Saturday, December 15, 2012

Painting to Life: "All Wound Up"

In my painting to life assignment, I chose the painting "All Wound Up" by Arleigh Schwarz. In the video, I'm working on a crochet project (a scarf) in my apartment. While I'm working on the scarf, I don't notice it being dragged away by my cat. As I get to the end of the yarn and reach down to grab a new ball I realize it's gone so I put the camera on my feet as I search through the house. I cross paths with my mom then get on the floor to check in the box (maybe I misplaced it) where all my yarn is. I see my cat so I go towards her and she just sniffs me. There is still no yarn in sight. 

I go to my bookshelf to really think about where it could of gone. There are these cat figurines (two of them salt and pepper shakers) sitting there right near my hand. While staring at the black & white cat figurines I get an idea--I may know where my yarn has disappeared to. So I continue my search through my living room to find my second cat. Low and behold, there he is playing with my ball of red yarn. 

This isn't every single type of angle/shot seen in my video, these are just some to show I meet the requirements for the assignment.

  • 0:01-0:21 Pan upper to lower right
  • 0:24 Tilt down, 0:31 Tilt up
  • 0:46 CU
  • 0:52 WS
  • 1:11 P.O.V
  • 2:31 Dolly in/Truck left
  • 2:56 Dolly in
  • 3:00 EC
  • 3:09 OSS
  • 3:19 MCU
  •

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Diversity Project

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    For the diversity assignment, I decided to introduce my partner Henna to the world of theater, but probably not exactly what she would expect. Yes, it's all fun and games when it comes to cast bonding, theater games and putting on the production but a lot goes on behind that. The director of the new show I'm in, WECYCLING, Caleen Jennings offered to give Henna a speech coaching session. We met in Caleen's office and discovered that both Caleen and Henna were fans of J.K. Rowling. We printed a section from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Henna read through it while Caleen gave her tips. Henna appeared nervous at first but really improved her speech technique as she warmed up to it. I think she enjoyed her lesson--well I hope she did. I also think Henna walked away with tips for any future presentations she may encounter. For the Caribbean Circle event I attended with Henna, check out her blog


    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Visual Review 10: Beyoncé "Countdown"

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    This video sees the "Run The World (Girls)" singer paying homage to different movies, musicals and icons of the 1950s through the 1990s. Directed by Adria Petty, Knowles shows off her baby bump while dancing around in colorful leotards to this upbeat love anthem. Most of the effects in this video were applied after the music video was shot. The video has faced controversy for ripping off choreographer, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, and some of her pieces.

    The video opens with a close shot of Knowles as she begins to sing the song. Her hair and makeup are reminiscent of English model, Twiggy. A lot of the effects used play with the coloring and the lighting seen throughout the video. The next shot is a full body-shot of Knowles moving her arms like a clock. The clip here appears to have been sped up. We have simple black and white lines falling into and out of the frame that serves as a background image. The black and white is also reflected in her outfit she is seen in. The video then splits into multiple frames as Beyoncé begins to countdown in her song. The video cuts between mid-shots and fast moving, slim frames showing her full figure. Then we are shown the black loafers and white socks (referencing Michael Jackson) and the dance moves are similar to that of Audrey Hepburn in the film, FunnyFace.

    A lot of the post-shooting effects added are cuts of Beyoncé in bright colored bathing suits. She also wears a black and white hat and these shots are set against a colored background that constantly changes. In this mid-close ups Knowles showcases her baby bump. This frame then splits in two, again. Then we are taken to an audition space--the entire video is shot in a New York warehouse--where we are shown wide shots of Knowles and her dancers referencing the 1980's movie, Fame. We also see symmetrical shots where there are two frames created showing the same image, and as she turns and as the dancers move, we see two bodies moving towards the center.

    One of the next scenes is a extreme wide shot of 10 different versions of Beyoncé dancing to the countdown in the loft space. While researching for the video, MTV Newsroom stated that this shot is "the key scene where [she] puts all her aforementioned sides into perspective" (MTV). Throughout the video we stick with this mod, black and white color scheme seen through the background, clothing and space of the loft. Then we are thrown splashes of vibrant colors reminiscent of the 60s. Among the many references in this music video, we have yet another when the video cuts to shots of Knowles in a men's dress shirt with her hair tied up with a scarf: Bridget Bardot. These shots contrast well with the soft colors used in the background and from the dress shirts. These wide shots are split and fall out of the scene to take us back to the wide warehouse audition space. Channeling Diana Ross from Dreamgirls (more post-shooting effects with the double frame meshed to look there are two Beyoncé's. This shot is also split into three frames where we have lines moving in the background, again staying with the black and white color scheme), snap choreography reminiscent of West Side Story, and finally more wide shots of dancing around the loft space with the off the shoulder top taking us back to Flashdance. Fast moving frames and close-ups of the singer are basically the entirety of the video.

    There are rarely any actual camera moves except for the ending--it's hard to tell if when she's sitting in the chair if the camera is doing a dolly-out or if it's more of a zoom-out. The camera is pretty static throughout. This music video relies on the visuals, movement and looks of the singer to really pull it off. I think despite the controversy that it was a success.


