‘Inception’ – (2010)

Nolan, C. Inception. (2010)

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‘Inception’ is a 2010 sci-fi mystery film which is directed by Christopher Nolan. The film has won Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Sound Mixing and Best Cinematography from the Oscar Awards. The story is about the protagonist, Dominic Cobb who is a practitioner of science of extraction. He is an expert of taking information from other people’s dreams and he has got a mission from a Japanese businessman named Mr. Satio who employs him to plant an idea in a person’s subconscious. Artificial sedative is used which helps Cobb and his team to create layers of dreams and achieve the mission.  The use of dreams in the film related to Cobb’s life and his desire where he wants to use dream to imagine what he wants in the dream, for example imagining his family stay together. Mrs Cobb (Mal) is an imaginative character who is imagined by Cobb and she didn’t exist in real life as she was already dead. The reason her character appears in the film is to reflect Cobb’s guilty as in the past, he implanted her mind the idea that the world wasn’t real by using a rudimentary form of Inception. And when she woke up from the dream, she still thought that the reality is not real as well. So in order to go back to what she thinks of reality is, she committed suicide. Dreams also links to our memories as well as the film suggests that Cobb uses his memories to imagine his family being together and tries to keep his wife alive. The film sometimes uses flashbacks to tell the audience memories of Cobb’s character to allow us understand what has happened in the past and related to what he did. There are motifs in the film where Mal repeats the sentence, ‘You’re waiting for a train. The train that will take you far away’. At first, I was really confused what it is about but after the scene where Cobb repeat the sentence, I know that this is a sentence which Cobb said to Mal in the past and it links to Mal’s dealth as she doesn’t believe the reality world is real.

Special Effects are being used a lot throughout the film to present the ideas in the dream that something is imaginative and to show things that won’t happen in really life. For instance, the scene I really like when Ariadne imagined the city upside down and the city form a box shape and the objects can move freely even the city is upside down and this scene amazes me. I can also see slow motion are being used quite a lot of times to capture the details of the scene and also how the features of science fiction films where time can alters slowly. I really like the idea how each dreams connected to another by sharing similar events for instance, in the film where Cobb falls into the water in the bathtub and it links to his previous dream that water submerge the building he was at. The way how the scenes link together helps the plot flow smoothly and I like the way in ‘Inception’, you can’t expect what will happen in the next scene which makes the film more exciting. The idea of dream within dream is interesting and I think it engages and draws the audience into the film.

The film shows the idea of dream is not real but we can still experience pain in our mind. The film questions what really is reality and explain the idea that we can control what we imagine in our dreams. Dreams link to our imagination and there are interesting facts that the film told the audience such as when Cobb said that do you ever remember the beginning of your dream? The dream always starts in the middle of the story and there isn’t any ending.  Another example is when Cobb explains that time seems slow in dream and for example 5 minutes in the dream gives you an hour in the dream.

The film fits in the genre science fiction mystery as the film’s idea is innovative and the way how things are not expected creates mystery atmosphere. It links to the idea of my fashion film as you can’t expect what my character is doing in the next scene.  The scene where Ariadne pulls two mirror in opposite to each other while she and Cobb stayed in the middle and then she broke the mirror, this scene reminds me of Op Art as their reflections getting smaller and smaller and the patterns ( Cobb and Ariadne’s reflections) are repeated. I also found ‘Inception’ links to the idea of my film as it shows an imagination world.

Symbolism is used throughout the film, for example the spinning top is used to show if the scene is a dream or not. At the end, ‘Cobb was in his own subjective reality’ and when Cobb returns home and he found his children was playing in the yard. After that he turn the spinning top on the table and the scene fades out before we see if it falls or not which suggests that maybe it is reality or it can be a dream. This left an imagine space for the audience to question whether it is a reality or is it just a dream. The scene also suggests the idea that Cobb didn’t care about it is reality anymore which refers to how ‘all levels of reality are valid’.

