How to Look, Listen and Analyze a Movie Scene

For the “Look” and “Listen” parts of the scene, I made points and elaborated them in the form of bullets. The “Analyze” part is more like a summary as it is a reflection of both the “Look” and “Listen” parts moving along together.

Look  

  • Camera movement backwards to forward. This is to put more emphasiz on the screen and get the attention of the viewers. This has more to do with human psychology as humans want to see things move forward towards the future.
  • Pacino up and De Niro is down. Pacino is in commanding position.
  • Both the characters are kept to the right of the screen from the center. This enhances the view of the viewer.
  • Camera moved from left to right on De Niro when Pacino is going round the car. Left to right axis has again a psychological appeal. We write from left to right. Graphs are left to right. In short most of the things are left to right.
  • Camera cut used to lead to the next part of the scene.
  • When setting in the restaurant, De Niro is kept at the right from the center of the screen while Pacino is on the left. De Niro seems to be in commanding position here.
  • Some kind of endless argument going on between the two.
  • Towards the end, the camera is zoomed in on both the characters. I think the cameraman has created a Zolly effect here.
  • Two camera switch views repeated several times during the scene.
  • Lighting is what would suit a restaurant with a focus on the characters.

Listen

  • An entry music used that fades in within a few seconds.
  • The background noise is of some kind of a highway.
  • One character is in commanding position as the other one is not unwillingly agreeing to him in the initial scene.
  • Soft music used during to lead to the next part of the scene.
  • Characters are talking with pauses as if they were paragraphs of a script.
  • Typical restaurant kind of noise.
  • Both the characters have different accents.
  • One character is offering something while other is refusing to accept the offer. The character refusing the offer is in commanding position here.
  • As the scene progresses, the background voice is reducing and the characters voices are more prominent. The restaurant background music is more prominent than the initial part of the restaurant scene.
  • There is an increased pause at the end to end the scene.

Analyze

Now it all is making a sense. When Pacino reaches towards the car, the entry music can be heard for a few seconds. Pacino is in commanding position as it evident from his tone and his scene position near the car. The background noise in this part is to tell the audience that the car is parked beside the road or somewhere near to it. When there is a camera cut. There is a few seconds of music and then we can see both the characters sitting inside the restaurant. In the initial part of the restaurant scene, both characters can be hear but with some noise accompanied from other people in talking. It means that the talk is not yet serious. As time passes, the cameras start to zoom in on both the characters. The background noise is reduced. Both characters are catching more viewer’s attention. The talk also seems to get serious. I think that the Zolly effect has been incorporated here so that the characters can kind of jump out of the screen and get nearer to the viewers. There is a few seconds pause to end the scene.

Roger Ebert on reading a movie

roger
I must confess that when I started reading this article this did not make any sense. It was all gibberish to me. I believe what I had missed was to actually read a bit about the writer to know what authority does he has on movies. So I looked at Roger Ebert’s profile on Wikipedia . He was one of the greatest movie critic. This is where the article started to make sense to me. I read the article one and right away started reading it again. Most of the things were then clear. I also researched the different keywords from the article and found some great material explaining the different terms used in the article that I have included in my summary of the article. So here I go.

The first technique that Roger describes is about pausing the movie and think about what you see. This is the technique that he used while teaching to his class at University of Chicago’s Fine Arts program. Roger believes tha analyzing still scenes from the movie can make a huge impact on what you understand about the making of a movie from a critical point of view. This techniques was evolved to the “shot by shot” technique.

Roger has also advised to read a few books about films as it is a useful resource to know about the current trends in the film world. He personally started his book adventure by reading “Understanding Movies”, by Louis D. Giannetti.

Roger used the term “intrinsic weightage” that each visual composition possesses. What I understand is that the visual information we digest has by default some characteristics that emotionally appeal to us. Though I am not 100% sure about it.

Rule of third is another principle that has been described by Roger. This rule applies to the position of different characters in a movie scene. Characters to the right of the center of the screen are more dominant than those to the left of the center of the screen. To know more in depth about this rule, I researched the topic about the importance of axis of a screen. I found the following video which has described the three axes in detail. The reason right is more dominant is because moving from left to right has been seen as moving form past to future. I mean the way we write is left to right, gaming characters move from left to right in 2D games to move to their destination and so on.

There are three axis of movement: right and left, backward and forward and up and down. Moving towards camera shows domination and moving away from camera shows weakness. It is obvious in the movie clips in the video above.

I believe that now, after I have read this article, I will be more vigilant while watching movies and would be able to observe it with a critical eye.

Following are the key points I noted down while I was reading the article.

  • He Learned the “just pause the film and think about what you see” from Chicago film critic, teacher and booker named John West.
  • He used this technique in his class at University of Chicago’s Fine Arts program.
  • This technique evolved to shot-by-shots and later named, cinema interrupts.
  • Ask the audience: There are always people in the audience who can answer any question.
  • Read a few books about films like Understanding Movies, by Louis D. Giannetti.
  • Visual compositions have “intrinsic weightage”. What I understand is that the visual information we digest has by default some characteristics that emotionally appeal to us, I guess so.
  • Rule of third: Person on the right to the center is more dominant than the person on the left.
  • Right is futuristic, left is past, foreground is stronger than the background, movement to the right seems more favorable than the left.
  • Three axis of movement: right and left, backward and forward and up and down.
  • Moving towards camera shows domination and moving away from camera shows weakness.

