Sunday, 31 January 2016

'The Birds 1963' Look! Is it a bird? Yeah, its a bird alright... 31/01/2016

Figure 1: The Birds 1963 Poster 

This film review will focus on the film 'The Birds 1963', the film was made in 1963 and is another one of Alfred Hitchcock’s films. The film was directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the screenplay was done by Evan Hunter, cinematography was done by Robert Burks and the soundtrack was done by Bernard Herrmann. The film is very detailed in its design, having the special effects that it did were very complex and took a while to make. However some scenes do look a little dodgy, even now it is slightly amusing watching gulls fly head first into homes almost as if they don’t know how to fly. The pacing for the film is also slightly odd, there is a sense of these birds having some sort of significance but the build-up is so weirdly paced and sudden that it makes the introduction of the birds almost unexplainable. However despite this the film is widely regarded as a really good film, showing that the effects and story do have quite a lot of backbone. "The Birds is one of the best "creature features" ever made, possibly only rivaled by Jaws for best ever, though the latter does owe a debt of style to this film. Though not entirely realistic, the visual effects are still reasonably workable even by today's more discriminating special effects crowd, and it still manages to deliver a good deal of suspense and hair-raising tension. While most people probably won't view birds as scary before seeing this film, by the end, you will forever be reminded of this film when you find yourself surrounded by a large flock of our "feathered friends"." (V Leo. 2007)

Figure 2: Melanie Daniels
Lets start with the special effects, for it time these effects were very complex, birds had not really been done up until now, but despite the effects in some places looking very fake there are some scenes that stand out more than others, two in particular. “The bird-attack sequences are tremendously complex (the movie contains more than 370 trick shots), and the absence of a score renders the horror more immediate: Hitch's long-time composer Bernard Herrmann fashioned an eerie soundtrack from caws, strident screeches and rustling wings.” (A Sooke. 2015) The first is when Lydia Brenner drives down to a barn only to discover a dead body that has had it eyes plucked out, almost nightmarishly? Its odd, and actually quite scary, there is almost no sound played in this scene so there is nothing else to focus on but his eyes, you would almost expect the Psycho music to start playing at that moment. However the more noticeable sound however is the scene where the whole family is taking refuge inside the house, then almost like a swarm of bees thousands of birds come shooting out the fireplace. Two things go through your head at this moment, the first being, are they going to drown due to the sheer amount of birds in the room or are they going to end up like the dead man from earlier? All birds have beaks but some have very small pointy beaks, almost like needles, so anyone who would have a fear of sharp, pointy object would probably be covering their eyes by now. There is one last shot in the film that really can send chills from your spine, at the start of the film we see a world where everyone is happy and free, there is even a small love story going on! However by the end of the film it turns from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ into ‘The Walking Dead: With Birds’. Honestly that is no joke, as humorous as it sounds it’s actually quite terrifying, having this lifeless, barren wasteland with nothing but birds to see everywhere is a scene no-one should miss. The outside world is dead silent apart from the small whistle of a bird every now and then, usually the air would be filled with life but in the ending scene the entire world appears dead. You can really feel the tension rising in this scene just because birds are easily startled, and once startled they could attack.

Figure 3: Dead Body
The cinematography and story are stronger in some scenes but not throughout the entire film. Some of the most incredible designs in the film cinematography are near the end where the invasion of the birds is almost like WWII. In WWII when the bombs were dropped there was a command issued that everyone turn out their lights and have no bright colours in case they were spotted. Then there is the anxious waiting in the houses, waiting to see if that bomb does drop, in this case though will the house be able to withstand the sheer force of the bird flood. Even in the café, people are lined up almost like some sort of infirmary, giving a feeling of people trying to survive. The narrative does have some strong elements as well, despite the way it is paced. There is one consistent clash going between two characters, and even though they do not exclaim their opinions for each other we can definitely get a vibe that there is something going on between these two. These two being Lydia Brenner (Jessica Tandy) and Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) , without saying anything but using their body language in order to set some sort of story up with no vocals is something to behold. However this ‘Mini Story’ does have somewhat of a role reversal in it, when Melanie shows up on Lydia’s doorstep its almost a competition of who is better. Lydia is Mitchell "Mitch" Brenner (Rod Taylor) mother but this new woman has more to offer than her, being frailer, gentler and not as strong as Melanie. However by the end of the film the two characters have almost completely swapped, (Main Girl) being delicate and afraid whilst Lydia being strong and stern. "The Birds is a textbook exercise in taking a simple story and creating a devastating film. These days the special effects may look shoddy and some of the complexities of character and period may be lost on younger viewers, but it's still a powerful film” (J Kermode. 2009). Another piece of excellent of cinematography, in one shot in the film Melanie is waiting outside the school for Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette). She sits down outside to have a cigarette and behind here is a climbing frame, slowly, one by one, birds land on it so quietly almost stealthily. We can see the birds landing but Melanie cant; it’s almost like a pantomime moment where you want to say “Look behind you!” and you can feel the anticipation rising.

