Saturday, 11 December 2010

Toy story 3

Toy story 3 was really good. Usually the sequels don't live up to the standards of the original however this one was my favourite yet. Disney have stayed with the original characters and created a interesting plot which kept viewers hooked. The film stuck with the original voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen which made the film even more enjoyable. Strongly suggest getting this film.

Friday, 3 December 2010

A few opening sequences...

I used "art of the title sequence" to look at a few opening sequences.

Mr Magoriums wonder Emporium

The opening of this film is a brightly coloured animation which sets the mood for the film. The bright colours and cartoon style images show that this film is probably going to be a childrens comedy film. I like the way the titles have been included in the animation as they've made them interesting.

Forest Gump

The opening sequence for Forest Gump is fairly simple. You see a long shot of the city showing the location and toward the end of the opening sequence you meet Forest Gump who is played by  Tom Hanks. The titles have been layed out in a classic way.


The opening sequence is ok, not great. You get to meet the main character, Juno, and you can see part of the location. The opening is partly animated, which makes it abit more interesting.

Catch me if you can

Although the opening sequence tells the whole story in 2 minutes of cartoon,  I like the way it's been filmed. In the opening you see a woman being chased by a man, probably a love interest, telling you it's a romantic/action film. I like the way the titles have been included in the sequence as they look like part of the picture.

The incredibles

Within the opening sequence you see two of the four members of the family and their power. I like this as it gives you abit of the story but doesn't give the whole film away. They use colours red, purple and blue. These colours are important throughout the film, so the choice to use these colours was good. The titles have been included in the opening in several different ways such as in bubbles, clouds and on glass windows.

Napoleon dynamite

I like the way the titles have been included in the brightly coloured opening sequence. Each name has been written in a different way for example, on an ID card, on a plate in ketchup, on magnets and written on paper. I would consider doing something like this, as I think it's original and upbeat.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

The opening of My sisters keeper.

I decided to look at the opening of this film as it's not an opening you would expect. The opening really sets the mood for the rest of the film and tells the audience a bit of what the film is going to be about.

The image opens on a distorted image and the screen flickers different colours and you see a kite. The music is slow and simple like the kite. You can tell the image has been shot by a hand held camera to get the home movie effect. You hear a girl speaking over the top. She explains her story and the image changes to ones of kids who look happy. This is also shot with a hand held camera to get the home movie effect. You see a shot of a woman in a wedding dress who you presume is their mother. Then you see a woman who's pregnant. The images flicker a lot and aren't focused very well. It changes to someone who is flicking a book however a video seems to be on every page of someone running.

The images change to the children as they're older. I like the way this opening has been filmed as it tells the family background so you know who the characters are e.g. the mother, the sister Kate and the girl who is narrating the story. By the end of the opening you know the sister Kate is ill and has cancer and the girl was born so she could save her sisters life. The opening doesn't tell you what the film is going to be about, only the past.

the opening of Charlie and the chocolate factory

Charlie and the chocolate factory was directed by the award winning Tim Burton in 2005. I decided to look at the opening of this film as I like the dramatic opening. We are going to be making a film opening for our final so I wanted to get some ideas for my final.

The dramatic opening leaves you wondering. Who is the person wearing the purple gloves? What are the golden tickets? And how are abnormal things happening? Like the chocolate being carried by balloon.

I like the establishing, low angle shot used to show the factory and due to the white sky as it is snowing, the factory looks dark and dull. This can show that there is a secret about the factory which has not been uncovered yet. You see a fade in of a small boy who you can tell is going to be the main character.

The opening of Casino Royal.

As we are going to be making an opening sequence for our final I decided to look into some opening sequences to see what looks good and what does not. First I looked at the opening sequence of Casino Royal. Casino Royal is part of the James Bond series.

This is the clip I used to see the opening sequence.

