Monday, May 7, 2012
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
by Aaron Kohn in Tech on 10 August 2010
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Oh my God. Never have I experienced such a true piece of cinema. “The Artist” written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius, is something to marvel at. The movie may have been a bit longer than movies today, but the length was not an issue. Jean Dujardin plays George Valentin, a silent film star who finds himself seemingly forgotten when talkies arrive. Peppy Miller, played by Bérénice Bejo, a woman he meets by chance and sparks with instantly, saves him (as did George’s dog) from ultimate doom. The three characters that stood out to me where George Valentin, Peppy Miller, and the dog! George is proud, charismatic, distressed, in love and passionate. Peppy is enthusiastic, beautiful, loving, famous and sweet. The dog is loyal, trained, caring, heroic and intelligent. This film took place in the late 1920s and early 1930s America. This film is a romance, comedy and drama. I was wholly entertained. I laughed, I teared up, I was moved. The theme I got from the film was, “Don’t be so proud that you miss out on something amazing.”
Like “Hugo”, the production of this film was nearly flawless. There were no errors that diverted my attention away from the story. The sets matched the period perfectly, the lighting was great as well. The costumes were superb! The style of the 1930s was reflected in this film. I’m sure there were wigs used, however, everyone’s hair looked real! Make-up was done nicely, too.
The sound! Couldn’t hear ANY of the dialogue for the first 96 minutes of the film. Wonder why. All kidding aside, the sound was crisp, clear and had proper volume. The choreography takes me back to when I’d watch black and white films, some silent, as a kid. It was so happy, it made me want to join in with them and experience the joy they shared on screen. The musical score was delightful, as the it set the tempo and matched the emotions going on in the film. They also knew when silence was just as powerful and as purposeful.
I loved the props! They got all the appropriate props for everything! Especially the props for the studio sets. And the cars too, they were wonderful.
The acting blew me away. I was astonished at the level of understanding I had of what was going on, who was feeling or saying what. The body language was spot on too. In the scene where Peppy goes to George’s dressing room to leave him a message on the mirror, when they have a moment and it looks like they’re going to kiss, Clifton comes in. Bérénice places her hand on her neck at that moment and it perfectly translates what she’s feeling! The actors did a remarkable job of creating unbelievable chemistry on screen and the director/writer made a timeless piece and used this medium fantastically.
I hope to see more silent films in the next year as I think we can expect to see a comeback of them. Maybe not, but I think it would challenge many.
*A small tidbit, the movie was shot in the 1.33:1 "Academy ratio," just as in silent-film days, since director/writer Hazanvicius, Michel considered it 'perfect for actors' because it gives them 'a presence, a power, a strength. They occupy all the space of the screen.'
Thursday, January 5, 2012
This article is about one thing and one thing only: white balancing! On a video camera that is. The article first explained what the term “white balance” means. It said that it basically means “color balance”.
Now, the article went on to explain the three main terms that describe white balance features. One is completely automatic, the other is adjustable through the camera itself while others require fully manual filter changes and lens additions. The article recommends white balancing before every shoot, every time you go indoors, outdoors, if you change the lighting set up, etc. The article notes that even though your eye may not notice the changes, the camera will, so beware.
The article gave some insight as to how much white should be in the frame for the camera to white balance. 80% is what Sony suggests. I also learned that it takes a few seconds, typically, before the camera adjusts.
Now, the article does go on to say that advanced camera operators will purposefully change the white balance to be bluer or more orange for a certain effect. To make it warmer or cooler basically.
Why I chose it:
I chose this article because it reinforces what I have learnt about White Balancing. This article gives some visual references about the situations when lighting is too blue or orange because of the white balance. This article gave some crucial advice that I felt might be useful to know.
I came across this article and thought, “This is perfect!” since I've been learning why white balance is used and how it can help the camera to see the colors correctly.
