31 Jan. Video Analysis & Sheldon

Announcements

  • 1. The calendar has been updated to reflect the cancellation.
  • 2. If you haven’t, don’t forget to post your Scene Analysis by 11:59 tonight. Remember to click the correct category. If I can’t find the post, I can’t score it.

Overview: Scene Analysis

What are the some formal elements of film and how do those elements produce meaning?
  • 1. Composition
  • 2. Sound
  • 3. Photography
  • 4. Editing
  • 5. Audience (Modes of Address)

Walking Dead, Ep. 1 “Cold Open”

 

Activity: Scene Analysis

We are all going to watch a scene from the first episode of The Waking Dead, and then you can respond to the following in groups:

Group One: Composition

What happens during the scene at the level of plot and how do you know? To answer this question describe the formal features of the composition of the scene and then explain the significance of those features:

  • 1. Frame (open form or closed?)
  • 2. Space (cluttered, empty, relation to plot/character)
  • 3. Design (balanced or unbalanced, stylized, natural, period specific?)
  • 4. Point of View (isolated or closed-in, obscured, centered, off-center, exchanges with others?)

Group Two: Sound

What’s the goal of the  sound in the scene and how does the it reinforce the overall meaning? To answer this question describe formal features of sound to the scene and then explain the significance of those features:

  • 1. Music (popular, classical, where’s it coming from?); sound effects (artificial, natural, subjective, where do they come from?)
  • 2. Sound effects (artificial, natural, subjective, where do they come from?)
  • 3. Voice over/narration (who’s speaking and where, what’s their relationship to the action, are they reliable?)

Group Three: Photography, Part I

What’s the goal of the photography in the scene and how does the sound reinforce the overall meaning? To answer this question describe the formal features of photography in the scene and then explain the significance of those features:

  • 1. Lens (normal, telephoto, wide angle, distorting lens, macro)
  • 2. Focus (who or what is in or out of focus; deep focus; soft focus; rack focus; sharp focus)
  • 3. Camera movement (panning shot, tracking shot: from above, below, in/out/circular; zoom in or out, slow or fast; zip pan; tilt shot; handheld shot; camera on vehicle)
  • 4. Angle (high angle, low angle, eye-level, oblique angle, extreme angle, etc.)

Group Four: Photography, Part II

What’s the goal of the photography in the scene and how does the sound reinforce the overall meaning? To answer this question describe the formal features of photography in the scene and then explain the significance of those features:

  • 1. Lighting (realistic, high contrast, high key/low key, special lighting effects, natural lighting)
  • 2. Color (black and white/color/sepia; warm/cold/strong/washed-out colors; symbolic use of colors; subjective use of colors; colors linked to certain characters; progression of the use of colors throughout a film)
  • 3. Special effects (freeze frame/slow/fast/reverse motions/filters/odd or impossible point of view/matting/computer-generated images, etc.)
  • 4. Types of shot (establishing shot/point-of-view shot/reaction shot/shot-counter shot/insert shot/subjective cutaway/flashback shot)

Group Five: Editing

What’s the goal of the editing in the scene and how do editing choices reinforce the overall meaning? To answer this question describe the formal features of editing in the scene and then explain the significance of those features:

  • 1. Position of segment (what comes before and what comes after)
  • 2. Transition techniques (cut/dissolve/fade in or out/wipe/jump cut/iris in or out)
  • 3. Length of individual shots (do shots seem extremely long in duration or particularly short, does the director hold on a certain face or landscape after the action has been played out, etc.)
  • 4. Rhythm/pace (flowing/jerky/disjointed/more panning shots than cuts/fast-paced/slow-paced/unusually long takes/ do certain sequences “feel” different than others in terms of their rhythm?)

Group Six: Audience (Modes of Address)

What’s the goal of the modes of address in the scene and how do those choices reinforce the overall meaning? To answer this question describe the modes of address in the scene and then explain the significance of those features:

  • 1. Does the film acknowledge the spectator, or do events transpire as if no one were present? Do characters look into the camera or pretend it is not there, for instance?
  • 2. How does the film position the spectator vis a vis the onscreen events? Are we made to favor certain characters, to respond in certain ways to certain events (say, through music that “tells” us how to respond or distances us from the action).
  • 3. Acting (stylized/natural/idiosyncratic; does one actor use a different style than others)
  • 4. Costumes (social coding; symbolic use of clothing; clothing as an extension of personal style; clothing as an extension of decor)

Sheldon, “Future”

We’ll work though these questions as a class:
  • 1. According to Sheldon, what’s the connection between images of the Blue Planet and images of children?
  • 2. According to Sheldon, what does environmentalism do well?
  • 3. What are some problems with environmentalism that Sheldon points out?
  • 4. What is Sheldon’s response to the problems she identifies with the ways that environmentalism figures the future? OR, How can we have forms of life and without the privileging of security, certainty, or closure promoted by popular environmentalism?