Figure 4: The Birds
The most noticeable asset to this film though is its sound design, not is soundtrack. The bird noises are made up of electronic, generated sounds, giving off very sharp noises with harsh, high pitch clicking sound to give a very uneasy effect to the viewer. Some of the sound effects for the birds on their own can sound a bit dodgy, but when they are in mass numbers you can immediately hear what Bernard Herrmann was going for and he nails it. Even in the end of the film where the entire world has been taken over by birds you can hear the echoed cracks in the distance, really making it seem like there is no life left. These kinds of sounds had never really been heard before or not in bulk for films at least. “Glassmann, who is credited on the film as being behind the electronic production and composition, had created what is now probably more recognisable as an early sampler. The machine could take a recorded sound and transfer it to a keyboard in order to modulate it to musical keys and notes. It is this machine that allows the crossover of sound into music or perhaps it is the other way around. The detail and layering of the sound in the film seems almost built of counterpoint; whilst the sounds of the birds attacking seems engulfing, they’re never less than controlled in the same style as their coordinated attacks on the humans.” (A Scovell. 2014)

Biblography

Kermode, J. (2009) 
The birds (1963) movie review from eye for film. 
At: 
 (Accessed on 31.1.16)

Leo, V. (2007)
The birds review (1963) Hitchcock, Hedren - Qwipster’s movie reviews. 
At: 
(Accessed on 31.1.16)

Scovell, A. (2014)
Sounds of the birds (1963) - Alfred Hitchcock. 
At: 
(Accessed on 31.1.16)

Sooke, A. (2015)
'The birds, review: ‘Disturbing’' In: The Telegraph 9 January 2015 
(Accessed on 31.1.16)

Image Biblography

Figure 1: The Birds 1963 Poster

Figure 2: Melanie Daniels
http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/1249*675/THe+Birds+Banner+tippie.jpg

Figure 3:

Figure 4:

Other Sources

Actors

Jessica Tandy

Tippi Hedren

Rod Taylor

Suzanne Pleshette

Film Team

Alfred Hitchcock

Evan Hunter

Robert Burks

Bernarm Herrman

Friday, 29 January 2016

Maya Animation Tutorial: Anticipation and Follow Through 29/01/2016

video
This is my 3D animation of the can snatch. I thought it looked better with an ambient occlusion on it so I went and did that. The animation came out real nice in the end though!

Story Plot 3.0 29/01/2016

1. The story starts off with a Stuntman Poster showing how great this guy was, then the camera pans to a drunk stuntman at a bar. The TV then tells the story of a stuntman who has lost his job due to drinking habits, which is when we will see our stuntman. The stuntman is looking at pictures of the film set he used to work on (Which he loved ever so dear) and then takes a shot of some sort of drink. When he then looks up he then starts to hallucinate that the bar is his film set.

Notes: Some things to note about this first scene is that camera descriptions are not yet put in, however the camera is going to pan by the stuntman’s glass to show his presence. Also in this sequence there is a bartender and he leaves the bar to leave the stuntman alone.

 2. He dances, prances and jumps around the bar, however after a while his vision beings to turn back to reality. In a sad attempt to stay in this happy dream he tries to find more booze but cannot find anything, apart from one ‘Very’ strong drink that he would question to down, but he does it anyway. Doing his make his vision very ‘Real’, whilst in this trance he thinks it’s a good idea to body tackle a Piano thinking it is the main ‘Bad Guy’ in a western film. As he then tackles the Piano he launches it out the front door and begins to roll down the hill. As he rolls down the hill he imagines that he is in a race with someone else, in reality though he is rolling down a hill into oncoming traffic.

Notes: I really want to get the point across about how the stuntman hallucinates, turning all of the objects in the room into a film set, almost like a kid in a playground. On saying ‘End’ out of the window. He also begins to hallucinate that there is a big fight going on in the bar, like a western film. When the stuntman tackles the piano, it will be done in a way which can show squash and stretch for the character, but will show him landing on the top of the Piano making it roll out of the front door.

3. As he really comes to an end of this little performance an employer runs over to him saying how impressed he is with him and wants to offer him a job. The stuntman has no clue what the man is talking about, until the Piano rolls up behind him. The stuntman now sobered up and realizing what he has done is overjoyed, the employer offers him a job and the stuntman leaps in the air in happiness. The film ends.

Notes: As the film ends the Piano will slide behind the stuntman almost as if it is poking him.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Re-worked story concept 'Glazed and Dazed': 27/01/2016


Story Plot 2.0:

1. The story starts off with a Stuntman Poster showing how great this guy was, then the camera then pans to a drunk stuntman at a bar. The TV then tells the story of a stuntman who has lost his job due to drinking habits, which is when we will see our stuntman. The stuntman is looking at pictures of the film set he used to work on (Which he loved ever so dear) and then takes a shot of some sort of drink. When he then looks up he then starts to hallucinate that the bar is his film set.

Notes: Some things to note about this first scene is that camera descriptions are not yet put in, however the camera is going to pan by the stuntman’s glass to show his presence. Also in this sequence there is a bartender and he leaves the bar to leave the stuntman alone.

2. He dances, prances and jumps around the bar, however after a while his vision beings to turn back to reality. In a sad attempt to stay in this dream he tries to find more booze but cannot find anything, apart from one ‘Very’ strong drink that he would question to down, but he does it anyway. Doing his make his vision very ‘Real’, whilst in this trance he thinks it’s a good idea to leap off a crate onto what he thinks is crash mat, nope it’s a piano.

Notes: I really want to get the point across about how the stuntman hallucinates, turning all of the objects in the room into a film set, almost like a kid in a playground.

3. The camera then pans around cleverly to make it look like he has landed on a table, however he has really landed on a Piano. With him still unconscious a bottle slips out of his hand onto a door release, opening the front door, it also activates some sort of Gold-Ruberg Contraption, making the Piano move roll out of the bar and down a hill. When the stuntman wakes up he finds himself rolling down a street on a Piano towards the city, he then thinks “Bugger it” and uses the pedals to steer the Piano.

Notes: The Rube-Goldberg machine will just be a series of events prior to the stuntman’s departure. The piano is also going very fast down a hill into oncoming traffic, using a Piano’s pedals to steer.

4. As he approaches the middle of the city he sees a Liquor store and decides to drive towards it. As he flies down the hill he passes his boss, his boss is amazed and chases after him.

