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260 MISAL ESKENDER

Photographing the Face

This was my first attempt at the task ‘Photographing the face’ now looking back I wish I had put more thought into the idea after comparing it to other peoples work I could have been more creative.

Culture is the main theme of my video. I tried to represent this idea throughout the whole shot, it starts with a bit of shake and I made an active decision not to cut it out because it emphasises the home feel.

My mother was preparing for a wedding, at Eritrean/Ethiopian wedding’s its custom to wear a white headscarf. A simple accessory of the scarf indicates to the audience where the subject is from without even using any words.

It starts in black and white and slowly transitions to colour, my reasoning for this is to articulate my point of having a very rich culture. When you look at the poster at the back the paint on the different tribes in Eritrea looks beautiful, according to Eritrea’s ministry of information there is a total of nine ethnic groups including ‘Tigrinya, Saho, Bilen, Hidarb, Rashaida, Kunama, Nara, Tigre and Afar’ who all have different beliefs and customs but are still able to come together as one, so imagine how diverse Africa is.  I have a strong love for east Africa in general, even though I am not in the video itself it is still revealing my character.

The plan was for my Mother to act natural but some Tigrinya music was playing in the background so she asked me if she could dance. It’s something about the drums that my mum can not refrain to dance. As Eritrea is quite a young country most of the music is focused on the war ‘Some new artists in postliberation Eritrea are emerging, however, with an artistic focus on the country’s struggle for independence.’. The people have a certain pride which includes my mum, especially because the fight is so fresh in people’s memories, loads of lives sacrificed including my mum’s father and many of her siblings.I Thought the spontaneity was kind of cool so I didn’t take a second take. However, now wish I did because people put more time and effort on the look they wanted to go for, it just inspired me to think of a unique style to develop for myself, something that makes my work special.

‘Music has always played a pivotal role in Eritrea. It mobilised people during the 30-year war of independence from Ethiopia’

Music gave people hope, it’s probably the reason why Eritrea was so successful in gaining independence,                                                                                                                                          ‘Music also gave the EPLF a tool to inspire and recruit young people in the fight against Ethiopia, and a number of rebel fighters went on to become music stars after independence.’ These musicians started a revolution, it united the population and many of these singers are looked upon as heroes because many of the pioneers were freedom fighters too.

I Thought the spontaneity was kind of cool so I didn’t take a second take. However, now wish I did because people put more creativity on the look they wanted to go for, it just inspired me to think of a unique style to develop for myself, something that makes my work special.

For example maybe next time I could project images and clips of the war and see my mother’s reaction to it because it was obviously an emotional time. Also visually would look more interesting especially as the task is only meant to be one shot. The Weeknd’s Often music video has inspired me to be more inventive in the future.

Although it isn’t only one shot, it is made to look like it is, it’s strikingly stimulating and engaging.The director Sam pilling has a quite dark re-occurring feel in all his videos but they are all still quite different from each other. His shots are always cinematic and intriguing that’s why in my shot of my Mum I used a slider for a subtle effect to also give it a more polished feel but because I was moving it so slow you probably wouldn’t be able to tell so in that aspect ineffective in achieving what I wanted.

Either way, it is a learning curve, in future I will take more time experimenting with ideas and increasing the amount of takes so that I have a variety of work to pick from.

Bibliography

shabait Administrator. (2014). Eritrea’s 9 ethnic groups. Available: http://www.shabait.com/about-eritrea/erina/16508-eritreas-9-ethnic-groups. Last accessed 8th DEC 2016.

K JETIL T RONVOLL. (2007). Countries and their cultures. Available: http://www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/Eritrea.html. Last accessed 2016.

Ismail Einashe. (2015). A history of Eritrean music, from revolutionary funk to viral pop. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/19/eritrea-music-history-eplf-youtube-viral-pop. Last accessed 2016

imvdb. (August 21, 2014). Often (2014) . Available: https://imvdb.com/video/the-weeknd/often. Last accessed 2016.

Making a Relationship – 6 Shots

‘This week it is your challenge to try and communicate the unspoken feelings between characters.’

We learnt how important blocking and spacing is, so important to the extent that we can understand the relationship between characters even without sound.  Our challenge was to play around with this idea with 6 shots.

After receiving feedback from the class one subject kept coming up, the fact that my work was ’13 shots’ instead of 6. I was told I hadn’t met the brief requirements but from my understanding the class hadn’t counted my shots but instead counted how many cuts I had. For example, if I cut from on shot to the other 50 times it still would only be two shots with 50 cuts.