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I like the angles where Nolan shoot the scene, especially the  scene shown on the photos on above. It is an interesting angle as the characters are walking freely and moving naturally even the space is upside down. The camera turns when the character is moving and it creates a perfect illusion in experimenting with camera angles, framing and space.

Jeffrey Kurland is the costumer designer for the film and she uses colors to present the character’s personality. For example, Cobb wears grey, black tones throughout the film which symbolizes the shade of his real life.

 Hans Zimmer’s  music ‘Time’ in ‘Inception’:

 

The music features violins and I think it makes the piece of music quite emotional but in some parts, the music gets louder than before which shows power and it reminds me of in the film where how dreams can be imaginative. 

F(x)’s ‘4 Walls’ Music Video

The music video of F(x)’s ‘4 Walls’ is about four girls who are in the same space but in different dimensions and the editing techniques used in here and the way they filmed in this video joins the sequence together. Everything they do link to each other and it is like a continuous movement after one person did an action and the other continues with the action. Also their actions mirror each other, so for example, when a girl flip the jacket, another girl flip the jacket as well. When a girl slipped over, another girl shows the freeze version of the slip over action as well.

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In the wood scene, I think it is an inter-dimensional space where all the dimensions connect to each other. I found this music video is very interesting and inspiring in the way of the style of editing and how the camera capture the scenes, the angles they captured in the music video. Within the video, there is a lot of similar scenes where the scenes change by using the same actions and then using editing to cut to another scene where a different person appear in the next scene. I like this idea of editing techniques and on below are the examples of the scenes in the music video.

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On below is an example of how the scenes change to the other scene in the music video and I like how the girl uses movements and actions to make the scene flows smoothly.

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Op Tribute- The Imperial Fashion Short Movie S/S 2013

‘Op Tribute’ is a short fashion film created for The Imperial to promote their collection. The idea of the fashion film is inspired by Op Art and in the film, it involved a lot of line patterns, not only on the garments, but also the editing techniques used on the film editing as well. I found the editing techniques are very interesting in this video. Mirror effects are also used in here which links to the symmetry patterns from the Op Art. The flashing effects are used many times throughout the film and it strongly links to Op Art as the way it creates dizzy visions, flashing and vibrating patterns like what Op Art does. The word ‘Imperial’ appears again in 0:16-0:20 and it is used because as the video is used to promote their new fashion collection, I think they want to stand out their brand’s name as well. Nearly to the end of the video, one of the model’s pose, how she goes from her head to her body with her hand, stand out the garments she wearing and I think the body language she uses there is to present and let the audience to see the patterns on the garment. I think the music matches the idea of the strong bold patterns on the garments as it features strong beat and by combing people’s voice with the music, I think it creates a confusing atmosphere like how Op Art patterns confuse our eyes.

I like the way how there are Black and white line patterns going across the body and the lines are in different widths. The way the repetition of the lines and patterns consecrate the simplicity which links to the ideas of the OP Art patterns.

I especially like the editing effects of how the body was separated into different positions like the one from 0:42 and it reminds me of the Op Art paintings such as ‘Shuttle’ from 1964 by Bridget Riley. The patterns are separated into different parts and each sections go from different directions.

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‘Shuttle’ (1964)- By Bridget Riley- Emulsion on panel.

I can see one of the female’s model hairstyle is inspired by Twiggy’s as she has got short hairstyle with side parting and the makeup also links to Twiggy’s eyeliners. The sunglasses that the models were wearing links to the mod look and I think it is suitable for linking to Op art as well because the sunglasses have got bold shapes. The line patterns, the geometric prints on the garments points out the idea of Op Art straightaway.

Scott Breckenridge’s Lecture – Shooting and editing films

We had a guest talk in our lecture with Scott Breckenridge, who worked in post production for 12 years. During the lecture, he talked about his work experiences and also the techniques in planning, filming and editing in films. He has worked in short films, commercials, events and corporate such as IBM, Microsoft, Lush Cosmetics, etc). He also worked for Broadcast TV such as The Only Way Is Essex (ITVBe), The Great British Menu (BBC2), The Big Eat (Food Network) Close Calls: On Camera (BBC1), etc. He has got a photography degree and a master degree in film editing.