Notes: At the start of the film the company will be named, so when the camera files past the boss he will wear something to indicate he is the boss of this company that the stuntman was once in.5. The stuntman then merrily skips off the Piano and begin to walk towards the Liquor store. Unfortunately the Piano keeps going and rolls (Somehow) onto the top of a building. As the stuntman is still in his happy dream he doesn’t notice what lurks above him, the Piano. The Piano falls off the top of the building and slams right onto the Stuntman.

Notes: When the Piano drops on the stuntman, it will show the stuntman being crushed from afar, then immediately switch to black, also to note about the ‘Piano Crushing’ is that the shadow will be emphasized to show the stuntman’s impending doom.6. The stuntman then wakes up in a hospital, in a bad mood. In his frustration he looks for his shot canister and is about to drink some more when one of the keys of the Piano catches his eye and a letter. He picks up the Piano key with a little note on the back, saying “I know this is a hard time for you and I’m sorry for everything we did to you these past couple months, we are going to ‘Re-hire’ you. I’m not going to ask you to stop drinking, but this little piece of piano should remind you the pain it has brought you and the problems it has caused. Yours sincerely –Boss”

Notes: This scene does not really need any notes but an explanation, the character do not really speak a language but rather just gibberish (Like the Sims language), most of the story will be told through text.

7. The film ends with the stuntman throwing his shot canister out the window and going to sleep with a smile on his face.

Notes: As he throws the canister out the window there will be a slight light in the sky, rather than just rain. Either that or some neon light will come on saying ‘End’ out of the window.

Adobe Audition: Space Age Forest 27/01/2016


video
This is anther test in adobe audition, this time I went for a very forest themed sound, but add a little space age vibe to it as well, I personally really like it but the animal noise does sound a little out of whack at times.

The image is not mine but was created by 343 Industries.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Maya Tutorial: Squash and Stretch 25/01/2016

Bouncing Toadstool Animation GIF
video

This my animation for the Squash and Stretch animation tutorial, I didn't go along with the tutorials final animation though, I decided it needed a little more 'Bounciness' to the animation and it came out really nice!

Friday, 22 January 2016

'Psycho 1960' Mama Mia 22/01/2016

Figure 1: 'Psycho 1960' Poster
This film review will focus on the film 'Psycho 1960', the film was not known for its animation or graphical fidelity but its incredible writing and manipulative story that really immerses you into the film. This film is one of, if not the most iconic horror films of all time, bringing us clichés such as the iconic horror music where Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is murdered by the Psycho (Psycho Shower Music). The film was made in 1960, was directed Alfred Hitchcock, the screenplay was done by Joseph Stefano and the music was done by Bernard Herrman. This film is a know legend in the film industry, if there was any film to go to for inspiration for every single horror film ever made it would be this one. "What makes "Psycho" immortal, when so many films are already half-forgotten as we leave the theater, is that it connects directly with our fears: Our fears that we might impulsively commit a crime, our fears of the police, our fears of becoming the victim of a madman, and of course our fears of disappointing our mothers." (R Ebert. 1998)

Figure 2: Marion Crane Driving
What Psycho does really well in its situation is essentially mislead us intentionally right from the beginning, from the start we are mislead just by the camera positioning. The story starts off with our supposed main character Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) stealing $40,000 (Forty Thousand Dollars) from her workplace after being asked to put $40,000 in a bank by her boss. Without any dialogue even being said we can clearly tell what the character is thinking, the camera darts between her, a suitcase and the envelope with the money. We also look at her face when she is looking at the envelope and we can not only see great fear in her but also a colossal amount of adrenaline, she had the opportunity to take $40,000 for herself and no-one was going to stop her, she figured why not take the risk as the reward is exceptionally high. From there more references are made to make the viewer believe the film is about a girl on the run with tensions running very high, her being approached by a police officer, the car dealer saying "First one of the day causes the most trouble." and the most significant one, her running into her boss as she leaves the city. So already we have this story being set up, we can get the whole picture in our heads right up until the point where she pulls over into the motel. This is the scene before she meets her gruesome demise, she is offered by the owner of the motel Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) to have a meal with him. She then leaves after the meal and only about 5 minutes later she is violently stabbed to death by our 'Psycho'. Even after she has been killed and is being hidden, we are still wondering, but wait, what about the money? and then it gets dumped in a swamp only for us to either question what the hell just happened or realise that whole starting sequence with the money was nothing merely than a cleverly used diversion from what the film is about. Its in the name, its about a Psycho, not a woman who goes on the run with $40,000 dollars.

