Monday, December 12, 2011


MedP 160 was a great follow up course to MedP 150. It expanded on the different aspects involved in making media. I already knew about blogs and had one, but MedP 160 enhanced my understanding of websites including learning about html. I could now create the coding for my website. MedP 160 allowed me to become much more hands on with production, editing, and collaborating with others to get projects completed.

The midterm exam covered relevant topics that we had discussed and learned about in lecture. However, I don't think these courses, MedP 150 and 160, need to require written exams. Their purpose is to have students involved in the filmmaking/media department and make them work with equipment as you would do in the real world. Exams take away from that. If the professors or school require to have exams then there should be a non-cumulative final where the professor chooses what will be given.

My favorite blog assignment would be the interview/production assignment. In a lot of ways, I learned a lot about myself in getting a project done. Having a deadline forced me to focus more intensely on the project. I liked the idea of writing my ideas down and shooting them. Then with the editing process, I enjoyed being in control of the visuals and audio. I can manipulate the audio interview even more by adding an effect from final cut pro. It helped in trying to create a certain mood for the audience.

Another blog assignment that I really enjoyed was analyzing a scene from one of my favorite movies, For a Few Dollars More. It was interesting because I learned more about the movie as I examined it. I paid close attention to the audio. The sounds and the music Leone used have as strong an effect as his visual images. The wide shots coupled with the extreme close ups are powerful techniques to tell his story.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blog 3

Maybe if I would've had more editing time, I could've had some moving shots of Kristen playing rugby. The moving footage that I shot was too shaky so I didn't use it. I definitely forgot to put my name in the end credits, but it's fine. I changed the music from a symphony sound to a hip hop instrumental and I think it sounds better. I took the best parts of Kristen's interview and edited it together. Hopefully, it will be enjoyable with the visuals I have. The pauses have a black screen. The purpose for this was to provide a breather for the audience. The intent was to move from topic to subtopic without losing the integrity of the interview. It was difficult transitioning from the rugby material to the more serious material. I had trouble finding visual images to go in this part, but I just ended up using some rugby footage and then I quickly cut to what I shot with Kristen, and the music fades back in.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Blog 2: For a Few Dollars More (1965)

The final showdown between Colonel Mortimer (played by Lee Van Cleef) and Indio (played by Gian Maria Volonte) in Sergio Leone's For a Few Dollars More is a great example of editing contributing immensely to the feel of the film.  Those who worked with Leone say he was in love with music and it couldn't be more true in this film.  He was a very operatic director and it shows in the way he married music to images.  The sequence starts with Indio shooting Mortimer's gun out of his hand and then he walks towards Mortimer and we can even hear the spurs of his boots as he walks.  It's very detailed.  Both men own a watch with a portrait of a girl inside (it's Mortimer's sister and Indio's girl) which plays music when opened and Indio declares Mortimer pick up his gun when the chimes of the watch end.  It's a soft tune resembling a lullaby.  Leone probably had the writers write into the story about a watch that plays music.  When the lullaby starts, there's a close up of Mortimer looking down at his gun and then a shot of the gun.  Indio moves in towards the camera from a medium shot to a close up.  As the lullaby almost ends, there are extreme close ups of their faces along with a close up of Indio's hand going for his gun.  This is what Leone does really well.  As the film draws closer to a final moment (in this case the watch's song ending), he pushes us closer to the characters by his choice of shots.  Now when the chimes end, the lullaby starts up again and both men, in each a close up, are rattled.  We get a long shot of the two men and a hand, with a similar watch playing the same tune, comes into the frame.

Mortimer checks his locket chain and his watch isn't there (a close up).  In an extreme close up, he looks at the man holding his watch and the camera moves from the watch in this mysterious hand to an extreme close up of the man holding it, Monco (played by Clint Eastwood).  Now we get non-diegetic music by the great Ennio Morricone starting in an extreme close up of Indio's face.  It's a guitar and the lullaby still plays along with it, but the guitar heightens the tension because now there are two men against Indio.  After Monco gives Mortimer his gun belt, Monco declares "Now we start" and loud horns begin to play and we get a beautiful wide shot of the three men: Mortimer and Indio facing each other and Monco as he prepares to sit, a spectator for the final battle.  The camera slowly pushes in to Monco's face for a close up watching both men and in the background we still hear Morricone's music playing.

The images Leone uses are the guns or his characters' hands going for their guns, the watch, and his characters' faces and he cuts between them in a way to build suspense in this final gun battle.  It's a very long drawn out final battle, but the killing of Indio by Mortimer is very quick.  The set up of the battle is what takes a long time.  Leone organizes the shots in a way that he can hold us in suspense.  For example, there's a close up of Indio's hand slowly going for his gun.  Then we cut to an extreme close up of his face and back to his hand as it inches closer to his gun. We get a medium shot of Mortimer ready and then Monco's reaction in an extreme close up as he watches Indio do this and he looks at Mortimer.  Then a medium shot of Indio reaching for his gun.  In a medium shot, Mortimer rapidly fires his gun at Indio.  Before Mortimer fires his gun, we get six shots where Leone holds our attention.  We know how this is going to end because it's a Western.  One bandit usually kills another.  But Leone takes his time and makes his signature trademark in not just the selection of his shots, but the extreme close ups of his characters' reactions.

The shots aren't seamless where you don't notice them.  They're obvious but it's a good thing because that's the way they were intended to be.  This kind of film, especially a Western like this, wasn't intended to have the kind of invisible editing traditional Hollywood is known for.  Leone assembles the shots in a way that he wants you to notice Indio reaching for his gun because he'll cut to Monco's reaction in an extreme close up to let us know what Indio is doing is important.