Monday, 14 February 2011

Notes from Movies and meaning: An Introduction to Film - Stephen Prince

Prince Stephen, 1997, Movies and Meaning: An Introduction to Film 5th edition, Boston, Pearson Education INC as Allyn + Bacon

1. Film Structure

- Structure - film form
- elements of camera, lights, colour, performance, editing, sound and organisation
- Production of time and space in a film
. running time
. feature film
. story time
- Internal stuctural time - rapid camera movement accelerate time of shot (building block of film)
- dynamic relations of tension and release
- camera position is important beginning with establishing shot
- long shot to stress environment or setting and show character's position in relation e.g Titanic to it's passengers.
- Pg 17/18 - example for Citizen Kane and Hitchcock's technique used in Psycho
- Camera lenses apply distinctive optical characteristics to shots.

5. Editing: Making the cut

- joing shots to assemble finished film
- begins with rough cut - eliminating all unuseable footage
- Final cut includes complete assembly and timings of all shots
- Transition
1. cut change of 1 image/ shot to another to join shots where there is no change of narration time or place.
2. other optical transitions - sequence story information and create visual effects e.g dissolve, wipe, iris, etc.
- Continuity - story and scenes that move in orderly and organised fashion
- Dramatic Focus - cutting footage to find/ emphasize dramatic focus of scene tightening timing shots to make them appear more fluid.
- Tempo and mood reflected in the length of shot, brief shots produce a faster pace and longer shots produce fuller measured pacing - never remain constant
- Cutting helps suspense and shock with tight close ups of character's face as it prevents viewers from seeing the room and what maybe lurking there
- Editing permits film makers to control flow of story info and point of view established through changing camera angles
- Parallel Action - two or more things happening at once.
- form of this is cross - cutting editor goes back and forth with increasing speed
- Purpose for continuity editing is to emphasize realism nd naturalness of story and minimize viewers awareness to film techniques and presence of camera.
- Matching to master shot, eyeline match, shot reverse shot series and 180 degree rule techniques we expect to see in film
- Errors of continuity can be spotted as mismatched details in series of shots noticed through objects disappearing or angles that don't match.

7. The Nature of Narrative in Film  

- Production of film begins with completion of a script - layout of order of scenes - dialogue and character interactions written out in detail.
- Fiction - audience willingly suspends disbelief to experience pleasures of an imaginary world.
- audiences want to know truth value of the tales told mixing fact doumentary with fiction.
- Plot refers to the sequence of events shown in film
- Story refers to larger set of events and true chronological sequencing
- POV helps to become more involved with character and experience world as them
- Classic Hollywood Narrative  - main line of actionm, main character achieveing a goal and then sub plot, one event follows another intight casual relationship as links before finally resolving. This can be over several films.
- Alternative = minimized, no domiant line of action, sequence of events loosely organised giving viewer a weaker sense to where story is heading (Antinarrative).

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