Figure 3: Norman Bates
Normans character is surprisingly well done, from the way we view him as an actual character he seems like someone with something to hide. We know from the ending of the film what kind of a person he is, a psychopath, however throughout the film we get a vibe of a man who is very innocent or child-like. Now as we know Norman is using his dead mother more or less as an excuse to murdering people, becoming his mentally unstable mother and then proceeding to clean up 'Her' victims after wards, almost like he is covering for her so she doesn't get sent to a mental hospital. One key thing to note about Norman is where he works and the conditions he is put in, its almost like solitary confinement, that could have something to do with why Norman is the way he is. He also has a rather rare hobby, taxidermy. Taxidermy is stuffing dead animals to make them in statues, whether he kills them or not is not stated in the film, but his current condition would probably take a very good guess. Taxidermy can be a very odd hobby, you are taking dead animals and stuffing, but for some reason he seems to have a very interest in birds, which is kind of ironic considering his situation. Bird are one of the few creatures that can achieve flight, not being bound to the ground by gravity so they are considered one of few animals that are 'Free'. However a bird is also an animal which can spend its entire life inside of a cage, some sort of prison, being held in by metal bars like a cell. For Norman, this hobby could actually be a very clever nod at the start of the film to what kind of person he is, being bound not by metal bars but by his mother. Something to note is how the film seems to relate to birds a lot, Marion 'Crane, the city is called 'Phoenix', Normans taxidermy, the birds eye shots and the birdcage references made by Norman. Another great example of how we can see what the character is thinking just by using the camera is a scene where Norman is being questioned by Milton Arbogast (Martin Balsam) and from the front view Norman looks a cool as a cucumber, but then the camera pans to the underside of Normans head and we immediately see how nervous he is, having his Adams apple move up and down and his intense nervous chewing really make him look uncomfortably nervous, so yet again another excellent use of the camera. "The screenplay by Joseph Stefano is way ahead of its time in both its dialogue and construction. For those unfamiliar with the iconic shower scene (is anyone?), it would come as a huge surprise that the character of Marion, who has been established as the protagonist of the story, dies within the first hour. There are actually two murder set pieces in "Psycho," and they are both dazzlingly executed. The sequence where Arbogast is attacked as he mounts the staircase in the Bates' home is exceptionally composed and cut together, powerful enough to still creep viewers out and cause them to jump in their seats." (D Putman. 1998)
Figure 4: Mother
In the final moments of the film we can see Alfred Hitchcock at his best, giving us a plot twist and then being able to catch everyone out with an ending that is both shocking and surprising. What's more interesting to note though is how Hitchcock has to explain what actually happens in the end of the film to make up for lack of an explanation for Normans actions. Once again for the whole film we are given the false truth, Norman is protecting his mother from the outside world so she doesn't go to a mental hospital, even up to the point of the end of the film where Norman is still acting like there is something to hide, but nothing as drastic as him being the killer. "For one thing, Hitchcock no longer cheats his endings. Where the mystery of "Diabolique," for example, is explained in the most popular after-all-this-is-just-a-movie-and-we've-been-taken manner, the solution of "Psycho" is more ghoulish than the antecedent horror which includes the grisliest murder scenes ever filmed." (J Hoberman. 2010) The ending scene though is one of the more chilling moments in the film, in the final shot where the camera transitions from Normans face to a scene of the car being towed out of the swamp. For about a split second a picture of Mothers skull matches up perfectly up with Normans face, showing not only how dead he has become inside but what he has actually become, a puppet of insanity.

Biblography

Hoberman, J. (2010) ‘Psycho’ is 50: Remembering its impact, and the Andrew Sarris review. 
At: 
(Accessed on 22.1.16)

Ebert, R. (1998) Psycho movie review & film summary (1960)
At:
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-psycho-1960
(Accessed on 22.1.16)

Putman, D. (1998) Dustin Putman’s review: Psycho (1960) - [TheMovieBoy]. 
At: 
(Accessed on 22.1.16)

Image Biblography

Figure 1: Psycho 1960 Poster

Figure 2: Marion Crane Driving

Figure 3: Norman Bates
http://hitchcockzone.com/files/captures/5609_003541.jpg

Other Sources

Actors

Anthony Perkins

Janet Leigh

Martin Balsam

Music

Shower Murder Scene Theme

Film Team

Alfred Hitchcock

Joseph Stefano

Bernard Herrman

Flash Animation: The Final Character 22/01/2016

Toothbrush Brainstorm

Final Toothbrush

Flash Animation: Character Design, A Despotic Toothbrush 22/01/2016

Despotic Toothbrushes
I am going to take influence from 3, 7, 9 and 10. For animation purposes I would like a very tall toothbrush. Most of the animation will be in the face so expect more posts on this topic soon!

New Story Concept: Glazed and Dazed 22/01/2016

Story

The story starts off with a Stuntman Poster showing how great this guy was, then the camera then pans to a drunk stuntman on a sofa. The stuntman is looking at pictures of the film set he used to work on (Which he loved ever so dear) and then takes a shot of some sort of drink. When he then looks up he then starts to see his home as a film set.

He dances, prances and jumps around his apartment, however after a while his vision beings to turn back to reality. In a sad attempt to stay in this dream he decides to drive down to the local liquor store. He then jumps out of a window, falls though the garage ceiling, knocking him out.

The camera then pans around cleverly to make it look like he has landed on his car but is really on a Piano. With him still unconscious a bottle slips out of his hand onto a button which opens the garage door, which activates some sort of Gold-Ruberg Contraption, making the Piano move and roll down the hill. When the stuntman wakes up he finds himself rolling down a street on a Piano towards the city, he then thinks “Bugger it” and uses the pedals to steer the Piano.

As he approaches the Liquor store to stay in this happy dream, he merrily skips off the Piano and begin to walk towards the store. Unfortunately the Piano keeps going and rolls (Somehow) onto the top of a building. As the stuntman is still in his happy dream he doesn’t notice what lurks above him, the Piano. The Piano falls off the top of the building and slams right onto the Stuntman.

The stuntman then wakes up in a hospital, in a bad mood. In his frustration he looks for his shot canister and is about to drink some more when one of the keys of the Piano catches his eye. He picks up the single key and looks at his shot canister almost as if to say “Nah”. The film ends with him throwing his canister out the window and going to sleep.
Nutshell Plot

Drunk Stuntman misses his job, he drinks a little too much and hallucinates that he is in his film set. While he is drunk he is super happy because of where he works. Realizing he wants to stay in this happy dream he attempts to drive there, jumping out of a window and falling through a ceiling he lands on what appears to be his car. The camera will change to show he is on a Piano, he drops a bottle opening the garage door and moving the Piano down the hill. 'Driving?' the Piano down the hill across into town he then gets off the Piano at the Liquor store. The Piano moves onto the top of a building perfectly poised to land on the stuntman. The stuntman then wakes up in hospital, attempts to drink but then remembers where drinking has got him, in a hospital out of his job.

