Friday, May 2, 2014

180 Rule in Film

So there is this rule in film that is called the 180 rule (I don't follow rules!). For people who do not know what the 180 rule is or just want a refresher on what exactly the rule is, I have the perfect blog for you!
In film making, the 180-degree rule is a basic guideline regarding the on-screen spatial relationship between a character and another character or object within a scene. An imaginary line called the axis connects the characters, and by keeping the camera on one side of this axis for every shot in the scene, the first character is always frame rightof the second character, who is then always frame left of the first. The camera passing over the axis is called jumping the line or crossing the line.

There are a couple of times though that the 180 rule can work to your advantage! 


The imaginary line allows viewers to orient themselves with the position and direction of action in a scene. If a shot after the original shot in a sequence is located on the opposite side of the 180-degree line, then it is called a "reverse cut." Reverse cuts disorient the viewer by presenting an opposing viewpoint of the action in a scene and consequently altering the perspective of the action and the spatial orientation established in the original shot. 


There are a variety of ways to avoid confusion related to crossing the line due to particular situations caused by actions or situations in a scene that would necessitate breaking the 180-degree line.


Either alter the movement in a scene, or set up the cameras on one side of the scene so that all the shots reflect the view from that side of the 180-degree line.

Camera Arch move

One way to allow for crossing the line is to have several shots with the camera arching from one side of the line to the other during the scene. That shot can be used to orient the audience to the fact that we are looking at the scene from another angle. In the case of movement, if a character is seen walking into frame from behind on the left side walking towards a building corner on the right, as they walk around the corner of the building, the camera can catch them coming towards the camera on the other side of the building entering the frame from the left side and then walk straight at the camera and then exit the left side of the frame.

Buffer shot

To minimize the "jolt" between shots in a sequence on either sides of the 180-degree line, shoot a "buffer shot" along the 180-degree line separating each side. This lets the viewer visually comprehend the change in viewpoint expressed in the sequence.

The 180 rule is REALLY important, everyone but me needs to follow it!

8 Things I Learned From Making A Short Film

This is it... Last blog post of the year. I'm not saying I've looked forward to this day since the first blog post, but... yeah. Just kidding, Arturo (please don't fail me)! I had a lot of fun with my last blog post (100% because of the GIFs), and since we're nearing towards the final days of Fiction Field I, I felt like wrapping things off with some valuable lessons I've learned, assisted by the power of moving images. So here we go.

8 Things I Learned From Making A Short Film

1. Choose Your Positions Wisely

You're finally in your groups, and it's time to decide what you're going to contribute to the film. STOP. Before you go volunteering for a position, think. How much work do I actually want to do? Do I want to be responsible for the failure of this film? Do I know anything about lights? Am I organized enough to catch every single continuity issue there is? Thankfully, each member of my team were equally competent in their positions and we learned a lot along the way. But, looking back, I probably shouldn't have volunteered for three positions. Although it was extremely rewarding, I don't think I've ever been this exhausted in my entire life.

2. Always Pick Comedy

Just kidding. But seriously, really think about the type of movie you want to make before you decide. Think you can handle talking about suicide, murder and depression for four months? Are you sure? You can try as hard as you might to crack jokes on set, but trust me, it'll start to weigh you down.

In the end, you might have something that will leave an impact in your audience, but be prepared to accidentally become the most morbid person in your creative writing class.

3. Don't Do Anything Embarrassing

This, unfortunately, is inevitable. But if you can avoid it, try. On a film set, inside jokes at the expense of others is a long, grueling experience. Extremely hilarious when it's someone else, maybe not so much when it's you. If you do something worthy of your ridicule, you can be almost certain that you're going to hear about it every single day, of every single shoot.

It's one of the only things that keeps the group together and no one kills anyone. So maybe think twice before you clap the slate in the actress' ear, or don't lose your pants the night before a shoot. But if you do, thank you for your sacrifice for the cause.

4. Birthdays Don't Matter

Prepare for your best friends, roommates or parents to hate you if their birthday happens to fall during production season. Doesn't matter if they're Jesus, thou shalt not party on a shoot night.

But hey, if it's your or a crew member's birthday, cake on set is ALWAYS appreciated.

Thanks for being born, Paul.

5. Take Lots of Naps

All nighters are going to happen. More than once. When post production rolls around, you're going to forget what going to bed before the sun comes up feels like. The only good thing about this is that your other professors may let you slide on a few assignments due to your new zombie-like nature.

