Friday, 25 June 2010

Viewing: Use of Colour

Finally for this section of viewing I looked at the use of colour in film, and how this was used to portray change of atmosphere and emotion. I saw a short film shot on a Canon 7D on the internet called USB Dream. It is actually in french, which was interesting, because due to the language barrier, I was really in touch with the aspects other than the language to help me understand the story, including the use of colour. Link to the film is here USB Dream

This first image is right at the start of the film. It is a very neutral colour scheme, bright, and effectively a blank canvas. This partly portrays the feeling the film is set in the future some time ahead, with a very contemporary feel, but there is also something not quite right about everything being so stark white.

We then move to an outdoor scene, which the colour temperature is much warmer, perhaps used to portray the time of day. However there is something a bit off about the colour, it's not quite evening colour, and again it just creates a bit of an uneasy feeling, which helps to portray the mood again that something is not quite right.

Later in the film, when things are more clear, and there is something sinister going on we are presented with this dark screen, with green highlights. The lack of light, and the green colour together work well to create a very intimidating feel to the scene.

So here it is quite clear that the colour of the film can change throughout to really help emphasize the mood of each scene. Even though the general same feeling is portrayed throughout, the colour changes to gradually strengthen the feeling as the film progresses and we learn more.

Finally this is an image for a series of films called Underworld. It is about Vampires and Werewolves and the battle between them. This series is generally coloured with this very cold blue feel to the entire film/series of films to really give the films a very stylized feel as well as portray the dark, vampire nature of the film. It is obviously a clear choice to present the whole film with this colour scheme as it really emphasizes the mood of the film as a whole

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Viewing: Light levels

Just a small comment about sudden changes of light levels in films which I was told to look out for. I watched "How to go out on a date in Queens" and noticed a few examples of sudden light changes to represent actions, or even things happening off screen. Below is an example where we do not physically see the character flick the light switch, but we see the suggested action and the change in light level and we piece together the information to assume the light switch is out of our sight:

Throughout the film there were a number of other small instances of sudden changes in light levels, when couple were sitting in car, sudden changes of light level indicating to the view that they are sitting by a road and cars are passing. Again, we do not see this, but the sounds of cars, plus these sudden changes in light levels are all very important for piecing together the scene around what we actually see, and this is very important in a film, so light levels are a key part of setting the scene.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

500 days of Summer

So I've literally just watched this film (on Blu-ray from Lovefilm, got to love that service, so many high definition films!), and I just had to write about it on this blog.

500 days of Summer I could tell from the start was a film with a different idea about what a film should be. Right from the beginning you are told that this is a story of boy meets girl, but this is not a "love story", immediately telling you that it is not going to be a clich├ęd story about love, and it certainly does nothing to disappoint you on that front.

First thing we see is actually the main character just after the relationship has ended. The 500 days of Summer in the title refers to 500 days since the main character met the girl called Summer, and we are thrown in at around the middle of this period, which the film conveniently lets you know by a screen telling you which day of the 500 we are viewing.

Now this is key to the film. As I just said, we are thrown in around the middle of this time, and the film is constantly jumping around the timeline, jumping from within the relationship, to after the relationship, to towards the end of the relationship, gradually revealing how the relationship developed and ended, but unlike most films, doing it all at the same time.

It may sound confusing, but it actually works really well, and really kept the story fresh, whilst also leaving you wondering about the inbetweens, how the parts you are seeing link together.

This was not the only unconventional technique the movie used. There were a couple of split screen moments, once briefly used to indicate two characters far apart at the same moment, but the second time was a very clever use of what the character expected to happen, playing alongside reality at the same time. It worked wonderfully with the viewer constantly flicking from his ideal imagined view to the reality and how it is all going horribly wrong for him. It is a very clever technique and is used brilliantly in this film.

Technically 500 days of Summer is an unorthodox film, but it worked beautifully on screen, and the break from convention is a refreshing way to tell the story. The story itself is unconventional, and certainly kept me enthralled, and also got me laughing out loud at some genuinely rather funny parts. I think overall it is a brilliant piece of cinematography, and is worth watching both for the different approach to telling a narrative, and for the funny, refreshing, and interesting story itself.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Viewing: Balance of Composition

Whilst watching Sherlock Holmes I saw an excellent example of balance of composition between frames in action, but in an unorthodox way, so thought I would talk about this example:

Above are the two frames of the characters talking to each other. The scene flicks back and forth between these two frames as each character speaks. However they are positioned the wrong side of the frame to feel natural, both characters looking out of the frame rather than into the negative space. This is because the viewer is meant to feel uneasy, as it is a tense conversation, and it works very well, along with the lighting in the frames creating a sense of mystery. The balance is then broken in the following frame, as a character enters down the stairs in the background of this scene, the sudden change and breaking the balance, also doing a good job of creating the uneasy atmosphere that greets the entrance of the "bad guy" in the film

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Viewing: the rule of thirds and composition

I was watching the film "I could never be your woman" when I was thinking about the rule of thirds, and the use of composition to create a mood or feeling within a film, and have some examples of the use of composition in this film to create a certain atmosphere:

Above is a scene from a film. It's a comfortable, mildly amusing scene. The frame is laid out very much according to the rule of thirds. Graham Norton and Michelle Pfeiffer are both around the line of thirds on one side of the screen, whilst Paul Rudd fills the negative space in the mirror, creating a sense of balance across the frame. This then transitions round to a new frame shown below:

The balance is kept within the frame, with the three characters evenly spread out across the frame, Graham Norton roughly on one line of thirds, Michelle Pfeiffer the other, and Paul Rudd in between helping to balance out the frame. This still is very comfortable framing, and doesn't do anything to upset the relaxed atmosphere already created.

Above is another scene from later on in the movie. There is an argument going on. The frame is very uneven. No one is quite on a line of third, and the characters are on one side of the frame, leaving a fair bit of negative space between them, and who they are arguing with. This certainly is a more uneasy frame, creating a feeling of tension to go with the argument that is in progress.

The argument is over, but is left without a resolution, and the scene transitions to this frame, with Michelle Pfeiffer on her own. She is positioned slightly off center, but not close enough to a third to still create some tension. It is helping the viewer feel the lack of a resolution from the argument, and the uneasy mood that still lingers with this character.

These are just a couple of examples of composition to create an atmosphere from this film. It was frequent throughout the film. It is certainly a large part of filmmaking, being aware of how composition affects the mood of the piece, and even a simple comedy, such as this film, can benefit greatly from the use of good composition.