A diapered baby walks towards the man, the dog attacks the spray of water, barking viciously.

It then cuts to an extreme close-up of the grass, with the camera literally buried in it. This, combined with the foreboding ambient sound which now completely overtakes the sound of the music, evokes a sense of death. The very slow pan of the camera through the grass adds to this suspense. We are finally  left with the lingering sound of what sounds like worms devouring flesh and the image of dark black beetles climbing over each other, so close-up that it feels as though they're literally on top of the viewer.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jacob Cintron - Final Video Project

Blog #4 - Scene Analysis

The scene I was most interested in analyzing was the scene in Dallas Buyer’s Club when Rayon goes to ask her father for money. I watched the movie again recently for a paper due in another class and watching it the second time (also - post Oscars) - I was able to look at it with a more critical eye. That being said the costume was obviously one of the most important parts of the scene. It is the first time that we see Rayon in a suit (she’s a transgender woman). She looks uncomfortable and doesn’t move around as much in that attire. Totally different from what the audience is used to seeing on screen - that being a person that usually moves with a type of ease and ‘sway’. 
Aside from the costume is the sound. The level of the two characters voices when they speak. Her voice is lower than her father’s for most of the scene. He trumps her - which serves to show that he is still the dominant figure in the room (they were after all in his office - so there is some validity to that). However, Rayon’s voice is louder when she announces that she has AIDS and the purpose of this is to illustrate a pivotal shift in their relationship. The use of sound and dialogue is what struck me the most because it seems like such a simple thing, it gets over looked a lot because when you’re just watching for fun you feel it but you don’t know what it is. Whether it’s the words or the situation itself (valid in their own right). But when you listen carefully, you realize - it’s the sound. And the sound editing is smooth. It’s in the way that they fight with volume. The scene is a short one probably only about five minutes max, but the sound and the costume are so critical it becomes one of the high points of the film. 

*Also on a final note: the camera follows the characters well, as they move from one room to another, the 180-degree rule is used well. There’s no confusion when they transition from one room to another or when Rayon is walking around her father’s office and he’s sitting down. 


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Leticia Infante - Final Project

Zehui Liu--Story of "me" and Piggy--Final Project

Zehui Liu--"Story of me and Piggy"-Media160 final Project from Corrine Liu on Vimeo.

Blog #4: examples of great editing: The intro to "City of God"

At first, I wanted to choose a film by David Lynch, because I think his editing style is really unique, creative, and a little strange. I thought about the scene in "Wild at Heart" when Lula was dancing on the bed, with a close up of her feet moving rapidly, and then a seamless cut of her feet on the dance floor, but I could not find a clip.

I decided to choose the intro to "City of God", instead.

"City of God" is another one of my favorite films. From the excellent editing and non-stop action in every shot, the directors, Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund, really capture the chaos that is in the slums of Brazil, with a fantastic narrative and beautiful imagery. At the very start of the intro, we experience a series of fast-paced jump cuts, with a repeating shot of someone sharpening a knife, to the chaos of Brazilian streets, with chickens running loose, music being played, the roar of a crowd in the background, cutting of fresh vegetables, and food and drink being prepared. It then goes into character introduction, with more chaos. We see the young kids in a group running through the streets chasing a chicken, and one of the main characters laughing and yelling wildly. The music and action speak for itself as far as lawlessness and chaos is concerned.

The cuts are not seamless, but rather obvious and quick, but go well with the chaotic theme. There is a lot of color being using in the intro, however the tone is desaturated, leaning more towards the blue scale. We are then brought to what we eventually learn in the end of the film, in the beginning, with Rocket in between the chaos of the gang and the police.

We then are brought back to how it all began. The editing style for the intro was extremely compelling, and allowed the viewer to anticipate the excitement of what was next!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Project 3 - Continuity

edited and filmed by Starr R. and Olivia C.

MoMI Blog 3 - Joanne Mariano

I went on Mother's Day with my mom and my sister. It was our first time there. I loved how my mom's admission was free. The white presentation on the first floor makes everything feel so wide and clean. I loved that they explain every single important aspect of what it really takes to create a film. My favorite parts of the museum were the sound, visual effects, and cinematography sections. I loved the exhibit that explained the history of Kaufman Astoria Studios. I never even knew famous shows like The Cosby Show and Sesame Street were filmed here in my own borough.