    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    Self Portrait


    I decided to take this photo because I'm always facing towards the camera and always smiling so I wanted to do the opposite for this portrait. I used curve adjustments did a cross process (RGB) which really enhanced the colors in the photo, making the green and red very rich giving it a nice contrast. I then used a tilt shift blur which allowed me to pick center spot--wherever I wanted that to be--and distort and twist everything around that point which remains clear while everything else shifts/blurs.

    A lot of my most personal objects that represent me are in my room. I have this collage (and two others) I started making my freshmen year at my previous school. The collage is made up of old class assignments, letters, photos, pamphlets from events that I attended, written jokes and cut out calendar dates. All of this marks some of my best memories. I also cut out a picture I took in NY of a marquee (on Broadway) at the theater where my favorite musical used to play. The show happened to be ending on my birthday so I thought that would be a perfect final touch of my collage of me.

    For this, I turned the saturation way up to really enhance the color in the photo, then I slid the hue to this purple/pink-ish color so that the entire photo would have this tint. I then used a filter to diffuse the picture. The other effect used was a movie camera lens flare to reflect off of the picture within the picture.

    I wanted this photo to represent the budding actress in me. Here I have what I believe to be my most important roles I've played so far. The main photograph is a photo I took of a show I directed (Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None). The Capulet was taken from a picture of me wearing my Capulet T shirt from a role I played in Romeo & Juliet--I just cropped out the letters and pasted them onto the main photo. To the left is another one of my characters from The Fiddler on The Roof and towards the front is my greatest accomplishment thus far--AU's Glengarry Glen Ross. 

    I used a color balance to cool the picture by adding more of a blue tint to it. I liquified some of the faces of my cast by distorting their height, shifting their bodies around, bloating and puckering their faces. I also made the adjustment for the Glengarry photo to make it B&W, then I used the color balance again to match it with the background photo.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    Visual Review 9: Esperanza Spalding's Website

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    Esperanza Spalding Website
    The website I chose was Esperanza Spalding's. Spalding is an American multi-instrumentalist best known as a jazz bassist and singer. I chose this website because it was actually memorable visually due to its simplicity.

    When you first visit you are shown a picture frame. Within the picture frame is a collage with two doors. Each of the doors represent two of her albums. The grey door on the right represents her newest album Radio Music Society and the wood double doors on the left represent her earlier album, Chamber Music Society. When you enter the door of each album, they each have their own themes that correspond with the look of the actual CD. The text for RMS has the effect of resembling bubble letters/they are 3D-like. CMS, is basic font in all caps. With the designs going on, simple text plays just fine here.

    Her website has a very clean and simple look, yet it still is effective in showcasing her work. At the top of both pages we are shown a video slider of various clips of Spalding along with white text of positive reviews of the singer. It's not distracting, it draws you to the words by these critics making you want to hear what Esperanza sounds like. For Radio Music Society page the header is like a radio.

    The text of Esperanza's name is bigger and spread across the top so it doesn't go unnoticed. It's also displayed in an interesting text that's almost faded. And the first E is written uniquely that really draws your eye to the center. The dials on this "radio" navigate you through the site for info on tours, biography, videos, music, pictures and to her store where you can buy merchandise.

    The background of Radio Music Society has this distressed-like background. A rough texture that really complements the other colors of the site. Along with the background there is a bass guitar placed on the right side of the screen. It's very simple and represents Esperanza as well. They blend well together. There is no extravagant font. It's very basic and easy to red.

    A newer feature to Spalding's website, which was not there a few months ago is a style blog of Esperanza's fashion. As soon as you click a door you get a pop up of a notice with bold font telling you to visit Spalding's style blog. Pop-ups can be annoying to everyone, but I'm hoping it won't always be that way. Eventually they may take it down.

    The colors for Chamber Music Society are warmer, resembling the photos and colors of her CD. At the header of this page we are shown video and picture sliders with critic's reviews. Again it's not distracting. I find it interesting that this slider isn't as wide as the one on RMS. Her name is bigger on this page, again it's as if the background block of color was added on first then text was written on top, erasing whatever color was underneath. So it has this sprayed, distressed look.

    Navigation for this page doesn't resemble a radio but it almost looks like outlet plugs to music equipment (like an amp). The text for the navigation is on the fancy side. The font isn't as relaxed/simple as Radio Music Society, but a little more formal for the Chamber Orchestra she collaborates with. The background shows a room. It looks as if the image has been darkened and the contrast has been taken away to blend and to not make it the center of attention. On the left, we are shown the instrument she is known for paying, the cello. I feel as if this is the one picture/background image that implies linear perspective. This room is bigger, there is something that goes on further beyond this one section of the room we're being shown.

    The only thing annoying for me on the site is the music player at the top right. It automatically plays which can be distracting. I don't like being bombarded with music whenever I visit a website. Although her music is pleasant and soothing to the ears, maybe designers figure viewers won't mind hearing samples as they navigate.