Little Notes

In this film I really want to exaggerate just the sheer amount he misses his film set, having certain colors in his hallucination sequence to make everything brighter will be key. The entire art style of the film is very dark and gloomy so having the wall of bright lovely colors will be nice.

The end of the film is supposed to symbolize two things, the first is the Alcohol canister (Shot Canister) is meant to symbolism that this is only a short term happiness solution that can bring pain. Whereas the Piano shows the pain that has been caused to him because of the alcohol, you know, the Piano being dropped on him.

Also at the start of the film to make it easier to see for the audience that this guy is a stuntman there will be two hints. The first being a poster of him in his prime and the second will be him on TV and a news channel will state who he is and why he has been fired (Drinking Habits).

The final point to make is really getting the message across that this guy was a stuntman, so in his hallucination sequence many stunts will be needed to get his job role across.

Art Style Reference

The Wolf Among Us
 There will be much more red in my scenes as well as it being darker.

Post OGR Update & New Story Concepts 22/01/2016

OGR Update

Okay, so ever since the OGR some comment were made on my story. The biggest one was about my environment not being a big enough part of the story, I am coming up with a new story now that can follows some of these rules:
  • Every object I have been assigned my be significant in my story.
  • The concept of a stuntman can be altered due to a situation, e.g. Depressed stuntman, Old Stuntman, Rival Stuntman
  • The film set does not have to actually 'BE' there but can be heavily symbolized there.
There are no concepts set in stone yet but there is a story I have come up with that in my personal opinion I like way better than my pervious idea. I was given some creative influence by my tutor and I have come up with the concept of a 'Drunk Stuntman'. I am currently writing the story up now and it should be up by either today or tomorrow.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

OGR 1: 'From Script to Screen' Taking Notes 21/01/2016


I would like to explain why I decided to put in hyperlinks instead of all of my information for this OGR.

The links provided take you to areas of my blog where you can find the matching info to this OGR, I didn't want 30 pages of one version of my script compared to having a couple, also having to read for a good 30 minuets on OGR would not be nice, so that the reason for the hyperlinks.

I would have though the main reason is because of me being lazy, but no I want this OGR to be readable and not 40+ pages long. If that is then required to do, I will go out of my way and spend a good few days putting that together but I though this was an easier alternative.

There is also no concept are for this yet but once I get my tablet working again you can bet you will see more work from me. Once again, apologies for this.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Adobe Audition: Alien Ambience Practise 20/01/2016

video

This came out much better than last time, there is also no way you can really tell what made the sound but it still doesn't sound right. I love that I got it to sound so futuristic and the methods I used can be understood pretty easily, it just takes time.

Monday, 18 January 2016

From Script to Screen: The Details 16/01/2016

Short Film 'Taking Notes' 

My Three Assets:
  • Stuntman
  • Film Set
  • Piano

Plot

There is stuntman inside of a film set, he needs to practice before he performs. He has about an hour to do so, in order to train for this an obstacle course has been set up with parts he could find around the set, he also uses objects around the studio to 'Warm Up' before attempting this obstacle course. In the studio there is a Piano, a little boy has walked in (Somehow?) and just been watching this stuntman practice before attempting his real stunt.

As the man warms up the little boy plays the Piano, as the man warms up and the little boy plays it becomes apparent that every time the little boy plays a wrong note on the Piano the stuntman messes up, making this the main focus of the film, this Piano song that slowly becomes a mash of random keys to show the Stuntman getting annoyed.

The film ends with the man only realizing he only has five minutes left and sits down in despair, the little boy then comes over and tries to be nice to him making the stuntman have one last go at the obstacle course. At the same time the little boy plays a tune perfectly and the Stuntman gets past the obstacle course perfectly. The stuntman then realizes that the clock has just hit 14:00 and he needs to get moving. He leaves the set and the film ends.

Nutshell Plot

A stuntman needs to get ready to perform, he builds a course using stuff he can find around the film set. In the film set there is a piano, a little boy has been watching the stuntman practice and warm up. The plot twist in this film is that every time the little boy plays a note wrong on the piano the stuntman messes up, injuring or hurting himself in a comedic manor. The film ends with the two performing in perfect harmony.



Main Asset Inspirations

Film Set

The film set does have some inspirations behind it, but it is not the main focus of this story, it does have some significance but nothing too important.

Here are a couple images as to what I would want my film set to look like.

Film Set 1

Film Set 2

Film Set 3

Film Set 4
A film set is surprisingly tricky to do just because it varies on the film, so I figured I should do something to show what an 'Actual' Film Set is, a stage that has been set up for actors to perform. They are simple, expansive rooms but compact due to objects that have been stored in them.

Piano

The piano is one of the main drivers of this little story, so it needs to stand out. I would have wanted to have had some sort of big prop, which when this 'Little Boy' interacts with it, it can bring some comedy to the animation (E.g. Him having to jump onto the chair.)

Here are a couple images of what I would want this Piano to be like.

Piano 1
Piano 2
A piano is an instrument that is usually known as being very regal, high class or posh, however due to the timeframe we live in a piano is a 'Classic' instrument, everyone knows what it is and it would be very easy to spot or make out in a very packed room. So it would need to look correct, but not to correct as the immersion would be taken out of the animation if this was done to a realistic standard. Having a dusty film set and this huge clean piano comes out of nowhere wouldn't make sense.