My favorite exhibit was that of Jim Campbell's: Perceptions of Rhythm. I loved the poem of his brother who died. He used text and representations of light to add to the effects of the text. It was really sad, inspiring, deep, and creative.

I would definitely recommend this place, and I see myself returning in the near future.

Paper Heart

Paper Heart 2 from Lauren Li on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Scene Analysis

                When it comes to very well-known scenes in Hollywood, this shower scene from Psycho is probably on the “top ten list”. I am a huge fan of Hitchcock which is why I chose this particular clip to analyze. When the shot begins it appears to be like an ordinary shower, there is no music playing, all that is heard are diegetic sounds, sounds that have a visible source on screen, such as the door closing or the woman turning on the water in the shower. Although these are diegetic sounds in the movie, they are most likely sound effects that are put into the scene because it would be extremely hard to capture such crisp and clear sounds of these sound sources. The only time that there is music placed in the scene is when the killer starts to attack the woman in the shower. This is done to intensify and symbolize the actions that are being done. The music that is being played at the time will always be associated with this Hitchcock scene. But what it also does is it sets the mood, the music has a sense of surprise as well as a sense of panic, which is what the woman in the shower is feeling. The music along with the acting portrays that feeling very well.  The entire scene is composed of medium close ups and close ups, to give the audience a feeling of suspense. The only time that action is taking place in the background of a shot is when the camera is breaking the 180 rule by being on the other side of the shower, facing the shower curtain. Being on the other side of the shower allows for the audience to see that the bathroom door is opening but since the curtain gives a distorted look it is hard to tell who is walking in through that door until they open the curtain. But when the killer is revealed, the way that the lighting is set up, it puts a dark shadow over their face to allow the suspense of the movie to continue. The audience believes that they know who the killer is but in reality they do not. There is never a shot of the actual knife going into the woman’s body, but the jump cuts between the killer moving the knife, the close ups of different parts of the woman’s body and the scenes of the blood running down the drain with the water allow the audience to come to the conclusion that she is being brutally murdered, although it is not shown. I’m not sure if Hitchcock did this on purpose, but I believe that the Hayes Code must have been his reason for this. With all of the Hayes Code restriction’s he was pushing the boundaries, if that was the case than it worked really well for him because it also adds suspense to the shot. Every aspect of this scene makes the suspense grow and grow. Especially the last few moments, when the woman reaches for the shower curtain as if she will be able to make it out, but then falls over onto the floor. The next shot is an extreme close up of the blood and water going down the drain then changes into an extreme close up of her eye, which signifies that she is dead.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sayuri to Chiyo; A Geisha's transformation (Blog #4)

   Memoirs of a Geisha is exotic and equally as captivating. Although you are exploring a different place and different era, prewar Japan, you become so engulfed in the film that you become one with the protagonist Sayuri. There is a portion of the film which is dedicated to her transformation from a humble poor girl into the most lusted after Geisha in all the land.  
  The initial scene begins slowly as Sayuri paints herself with the trademark white makeup of a Geisha. The camera follows her delicate brush stroke to capture this care she takes with the foundation of her identity. The music is equally as delicate to convey this message. All the while Sayuri’s mentor is guiding her through the process. Scenes of guidance are interwoven with Sayuri’s independence. A third type of scene is also interlaced with the previous two where Sayuri is learning not just the art of being beautiful but the art of acting beautiful; captured in the scene where she delicately lifts the pale of water with such grace you'd never know it was practiced 1000 thousand times.
Her skills are equally if not more important than her physical beauty. To be a Geisha, in the context of the film, requires precision and attention to the smallest of details. Some girls who are shown are embarking on the same journey as Sayuri have more time but she has to master the art in a matter of months. To show the passage of time, Sayuri is scene playing a tradition Japanese instrument the snow is gently following in the background. It cuts to a scene of her once again applying the mask of a Geisha and the soundtrack tempo increases as her big reveal nears.
One of the most fantastic cuts is to the snapping of a hand fan which is so much more than a tool to cool her down; its a prop its powerful and one of the many ways a Geisha can attract the attention of a man. This cut really emphasizes the importance of seemingly insignificant object. The dialogue here is also very appropriate the room is flooded with sunlight and you are captivated by the beauty with which Sayuri and Mameha put on a show with just these fans. The camera pans around them to draw you in to the scene to make you feel like you are in the room and watching it first hand. Mameha says “The very word Geisha means artist”. The cut to the next scene is seamless as Sayuri has mastered the skill with her fan and can now be a leader among her peers only to be envied by a rival Geisha jealous of how far Sayuri’s has come.
The soundtrack in the next scene is much more intense and when she blows out the fire on the utensil she immediately applies to her face you feel the pressure she is under but she is committed to mastering her craft. Not all things are glamorous and the lighting used conveys this. She has to endure great agony to become the Geisha she dreams of. A thud noise as she hits the floor in frustration when she fails at a task conveys her emotions. But soon she is enveloped by a gorgeous red fabric which you don't necessarily see her putting on, its more a POV shot where you feel you are in her shoes. 
   Scenes of the final touches are laced with her last major lesson, to stop a man in his tracks. She tightens her dresses and gets all the last details perfected before she most pass this final hurdle. She looks around as her final challenge approaches you can sense her insecurity as she sees him approaching but it also distracted by her surroundings. Her weakness becomes her strength as she sends the boy on the bike crashing into a coup of chickens, she is now the master and you sense her triumph as she keeps moving forward not looking back to see the mess behind her, created by merely her own glance.