The role of editor:

  • Be technically proficient and skilled – know the software Avid Adobe, final cut
  • Work with the director or producer to produce compelling content
  • Add your creativity, learnt how to use visual to tell stories
  • Manage expectations and time management – what can and can’t be done in the time
  • Create a good working environment

During the lecture, we also looked at different clips of movies so to understand more about the editing techniques and also how to plan the shots.

The editing process

  • Shoot more than what you need as you can edit the length of the shot later on
  • Save and copy the footage and put all the footage in one folder so to organise well and you can find them easily
  • Organise and manage the folders for music, sequences, footage, effects, titles
  • Import footage. First drag onto the timeline, then edit, after that think about the color grade, finally export sequence
  • Then, zoom in to make precision edits
  • Use the audio waveform to be accurate (Pace and beats)
  • Duplicate sequences regularly so you can go back

Reviews of the clip without watching the film:

Case study 1: Run Lola Run – German Action Movie Video Clip -1998

Director: Tom Tykwer

The red hair of Lola represents her young character and features the 90s hairstyle. At the beginning of the video, it involves a lot of zooming in shots and I like how it has followed the pace of the music which creates atmosphere and it also includes cut shots as well. The clips has got a lot of editing techniques such as slow motion, fasten the speed of the video, flashing images, etc. The film is shot in color. The video also shows the importance of planning the shots as when the girl run out of the door, the camera follows the girl but still keep distance from her, but when the girl has left the house, the camera went to the other room and then capture a woman there. After that, the camera zoom in the TV in the room and then went back to the girl who is running but in cartoon form which I think make the scene appeal more interesting. I really like the scene where the camera moves down when the girl went out from the building. In the clip, I also like how some of the scenes are not just about the girl but also capture quite a few flat characters which I think makes the story more contents and interesting rather than just using one character. At the end, when the girl is running, the camera sometimes shot in close up or side angles and there are columns appear in the scene which follow the pace of the music. I think the faded out scene at the end while overlapping the next scene when she was running works well in the sequences of the film.

Case study 2: Blade runner- somebody else memories- 1982 

Director: Ridley Scott

When the character moves, the camera moves a bit as well, so I think the director wants to give a more realistic vision and interact with the audience. Sometimes when the camera focus on a mid shot of the woman, the man’s movements also captures in the camera as well. The blinds also create a nice setting for the scenes and it reminds me of the film noir style. The film is shot in color. At the start of the clip, it starts with wide angle shot, but when the scenes progress,it then started to get more and more close up and also shot from low angle which shows more emotions in film making. At the beginning of the clip, the male character’s upturned collar style is popular in the 1980s. The piano music from the background creates an emotional atmosphere, but also mysterious feelings. The female character is dressed in big coat with black gloves, red lips, the pompadour updo, 1940s victory rolls hairstyle and she look glamorous and luxury and it reminds me of the 1940’s femme fatale style.

Case study 3: Mesrine Killer Instinct (Part 1)- 2008

Director: Jean-Francois Richet

In the clip, it has got one or more boxes involved in several scenes and I think the positions of the boxes are very interesting because of how different boxes shows different angles and actions of the character. The boxes and the angle the camera was shot gives mystery effect to the film and it makes me think I’m secretly stalking what the character’s are doing. I think this is a method of engaging the audiences and makes the audiences wonder what will happen to the characters later in the story.The boxes also helps to capture the small details of the character and I think it also distracting the audiences as there are more than one scenes happening in one scene. The film is shot in color. The expression and the body language of the characters are very important as it creates mysterious effects and make the scene more exciting. The background music is created by string instruments and it creates mysterious atmosphere. I think the positioning of the words are well thought out as well and it goes well with the positioning of the boxes. At the end of the clip, I like how it started to zoom in the box which might stand for the beginning of the story going to start. The male character dressed in polo neck top and black leather jacket (Punk subculture) which are the popular fashion trend in the 1970s. The hairstyle also reflects the 70s look as well. Both characters in the clip wore sunglasses and they also look around. The female character at the beginning was walking the dog but she was looking around and feeling quite nervous while the male character was walking down the street and also looking around which makes me think that both characters have connections between each other and the sunglasses might be used to try to hide for somebody. The trench coat that the female character wear shows a chic but mystery styles. I think at the end of the film, the way both characters took off their sunglasses are used to show their identity of their characters to the audiences.