So if you have a chance to fit in a nap, take it. Squeeze in an hour in between classes, or put your head down at the library for a few minutes during a study break. Doesn't matter where, but trust me, you'll need it.

6. Keep Your Cool

Tension will thicken and tempers will rise. This is what happens when seven extremely different personalities are forced to work together for four months straight, running low on sleep, food and sanity. If you are a producer or director, it is especially important for you to keep calm during these times. People are going to snap and mental breakdowns will happen, and as tempting as it is to join in the anger and misery, you have to pull through and mediate the situations.

The storm will pass, and when it does, you'll be in a much better place if you didn't punch your crew members in the face.

7. Make Sure You Like Pizza

This will be your diet for the next few months or so. Maybe you'll get some bagels and coffee in the morning on a good day, but most likely it will be frozen pizza from the night before. So suck it up, and accept the cheesy goodness that is shitty delivery pizza.

8. Appreciate Your Crew Members

Your crew is like your family. Probably more so since you spend way more time with them than anyone else. Everything you do affects the group, and you can't do much without them. And just like family, they may get on your nerves, and you'll most likely get on theirs, but at the end of the day you have to love them. This semester, I had one of the greatest groups I could ask for. I made so many friends and memories, and created something I was truly proud of. Without them, this semester could have gone horribly wrong, and I thank each of them for not kicking me out (yet). Shout out to the members of Team Falcon (Patricia, Paul, Amelia, Kelly, Mike and David) for all of the hours and hard work that you put in and sacrificing their lives to create a twenty minute short film about butterflies. I love you all!

Now all we have to do is survive the premiere...

"I'm Shmacked"

     In honor of tomorrow being the holiday known as Kendall day and the fact that I have completely run out of things to talk about for these blogs I'm going to discuss the "I'm Shmacked" film crew. I'm Shmacked is a group of people that travel from college to college and record and document the parties. As you may know two years ago they came to Ithaca College's end of the year celebration known as Kendall Day.

Warning: Arturo you may not be 
happy with what you see

     The I'm Shmacked crew creates a lot of controversy in its wake. Everyone knows that most college students drink and party, but usually it is not documented to such an extent. One of the big fears is that if a student is captured in one of these videos how would that affect their future employment goals. If a potential employer sees you in one of these videos would that be cause for them to not hire you. However there are many students that are not worried about being discovered in one of the videos because their name is not tagged in it and would never come up in a Google search of them. 
     A possibly more serious concern is the possibility that when students hear about the crew coming to their school does that make them more likely to act wild in a way to be the most exciting video. That very thing is possibly what happened at the University of Delaware. Cops say that the arrival of the I'm Shmacked crew turned what would have been a peaceful Monday night into a "near riot".
     Some students also voiced their concern that after seeing these videos colleges may be forced to crack down on their drinking and parting policy to counter public outcry.   

The End...

Well, after many sleepless nights, stressful mornings, and seemingly endless nights of shooting and production, it's with great excitement I welcome the end of the semester.  My team and I have worked tirelessly for months on our film Black Butterfly, and I cannot wait to see all of our hard work pay off.

I knew Fiction Field was going to be a challenge, but it was more than just many hours of hard work on a school project.  This course pushed me far outside my comfort zone, placing me in positions of authority I wasn't quite sure I could handle at first.  Arturo's expectations seemed impossible at times, and I didn't want to disappoint.  Despite my shaken confidence, my group remained supportive and encouraging throughout the production.  Every one of us had something valuable to contribute every shoot.  The overall open-minded atmosphere among us allowed our ideas to flourish fully and received critique positively.

Black Butterfly is more than a final project to us; we gave our all every day, constantly striving to improve and refine the film.  I appreciate the honest feedback from my fellow peers and classmates, as well as from Arturo.  Criticism is difficult to give and receive, and I am grateful to have honest peers with my best interest at heart.  While we remained competitive with each other, we didn't let that taint our relationships.  Many friendships were formed during the semester, and everyone's willingness to help others was truly admirable.

Thank you to everyone and anyone who assisted in the creation of Black Butterfly.  Our cast and crew sacrificed many hours of their time to help us make something great.  Their dedication never ceased to amaze me, and didn't go unnoticed among my teammates. We never would've been able to have such a wonderful experience without the generous donations of friends, family, and others who believed in our innovations.  Thank you to everyone who provided honest, genuine feedback in hopes of our improvement.  Lastly, a huge thank you to Arturo and my teammates, Meghan, Patricia, Kelly, Paul, Mike, and Dave.  As cliche as it may sound, you have each taught me something valuable.  Thank you for challenging me to better myself each shoot, and I hope you all had a great of an experience as I did. You're all so talented, and it was truly an honor to have worked with each of you!