    Whoever is behind the coding/designing for her website is very smart in not putting to much on one page. It's easy to navigate. The colors don't wash out one another and one element isn't distracting. Thus, you can spend more time on the site and that's probably what admins want viewers/fans to do.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    10th Original Photo: Repulsive (Litter)

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    It may seem weird or even gross to you. But if you had to clean out the litter box of two cats who share the same box for 7+ years, you'd be repulsed by it. Cause I definitely am.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    9th Original Photo: Hard (Rocks)

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    This photo--not taken recently-- was taken in Old Town, Alexandria at the water front. Hard reminds me of a surface or texture that is hard. This rocks looked pretty harsh against the water so I thought this would be perfect.

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Visual Review 8: "Dollhouse" Title Sequence

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    "A futuristic laboratory assigns different tasks to its various residents, who then have their memories erased upon the completion of their assignments." (IMDb) This short-lived TV show aired on FOX in 2009 and was created by Joss Whedon.

    In the beginning of the title sequence, we are shown a wide shot of a cityscape. Which plays with shadows showing nighttime, and the only source of light coming from windows of the buildings. There is motion blur here with the cars and the lights. Probably a post-shooting effect was added to speed up time.
         Lines are made by the city which shows us linear perspective. The composition of the city doesn't end in this frame, the city goes on as we see the sped up cars going further into or away from the city. The different shots fade out to white and have this flash like effect that brings in the next shot. For the entire sequence, there is this dream-like glow.
         The sequence to this show follows the main character, Eliza Dushku (Echo). We are shown low angles. There are post-shooting editing effects of costume changes within one frame. This symbolizes Echo's (Eliza Dushku's) transformations of different characters and personalities.

    The text of the actor's and production team's name are in this small white font that also has a glow/tint to it. I think it fits into the theme of the sequence. The text is also small to make the viewer pay attention to what's happening on screen, that's why the font is also very plain, yet it in all caps. It's very simple.
         There are continuous lines created by the city. Many objects and people are falling through the shots as they go about their lives. The camera lens used for the daytime city shot (Tilt shift) gives us the impression that we are world full of dolls. This wide shot really brings in the color scheme. It blends the colors to this grey/green tone. The colors are soft making it look like everyone is the same, wearing the same thing, but they're not.
         Text not related to production is bracketed as we get a close up of Echo (Dushku). Again, the colors have this grey/green tone and effects were added (after shooting) to make the close up look like a security camera. The red bracketed text ([Active Located], [Active Engaged]--the active being Echo) is the put the viewers into the scenario that these "dolls" can always be found. The red text contrasts against the soft, blended colors to make you notice what it is and to try and dissect what it means.

    High angles are also used with this repetitious glow and soft blended touch on normal colors and textures like wood to take us away from reality. Scale appears to also be a repeating element in everything shown. Our eyes are drawn to the center of the frame in most of the shots. The center is also always in focus, where as the edges may have this soft glow that's not as in focus.
         We are taken away from the blended greens for one shot to vibrant greens shown through the trees (still staying with the color scheme). The shadows and light frames, giving the sequence an ethereal quality. The music used throughout the intro also fits in perfectly with what we're seeing and with the dream-like theme. Contrast is given through the color tones and with the red text tracking Echo.

    The layout of the ending frame was a deliberate design choice, I think. The circle with 5 points can look like an eye to some viewers, or like a star. It's not quite symmetric but the point at which the objects (eerie beds for the "dolls") are placed is even. Especially the text of the creator's (Joss Whedon) name. The text falls directly in the middle thirds of the screen. Joss Whedon's name is in bold, yet still small. The "Created By" text is even smaller, drawing the eye to the most important text--his name. Again, I think with fans there is recognition that "Oh! We know who Joss Whedon is", so that's all we should focus on. If it were a show by a creator that people have never heard of then I'm sure that the "Created By" text would be larger. Joss Whedon has already established himself as a writer/creator/producer/director so, I don't think it was as necessary to place emphasis on that part.

    I thought Dollhouse was a great show. Unfortunately, it got cut before it could really begin.

    Sources: Video via Viddler, Images via Pinterest

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Visual Review 7: Death Proof Movie Poster

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    Via Google Images
    “Two separate sets of voluptuous women are stalked at different times by a scarred stuntman who uses his "death proof" cars to execute his murderous plans.” (IMDb)

    That tagline on the poster, pretty much sums up the film. Released in 2007, This Quentin Tarantino B-movie was shown in theaters as a part of “Grindhouse”, a double movie feature which also premiered Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror.

    Unlike many movie posters which have cut out pictures from promo shoots to use as a film cover, this Tarantino film’s poster is drawn/sketched with chalk. The images are placed in the upper and middle thirds of the poster. This draws the eye to the important parts (the car and the title of the film). The poster shows us a deep depth of field. It’s like a long shot which gives off the effect of the car being in motion. Lines lead us to a road wit this “Death Proof” vehicle with silhouettes of eight ladies in view.
        Linear perspective applies to this poster. The vehicle shown in motion implies it goes on beyond the poster. That car continues to zoom out of our site. It would almost be like a vanishing point if it were moving forward in the opposite direction (which is funny, because that references to the movie itself; The movie Vanishing Point is referenced through dialogue; and the ladies in the second half find the vehicle identical to the one from the film).