Latch- Disclosure

In the music video of Disclosure's song,"Latch" close up shots start the film focusing on the actors' faces and hands. There are sharp cuts that occur to show the 3 main couples in the video. The build up of lingering looks accumulates from shot to shot. Long, wide shots are often used through out the video to give the viewers a sense of surrounding. This component helps contrast the different love stories that are taking place. For one couple it is a more intimate story within the confinement of their apartment bedroom, for another it is an exciting and budding romance at a party (the audience can see the other guests at the party that exchange the same infectious look of love), and the last couple heightens their affections within an elevator with the coming and going of people who enter it. To show the intimacy of the stories more close up shots are used when the couples kiss during the chorus of the song. During the rest of the verses slow motion is used to build upon the scenes in preparation for the climax of the song. I think this effect really gives the video a level up in evoking emotion from an audience. It is reminiscent of how it feels to be in that moment with a significant other; every move they make is received by their partner through exchanged looks and a subtle touch. Eventually at the end of the video the camera focuses solely on the actors as there is just a black background and the actors are the only ones lit. They are on a spinning device that adds to the character of how immersed they are in their relationships. In some shots I believe a camera that is running around them in circles as well to add for the effect. Bokeh is another great tool used to add color and to immerse the couples in their own world; they only see each other.

blog #4

I chose the scene from 'Chinatown' when Jake discovers Ida's deceased body at her home.

By using different camera angles, movement, and shot types, the scene at Ida's house from the film 'Chinatown' provokes heightened drama and suspense. The scene begins from an objective point of view of Jake arriving at Ida’s house. At the beginning of the scene, a long shot is used to show Jake walking towards the front door. The objective POV and the long shot are used to establish Jake neutrally in the environment. The camera is positioned in a high level angle. This suggests Jake’s possible weakness in the environment and the dismal nature of the situation he is walking in to. The camera angles used shows Jake’s relation to the camera and surrounding objects. The camera is then positioned at eye level, showing Jake’s side profile at the front door and his confused reaction to something. The camera then tilts to what Jake is reacting to: the glass broken on the front door. Jake opens the front door and the camera pans up and is positioned at eye-level again. While Jake enters the house, the camera is positioned behind him. He is positioned on the right side of the camera within the shot and the left side shows the living room. The camera moves around the house as Jake does, following him wherever he goes. This once again establishes Jake in the setting and allowing him to not be dominated by the setting. He is still supposed to be the central focus.  This sequence of objective and subjective shots are used to show varying vantage points throughout the scene. 

Eduardo and Pamela final project

Li Mu Bai meditating with sword (better quality)