Monday, December 5, 2011
The first weekend of November this year, I had the pleasure of both watching and being a part of five live performances of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I played the role of Mr. Cunningham. The play, written by Christopher Sergel, is adapted from Harper Lee’s novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Karen Rugerio directed this play as well. The setting is Maycomb, Alabama 1935. A basic summary of the plot is this: Jem and Scout meet Dill, a young boy who feeds on their fascination of Boo Radley. Atticus, Jem and Scout’s father, is appointed to defend a black man named Tom Robinson who is charged with raping and beating Mayella Ewell. When the day of the trial arrives it is revealed that Bob and Mayella Ewell are lying, and that Mayella made sexual advances toward Tom. Now, Tom is innocent, but is still sent to jail with a guilty verdict. Jem’s faith, along with Atticus’s, in the justice system decreases. Especially so when they are told by Heck Tate, the sheriff, that Tom was shot to death. Then, Bob Ewell, who was humiliated in front of everyone in court, attacks Jem and Scout. This lures out Boo Radley, who saves Jem and Scout from Bob. The sheriff sees no reason to prosecute Boo or Jem, as it was Bob that was killed and convinces Atticus to not pursue it.
Three characters that stood out to me were Atticus Finch, Mayella Ewell, and last but not least, Jem. Atticus has integrity, respect, intelligence, courage and is compassionate. Mayella is conflicted, abused, manipulated, maladjusted and fearful. Jem is fun, friendly, understanding, hurt and is maturing. I feel that for this play, there is no “main idea” that is being sent across here. There is a great mix of themes in this play, and the one that stood out the most to me is courage. Doing the right thing even though it isn’t popular. Atticus does that in this play and to me it is awe-inspiring.
Now, I will discuss the performance I was in on Friday, on the night in which the judges came to see us. The set, watching it from concept to completion was simply amazing. I mean the paint and design of the houses and courtroom were well fitting of the images created in my mind when I first read the play. The lighting wasn’t bad, but there were some rough spots in which the lighting hindered the watching ability from the audience’s point of view. I saw footage of the mob scene and found that it was needlessly dark. Luckily, the problem was addressed and the lighting was perfect on the days following Friday. The costumes were all period appropriate, so no complaints there. The props were good as well, so the illusion was never ruined by little nuances like that. Wigs and make-up were excellent. I found the shadowing of my face to be perfect as to how my face was actually aligned. Though, having prior knowledge of how some of the wigged actors look pre-wig, it was slightly uncomfortable as it was messing with the already preset image in my mind. The sound was pretty good, there were moments when projection, mine too, wasn’t high enough. The last portion of the play the audience sees was nicely done. I get what Ms. Rugerio was trying to accomplish by creating this picture of everyone together. The vocals were excellent, I speak of course of the main singer, her voice definitely exceeds normal expectations of quality. The acting, from what I was able to see (the courtroom scene mainly), was impressive.
I know firsthand that everyone worked tirelessly to bring up their performance level. I liked what everyone did with their characters in how they all did their part and saw things from the character’s point of view. I really enjoyed playing the role and doing the work in learning more about this character. I think Gregory Peck and Harper Lee would be proud of this production.
Friday, November 25, 2011
I'd wanted to have the chance to be part of this project since they were auditioning for the pilot. Unfortunately, they were always looking for someone over 18. Then they were looking for way under my age range. I kept running into this snag every attempt I made.
Now, my high school had an agreement with the production that gave the high school students the chance to be extras on the show...unpaid extras...but they got to be a part of it.
So far I had the chance to work with them on two occasions. One of those days was during a school day, so I got to skip a couple of classes in the a.m. as well as come back on set after school.
I got the chance to watch Mark L. Young in action. Some of Mark's past works include Dexter, Heroes and Sex Drive. He plays one of the main characters, Neil.
Being on set, even when you're not the focus of the camera, is always an enjoyable and interesting experience. Just as in everything else in life, you get what you put into it. I'm interested in working both sides of the camera, so this gives me the chance to observe and learn from my surroundings. It is always an opportunity to meet creative, like-minded people on the same journey as yourself.