However, technically I haven’t met the brief but that is for the totally opposite reason. It’s because I had used less than six shots. In fact, I have only used 5 shots. My plan is to do a re-edit or even re-shoot to meet the exact requirements. Another thing I would change in the re-edit is the colour correction because in the class workshops I’ve learnt one of the most important lessons which

Another thing I would change in the re-edit is the colour correction because in the class workshops I’ve learnt one of the most important lessons which is to always save the skin. Before this, I didn’t know how to colour correct and I’ve just put a LUT in from premiere pro’s pre-sets. At first when I asked for classmates opinions they all loved it but that’s probably because they are around about the same stage when it comes to editing but now looking back we can see the amateur flaws in my work.

One of the criticisms I do agree with is that my topic may be cliche or not original because it’s a couple fighting. On the other hand, I tried playing around with lighting spacing and framing I even used a slider to create some movement and depth to the shot. I needed it to be extremely better compared to my first task ‘Photographing the face’, it had to be a bit more cinematic with better movement and just more creativity when composing the shot.

There are shots through the door which creates some sort of mystery and leaves us feeling like outsiders because we aren’t directly inside the same room as the characters. Or the use of dark blues and red just to emphasise the unstable emotion in their relationship. Blain Brown mentions that ‘few elements are as effective and as powerful as light and colour. They have the ability to reach viewer at a purely emotion gut level.’  It sets the mood, the audience doesn’t have to consciously think what is going on because the brain reads the situation through the lighting without even thinking about it.

chiaroscuro‘Chiaroscuro emphasised shadows and harsh lighting to create a sense of depth and volume in paintings.’ 

Even though it’s a painting cinematography needs to follow the same concept so that the image doesn’t look 1 dimensional. Many have the misconception that the cinematographer is just for the construction and positioning of the shot but they need to understand how the light will affect a certain space and how to add complexity to the frame without overcomplicating. This time around I spent a lot more time experimenting with lighting, I placed small LED lights in particular parts of the room depending on where I wanted the audience’s eyes to be focused on.

Blocking had to be considered because it tells the story in itself, we are able to differentiate who is dominant in the relationship plus movement in general, helps create a natural realistic feel to the scene.

Blocking was originally a theatre term that refers to the positioning and movement of the actors in the stage. In cinema, camera and lights are added to the equation.

There are points where we had the female subject standing up while the male was sitting looking up towards her which made him look powerless and not in control, again, the fact that you can only see part of her face but because the blocking is so effective you understand what’s going on just through her body language and the way the male is positions and his reaction to her action.

Bibliography

Blain Brown (2016). Cinematography theory & practice. Canada: Routeledge. 48.

FilmmakerIQ. (,). THE BASICS OF LIGHTING FOR FILM NOIR. Available: http://filmmakeriq.com/lessons/the-basics-of-lighting-for-film-noir/. Last accessed 2016.

GABE MOURA. (2014). Blocking. Available: http://www.elementsofcinema.com/directing/blocking-actors/. Last accessed 2016.

 

Lighting Task

 

The Potato Eaters an oil painting by Vicent Van Gogh made in 1885 gives us an insight on past lives we would have never experienced otherwise. Almost like a piece of historic evidence illustrated in stone.

This was one of our tasks leading us into our final piece and what this focused on was lighting, creating a scene illustrating the photograph. In order to make a satisfying project   we needed to have an understanding on what the image was about. At first glance, I thought it was a poor family breaking bread with ragged clothes. As soon as we found out the name for the image ‘The potato eaters’ it obviously changed our initial idea.

I didn’t know what Van Gogh was referring to so I looked into it. On the Van Gogh museum’s website from his hometown, it explained why it was named Potato eaters and the reason for the choice of colours

 “He painted the five figures in earth colours – ‘something like the colour of a really dusty potato, unpeeled of course’”

It really made us consider the lighting as it affects the connotation of our film, Van Gogh thought about how dark dirty earthy colours would highlight the peasants lifestyle in the countryside and really emphasises how the majority of the society felt about poorer people.

What was extremely important for us was location, it sets the scene and gives a sense authenticity. Especially because we couldn’t get the costumes and we didn’t want to modernise the image too much.  As a group, we went on a location scout and the perfect location was the pub “The white Friars” who claim to be the oldest building in Coventry.

The beams remind me of the painting, it framed the image nicely

Van Goghs fictional biography says he was ‘A painter of genius, his life was an incessant struggle against poverty, discouragement, madness and despair.’ 