 
Stuntman
 
The stuntman is the main character in this story, he needs to look rugged, solid but very lightweight. A stuntman's job is in the name, do stunts. These can range from feats of impressive physical activity to showing an actor what will be comprised of a scene and how he links into that 'set' scene.
Here are some images of where I will grab some inspiration from.
 
 
Fist Wrappings

Indiana Jones

Drake: Uncharted Series

Parkour
So for the design of the stuntman I want to go for something that makes him look lightweight yet very powerful at the same time. Having the fist bands is a personal design choice as its known that some materials when wrapped around a hand can provide better grip, it also makes him look like he knows his line of work and knows that accidents can happen.
 
Before any red sirens go off, no this stuntman is not Indiana Jones or a Cowboy, I have been asked to do a stuntman. The reason I would like to have Indiana as an inspiration is because of how he his and the way he is dressed. You can see a lot of his skin with his clothes on, usually having some sort of short sleeved top on or maybe even a tank top on just so he isn't bare chested. He also looks very stern and playful, having that playfulness about a character would be very good for this choice of my character, just because of what a stuntman is, he can perform feats of agility and can make it look easy, little bit like a monkey.
 
General Art Direction
 
Here are some images so you can get a good idea of the art direction I am going in.
 
Firewatch

Journey

Low Poly Character
Now this project does comprise of making the 'Pre-Vis' of our stories, not making a final animation or product, so I will need to show my general art direction in the
Pre-Vis I will be making. The character will not be to complex but the lighting in my scenes will be what makes these scenes really pop out. I won't be doing it exactly like these images (For example my characters will have eyes.) but it will be something roughly along these guidelines.
 
There will be more of these posts to come as there are other assets to be conceptualized for my story like the 'Little Boy' or the 'Obstacle Course' but by then hopefully there should be drawn examples for you to feast your eyes on. 

Friday, 15 January 2016

'Rope' No Strings Attached 15/01/2016

Figure 1: Rope Poster
This film review will focus on the film 'Rope', this film is about a story of two men called Brandon (John Dall) and Philip (Farley Granger) who kill their friend David for fun. They then play a game of fate to see how long it takes to discover the body during a house party. The film was released in 1948, was directed by Alfred Hitchcock,  the music was done by Leo F. Forbstein and the cinematography was done by Joseph A. Valentine. A fun little fact you may not have know about this film is when it was done the camera they were using was so big that if the set were to stay the same they would knock over all the furniture, so in the middle of recording they would move around bits of furniture to help the crew carrying the camera. This film is famous for how it experiments with filming, taking everything in long shots and really leaving the audience on edge. "With this movie, the master of suspense turns a nail-biting setpiece into a full-length feature, and shows us the ugly flipside of the violent thrillers that made his name. Murder in the movies is usually more about motive than consequence. The bad guys have it coming, and killers are much more interesting before they start repenting their crimes. But Rope rejects that formula by taking inspiration from a real-life murder, a particularly cold-hearted one, and rubbernecking on its aftermath." (P Hutchinson 2012)

Figure 2: Davids Box
The film is no classical but more of a dance with the devil, a dance of anticipation, luck and fate, two men murder a man called David, they then hide the body in the middle of a house party and the clock starts ticking before someone discover the truth of what happened to David. As the film progresses we see that small clues are made in order to build anticipation for the film, even small comments as asking about David’s whereabouts, to people leaving in search of him, its only at the end of the film all of the small pieces come together to form the full picture for only 'One' of the party's guests. Now the thing is that during the film you almost being to think like one of the men (Phillip and/or Brandon), worrying if any evidence has been left anywhere, people talking about David but there are two scenes in particular. In the film there is a part where people are doing their normal jobs around the apartment, one of which is putting books back in a chest where the two men have hid the body. "The play depended, for its effect, on the fact that it was one continuous series of actions. Once the characters have entered the room, there can’t be any jumps in time, or the suspense will be lost. The audience must know that the body is always right there in the trunk." (Roger Ebert. 1984) No, what makes the scene stand out is that this is the closest we get to having the two murders exposed, by having the solution so close in front of Rupert (James Stewart) and the Maid (Edith Evanson) only being hidden by a small drop of the head and the whole gig would be up, the builds a kind of tension that leaves you on edge, so perilously close to the truth it’s a measurement you daren’t repeat because it’s that small. The second scene that stands out is when the two men are talking after the party about their ‘Victory’, in the middle of their conversation they have a moment when they realised that there is someone still here, the first thing for the audience as well as stated earlier was “during the film you almost being to think like one of the men” same goes for this situation. You watch every single person leave except for one, the maid, the maid stays but does not overhear what the two men are luckily, only thing from keeping them caught was a thin wall. Its also the way the conversation is brought up as well, because almost instantly in the middle of a conversation the have a minor mess up moment, so the just cut off their conversation so quick you wouldn't even realise its there. It makes the characters feel much more human rather than having to ease their way into the topic of is someone still here? The last significant shot is weirdly at the end of the film; a parental figure is shown to the audience but is in no way related to our two main characters, however from the way he is portrayed we can clearly see he is some sort of father figure, but then the portrayal quickly turns from father figure to a teacher figure, giving the audience a sense of that the student has become the master, but something has gone horribly wrong by getting the wrong message. Even the lighting in this scene reinforces that, having green and red lights flicker on and off shows us the truth of what has actually been done, Red and Green being related to some of the colours of bruising. When the curtains are opened can the men truly see what they have done, being in a room the whole time being trapped in their own opinions and thoughts, but when the whole world sees what they have done and it is only then they can see the truth.