Case study 4: Frances Ha – Music and visuals- 2013

Director: Noah Baumbach

The film provides the address of where it is filmed which I think the director wants to show a clear location where the film is set and maybe have some connections with the , characters, the place where she lives etc. The female character dressed in casual and she carries a bagpack with her while she was dancing on the street and I think the outfit, bagpack and also the way she leaves her hair down symbolises freedom. At the beginning of the film, she is jumping and dancing and this shows her positive and active personality to the audience. Also, it shows that she is enjoying what she is doing and happy about her lives. The music is created with drums, keyboards, guitar and bass guitar and I think it presents the ideas of youth and positive. The pace of the music matches the way the female character is running. I think at the last scene, it shows the female character is sleeping which means that the previous shots might be a dream. The scenes are being cut in editing and is not in a smooth sequence. I think it is used to match the pace of the music. When the female character is running, the shot is focused on her and I like how the camera follows her and this should be shot when the car is moving.

There are some techniques on below which we can do think about when deciding and planning the shots, filming issues and also editing process.

  • Slower editing style to match the pace of the scene
  • Use of Dark lighting- you can shoot at night with minimal light, etc
  • Change in characters behaviour
  • 2 camera angles- by using 2 camera angles, you can show different directions from where you look at the character
  • How do the shots change as the scene progressed
  • What does the film do to the audience?
  • Use of reaction shots
  • What does the costume, hair and make-up tell you about the character (Background, habits and personality) and the places (where the character lives or travel to)?
  • The mood and the atmosphere you want to create in the film
  • Engage the audiences by consider creating emotional aspects using videography, light and sound

Storyboarding And the Elements To Plan A Shoot

When planning a shoot, we need to consider the bullet points on below:

  • Relevant research in Film
  • The concept and the idea of your film
  • Mood board with annotations on it so to make explanations of the photos and also make things more clearly
  • Trends
  • Shot list – by creating this, it requires lesser time, so fasten the process of filming
  • Storyboard – present ideas of what you want to do on each scene
  • Team building / creative collaboration
  • Casting
  • Location/ studio

Visual mood board

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Visual mood board present the ideas of your shoot in imagery. You can use colors and different types of images to present the concepts of your shoot. On above, I have done a styling mood board for my fashion film and it is about the make-up and hair inspirations, styles, and props I will be using in my film.

Mood board with annotation

  • By adding Annotations on the mood board beside your picture,  it makes people understand more why you use the text/picture/drawing on your mood board to present your ideas.

Mood board with annotations

Fashion film style moodboard with anntoations

Test shoots

By doing test shoots, it helps to visualize what ideas you want to present and you can see the effects of your shoots which comes out from the camera and then you can think about what work well and what doesn’t work well and so you can adjust your designs.

What are trends?

  • A trend requires something extremely popular but short-lived ‘expression’ or ‘style’
  • Timeless pieces become classics, the opposite of trends
  • Trends are produced for an audience who wants changes and who can afford it
  • The teenage market is a popular zone for trends
  • Trends exist on the high-street, with budget labels and also with famous fashion and couture houses
  • Famous designers and brands also consider trends as well

Trend Research: WGSN

WGSN is a major source for researching trends and it includes overall presentation of many elements you can consider.