 

Summary of Cinematic Techniques

Camera Angles and Techniques


Camera techniques and techniques coupled with special effects can make a video amazing. This video has focused on the different camera tricks that can be performed to enhance the quality of the video that is being recorded. There are different techniques describes in the video like “Zolly” which can be used to extract the focal character or characters from the scene. This effect can be created by zooming in on characters and moving towards them at the same time. If these two conditions are note met, the effect won’t work. Different camera angles can create different effects. For example placing a camera in front of a person crawling on the ground can have an effect of climbing a height. Camera are used to create a 3D perception in a 2D visual. This has enhanced to 3D camera recordings in the modern world I believe.

One-Point Perspective


This video clip is an example of playing with the symmetry of the scene so that an effect such as 3D can be created. This is a classic example of “one-point perspective” in Stanley Kubrick’s movies. The images seem to pop out of the screen even when they are black and white. I believe it is a useful technique to get the full attention of the viewers.

Note: “Star Wars Continuity Mistakes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owH54AiCheg” this video has been removed by Fox due to copyrights. The administration might want to replace it on the course website.

Is commenting helpful in learning only?

In my previous week’s post I had emphasized on how great it is to comment on other blog posts and learn in the process. There is no doubt you first need to read a blog to comment on it.  Commenting without reading is simply spamming which is not good to the blog post and in most of the cases would be removed by the blog owner. What happens in the reading process is the digestion of new and valued information that can then be applied to one’s own blog to add quality to it.

In this blog post I would like to share my experience about the traffic that I got from commenting on other blogs and leaving my blog URL hyperlinked with my name. I know that my blog is still in infancy stage and there is a long way to go to get real traffic. But I was really happy to see at least a few people visiting my blog this week and leaving comments on my blog posts. The main reason was because I had left comments on the blogs by those visiting my blog. So I think commenting on other blogs is a useful way to divert some traffic to your own blog and hence get some fresh content on your blog in the form of comments.

Following are the screen shots of my comments on different blog post from different bloggers.

Please click here for the blog post

The blog owner needs to moderate comments before they can be published. Therefore, I had to get a screenshot of my comment.

comment 1

Please click here for the blog post

The blog owner needs to moderate comments before they can be published. Therefore, I had to get a screenshot of my comment.

comment 2

Please click here for the blog post

comment 3

Please click here for the blog post

comment 4

 

Confessions of an Arab


Well what book title can an Arab from the desert part of Arabia think of when writing a book? Especially when it is about his confessions. I believe that due to scientific advancement, growing bananas in desert must be possible. If that is possible, an Arab guy writing a book about his confessions is also possible.

Be a vegetarian


This is a kind of funny image. It looks to be two friends who have been together since a long time. They both used to enjoy meat. But the gorilla has become a vegetarian now and is trying to convince the dog that it’s time to go green and be a vegetarian. The dog is not yet ready to leave his meat eating habits and does not agree to his friend.

I still look good


 

Here is a simple online application to c64 your picture. When first I saw the daily create, I was confused how I am going to get the image into the desired format. I did see the web link to do it but I thought it would take ages. But as I visited the website, it was simply dropping the image there in the space provided and the next page had the image ready. For me, the download function did not work therefore, I had to take a screenshot.

I am Going to Mars


The task was to draw anything but the pen or mouse cursor had to draw continuously. I did draw continuously. I did move twice along the same path. There was nothing about avoiding the same path twice in the instructions so I believe I am safe. I used my mouse cursor to draw this rocket.

The story behind this is that I have always wanted to go to Mars as it looks just like our Arabian desert. But the problem is that I didn’t know how to get there. Now I know how I am getting there.

So how was week 3?

What did I learn this week?

This week I had to look back on the mistakes I made previously and try and rectify them. I did visit blogs from other course participants and learned a lot from them. I am hopeful that much of the changes that I brought in to this week’s work are the reflection of the many things that I learnt in those blogs plus the feedback on my previous week’s work.

I have listened to audio stories since I was a child. I always thought that it was a simple task to produce an audio play. But after going over the course material for this week and completing the audio assignments, I have come to a conclusion that audios production and storytelling is a complex art. I hope that the lessons learnt from the audio storytelling part of the course will prove to be vital in my future course work and may be professional life. And why not?

Following is a list of the tasks that I completed for this week.

  1. Please click here for a summary of audio storytelling by Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad
  2. Please click here for a summary of the radio story
  3. Please click here for audio assignment 1
  4. Please click here for audio assignment 2
  5. Here are the 4 daily creates: 1, 2, 3, 4
  6. Summary of feedback from comments

The scary night, with audio effects only

4.5 Stars Assignment

Length of audio: 44 seconds

Please click here for assignment page

This was a challenging assignment. I had to tell a story without words. So I thought of a scary night where a person gets into a haunted house. There he finds out that the house is possessed by a scary creature. He shouts and screams and fires at the scary creature.

The context of the story that I carved is that it is the last scene of a radio scary drama. At the end I have left the story open to speculation of the audience as they would be making predictions about what happens at the after the shot being fired. So till the next episode when the answers to unanswered questions will be given, the audience will be intact to the radio drama and tune in again to know the proceedings.

I downloaded 6 audio segments from Freesound. I have put the names of the audio segments in the sequence they occur in the radio drama scene that I produced.

sounds used

  1. Door knocks
  2. Door handle sound
  3. Door opening
  4. Scary sound
  5. Guy screaming
  6. Shots fired

I imported all the audio segments to Audacity software.

audicity 1

Then I used the time shift tool, as can be seen in the image, to give a sequence to the drama scenes

audicity 2 time shift tool

I used the Gun Shot audio clip multiple times. Following image gives an overview of the final Audacity software panel that I used to export the scary audio drama in mp3 format.

audicity 3 full audio

Then I uploaded the drama scene to my Soundcloud account for a larger audience to listen to.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/273055534″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]