Hunger Games Critique

The Hunger Games, directed by Gary Ross is a story about a girl, Katniss Everdeen, who offers herself instead of her sister, Prim, to compete in the Hunger Games. She then has to fight to survive in the televised game with 24 other contestants. Her survival skills and instincts she has learned from her home district helped her to win the game.

In the Hunger Games they made the lighting very blue and grey, especially during the reaping scene. The lighting in this scene was also very gloomy and dark, which helped me get a vibe as to the the horrible lives and situation that was taking place. In other scenes of Panem, the lighting emphasized the mood of this district and the fact that this district is miserable to live in. It continued to be dark and having lots of shadows casted on peoples faces. It also displays the hopelessness that the people of Panem live.

The lighting for the district of the Capitol City was very bright and had vibrant colors. It was the exact opposite of what the lighting in the Panem district was. It was a completely different living environment, where people are happy and enjoying their lives.

I would highly recommend this film because it is about a girl who is powerful and strong. She uses her skills to survive and still remains a kind and gentle soul, even though the environment she is faced to live in is extremely dangerous and evil.

 

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Jim: The James Foley Story

Jim: The James Foley documentary directed by Brian Oakes is a very powerful and moving documentary about a war photojournalist. It is a portrait documentary that follows the story of James Foley. He was a war photojournalist who eventually was captured and killed in Syria. The documentary interviews family, friends, and coworkers about Foley and his experiences at war.

Foley as a character was very compelling, even though we never actually met him. Throughout the documentary, I was getting to know Foley and grew a personal connection to him through the stories his friends and family would tell. They would talk about his home life and his struggles, as well as what he was like at war and while on the job.
Foley was relatable and was one of those carefree guys that never really had a plan. Once he found his passion of being a photojournalist, nothing could stop him from doing that. All the interviews with his family members and friends shed a lot of good light on Foley’s personality. They thought he was foolish for going to war, but Foley loved every second of it. He was definitely showcased as the guy you love no matter what and the guy you would want to be friends with.

I liked how they organized the storyline in this documentary. It went from talking about his personality traits and flaws, specifically how much of an amazing and loved person he was. It then talked about his ambitions about wanting to pursue photojournalism and his love for teaching others. Then it talked about the conflicts that arose while at war and being captured. This was extremely sad because you never want to see anybody captured and tortured, but especially Foley because of the connection I developed throughout the documentary. At the end, it was stated that Foley is a hero. He is a hero for being the light in the dark times of his life, specifically while he was captured with the other men. It was a very compelling storyline because it left viewers with the thoughts that Foley was a good man and a good photojournalist, who was lost in a tragedy.

I would highly recommend this film to anyone who likes a heartfelt story. This documentary was one of the best I have ever seen. I cried at the end because I learned how amazing of a man Foley was and so it hurt knowing that he died while at war.

Final Project Reflection

For both of the promotional videos, I was the director of photography, Sophia was the producer, and Richie was in charge of the lighting and sound during production. In post production, we all helped to edit these videos. I mainly did logging, color correction, and sound mixing. Sophia and Richie mainly put the broll and interview on the timeline in order of what worked best.

For Alexis’s promotional video, we used a camera top mic for the audio. For lighting, we used one kino light and the natural light coming from a window for the interview shot. It was definitely a challenge setting up the lighting for Alexis’s video. We searched all throughout the house for good lighting and a good background. We chose to use the best window light in the house with a tapestry background. At first I didn’t like the background but I think it works for her because she is an artist.

B-roll was difficult for Alexis’s video because all of her artwork was placed in an extremely dark room with no windows. We had to use a lamp and a kino light in order to film some of her artwork. I also like how we did screen grabs for both of the videos. I thought it was a nice added touch to the video to make it more professional.

For Cally’s promotional video, we used a camera top mic for the audio, and natural light coming from the windows in her room. I loved the setup for this interview because I think it was very professional looking. I really like the b-roll we have for the video. I think we did a good job at using the b-roll wisely in this video.

A big challenge for us in post production was finding music for both of the videos. We searched so many songs on Firstcom and finally found two that we thought were fit for the videos. Another challenge was organizing how to put the story into the timeline. We struggled with this, however I think the end result turned out really well for both of the videos.

Overall, it was a great experience and my team worked really well together. I think we were successful at showcasing these businesses. I am happy I had the chance to work on promotional videos because it is definitely something I see myself doing after college.

