Sunday, 4 November 2012

Week 4 Of University (Tues 30 Oct)

In the seminar, we looked at Sound & Image, though more specifically focusing on sound and its subcategories (Dialogue, Music, Sound Effects, Silence and whether the sound is Diegetic (in the film) or Non-Diegetic (added in post) and its effects (Space, Time, Emotion, Coordination, Disruption, Symbolism, Perspective and Subjectivity).

To better understand how these elements were utilised, we look at extracts from a variety of sources, and examined what from Sound & Image applied and how it was used. First, we looked at the opening credits for the television sitcom, Cheers:
  • The photos used in the credits are of parties from different times in the last two centuries, obviously emphasising the title.
  • The theme song is light hearted (again, going back to the title) and sets the jovial, not-to-be-taken-seriously tone of the show.
Then, the opening of Neighbours:
  • The theme song outlines the premise of the show, talking about the neighbours and their relationship.
  • We see a roll of all the characters, or at least the main ones, from the show.
  • The bright colours and title effects firmly set it in the early 90s.
After, the opening from the dark comedy-drama, Six Feet Under:
  • The music is somber, fitting the subject material.
  • The images used are from a morgue preparing a body and the actual funeral.
  • The flower and tree withering emphasize the theme of 'death'.
Then, the opening to the 10 O' Clock news on ITV:
  • The combination of dynamic music and the bell chimes attract the audience's attention and give a sense of immediacy and importance.
  • The opening cinematice flies across London and ends on Big Ben, which are iconic images of Britain and make it more relevant to the British audience.
Then, moving onto film, we looked at a segment from the 1955 french film, Les Diaboliques:
  • The lack of music and use of sound effects (breathing, creaky floors) creates a sense of isolation and loneliness.
  • The opening of the door and sound of the typewriter creates suspense as to what's on the other side.
  • The sudden scream of the woman draws the audiences' attention.
And finally, we looked at the Chuck Jones directed Looney Tunes cartoon Duck Amuck from 1953:
  • The orchestrated music at the start sets up the expectation of seeing a swashbuckler, which is then shattered, playing on audience expectations.
  • Carl Stalling's music underscores nearly the entire cartoon, both as part of the jokes (changing music as the backgrounds are manipulated) and even providing Daffy's footsteps.
  • There's a gag where, when Daffy tries to talk or use a guitar, different sounds come out of his mouth (like a chicken and a donkey), once again, playing with sound and expectations.
Afterwards, in the screening, we watched an episode of 24 and an episode of Breaking Bad, then in the actual lecture, we looked at Character & Performance: Generally, in films and TV, characters are definined by the following traits -
  • The script (how they are written)
  • Performance (how the character is acted by the performer/actor)
  • Convention (what we expect from a type of character)
  • Star Persona (the celebrity status of the actor/performer and how that can affects perceptions)
  • Relationship between characters and the audience
Then, we took a quick look at the difference between characters on TV and characters in film, mainly that television allows for more character growth/development/elaboration, thanks to the episodic format, than film where you have a set time limit, and in film, the development is more of a transformation/revelation/epiphany. Additionally, we took a look at the three keys to character response, which are Recognition (turning what we see into something that we can understand), Alignment (access into the characters' world and mind) and Allegiance (our judgement on the characters' views and morals).

Then, we looked at how a character is created (Name, their key relationship, their Backstory, their goals desires and finally, their function/purpose within the narrative) and how it could be performed (Histrionic/Pantomime, Naturalism, Method acting or self concious).

My closing statement about today's work was that, like prior weeks, it felt a tad rushed, especially the lecture at the end, and I still feel that it should be first, then the screening so we have an idea of what to look for. Apart from that though, once again, it was interesting to break down these elements and see how much of an effect they have on use as both an audience and as makers.

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