Archive for the ‘CPD’ Category

Project Proposal

Posted: April 9, 2014 in CPD
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Aim of the project:

  • Challenge the everyday
  • The interaction and displacement of time and space
  • Natural vs artificial interaction

 

 

The inspiration for our website & modified pictures came from Ben Highmore’s article –Questioning Everyday Life. When we look at everyday life we are pinpointing an everyday culture. The everyday is what we live in, our day to day activities but also those unique experiences that break up an ordinary life. To some, the everyday is mundane, repeated, stuck in a life where everything seems the same. But to others the everyday is unique; some follow a life that is filled with adventure and excitement. We wanted to explore the idea of networking and connectivity within Bristol, and how as a city/ society we are interlinked& connected to one another. Our society is constantly surrounded and immersed in edited and constructed images, which present us with a false reality. Because we live in such a heavily mediated world we wanted to recreate this theme by producing several highly photo shopped images, and then challenge our pre-conceptions of the every day by disrupting time and space. e.g. how we perceive interactions between the natural world and artificial manmade one, by placing wild deer into a football stadium playing on the grass which would challenge what we perceive as the everyday.   We would then show case these images on a website that would be easy to navigate and access, whilst also including an emphasise of user interaction within the design. 

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Website Project

Posted: April 9, 2014 in CPD
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Website Project

Walking into Bristol museum is like walking into a cathedral – there is a reverence, a hushed expectation. When observing the different collections not only was I aware of the historical connections ofImage such items in terms of colonialism, but also the sterile environment in which the objects were kept. Sterile because they were void of their cultural meaning. Take the child’s robe from China that I chose. In one way it is simply an article of clothing. But that’s like saying that a diamond is just a diamond when there is a huge background of slave labour in South Africa, to the cultural implications of ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend!

Having read Edwards, Godson and Phillips book Sensible Objects:Colonialism,Museums and Material Culture,(2006) I wondered how many of these items were given freely by the people who owned them and how many were taken because we had such power over these countries! But there is a sense of custodianship in the museum. Items are displayed with great care. It is just such a shame we can’t touch and smell the objects. Stoler in her book Race and the Education of Desire states that “the hierarchy, class and caste were created and represented through clothing, buildings and…..around food, odors, sounds, and the bodily contacts in which material objects were, and continue to be, entangled.” Stoler p122 (1995)Image

The child’s robe opposite is from China and while looking at the robe the sense of sight was the only indigenous sensory experience I was allowed – other senses were denied to me. I wanted to touch the expensive silk of a robe that took two years to make. I wanted to smell the fabric, get a ‘feel’ for it. The sensory approach to objects allows us to get closer to them – to find out more about them and understand better the people and the culture from which the object originally came. How would that silk robe feel and importantly, how would it make me feel if I was wearing it (although at 6ft 4 and 14 stone I’m not sure it would be that comfortable).

Behind the glass cabinet, objects lose their potency and their power. Their cultural power is diluted to such an extent that when I look at the robe, I really don’t ‘feel’ much at all. The museum does not allow me to experience much more than this but this course is teaching me that the robe is more than just an object. It is a cultural symbol of power and influence, being the robe of an Emperor’s child.

The contemporary object that I found to make comparisons is a children’s Chinese top from Bristol Market. In this environment I could touch and smell the top as well as gain an insight into its locality. Similar material and style in a very different setting – two similar tops separated by over a hundred years. What was interesting was the two Imagesettings – one was interactive, cultural, social. The other was not. Perhaps museums could learn something from contemporary market places!Image

Film Log

Posted: December 11, 2013 in CPD
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Idea

Our idea is going to be a dramatic hunting sequence. The idea of having a day to day average Joe hunting for food which then is portrayed as a ready meal/pack of food. This shows an unreal/unexpected scene that questions everyday life and what we take for granted. The key objective is to question how we perceive reality.

 

Props/Equipment

* Knife

* Stick

* Ready meal/Pack of food

* Handheld video recorder

* Specific set of clothes to denote ‘normal’

 

Location/Time

* We will be recording in the woods next to Bower Ashton campus.

* 19th November 2013

* 9:00am – 5:00pm

 

Sounds/Camera Shots/Lighting

* Diagnostic/ Diegetic Sounds (Heavy breathing, Footsteps, Wildlife) and non-diegetic sound (music soundtrack)

* POV

* Mid Shots

* Close-up Shots

* Tracking

* Establishing shot

* Long shot

* Low Angle/Voyeuristic shot

* Natural Lighting

Sequence List

1. Establishing shot of the main character standing with a spear

2. POV shot of the main character bending down to look for animal tracks and checking for clues

3. Sudden noises of the animal and then a mixture of mid and long shots of the character running towards the noises

4. After running through the forest movement in the bushes/trees is seen. The character is shown in a voyeuristic shot (POV from the animal)

5. After finding the animal we use an over the shoulder shot of the character raising his spear

6. POV of the spear being thrust into the animal several times

7. Sitting down with the food eating e.g a bacon sandwich, whole chicken

 

Problems

* Timeframe when everyone is free

* Lighting – Having no natural light when filming

* Weather

* Making the clips dramatic as possible

* Not having an actual animal to film and making sure it’s clear that an animal should be there

 

Jobs

* Nathan Foote – Main Director

* Sam Hopton – Sound/Visual Editor

* Tom Woods – Producer

* Jake Ponting – Actor

We will all be participating in all of the jobs. But the jobs that have been listed will be our main jobs.