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What is included in a shot list:

  • Points of what you are planning to shoot
  • Technical details such as camera angles when shooting
  • Costume changes
  • Direction for your model/sitter/actor

Storyboards in film productions:

  • Storyboards are used in films for pre-production and pre-visualisation
  • Different types of storyboards are used to outline various aspects of the planning of shots in film production, such as editorial storyboard, key frame storyboard are regularly in colored and detailed with annotations, production storyboard, etc.
  • For a narrative approach, by creating an editorial storyboard, it helps you to frame and arrange in order and to outline how the story progress

Key frame storyboard with colored drawings and annotations:

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Animatic storyboard:

The animatic storyboard shows clearly how the scenes are progressed and by presenting visually, it makes the scenes more concrete and practical.

Casting:

  • Research creative elements which helps to build your project
  • Finding models or actors will help you as a starting point to define the cast
  • To define your cast better, you can research history and some persona around the character which links to the film
  • Street casting
  • Facebook and other social and professional networks i.e. LinkedIn
  • Model agencies

Location/ studio

Location:

  • Consider places where is accessible for you
  • Take photos of different places and decide where is the most suitable location for the shoots
  • Try to shoot the location photos with your film ideas in your mind
  • Think about the spaces for hair and makeup and clothes changes in the shoots

Studio:

  • Technical examinations
  • Test shoots and experimenting with the lighting and camera angles, etc

Locations:

On below, I have taken some photos from the place where I am going to shoot my fashion film. All the scenes of my fashion film will be shot in the infinity studio. The reason why I choose to shoot my fashion film there because I don’t want too much shadows  on the background of my film as I want to stand out the patterns on the garments more.

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The Beauty of Sci Fi: Experiment with creating patterns on the face # Techfile

Equipments:

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  • Cleanser, toner, moisturizer
  • Cotton pads
  • Kryolan Supracolor palette
  • Kryolan Acqacolor palette
  • Illamasqua liquid metal in phenomena molten silver
  • Illamasqua liquid metal in electrum antique gold
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Towel
  • Make up brushes
  • Masking tape
  • Cleansing wipes

– Aquacolor palette mix with a bit of water can create smooth and bold colors, but it dries really quickly.

– Supracolor palette can gives paste, creamy texture and bold colours to the look.

In this lesson, we have experiment with different methods to create patterns on the face.

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Before (Model : Mihaela Solomei)

Directions:

  1. Cleanse, tone and moisturizer the model’s face.
  2. You can ask your model to crease their face so you can create some line patterns around the eye. I have started to stipple some black colours first on the face around the eyes areas. I have smudged the edges of the black colour so to make a more natural finish. It also helps me to create some dotted patterns when dabbing the colour with a brush.
  3. Then, I have added the supra color palette (Gold colour) on top of the black colour using a brush. After that, I have used Illamasqua liquid metal (in electrum antique gold) and use my fingers to dab the color onto the face as well.
  4. Then, I have used the Illamasqua liquid metal (in phenomena molten silver) and use my fingers to apply the color on the eyelids and smudge the color. I have also dab some of the silver color onto the black and gold color as well.
  5. After that, I have applied Illamasqua liquid metal (in electrum antique gold) and applied it on the lips with my finger. I have smudged the color a bit and then I have smudged some black color on the side of the lips as well.
  6. I have tried to create a down angled shape on the forehead using the masking tape. First, I have stuck the masking tape onto the forehead and then using a brush to apply the color on the edge of the masking tape. After that I have tear the tape off from the forehead and it creates a nice straight line. Do the same on the other side of the down angled shape. Then, I have smudged the side that I didn’t used the masking tape to create straight lines with my fingers and blend the color into the skin.

After

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I really like the effects of dabbing the colors on the skin as it creates crackle glazes pattern. On this make-up look, I have used the color black, gold and silver because I want to create a character which links to the galaxy pattern and a mixture of robotic ideas. I think the stippled effects of the color black in the middle works well and it looks like a decayed robotic skin with the adding of silver colors blending in.