Figure 3: Rupert
The art and sound for the film is also done quite nicely, there is not a huge amount of symbolism in the colour, but the colour that was chosen for the film was very complimentary. It felt like you were in some sort of 1960's film noire scene with colour, everything looks grainy to a degree but not too much as you can directly see it or so it looks horrible like the kind of noise you get when a TV loses its signal. There is only really two song that play throughout the entire film, one of them played on a  piano by an actor, them being 'I'm looking Over A Four Leaf Clover' and 'Trois Mouvements Perpétuels' (The song played on the piano). Now the thing is that both of these songs do have some sort of meaning to them, 'I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover' is very casual, something you would play at a some sort of party, which is what happened. But then there is 'Trois Mouvements Perpetuals' which is slightly more interesting because one of the actors plays this whilst acting, which means a song can be altered on stage rather than off stage by video editing. As Rupert questions Phillip he puts a metronome on a very slow tick to being with, now a metronomes sound can also be associated with ticking noises, and the one object that is associated with ticking noises is a clock. So as he speeds up this metronome its almost like a timer indicating to either how long till Phillip cracks or how long until the body is discovered. The tension is then risen more as Phillip plays to the metronome speeding up the song, there being another hint to the audience that something is about to happen, a tension rising. Back to the colour choices of the film it is interesting to note that the entire set looks completely authentic, now that's probably due to the fact the film needed a realistic set. But the entire set looks almost perfect, like nothing is out of place, here's the thing, we know where the body is stored from the start of the film, a crate that is meant to resembles a coffin, there is then a sheet put over the crate to conceal it, to hide to truth so to speak. What makes this stand out is when that sheet is put over its is almost as if this coffin has been changed into some kind of church alter, to which the greatest sin of all is concealed underneath, murder.

Figure 4: David's Murder
This film was in a nutshell an experiment, having entire segments filmed in 9 or 10 minute sweeps. If you look at films today cameras constantly change in order to either focus on action or swap between characters quickly in a conversation. Having everything in just one shot did make the film seem more casual which is not necessarily a bad thing but it has come under a lot of scrutiny from other reviews and opinions when really all this film was meant to be was a dance with the devil, to keep you on edge. In case you didn't notice that the film was done in 9-10 minute sweeps Alfred used a tactic which was this, at the end of each shot the camera would either pass by an object or get very close to a character, there would then be a fade put in to such a degree to where it only looks like the camera was passing by a character. It is a little noticeable but not to a degree where it takes away from the immersion of the film. "Rope really is a film of firsts, a worthy springboard for the string of 50s films that ensured Hitch’s filmic immortality—universally revered titles like Rear Window, North by Northwest, and Vertigo. As the title suggests, perhaps even more important than its Technicolor debut, continuity, and thematic audacity is its use of a murder weapon as a unifying motif. Rope is just a common household item, as Brandon notes, so why should Phillip get his underpants in a bunch when it’s left in plain view?" (J Renouf. 2014) The film overall works, the plot is simple, effective and immersive, the cinematography and the acting in this film are top notch and other films should definitely take note from Alfred Hitchcock's experiment.

Biblography

Hutchinson, P. (2012) 'My favourite Hitchcock: Rope' 
In: The Guardian 27 July 2012 
(Accessed on 15.1.16)

R. Ebert Rope movie review & film summary (1948)
[online] At: 
(Accessed on 15.1.16)

Renouf, J. (2014) 'Rope (1948): A delightfully twisted Psychothriller' 16 January 2014 
[online] At: 
(Accessed on 15.1.16)

Image Biblography

Figure 1: Rope Poster

Figure 2: Davids Box

Figure 3: Rupert

Figure 4: David's Murder

Other Sources

Actors

James Stewart

Edith Anderson

John Dall

Farley Granger

Alfred Hitchcock

Leo F. Forbstein

Joseph A. Valentine

Music

'I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover.'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY-_8XOrvTs