Video Proposal

Posted: December 11, 2013 in CPD
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The inspiration for our short film came from Ben Highmore’s article –Questioning Everyday Life. When we look at everyday life we are pinpointing an everyday culture. The everyday is what we live in, our day to day activities but also those unique experiences that break up an ordinary life. To some, the everyday is mundane, repeated, stuck in a life where everything seems the same. But to others the everyday is unique; some follow a life that is filled with adventure and excitement. This is where we found our inspiration for our project, to distinguish the mundane from the excited, not realising how simple the everyday is until you compare it with something that is not considered ‘everyday’. We took the thought of the average western man, we guessed he worked in an office, or maybe a bank, took sandwiches for lunch and at five pm he would head home, eat dinner with his family, watch TV and go to bed. We wanted to disrupt how we as a culture perceive the mundane everyday activity of shopping; especially the convenience and pleasure shopping that  1st world countries take for granted. If he conformed he’d be shopping in Tesco (or Waitrose!), eating dinner with his family – being normal. But in our film he reverts back to his primeval/ archaic instincts and desires – to hunt, to kill, to gather for his family and to eat –  provide for his family as men would do thousands of years ago.

Bringing Home the Bacon

Posted: December 11, 2013 in CPD
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Workbook Blog – Bringing home the Bacon

Posted: December 11, 2013 in CPD
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This week we focused on completing the film. As a group we watched several different adverts to get an understanding of what types of shots are used to illustrate the importance of the product.

This scene shows a close-up shot of the bacon. It contributes to the film’s point of view and focuses on one of the key props in the film.  Ben Highmore quotes “The everyday that must be regarded as a contested and opaque terrain, where meaning are not to be found ready-made.” (Highmore, B. (2002) The Everyday Life Reader).

We have demonstrated this theory in the shot by using the close-up camera angle to emphasise finding a pack of bacon in the woods amongst some leaves. This is hinting at meaning that is opaque and not obvious. Highmore sees everyday life as contradictions between known and unknown, ordinary and extraordinary, obvious and enigmatic. Our film, as it progresses, explores all of these aspects of Highmore’s theory.

 

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During the second week we worked on creating the sound for the movie. Using sounds from youtube and freesounds.org, we identified the perfect sounds to play alongside the visual. Our background music was inspired by the film Apocalypto. We felt the film soundtrack used a perfect blend of buildup music that would fit perfectly into our film.

This picture is a audio waveform that we used in the film. We used a build up of sounds starting with a calm and natural environment (linking to Highmore’s ‘known’) leading up to a dark and mysterious, almost jungle beat (hinting at the unknown and enigmatic). Janet Marshall states, “Though we might think of film as an essentially visual experience, we really cannot afford to underestimate the importance of film sound. A meaningful sound track is often as complicated as the image on the screen.” [Marshall, J (1988)]. We demonstrate the importance of this theory by identifying a clear contrast between the different sounds/music in the film. In the documentary film Grizzly Man, [Grizzly Man (2005), directed by Werner Herzog], very little of the film unfolds without sound and music (and voiceover) guiding the audience’s experience. We wanted to emulate this in our film too.

 

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For the third week we concentrated on the Hunt scene, a key element of the film. We studied films which contained hunt scenes such as The Hunter(2011), Predator (1987) and Apocalypto (2006). After listing the criteria for a successful hunt scene, we started putting together the hunt sequence.

This image shows a close-up shot of the character’s face whilst he is running through the woods breathing heavily. We wanted to portray how intense the hunt scene really is during the film, and hope to have shown this by focusing the viewer’s eyes and ears on the shots and sounds we used. 

“Film sound thus became a‘close-up’ sound. Unlike the image, that denies the spectator and turns him into a voyeur, the sound is meant for the spectator. The sound fixes the spectator in his or her seat and allows a greater mobility of the camera.” [Altman, R (1992): 61-62].

In our film we were very aware of close up sound (heavy breathing as the character hunts) and distance sound (the background sound of birds chirping), creating different effects to move the narrative forward.

 

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In the final week we focused on the ‘pig scenes’.

 

Here are two screenshots. One is a close-up of the character staring at his bloody hands after he has just killed the pig and the other shot is a POV shot of the animal staring at the character and grunting/squealing. The first picture emphasises how brutal and bloody the killing was, the second image shows us how important it is to use different camera angles and to visualise the story for the viewer from every character’s POV. We wanted to emulate the atmosphere from films such as Alien or Predator and we did this by using two effects. One, shaking the camera to denote action and the other showing a dark red, a menacing and bloody colour.