Diaka Kaba Hill- Blog #4

 This is a scene from the movie "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" which I believe to be one of the most breathtaking films I've ever seen. It's theme of romance and hidden desires shown throughout the film between the characters Li Mu Bai and Shu Lien will tug at your heart. The shot I want to focus on is at the point in the story where Li Mu Bai, has just reclaimed the Green Destiny sword and has taken it to a deserted courtyard at night where he practices a martial arts routine called Wudan. Focused on wielding the sword so gently and so powerfully, he does not notice that Shu Lien, his hidden love watches him in the shadows from a distance. The shot is a medium close up. The diagetic sound in this shot is of Li Mu Bai's sword, the Green Destiny. When he runs his finger across the blade, the blade makes a crystal like tone. And when he flicks the edge of the sword, it makes a shivering chime sound. I know now that these were Foley sounds made by a foley artist. The camera movement pans from left to right giving the sword a life of it's own while helping us emotionally connect with the Green Destiny as we slowly take in its magnificence. The shot was done in deep focus because the sword is in the foreground while Li Mu Bai is behind it absorbing focus as well. The lighting key used was a combination of high and low key. The background behind Li Mu Bai is almost pitch black while the moon was the organic source of light that is motivated to capture and highlight the sword. 

 Moving on to an extreme long, or establishing shot. In this shot, we can only hear the scuffle of Li Mu Bai's feet while the music continues playing. The camera angle is high, as if it was taken from one of the rooftops. As an audience member, I felt that I was looking down into the courtyard and spying on his routine. I think a wide angle lens was used to capture this shot. Also, the feeling of colors used in it were blue, reflecting on the moonlight shining into the courtyard; the white of Li Mu Bai's robe; and the black of the shadows. 

 Then there's my most favorite shot in this clip. A medium close up of Shu Lien standing in the foreground, and an extreme long shot of Li Mu Bai moving blurred in the background. The music is so emotional during this point. A cello is playing, reveling to the audience their hidden desires for one another. Shrouded in shadow, looking upon Li Mu Bai from a distance, her back turned to us, we are hidden from her feelings. I'm convinced that the picture being divided into two depths of fields like this worked so well in conveying the themes I mentioned earlier. Shu Lien(foreground), absorbs the focus, while the shot moves into a blur where Li Mu Bai stands(background). Well, I could go on and on about this shot and what an editing masterpiece it is. Instead I'll let you see it for yourself. Go watch the whole film!

Her Day- by Rebecca Wang (final project)

Blog #4 Scene Analysis- Shafat Chowdhury

Blog #4 Scene Analysis: Smokin’ Aces Final Scene

In this scene from the 2007 film Smokin’ Aces, the ending is shot in a non-dialogue narrative, much like the short films we had to create. The movie, centered around the Las Vegas Police Department protecting a mob informant, features Ryan Reynolds who comes to terms with the real reason he was forced to protect Jeremy Piven’s character. Realizing that the entire day has gone to hell, Reynolds decides to end his career as a Detective along with the lives of those who have caused his partner to day earlier in the film.

First, we get an intense shot (00:00-00:07) from a medium angle, depicting who the victim is and who is the one responsible for it. This is shot in a very contrasting manner because the victim isn’t the man in the stretcher on life support; instead, it’s the one who is standing in an authoritative stance overlooking the man on the stretcher (Reynolds). From here, we get a close-up (00:07-00:10) of Reynolds locking the doors, signifying that this is the end of the road and the end of the film. Reynolds then proceeds to sit down next to the two villains and plots his revenge. Then, my favorite scene, which comes at 00:36, is a wide shot of Reynolds seated in between the two, on the verge of pulling the plugs to their life support. As he pulls them, we get back-and-forth close-up shots (00:40-00:50) of the two men dying. From here, the shot pans out and captures the raw emotion of Reynolds as he succombs to the ways of a murderer, something a lawman isn’t accustomed to. Through his tears and heavily scarred face, we see the dismay in his eyes. In addition, we see the full transition of his character as he willingly turns in his gun and badge at 01:09, implying that he knows he’s done wrong for the right reasons. Following this, we zoom out and see other characters outside the surgery room panicking and begging for Reynolds to let the two men live. Doctors and other officers are trying to bash their way in but Reynolds’ defiance is caught through the panning out shots of his face (1:41-2:12).

Another significant factor which makes this scene so dramatic and enthralling is the score by Clint Mansell, famous for his orchestral score, “Requiem For A Dream.” Mansell uses his song “Dead Reckoning”, which builds up from a single beat to a crescendo to capture the actions and emotions going on in this final scene. The score in particular picks up at 00:36, when Reynolds pulls the plugs. Also, we hear a high-level beat once the life support is gone to convey the drastic measures that had to be taken. The music itself captures the dismay, panic, and relief that goes on throughout the entirety of the scene. Clint Mansell’s “Dead Reckoning” almost feels as if it is the dialogue for the final scene of Smokin’ Aces.