    There is emphasis put on the title of the film. The drawn vehicle leads us to the the title. The size isn’t overpowering anything else on the poster. The poster is relying on visuals rather than odd-font or huge text. The color breaks from the breaks from the black/white/grey scheme by using red to make the title stick out. The title size is larger than the director’s name. Probably by choice of the director to focus on it. Through advertisement and press releases, audiences and fans already know it’s a Tarantino film. The title is tilted a little as well as the directors name. We also get the male star’s name put on the vehicle (in plain lettering), which represents his character. The font doesn’t really show action--it could be a comedy--but I think the title itself takes away any hint at that.
        The choice of putting the title in quotation marks, I see not only as a way to site a movie (as people do versus using italics), but I think it’s ironic. It relates to events/dialogue in the movie. “This car is 100% death proof. Only to get the benefit of it, honey, you really need to be sitting in my seat.” (Kurt Russell’s Stuntman Mike).

    The car itself is falling, as it moves down and out of the poster. The female silhouettes in the background are rising, which can symbolize the second half of he film (them challenging Stuntman Mike). There is tension, I think, in the darkness of the car. I also think there are good color choices made in this poster. Stuntman Mike in the dark going what could be into darkness and away from the light (sunrise) shown behind the silhouetted ladies. The objects fill up the center viewpoint again bringing your eye to the middle and lower portions of the poster.

    The negative space in the poster can also symbolize the location (which is the country--middle of nowhere). Stuntman Mike is driving but is in the shadows (representing his dark and menacing character). The blackness contrasts well with the red color choices in the background and in the title text. I don’t think this poster would look the same without these colors. If it were in live color with actual shots of the actors, the poster wouldn’t have the same effect. The car almost looks as if it were erased away at the headlights to give off the effect of bright headlights, emulating nighttime. Whoever the artist was behind this poster did a great job, I think.

    I didn’t need to be sold to buy the poster and the DVD, because I already knew what the film was about. I think for an outsider, they’d be pretty curious just by looking at the film.
        People can talk about how bad this movie was. Or how it was one of the worst/schlocky B movies, but I don’t care. I have a thing for bad movies, I guess. Quentin Tarantino is one of my favorite directors and Death Proof is one of my favorite movies.


    8th Original Photo: (Home Decor) Shape

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    I took this photo because there are lots of shapes in the little knickknacks that my mom bought for around the home. This object--I'm not really sure what it is--has a curvy shape. Like a vase, but that's not its purpose. Almost like a lamp of some kind. I took the word shape literally to mean a figure.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    7th Original Photo: Symmetry (At the table)

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    I decided to take this photo while I was at work, again. There are plenty of photo opportunities at a consignment shop. It was actually harder to find a symmetric set up than I thought it would be. I was looking for shapes and we don't get too many of the same items. So I thought this dining set would be a great example. Each of the chairs are positioned opposite each other so that their identical.

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    Video Scavenger Hunt

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    Fellow Group 2 Members: Lindsey McCabe & Lauren Ramon

    Visual Review 6: Target '11 Christmas

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    I chose this because it's one of the very few commercials that I can remember that made me laugh. Whenever you mention "Crazy Target Lady", everyone knows who you're talking about. This video is very basic. It doesn't have a lot of camera movement nor does it rely on to many effects, or various types of camera shots/angles for comic relief . This commercial alone relies on the actor to really sell Target.

    It reminds me of when we were talking about the Some Like it Hot train car scene. It's obvious that this wasn't shot in an actual Target store because in order to physically see her go down the card isle, you would have to knock the isle down. For most of the duration of the commercial the camera trucks from left to right with her as the woman travels down the isle. There are medium close-ups as we see her singing into the audio cards and recording her voice. This camera shot is effective for showing her facial expressions which gives comedic relief.

    The camera cuts between medium close up shots of the woman, and as she sits the card down on the isle the camera shows us a close up of the card she puts down. As she finishes her Christmas jingle, we are given a long shot (not wide--probably to create the illusion of being in Target with long, narrow isles) as she pushes her cart off and exits.

    The color choices are good, in that they reflect the setting of the store. Her bright red dress fits her enthusiastic-Christmas-spirited character and contrasts well with the surroundings of the store. This season works with Target well as it not only promotes the Christmas holiday but their corporation--associating it with the red color. I think this commercial is clear in promoting the product and selling it, the point comes across clearly, it’s not too long and we establish this character that we see again in future commercials.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Visual Review 5: Nikka Costa "Like a Feather"

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    Nikka Costa is an American singer-songwriter who fuses funk, soul and blues into her music. Costa’s “Like a Feather” single first premiered in 2000 in a Tommy Hilfiger ad, which jump-started the singer’s career. Her debut U.S. album Everybody Got Their Something was released in 2001.