It made me feel as if somehow he has reflected his own life experiences like his struggle against poverty in his own art, especially in ‘The potato eaters’ probably the reasoning for his accomplishments in gaining positive reviews is because he’s sensed the feeling before and was able to portray it in the art.

Technically we needed to get lighting right in order of having a satisfactory body of work but there was a small issue, this is an old building so there went any plug sockets around. Luckily I went and inspected the location twice before so I was aware so when it came to the day we use the Battery powered LED panels. We filmed on a 5D because it is better in low light compared to the 700d. Lastly, we used a slider to emphasise certain actions. For

Lastly, we used a slider to emphasise certain actions. For example, our interpretation of the story was that the men in the room had respect for the female providing the food but every time she left the room the would fight with each other but when she would come back everything would be silent. This happened a few times and the slider would move with the female so it was kind of like we were viewing the situation from her point of view.

The lighting was dark for effect but it meant on the shooting day we didn’t realise that the slider was in shot. Even the Editor didn’t notice this but once you point it out then you realise. I am planning to mask it out in future but because we didn’t have time we presented it to the class how it was and funnily enough nobody noticed.

Props were important but we also had to think about budget, I bought candles because not only are they a useful light source on camera but they fit in with the era in time our film and the painting was set. Also for the feast we used a loaf of bread, it was really important to the extent where the audience needs to know what it is but it definitely adds authenticity.

Bibliography 

The Potato Eaters. Available: https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en/collection/s0005V1962. Last accessed 2016.

Irving Stone (1990). Lust of Life. ,: Arrow. 601.

Soundscape & Remake

‘This week we want you to generate a one-minute soundscape made using originally captured sound.’

My first soundscape was the lyrics to the song Eternal Sunshine by Jhene Aiko, I spent quite a lot of time trying to think of a poem to do because I was struggling to create a soundscape, I just couldn’t get the imagery in my mind.

I used the Edirol R05 which was my first time using that particular recorder, I put an external microphone in and it was quite sensitive, it would pick up noise excess and unwanted noise so I had to find a quiet place to record. Another problem I encountered it that even with the filter the words with P’s and T’s were still quite dominant. It was just a case knowing how much to distance myself mic.

“Films are 50 percent visual and 50 percent sound. Sometimes sound even overplays the visual.”

David Lynch a surrealist filmmaker emphasises the importance of sound to the point where he feels it may even be more important than visuals and now I agree with him. Doing the sound workshops and making my own soundscape  I’ve realised how much influence it has on the films, you can literally change a genre of a film with the music alone.

I’ve also learnt that if nobody notices the sound it means you have done a good job, it needs to flow with no sudden cuts and has to be at the right levels if you want a good experience for the audience.

I had to do a remake of the soundscape because even though I captured the majority of the sounds I had also layered one or two of my sounds with existing royalty free sounds because first time round when I showed people they couldn’t tell what sound it was. This wasn’t part of the brief so I did another poem and recorded every single sound you hear within it.

I felt like if I did a topic which I care about especially because of the fact that I was raised in Tottenham, it would give me more enthusiasm to make something better than the last. This was inspired by the 2011 Tottenham Riots, even though this was a disaster it was also the first time in a long time the community came together. Also, it was an opportunity for local artists whether it be painting, music or poetry, people voiced their pain in their own way.

This was inspired by the 2011 Tottenham Riots, even though this was a disaster it was also the first time in a long time the community came together. Also, it was an opportunity for local artists whether it be painting, music or poetry, people voiced their pain in their own way.

I got it from a Poets blog called Anthony Wilson, he writes blogs that the working class people are more likely to relate to rather than . As soon I read ‘ The Burning of the houses’ from his life savings poems collection, immediately  I could hear the sounds in my head.

The main constant sound throughout the whole piece was the street with the cars and people passing by, it was seriously much easier capturing sound than I thought, I just stood outside Coventry University and pointed my Mic and allowed the natural sounds to play itself. I had other little sounds like the lighter to emphasise Tottenham being on fire, or social networking sounds when I talk about twitter even the typing from my keyboard.

I picked to remake this task out of all my other tasks despite their flaws because I enjoyed taking time, thinking about every little detail and every layer to build one strong piece, knowing that it will be equally or even more important than the visuals.

Bibliography 

Anthony Wilson. (JANUARY 7, 2015). Lifesaving Poems: Chrissy Williams’s ‘The Burning of the Houses’ . Available: https://anthonywilsonpoetry.com/tag/london-riots-poems/. Last accessed 2016.