Trois Mouvements Perpétuels

Film Links

Rear Window

North by Northwest

Vertigo

From Script to Screen: Final Story With Camera Descriptions 15/01/2016

'Taking Notes' Script

All Characters:
Stuntman [A]
Film Producer [B]
Little Boy [C]
Scene 1
CAMERA SHOT: Slow zoom onto the outside of the film set
CAMERA SHOT: Slow fade transition, slow zoom onto the entrance of the film set
(A minor detail is that the two front doors are open so you can just about see the two characters talking)
CAMERA SHOT: Quick transition to the back of the two characters [A]+[B]
ACTION: Two men are standing in front of an Obstacle Course set up for the stuntman to revise for his performance. They all speak in muffled tones (Like the Sims.) so you can't hear what they are saying, however either a 2D animation will play some sort of speech bubble with a visual representation of what there is to do.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on front of characters [A]+[B], slow zoom.
ACTION: The two characters will just keep talking, after some time they will then look at a clock which will animated to show the stuntman has only an hour to practice before his performance.
CAMERA SHOT: Slow pitch change to focus on asset [clock]
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on front of characters [A]+[B]
ACTION: [B] Then makes a sound almost as if to say "Can you do it?", [A] will respond by nodding his head and making a noise as if to say yes. [B] will then pat [A] on the shoulder then proceed to leave the studio. After an amount of time the stuntman will stretch and begin to warm up, having him appear around the set doing workouts and general stunts.
CAMERA SHOT: quick change, no transition, focus on [A] face
ACTION: [A] Will make a sound as if to so ready, he will also nod his head and put his fist into his palm in a, I'm ready fashion.
CAMERA SHOT: Slow change, slow fade, focus on asset [Starting Platform]
ACTION: Two feet will walk onto the platform.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, slow translate right until asset [Piano] and character [C] are in focus.
ACTION: The camera will slowly move until a little boy and a Piano are in view, the stuntman is till visible in the background working out how the course will work.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, slow zoom, focus on asset [Obstacle Course] and character [A]
ACTION: The stuntman will wander and jump around the course almost as if he is practicing.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus/track character [A] face
ACTION: As the stuntman walks around he suddenly realizes a Piano starts playing, he turns to see who is playing the piano.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A] head rear+[C] distanced, focus on asset [piano]
ACTION: The little boy is playing the Piano very well.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A] face
ACTION: The stuntman then smiles and walks out of shot.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on asset [Piano Keys]
ACTION: The camera then gets a close up of the piano keys, the little boy then plays a key wrong not sounding correct.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A]
ACTION: As the bad note is played the stuntman is not looking where he is going and hits his head shortly after that note is played. He also exclaims his pain in a noise. He then again walks out of shot.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on asset [Starting Platform]
ACTION: The stuntman's feet appear on the platform again.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on asset [A]
ACTION: The stuntman get into a 'ready' pose.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [C]
ACTION: The camera focuses on the little boy as he prepares to play the Piano, raising both hands in the air.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on asset [A]
The stuntman then runs towards the end of the platform out of shot.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on asset [Piano Keys]
ACTION: The little boys hands move to play the Keys.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition focus on asset [Starting Platform]
ACTION: As the music plays the stuntman's foot leaps across as gap which is off shot.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus/track character [A].
ACTION: The man performs a portion of the course as best as he can, this goes on for a good few seconds.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on asset [Piano Keys]
ACTION: There is then a close-up of the little boy playing the piano, when he messes up the camera zooms out quickly ever so slightly, the little boy also brings his hands back as if he has been scared.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on asset [Obstacle Course]
ACTION: As that bad note is played the stuntman loses his footing and beings to fall over.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on asset [Obstacle Course] close-up
ACTION: As the stuntman trips there is then a close up shot of the stuntman slamming the side of his head on the platform, then falling down.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on asset [Crash Mat]
ACTION: The stuntman is now lying face down on the crash mat groaning in pain.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A] face
ACTION: The stuntman then raises his head with an annoyed expression.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A]
ACTION: The stuntman then gets up and walks back to the start brushing off any dust on him.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on characters [A]Close-Up+[C]Distanced
ACTION: The camera will then have a close up shot of the stuntman as he walks off, but we can see the little boy in the background with his hands over his mouth in astonishment.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [C]
ACTION: The little boy, then ready himself again, cracking his fingers with his tongue out.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A]
Action: The stuntman once again ready's himself on the starting platform again.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [C]
ACTION: Little boy gets ready to play again.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A]
ACTION: The stuntman then runs to the edge of the starting platform.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, slow zoom, focus on asset [Piano Keys]
ACTION: The little boy then begins to play the Piano.
 
There is then a montage of where the little boy is playing the song, but he keeps messing up notes, and every time he messes with the stuntman also messes up. The messed up notes are pretty consistent but towards the end the song becomes a mess of lots of odd sounding notes. This goes on for a good little while.
 
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A], fast zoom
ACTION: As the song ends the stuntman screams and gets annoyed throwing a small tantrum.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A]distanced+[C]rear
ACTION: The shot is behind the little boy but we can clearly see the stuntman getting annoyed, the stuntman kicks the Obstacle Course only to hurt his foot and stumble around.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [C]front close-up
ACTION: The little boy sighs in a sign of sympathy.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A]
ACTION: As the stuntman calms down, he quickly sits down and puts his hand on his head in a stressed manor.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A]face close-up
ACTION: As the stuntman hears an "Eh Hem" sound from the little boy, he opens his eyes and puts his hand down.
CAMERA SHOT: No change, no transition, camera rotation until character [A]+[C] are in shot
ACTION: The little boy pulls out a lolly out from behind him to cheer the stuntman up.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus/track on character [A]face
ACTION: The stuntman looks and smiles, knowing the little kid is trying to be nice, he then looks up towards the clock which we cannot see in shot yet.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A]rear
ACTION: The stuntman looks at the clock which shows he has only 5 minutes left to practice.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, fade transition, focus on character [A]face
ACTION: The stuntman smiles and lets out a little chuckle.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on characters [A]Main Focus+[C]Rear
ACTION: The stuntman looks at the small boy, nods and fist bumps with the kid.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, Birdseye view
ACTION: The camera is placed so you can see both the stuntman and the little boy getting into their positions.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus/track on character [A]
ACTION: The stuntman climbs onto the starting platform again.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus/track character [C]
ACTION: The little boy sits down and get ready, he also wiggles his fingers in the air as if he is about to play.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus/track character [A]
ACTION: The stuntman sprints to the end of the starting platform.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [C]rear
ACTION: The small boy slams his hands down to play the piano.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus/track character [A]
ACTION: The stuntman begins to do the Obstacle Course, whilst at the same time the little boy is playing the piano perfectly. The camera also switches between the little boys fingers and the stuntman twice with:
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus asset [Piano Keys] x2
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A]
ACTION: The stuntman then lands on the final platform, he looks back and see's he's done it and smiles.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [C]
ACTION: The little boy jumps down from the piano chair and claps.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on character [A]
ACTION: The stuntman looks down to the little boy and waves at him, in the middle of him waving he looks up to the clock only to see it change to 02:00.
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus on asset [Clock]
CAMERA SHOT: Quick change, no transition, focus/track on characters [A]Distanced +[C]rear
ACTION: The camera then pans behind the little boy as the stuntman high fives him as he walks by.
CAMERA SHOT: No change, no transition, rotate to meet character [A]
ACTION: The film ends with the stuntman walking towards the two double doors.
END