    The video begins with a wide shot of what appears to be a stage or studio. This video has one setting for the entire duration. The background is a digital screen that will project geometric designs along with Nikka’s name throughout the video. We have medium close up shots of the singer as she begins singing the song. We have contrast with the red designs on the screen and her blue ensemble that also contrasts against her red hair. 

    The shots then are split into four multiple frames all showing the same thing. It’s almost reminiscent of the “Brady Bunch” opening sequence. Identical frames are stacked to create four small blocks. These blocks are also divided into two half’s where the left side shows a wide shot of Nikka and the right side shows a mid-close up of her on the microphone.

    We have some low angles, not extreme. And consistent throughout is the mirror-like effect where the shot becomes symmetric. Two Nikka’s are shown on the screen side by side dancing. We have cuts back and forth between symmetric shots and the four stacked frames with wide shots and then medium close ups. Then we’re shown the same frame stacked on top of one another creating this stack of blocks large on the outside and that are smaller towards the center. 

    There are more symmetric wide shots with the screen split in half, cutting to Nikka’s mid-section. Wide shots are combined with the stacked frames and become smaller wide shots that show her full frame. I liked how various shots are lit and then others are in the dark. For most of the video, the light fills the entire set but for certain sections of the song, the light is only coming from the digital screen in the background.

    There is a quick extreme close up of Costa’s mouth through a lens in the shape of a circle—it’s not fish eye. The effect with four stacked blocks evolve from showing the same shot to playing one simultaneously after the other in rhythm with the music. The camera editing cuts back and forth between the mid close ups and then to three thin frames of Nikka. Profile shots and medium close ups show again her singing at the microphone. We have a few high angle shots while the lights are out and the stage is only lit by the screen and an EWS from a high angle. 

    After the first verse it’s pretty repetitive—which I don’t think is a bad thing. We have continuous shots switching from multiple frames to wide frames. There are no dolly-ins or even panning which I found to be interesting. The camera stays in one position throughout. I think that works fine because with Nikka’s moving and the flashing going on in the background it would have been too much. The video has that geometric shape/seventies design going on where the patterns are shots of Costa singing which I thought was cool and brings out the red and blue colors well. Effective use of light and shadow towards the end where again the only light source is from the digital screen but you can see Costa’s silhouette and those blue and red colors look nice against one another. Towards the end there are some extreme low angles towards the bottom giving off the effect that the camera is flat on the ground. 

    I personally love the effects put on the video. It adds to the fun nature of the song and really enhances the beats and sounds that are heard throughout. The dancing/movement are synchronized perfectly with the flashing images and I think the creative team did a good job choosing colors and the setting. I couldn't imagine this video shot on location in a street somewhere. The video compliments the song perfectly.

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    6th Original Photo: (Clothing) Contrast

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    I decided to take this photo while I was at work. I work at a consignment shop so there always new and exciting things to be found there. As I was looking around I saw the blue scarf and knew instantly I wanted to show contrast of something against it. We have loads of costume jewelry so I thought something red would look great and stand out against the scarf. 

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    5th Original Photo: Saturation

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    I actually discovered this photo opportunity while shooting my scavenger hunt assignment. These flowers were in the right position and gave off a bright color. I used photo editing software to saturate the color and enhance the yellow in the flower.

    Visual Review 4: "Moonstruck"

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    Via Pinterest
    “Loretta Castorini, a book keeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she agreed to marry (who is the best friend of her late husband who died seven years previously) (IMDb).

          The film was released December 18, 1987 by MGM. Moonstruck starred Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello and Vincent Gardenia. Directed by Norman Jewison, this love story shows that anything can happen under “La Bella Luna”—a full moon.

          The movie open with wide shots of New York City, there are extreme wide shots of the cityscape. These shots show places that are later revised in the story (i.e. The Met—which is a key moment later in film). We are introduced to the main character Loretta, an Italian middle aged widow who is book keeper for the local shops in Brooklyn Heights.

          Throughout the film, not only through the camera moves but also through the dialogue there are instances of repetition (i.e., shots of the moon; and scenes with the professor arguing with this dates; accusations of being a wolf). There are also several references of the moon made by characters: Pop’s comment every time he walks the dogs “la Bella Luna” or “Did you see the Bella moon out tonight?” We are also given a reference outside of the dialogue: The Luna Restaurant shown during a street scene.

          In the beginning of the movie, Loretta’s boyfriend, Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello), proposes to her over dinner at The Grand Ticino, which is the neighborhood restaurant. They agree to start their wedding plans as soon as he returns from Sicily to tend to his dying mother. Johnny asks Loretta to invite his brother Ronny to the wedding—the two have bad blood and he wants a clean slate. During this dinner scene and in the others through the film, there are many two shots. There is a perfect moment of that when Loretta goes to Cammareri’s Bakery to talk to Ronny (Cage) and the camera cuts to the two women standing next one another as they watch Ronny and Loretta argue. The two go to Ronny’s apartment to talk—after Ronny reveals he was engaged lost his hand during an argument with his brother while slicing bread. His fiancé left him because of the incident and that’s why the two aren’t on speaking terms--Loretta tells Ronny that he is a "wolf" (there’s another reference here; repetition) for allowing himself to cut off his hand instead of be entrapped by marriage. That instance sets Ronny off and he grabs Loretta and kisses her. “Wait a minute! Wait a minute!” she yells then the two make love. There are dolly-ins and truck-ins as we move through Ronnie’s apartment. During their dialogue cut-ins are used to show them pouring and drinking whiskey. After Cage and Cher’s’ love scene--as well as other scenes in the film-- we are show again shots of the moon.