Project 3 Reflection

For the lighting, we used a generay light, a felix light, and a fluorescent lamp. The felix we reflected off the top of the white ceiling and we also used a flag for the generay in order for it to appear that the sun is rising. The lamp was a perfect addition that really helped light up our actress’s face.

The sound was surprisingly not difficult for this. We used a camera top mic for the C100, which sounded very clear. I found that it was easier working with sound inside because there are less noises and using the camera audio was way less complicated than using a zoom.

Lumie did a great job being the Director of Photography. She had an idea of what she wanted the shot list to be and she used that to film some great shots. It definitely helped everything to run smoothly during production. We even used a long board in replace of a dolly for the ending sequence, which was really cool.

We had our actress dress in casual clothes and we used props such as computer, notebook, book, etc. We originally wanted our actress to play a guitar as part of her procrastination, but we did not have access to a guitar so we substituted it for a book. We were successfully able to improvise and adjust during production, which was great. I found the location, which was easy to find, and I think was the perfect place for our film.

Directing our actress was definitely more difficult than I thought. The acting also looked different in person than it appeared on film. I thought it wasn’t going to be enough facial expressions because our actor was low energy, but when I started editing the footage in Premiere I was surprised at how well her expressions were displayed.

Editing went smoothly and was actually a lot of fun. I enjoyed editing because of all the creativity it entails. Editing brings the whole story together, like it did with our film. Lumie and I edited the film and I love how we added the typing in the beginning with legacy titles and the times with the blinking colon. The music was easy to find but the sounds were more difficult. Lumie and I spent a while just looking for a simple text sound that we liked, but we finally found one that suited our film. We also added a sound for every time the time would appear on screen, which I thought was a great addition.

I think we did an amazing job with our overall creativity. Madison did a great job with writing the script to make it a compelling story. Also, from using the long board as a dolly to using a lamp to help assist in our production and then editing the film with creative titles and music, I think we nailed it in the creativity department.

I think the most difficult part of this film process was that it was my first time making a short film so I was unsure how it was going to turn out. I couldn’t visualize what it would look like in the final stage, and that’s where a good DP comes into play to help make that happen. I also realized how important pre production is for fiction films and that sometimes you may have to improvise and adjust certain things about your film (creativity is key!). My favorite part of the process is postproduction because I just love editing and making the story come to life. Overall, this was a very fun project to do and I really learned a lot from experiencing this short film process.

Dark -Critique

Dark is a Netflix Original television series and each episode is an hour-long. I watched Episode 1 Season 1 of this thriller, which is about a boy who goes missing in a small German town causing fear throughout the town. People become even more afraid when a second boy goes missing and they find the body of the first boy, which appears to have been murdered.  Throughout the show we get a sort of sense of struggle amongst the people in the town, trying to deal with this missing boy and helping out with the investigation.

Throughout the show, I thought the lighting gave a very ominous feel because the scenes were typically dim lit rooms or faces. There were always half lit faces, so that there would be shadows casted on people’s faces, giving a very eerie feel. For example, when the mother of the man who committed suicide was looking at the box that contained his letter, her face was half lit. In this scene, since the lighting was dim and had shadows, it gave the mother a very eerie feel.

I noticed that the show uses one camera to film. I thought this was a great choice because it helps the show to flow. In regards to editing, I thought the transitions were perfectly timed. I noticed they used lots of sound effects like a door screeching shut or footsteps, etc. These sound effects added a lot to the shows vibe of being mysterious and ominous. Without these sounds I don’t think the story would flow as well.

I also noticed that the sound mixers typically cut from scene to scene leading with sound. They used music to be continuous and used it as a tension builder when cutting to a different scene, again, making the film feel ominous. The music used is chilling and nerve racking. For example, when the man shows up to the school meeting. The music signifies that something is wrong and that everyone should be fearful of what’s to come.

The story has a slower pacing and uses a lot of straight cuts. For example, when the woman was talking on the phone in the hotel and then cutting to the boy sitting in the classroom. They also use fade to black cuts to help signify that time has passed. For example, in the scene with the mother and the box, it cut to darkness and then to the school hallway scene.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this show. I think that the director, Baran bo Odar, did a fantastic job with this series along with everyone who worked alongside him. From the sound mixing to the actors and the location, it was all very well put together, in my opinion. I think that this shows target audience is anyone who enjoys thrillers. It is very intense and mysterious and I can’t wait to watch the next episode to find out what happens!