Michael Zager (,). Writing Music For Commercials, Television, Radio AND NEW MEDIA. 3rd ed. New York: Rowman & LittleField. 264.

The Films of David Lynch:. Available: http://www.britishfilm.org.uk/lynch/Sintro.html. Last accessed 2016.

 

260 Cinematography Task

 

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-12-34-54-pm.png

‘The white t-shirt’ was the painting assigned to us but before we even knew the name of the image we started brainstorming interpretations, we came up with many ideas from expressing himself through dance to mental illnesses.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-7-49-38-pm  We shortlisted the best concepts and then looked for more information about the image to give us a sense of when and where this was set. The reasoning for not researching first was because we didn’t want the facts to affect our creativity but once we’ve come up with a few ideas we could retrieve the facts to enhance the idea.

‘The white t-shirt’ was 1946 painting by a Mexican painter named Guillermo Meza. After spending a bit of time searching for material we weren’t making any huge break throughs, there just isn’t much on this painting in particular. The libraries did not have any books on him and the majority of information that was available was from Wikipedia which isn’t the most reliable source.

‘Latin American art’ talks about Meza’s work as ‘expressionist – surrealist’ paintings,’ mainly drawing ‘from Indian mythology’. Also, the ‘denouncement against society’ This rebellious behaviour definitely sparked creative shot ideas and what kind of look we might go for because of the Indian mythology, however, what really stuck with us was his focus on religion and going against conventional views, painting extreme perspectives and opposing opposition.

Our trail of thought automatically went to ‘The Stanford prison experiment’. It took place in 1971 and was meant to last two weeks but only lasted six days. It consisted of young men being divided into roles of prisoners and prison guards. ‘The study provided a graphic illustration of the power of situations to shape individuals’ behaviour.’ Power situations was very much an aspect we wanted to include in our project especially because in previous lectures we had learnt about blocking and how this is effective in determining the relationship between the subjects. However, we still wanted to tie our idea back to religion and as I looked at the

However, we still wanted to tie our idea back to religion and as I looked at ‘The white T-shirt’ again, I saw femininity and expression of himself and instantly thought of conversion therapy. It’s basically a psychological treatment created to change a persons sexuality. I wanted to have a deeper understanding of this practice so I watched  documentaries including VICE’S ‘Living through Gay Conversion therapy’. People who have actually experienced this appear on the documentary and talk about the different of types torture they went through, including being electric shocked; being forced to watch disturbing images next to homosexual ones and verbal torture.

This was incorporated into our final video, the basic narrative was about a boy who has been forced in conversion therapy. Our setting is a church and the person who will be carrying out the therapy is the priest.

storyboard-church

A lot of the time there is a big likelihood that the people carrying out this therapy are insecure about their own sexuality so we tried to highlight that subtlely, concentrating on three methods of torture which was projecting images on the subjects face , intensive prayer/ exorcism and lastly waterboarding.

we won’t be able to understand the operations of trans-phobia, homophobia, if we don’t understand how certain kinds of links are forged between gender and sexuality in the minds of those who want masculinity to be absolutely separate from femininity.

Judith Butler is a strong believer in gender and sexuality fluidity, the idea that identity is performative but society makes us feel like there is a right and wrong way of being leaving a lot of people conforming and not being their true self. Our group needed to make sure that we weren’t sending the message in our film that sexuality can be altered. It would be damaging and insensitive, but at the same time, we didn’t want to spoon-feed the audience so there is a little room for interpretation.

We filmed with the black magic for the first time which extended our workflow massively, for one it’s hard to edit on our laptops with 4k footage and exporting a proxy took about 5 hours so we were literally waiting around to edit especially because we left it last minute.

It was definitely a learning experience and Its taught me to take care of my footage, backup everything and learnt a more industry styled working method.

Bibliography

Guillermo Meza(Mexico, 1917 – 1997) Artist Biography. Available: http://www.latinamericanart.com/en/artists/guillermo-meza/biography.html. Last accessed 2016

(1st sept 2016). Guillermo Meza (Artist). Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillermo_Meza_(artist). Last accessed 2016.

(2008). The Stanford Prison Experiment. Available: http://www.bbcprisonstudy.org/bbc-prison-study.php?p=17. Last accessed 08-12-2016.

VICE. (2015). Living through gay conversion therapy. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD4sWQG2DnQ&t=1051s. Last accessed 2016.

JUDITH BUTLER (1990). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. UNITED STATES: Routledge

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