As a group we realised the importance of synchresis (the point at which sound and vision combine) which was key to the project. We wanted there to be a smooth transition between the two, and also the sound effects needed to build the tension. The birds singing in the background at the beginning (calm and tranquil atmosphere), turned into crows cawing as the character entered the woods, (classic Hitchcock sound effect during the menacing scenes in his 1963 thriller,The Birds), to the sound of footsteps running and heavy breathing. The inspiration for the moment where the ‘pig’ is killed was taken from Alfred Hitchcock’s famous shower scene in Psycho[Psycho (1960) directed by Alfred Hitchcock.] where the sound and action work together to create suspense but without the ‘murder’ actually being witnessed.

The music was chosen to create a wild feel to the chase scene, but music was paused to allow the audience to focus on the character’s breathing and footsteps,(once again building the suspense) and not be distracted by non-diegetic sound. Overall, this project was a fascinating and fun experience. It allowed us to practise some of the classic film and sound techniques we have learnt about and discovered this term.

 

Sam & Tom – Video Edit

Posted: November 5, 2013 in CPD
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We started playing around with sound in Adobe Premier and edited a video with no sound. We are happy with the overall rough final edition of the video. We are aware of the changes we need to make next time.

Enjoy!

Questioning Everyday Life

Posted: October 31, 2013 in CPD
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When thinking about media and culture, I can see why it would make sense to understand how people are in their everyday life. A year ago I would have thought that was easy but then I read ‘Questioning Everyday Life’ by Ben Highmore and once again I’m questioning stuff I didn’t think I needed to! Surely everyday life is about me and what I do on a day by day basis, end of story. How hard can it be? If anyone wants to study everyday life they just need to follow someone around for a few days making notes. If this happens to be someone in the media (advertising, game design, film making) then that should be simple. You want an aftershave to suit a man for ‘everyday’ then watch him in his everyday routines. If you want to make a film about the everyday family life of people in Bristol then follow a family around for a week with a camera and sound engineer. But cultural studies and media is never that simple. Having read Ben Highmore’s account of everyday life, I’m now beginning to wonder if there is such a thing and as usual, I’m not even sure I am in charge of my everyday life anymore!
Henri Lefebvre in his book Critique of Everyday Life [Lefebvre: 1930] said that everyday life is defined as ‘what is left over’ when you take everything else a way. I guess he means class, gender and all the other things that shape who we are. But it is my class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and cultural capital that affect my everyday life and to take those things away might mean I am not being myself in everyday life! Then I’ve got Marx and Freud saying that everyday life is not my own anyway – that I am influenced by people with power who tell me what to do because they can and that I am just a big bundle of unspent desires that make ‘everyday’ living a bit of a battle.

Ben Highmore suggests that in order to understand it we have to look at the micro (what is there and what you see that makes it everyday) as well as the background stuff (the culture and society where the everyday life takes place). That way, we should be able to get closer to what really is everyday. By looking at what everyday isn’t, we should be able to define what it is. Well good luck with that one – I’m off down the pub to study people doing ‘everyday’ things!

PokerShe would command an audience on a Sunday night! Smoking her clay pipe and sitting at an old farm table, Great Great Granny McMannus would be the centre of the local community for at least 3 hours. There she would play ‘old style’ poker, usually against the local farmers who ‘should know better’. Playing both straight and stud poker, she rarely lost and (according to my Grandfather) knew when to hold them and knew when to fold them.

This tradition of card playing on a Sunday night was certainly part of my childhood. Although we rarely played for money (and then only pennies), Newmarket, 21 and poker were games we played as a whole family and particularly when the Irish side of the family visited.

What I learnt about those times was priceless. The sense of family tradition was clear and even as a boy, I felt so proud to be part of it. Looking back, it wasn’t really about the cards – it was about the family being together. The TV was long forgotten, the table was cleared and I would sit with my grandfather as he had sat with his grandmother and the game would continue.

Of course now you don’t need anything but a computer and you can be completely on your own playing with strangers from every continent! I’m not sure my Great Great Grandmother would have approved! Remote Gambling is defined as “Gambling in which persons participate by the use of remote communication”. This would be using the internet, the telephone, radio, television of any other device used for communication. (Wikipedia – (46)

In terms of revenue, there has been a phenomenal increase in online poker playing , with casino betting taking £347.87 million between 2010-2011. (Wikipedia – (48) but linked to this there has also been an increase in ‘problem gambling’ and money laundering through online casino sites.

This is part of the poker game that I dislike the most. Gone is the community spirit, gone is the competitor that you can look in the eye and try to read their body language. Gone are the discussions and debates throughout the evening, the comradely and community spirit that my Great Great Grandmother thought so important.