 

Casting JonBenet

Casting JonBenet is a documentary about people’s responses to the murder of JonBenet. The director, Kitty Green, chose to film auditions in order to interview the actors about the murder of JonBenet. She auditioned actors from Boulder, Colorado who most have a personal connection to JonBenet’s murder. The actors share their memories of the murder case and the myths behind her murder.

Throughout the documentary, everyone has a different theory as to who and how the murder happened. Every person reacts differently and due to Green’s elaborate editing, the responses appear to be a bit ridiculous. Green uses a series of jump cuts and sound bites to emphasize the actors’ remarks. Some people feel horribly about the murder, while others joke about it, making them seem insincere. But this is what made me continue watching the film.

All the various reactions, they were all so fascinating yet disturbing at times. Just like when there was a clip of an actor saying “I definitely think JonBenet was fed pineapple”, and it jumped to someone else saying, “Maybe the window was open before the snow fell”. Neither of these comments do not really have anything to do with the murder, but Green must have put them in the documentary to catch the audience’s attention. It certainly caught mine. Even the way Green chose to display the remark that Patsy wouldn’t be strong enough to kill her daughter. At that same moment Green displayed three little boys smashing a watermelon with flashlights. This was to prove that Patsy could kill her daughter and so could her son.

The theme of this film is to uncover who killed JonBenet, but the central argument is much more than this. The central argument is that the actors views on the murder have changed and their perspectives from previous life events have influenced what they believe to be true. For example, there was an actor who’s view changed because he was diagnosed with cancer. Another example is when an actor mentioned that she was sexually abused as a child, which affected her perspective. In addition, an actor talks about her own brother’s murder and how that has influenced her position of who killed JonBenet. This goes to show that people shouldn’t just assume this or that about a situation. People can believe anything just from hearing one perspective or from having previous experiences shape that perspective. It shows that anyone’s opinion is not reliable and that the facts are critical to a crime like this. No one can truly ever know who killed JonBenet because no one has the concrete facts.

I believe this is the central argument because I think this is different than any other documentary. I have not seen a murder documentary that shows perspectives changing throughout. It’s usually just who killed who and how it happened, but Casting JonBenet delved deeper than that. I think that Green did a wonderful job creating the documentary. She definitely did something different, especially with her stylistic choices. I think that the documentary was a success and I highly recommend you watch it!

 

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

I watched the film Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, which uncovers the secret to sustainability and investigates why no one is doing anything about it. In the first sequence, the audience is given a lot of exposition. It includes quotes, interviews, and lots of research.

The first frame of action starts with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. saying that we will remember all that was not said and our lack of action. Then displayed was a clip of an interview with the Executive Director of the Sierra Club. He talks about the environmental implications of pollution, but when asked about animal agriculture being a contributor he claims to not know what the interviewer is talking about.

It goes from serious music and then completely stops when he responds to his animal agriculture question, which definitely grabbed my attention. I became interested and realized that livestock could potentially be a cause of environmental issues, and lead me to think that the Sierra Club is avoiding something and not wanting to tell what it is.

The film is narrated by Kip Anderson who continues the sequence with his story of how he found out about animal agriculture and its negative impact on the environment. He educates the audience about the methane gas produced by animals is far more than the gas produced by all transportation combined. Kip sets it straight by saying that being sustainable by the environmental organizations terms is simply not enough. This set up the film’s train of finding out what actually is the sustainability secret and how can we as a nation can stop climate change.

After the first sequence I became concerned for our country and our world. I learned that animal agriculture is the leading cause of global warming and resource consumption. The most powerful people in charge are staying silent and are not taking action. We are literally killing our planet and no one is doing anything about it. I was distraught watching documentary because how could something so serious just being ignored. It involves the life of our world and these environmental organizations clearly do not care about humanity.

Kip’s story and research sets up the why of the film, which is why these environmental organizations are not acknowledging or admitting to the fact that animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental changes. The how involves how this has gone unnoticed and how these organizations can turn a blind eye to this devastating truth.

Overall, I would definitely watch this documentary. I believe it was successful in educating me about environmental issues and the motives behind these environmental organizations. I thought the film was well thought out and very powerful with how they displayed the information.