          There is effective use of light and shadow to showcase location and time of day. Dolly-ins take us into the setting so they audience gets a feel of where the characters are (i.e., showing us rendezvous shot of the father with mistress—here we see like father, like daughter).

    Source: via Liz on Pinterest
          This film has a lot of camera movements and shots and alternates between them throughout. I feel as if that is a common formula in romantic comedies because of the content and emotion they want to convey through the characters. Any extreme shots would take away from the story and here we have close-ups, two-shots, and mid-shots to show us intimate moments which are necessary for the film. Shots of the moon are done from low angles and shown with a cast of fog surrounding it, and symbolize passages of time. At night—after Loretta and Ronny’s love scene--the characters gaze at the moon which creates streams of light over their faces and shadows to enhance the characters moods. During this same night scene, textures are shown from the lace curtains onto faces and blinds onto skins so that moon reflects patterns. We are shown scale through a low angle, and a view of the Brooklyn Bridge, as we transition from night to day.

         The next day, Ronny confesses his love to Loretta who is disheveled and knows what she did was wrong. Ronny agrees to leave her alone if he can have the two things he loves for one night: The Opera and Loretta. She agrees to see La Boheme with him at The Met later that night.

          As a catholic woman, Loretta feels the right thing to do is to go to confession. Again there are cut-ins which focus on the priests’ hands during confession, which is enhances the moment of privacy. We are shown high angle shots of stairwell at the home and when we revisit The Met we are shown extreme wide shots so that one gets a sense of the vastness of the theater. During the dinner scenes (Rose and the professor) the restaurant provide a lot of distractions, and to keep the audience focused on the characters, the camera zooms in so that the background is out of focus and your full attention is on the dialogue. There are warm colors shown in the scenes indoors – these color choices of the clothing of the women in the kitchen and the color on the walls create a feeling of warmth from the household. Darker colors and shades are associated with night. After the opera we see the two characters in the bar and we are shown a deep depth of field shot so the two characters in background are in focus even though the condiments are closest to the screen. After the Opera, Loretta finds out about her father’s affair and comes to realize that she’s in love with Ronny after all—she may not say it until the end but you can see a change that begins when she and Ronny start to hold hands during the show.
         The ending brings together the typical structure of a romantic comedy. It turns out to be just Loretta’s luck that Johnny has to call off the engagement because his sick mother was cured and if he marries her, his mother will die (What?!). This gives Ronny the perfect opportunity to propose to Loretta. “Where’s the ring?”, and after Ronny borrows Johnny’s pinky ring, Loretta accepts and confesses “I love him awful”. The camera dolly outs and trucks left and right as we leave the house as a form of closure. The story has been told and we end with panned left and right shots of family portraits, which symbolized one of the themes for the film which is family. The final shot is a mid-shot of the updated family portrait with the newest addition—Ronny—to the picture.

          I thought this was a great movie, I especially loved the dialogue. It’s very smart and witty. The two actresses awarded with Oscars for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress were well deserved. Cher and Olympia Dukakis delivered wonderful performances. I’m proud to own this film listed on AFI’s top 10 romantic comedies.

    Sources: IMDb, AFI, Wikipedia

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    4th Original Photo: Isolation (Lonely Car)

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    I decided to take this photo because I knew I wanted to use objects around my home. I intended on focusing on the little VW's and then putting one of them "out of the circle" to emphasize loneliness. I forgot I had an old Barbie VW and thought that would be even better. Again, I associate the word Isolation with lonely.

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Visual Review 3: "Rear Window"

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    Via imdb
         Rear Window, released in 1954 and directed by the “Master of Suspense” Alfred Hitchcock was produced by Paramount studios starring James Stewart, Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter. Shot in Technicolor which was restored to what we would have seen when the film was shot. The colors were helpful in making the film come to life. This movie was one of Paramount’s biggest sets.

         Rear Window was seen as Hitchcock’s seen as one his most mature pieces, the fact that it’s all shot in studio did not hinder any of the camera shots vs. it being on location. This is Hitchcock’s way of showing objects and association in what’s going on – in the beginning of the film and all throughout we get close ups of objects to relate to the moods and time of day  (i.e., the thermometer with heat and close-up of watch with early AM view).