Although the movie itself isn’t perfect by any means, the score and cinematography of the final scene speaks volumes for the characters and their motives for the film.

Blog #3 - Museum of Moving Image

In the Amphitheater Gallery of the Museum of the Moving Image, an exhibition called "Lights, Camera, Astoria" was featured. The exhibition presented textual and photographic accounts of the history of the museum from its origin as a film studio. Before the Museum of the Moving Image was established it was the location where classic silent, black and white movies were filmed.

Close to the exhibition was a large screen that projected some of the studio's films from 1925 - 2013. The 32 minute running time of the projection gave examples of films that were produced for different studio owners.

From 1920-1932 Paramount produced films such as "Sally of the Sawdust" and "Animal Crackers." Eastern Service Studios, Inc. (1933-1941) created "The Emperor Jones" and "Poppin' the Cork." The Astoria studio became the home of the Army Pictorial Center (1942-1970) in which specials were made to promote life in the Army, "Seeds of Destiny."Revival production in 1971-1979 created "Hair" and "The Warriors". In more contemporary times, the studio has been used to shoot episodes of "The Cosby Show" and "Nurse Jackie."

Here are some links featuring the variety of film and TV productions created within the walls of the Astoria studio.

Animal Crackers clip -

The Emperor Jones -

Seeds of Destiny -

Hair clip -

Nurse Jackie pilot -

Final Project-Stevie Borrello

The Music Industry - Kristina Garcia

Zehui Liu-Blog post#4

I chose one part from the movie "Slumdog Millionaire" directed by Danny Boyle. I especially like the beginning not only it contains a lot of contents, but also the way they edit the scenes. The one I liked is the transition between the part which the main character is the contestant in the Indian tv show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" and every question he answered is based on his own experience so when the host is placing the question to him, the scene suddenly transmitted into his life experience (10:17-10:55)and I think the way they use the flashback of the protagonist's story is extremely helpful to the entire film. Also the beginning scene attracts me the most because they connect the starting scene(they start with the protagonist being beaten up by the police officer because they think he cheated on tv show so he could gain the biggest prize) and immediately transmitted into his childhood memory(2:20-6:40) and then again switch back to the live show. The way edit the beginning is definitely contributed to the rest of the film and I feel if they use other kinds of technique to edit the beginning(like not using the cutback) then it won't be that attractive to audience and the effect won't be that good because cutback technique is what makes the movie special in order to better explain the whole story. When audience is watching the film, they might feel anxious about the beaten up scene because they want to know what's going on and just brings up their attention. The transition is cut at the right time just to show the little intense feeling connect with the background music. When the clip changes into the protagonist's life story audience may feel little sudden but as the story is going on the flow and finally turns back to the Live, people would feel surprised to find it is very interesting to watch and I think that is huge advantage for the movie to be edited in that way.

Hunter and Carolina - Final Project

Keiko Yara: Blog 4 Scene Analysis

Project: Library Episode 1
A team of Youtubers came together to create an action packed thriller mocking the Hollywood standard of major motion pictures. When a library is in danger of being closed down, the library manager, along with the employees, will fight to find a way to save the library.

The video opens up with the a shot of a boy going up a spiral staircase. The shot is taken from a high angle that paired with intense orchestral music creates a very intense and dramatic atmosphere. There is one scene in which there is a boy who is being confronted by his grandfather. A high angle is used to make the child look more vulnerable and emphasizes the fact that he is a victim or being treated poorly.
During the same confrontation, the grandfather is shot from a low angle to make him appear more powerful or of a higher status or position. The different angles, along with the music and sound effects, come together nicely to create a very intense atmosphere.

The video uses point of view shots in a very seamless way that keeps the pace going. One point of view shot in particular that I enjoy is where one of the characters of is looking at himself in the mirror while brushing his teeth while on the phone. What I enjoy about it is that the actor is looking at himself instead of at the camera. The shot was taken well because there are no signs of the production in the reflection of the mirror. In the same scene there are shots from outside the bathroom and peeking in. It shots make it seem like the audience is eavesdropping on the conversation.

There is a shot that include some big scary men to intimidate one of the characters. The artistic decision to hide the faces of the men creates a very mysterious and intimidating aspect that adds to the purpose of the overall story. The shot is also a point of view shot because it is showing the men's target.