Two Masters Talking

So after last week's gratuitously long blog post, I will attempt to keep it concise this week. One of my favorite film directors of all time is Martin Scorsese. Another one of my favorite directors of all time is Paul Thomas Anderson. And lo and behold, here is a talk between them!

In terms of people I look to learn from on a variety of levels (Writing, composition, camera movement, kinetic nature of editing), there are few film makers I try harder to aspire to. Any words from these men (I'd listen to these guys rattle off their grocery list) are gems of insight and it is amazing that there is video of a talk of them speaking with each other. So watch it and learn!!!

"Wind reel and print"

Well, it has come to that time of the semester here at Ithaca College when things start to get a little hectic with finals, finding a ride home, re-shoots, laundry, Kendall day, figuring out textbook rental return dates etc. Living in the college world, these stressors are supposed to be taking over my life, However, while working on my Fiction Field Production class short movie assignment, I quickly found out that "Manage Your Time 101" should be offered and be a requirement for all Parkies, if not every student in college.My experience working with my crew was one I will never forget. It was my first time writing for this type of assignment, and also taking on the job of Script Supervisor, never did I ever think that I would be in the local supermarket passed midnight on a school night. I wasn't expecting the amount of time I was about to spend with my classmates outside of out normal classroom setting. I wasn't sure how well we would all get along, if our ideas would even work well together, or if I even felt comfortable sharing my ideas aloud.

 I quickly had a reality check at our first shoot when it was 2:30am on a Monday night, cigarette smoke clouded the living room from our countless takes of cigarette puffs, and I realized that at that moment, this was what I came to college for. This is what I am meant to be doing. I then didn't even want to imagine where else I would be if i weren't in that clogged up smoky living room.

It always amazes me when its the end of the semester and in some of my classes, I maybe know the persons name who is is sitting next to me, the professors name, and thats about it. In others, I know everyone, everyone knows me, I am invested, and overall enjoy my time spent in the classroom. In this class, on the first day I knew about half of everyones names solely from being in classes with them in a previous semester. Once our "teams" were made for our movies, I had two ways of approaching the situation. One, I let my position be assigned to me, don't put too much opinion, and just flow. Or two, speak my mind, let my personality make its way out, and genuinely enjoy my time working with these 7 other people until the semesters over. Im happy that I chose the second route, because what came out of working with those 7 other people, was so freaking cool. I had no idea the amount of talent I was surrounded by, and if I was just open to it, I could learn a lot from these kids. Not only were we able to work together, share our ideas, and produce an amazing short film. We were able to have fun, and work as friends We created awesome memories together, and some pretty amazing friendships that I will forever be grateful for.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Controversy amongst the 4th Estate

For those of you who don't know, here is a quick lesson on our government in the U.S. as it pertains to the topic of discussion. As some of you may know, our democratic government runs on a series of checks and balances through different branches of government. We have the Judicial, Executive, and Administrative branches constantly trying to keep each other in line while maintaining different powers. Although we have these three estates watching over each other, we have developed the mainstream media as a 4th estate to really make sure things are being run legally, ethically, and morally. The three branches are controversial enough as it is on how they run things sometimes so we trust the media to subside some of those dilemmas with they're exposing of the truth. But what if the 4th estate was manipulated by the government, what if these news networks were not exposing the truth the way they should? Where would that leave us?

Well, I bring this all up as CBS is in a pretty sticky situation with their News president David Rhodes. David Rhodes happens to be brother with Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser. It has been brought to light that CBS may have been going soft on the report about the recent Benghazi, Libya attacks in 2012 due to the close ties between the two Rhodes brothers. In defense of the matter, CBS has here been having current discussions about the attacks without David Rhodes being present.

It is scary to think that the White House has such close ties to such a major news network. It makes you wonder if there is more to the stories that are being reported by CBS and any other news network for that matter. Personally, I feel it is highly unethical to have the deputy adviser for the president have family relations with the President of a major news network whether they are in close contact or not. If you're brother asked you to cover something up to protect his job, would you? Something should be done about this controversial issue fast or else may be continued to get a government edited version of the news.