         There are dolly-ins to the different apartments, and camera panning both left and right to show the entire complex. Many of the intimate shots between Kelly and Stewart have a shallow depth of field where you have the background apartments out of focus. As Stewart’s character Jeffries looks thorough the binoculars you begin to see his point of view which is constant throughout the film. When Jeffries suspects the Salesman (Thorwald) of murdering his wife he decides he needs a closer point of view and brings out the telephoto lens. This lens allows for details and becomes and important aspect of the film to Jeffries finding out that Thorwald has committed the crime. The camera tilts up and down to hint a secret spot (flower bed), that viewers don’t realize until the end of the film. 

         Stewart has three roles throughout the film, (1) the wandering male character of Jeffries, (2) the camera man as he pans with his own telephoto lens to watch and (3) the director – he has a complete view on the “house of fiction” via his Rear Window.  It’s Hitchcock’s own story with Jeffries in the director’s chair (his wheelchair). With the constant panning throughout the movie, the telephoto lens that Jeffries holds has the slightest shake to it as he watches Thorwald move from room to room.  We are shown shots within shots from the viewfinder as Jeffries gets closer to solving the mystery (i.e. figuring out the clue to the flower bed). And at the climax of the film, fast motion is used to show neighbors coming from their homes as Jeffries dangles from his window. 

         Unlike the short story the flower bed holds the secret to a piece of the murder unlike the cement wall. There is no Sam who brings food or runs around for him.  In the movie Jeffries is aided by his girlfriend Lisa and his nurse, Stella.  LB Jeffries lives in the apartment, while in the short story he resided in a house. The characters were adapted for thematic purposes. The newlyweds that went out every night have become the newlyweds that stay in. And Miss Lonleyhearts is no longer the widow who lives with her daughter. The only constant characters are L.B. Jeffries--who in the story was named Hal Jeffries, also restricted to movement--and his doppelganger, Thorwald with the sick wife. Hitchcock’s films fill the void in showing us vs. describing what could have happened while characters are asleep (i.e. “Wife” is shown leaving in AM). 
    Stewart’s view is restricted like the story because he can’t completely see what’s going on; like a dollhouse with the rear wall cut out.  Before Jeffries suspects his neighbor of murder, as an audience we see the guilt in Thorwald first, because he’s looking all around to make sure no one is watching him.  Thorwald’s constant guilt-watch in the story isn’t noticed right away. Jeff is a little slower to pick up what’s going on…or rather he’s not that involved, he reassures himself with reasoning as to why no one was checking in on the wife (“delayed action). In the film, Jeffries just knows right away that something isn’t right and becomes fixated on the salesman while occasionally checking back in on the other characters in the “doll house”. There is a scene in the story where the movements between Thorwald in his apartment and the landlord showing the two tenants the space above him are in synch (only to reveal later where the body of Mrs. Thorwald is). There is a moment of synchronization between floors in the film as well however they are between Lisa (Grace Kelly) and Miss Lonelyheart as they both realize the man with the piano has stopped playing his music. This was done using a wide camera lens, making a greater picture than if it were a zoom in (because you wouldn’t be able to see both women).     
         Light symbolizes life and you saw that in everyone’s apartment. The lights were always on and they were carrying on with the everyday business. Thorwald’s apartment was always dark. The lights were always off which you associate with an evil character. The only sign of him being present was the constant lighting of the matches in the dark. Shadows are used re-create natural light from the sun. They are also used to hide both the good characters from being seen as well as the murder. Shadows are also played with through the drawn shades, and as an audience you are left to wonder.
         The obvious difference in the film and story’s ending was that instead of Jeff becoming free and getting his cast taken off, Jeffries breaks his other leg and is further entrapped—so to speak--in his relationship with Lisa (Kelly).

         Rear Window is a great film, one of my favorites by Hitchock. All in all, it doesn't even compare to the short story. The movie really brings every element that you'd need camera-shot wise and for acting skills that it comes together beautifully.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Lumiere Project

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    With Lumiere video assignment partner, Laila via littleladylemonade

    3rd Original Photo: Power (Button)

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    I decided to take this photo because I wanted to use the literal meaning of the word power. Power has several different meanings to everyone, so I decided to use an object that I encounter everyday. It's something that I forget hast the power to connect me with the TV and what I love doing: watching movies.

    Visual Review 2: Bruce Davidson

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    To view the full series from Subway, visit Magnum Photo Gallery
    Bruce Davidson, 1980
    Bruce Davidson, 1980
    Bruce Davidson, 1980
    Bruce Davidson + Guardian Angels, 1980
    Bruce Davidson, 1980
    Bruce Davidson, 1980
    Bruce Davidson, 1980
    Bruce Davidson, 1980
    Bruce Davidson, 1980
    Bruce Davidson is considered one of America’s most influential documentary photographers. His career began at the age of 10, when his mother built him a dark room. He studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Yale University School of Design. After living in New York for twenty-three years, Davidson began his startling color essay of suburban life in Subway which was shot in 1980.

    Bruce Davidson’s Subway chronicles inhabitants of the New York City subway system. According to Davidson, this series examines “the people in the subway, their flesh juxtaposed against the graffiti, the penetrating effect of the strobe light itself, and even the hollow darkness of the tunnels.” The work “inspired an aesthetic that goes unnoticed by passengers who are trapped underground, hiding behind masks, and closed off from each other” (Via Aperture)

    This entire series is just fantastic to me. There are a lot of extreme colors captured through the clothes that the passengers are wearing and from the graffiti sprayed everywhere. Davidson’s use of shadows help to focus on the subjects in each shot. There are only a few shots that aren’t shown underground. These show people on the train platforms and are skylines of the city with the train tracks in view--they are still both in the dark, with looming shadows, but you catch glimpses of the sunlight in the photos reflecting onto the subjects and scenes which combine to make beautiful shots, like the photo of the woman wearing sunglasses.

    There are several close-ups of hands holding onto the railing and passengers pressed very close on one another, so as a viewer you get the feeling of cramped spacing during a commute. He managed to capture a culture and a whole new dangerous world that many were unaware of. He showed various viewpoints and focal lengths with every photo capturing stillness while also capturing wide-shots of subjects and motion-blur with the train movement.

    There were a few high and low angles but I feel as if to really get into the hustle and bustle public transit, it worked better to just stay in level with everything else that was going on. You can see he experimented with different ways to capture people and used the sunlight (which appears to be the only light in some shots) to cast shadows onto his subjects to keep the underground/tunnel effect. The graffitti provides the perfect backdrop for some of the subjects, creating nice juxtaposition. What I also noticed that while the photos were dark and left a lot in the shadows, that didn’t change the mood of the pictures and I think that’s because of the bright colors stood out.

    I think this series of photos was more importantly to make light of the dangers of the NYC subway and Davidson's reason of casting shadows and letting the darkness consume these photos were to establish the reality of the city and to showcase what these people living in the city actually see on a daily basis. I thought these pictures were phenomenal and were a great series.

    Sources: TIME, Magnum Photos, Aperture


    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    2nd Original Photo: Texture (Wicker)

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    When I heard the word texture, I instantly thought of all the different knick knacks that my mom has bought to decorate our apartment with. We've had a set of these wicker balls from Pier 1 for some time now and I was just staring at the detail (similar to a rubber band ball) and how each piece of wicker was woven around. The ball's texture is interesting to look at.

    Visual Review 1: Mac 'n' Cheese

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    Mac 'n' Cheese from Mac 'N' Cheese on Vimeo.

    In Mac 'n' Cheese, we are taken though this "trippy" journey as one man tries to outrun their opponent. Basically these two guys "stop at nothing [to]...wear each other out and rip through boundaries hitherto unbroken" (Vimeo).

    The characters and scenery throughout the short are in 3D. The images aren't flat and for me it brings back memories of Pixar films. 3D being a characteristic usually associated with the film company. The animation isn't your typical Pixar 3D movie because in moments where I'm able to pause the video it looks as if a 2D painting has come to life. I can see brush strokes and different colors use to form the skin tone of the characters. The characters are drawn vividly so that they stick out to and so that their emotions and facial expressions are defined and noticeable. The colors are muted, toned down to add to the setting of the short. There is motion blur throughout the chase and the colors are changed to reflect speed/motion. The cold effects put in throughout the tunnel are used to show them underground without the picture going black. There is light fog almost in the air when shots of the sky are shown and light from the sun is reflected onto other objects in range.

    Wide shots are used throughout to show the chase, when the two guys are on top of vehicles. We have low angles to show the mountain sides and high angles to show the highway before the first man even jumps onto the car. A lot of elements from this short are typical of your average action movie. We have quick camera cuts from the one being pursued and the one doing the chasing. Shots cutting off the lower or upper body. The split screens that show the facial reactions of opposite sides at the same time remind me of an older action flick almost a Tarantino-esque sort of thing. Also very common in action films or any chase are the slow motion frames/freeze frames where we go inside the mind of one of the characters as they slow down the moment to think of something to do quickly. Fade to black shots, or empty frames every other second during the chase were in synch with breathing. The camera angles don't change or turn to match up when the man being pursued starts to trip on drugs. We see his world being turned upside down but we don't, as an audience join him until we are in the chaser's p.o.v.

    I was highly entertained and felt like I could watch them continue the chase when the short film was over. It has all the elements of a good action flick and the music brought me even more into the scene. I definitely enjoyed the ride.

    Source: Vimeo

    Photo Essay: "She..."

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    "She turned her cant's into cans and her dreams into plans" 
    Quote By: Kobi Yamada

    This quote is in reference to my mom and her artwork. She managed to take a big step and go back to college for a degree in photography, along the way learning and developing drawing skills she never knew she had. I chose to showcase her photos and artwork around the home in our attempt to make our bland walls a bit colorful. The Mad Men poster adaptation wasn't a class assignment but it's a project she did on her own and the last photo being a work in progress. I wanted to capture the detail in each photo while showing the woman behind the work and how this little wall will eventually be covered with artwork. Unfortunately, for most of the photos I had to use indoor lighting from our floor lamps. I used a Kit Lens (18-55 mm), with a macro extender allowing me to show more detail in some of the various projects.