The scene opens in on a fade in of an establishing shot. This shows their location. The movement within the first shot is smoke coming out of a car. The scene is shot in black and white, to either a change in time for example in the future or in the past. Then a black car pulls up outside the building and you see a very low angled shot of someone getting out of a car, this shows their high status. They look mischievous as if they have a secret. They then use another low angled shot to show the elevator going up. They show the floor's changing on a little screen inside the elevator. This could also be interpreted as a count down. But a count down to what?

As he gets out the elevator, you see him speedily walking away. They decided to use a medium long shot for this and it slowly pans left and zooms in. They use a low angle shot to show the door opening. The room is quite dark, showing a hidden agenda maybe.

You hear a quiet noise which doesn't match the mans movement, then they quickly cut to a close up of his face. His face is well lit on one side and not very well
lit on the other, maybe showing he's not completely truthful. You hear speaking and the man quickly turns around and the camera pans left. You see James Bond sat down and he is barely lit. They use a high angle shot and James Bond is positioned near the bottom of the screen showing he may be venerable at this moment in time. The man moves across the room and sits down, subtly opening a drawer containing a gun. They use a medium long shot which you can only just see James Bond in as he is barely lit.

The man asks, "you aren't a cricket fan by any chance are you?" and the scene changes to a cricket match. Its still black and white, showing a change in time. Writing fades in at the bottom saying "LAHORE, PAKISTAN". You can see a normal atmosphere, people are playing cricket and others are watching. The cricket players are wearing white maybe showing their innocence, where as James Bond is wearing dark clothes. Then you see a shifty looking audience member who keeps looking around to see who's watching. When he notices James Bond, who is once again barely lit. The man quickly makes a move like he's got something to hide & James Bond quickly follows. The music cuts in and is fast paced. They use a hand held camera shot to show the anticipation and build tension. There is a cut shot and you see the man frantically running up the stairs when James Bond slowly walks into the room. They use a hand held camera again. You see the man run into the toilets and pull out a gun, when James Bond comes into the room. The music is getting faster and the cut shots are getting faster. They begin to fight. The director decided to use medium long and close ups for the scene as you can see whats happening and their expressions.

The colour begins to turn a sepia colour and you hear the mystery man hit James Bond with a bin, when the scene changes back to the office and you see the man pull out a gun and point it at James. Although you cannot see James you know it is to him as they have used the same angle previously. The music slows down a lot to build tension. They use a close up of the mans face and you see him slowly smile and speak. He pulls the gun and nothing happens. There's a cut shot to James who slowly lifts his hand and he's holding the gun. 
Theres then cut shot and you hear the man crashing against something and it breaks. They use a low angle shot and the man is in a venerable position. They use a close of of James Bonds face to see the anger. You see the man who we thought was dead reach for a gun, they use a reverse shot and show James Bond who quickly turns around and then it turns into the opening titles.

I like the way this opening has been shot as it shows you, the location, the characters and some of the storyline. Although you are left wondering who the man at the cricket match was and why James needed to kill him.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Music video - B.O.B ft. Bruno Mars - nothing on you.

I decided to look at the music video for B.O.B's nothing on you. They made the video by taping people like B.O.B and Bruno Mars on a White background and ripped out 10-15 images every second to make the image move smoothly. They then placed the images on a background.

At the beginning of the video you see loads of different girls and they have ripped the images so they have the mouth of one, the eyes of one and the hair of another. They then change it to B.O.B who is singing.

 As the chorus ends they show B.O.B walking down the street. Each thing down the street, for example trees, street lights & the lines on the road have all been ripped out so have outlines. The outline around B.O.B changes alot as it's been ripped out.

The shot of B.O.B walking was filmed by B.O.B walking on a White treadmill on a White background. They mainly use eye level medium long shots and close ups as they are realistic and personal for the love song.

As B.O.B says "I've been to London," they change the back ground to Big Ben & houses if parliament. He then says "... I've been to Paris," they change the background to the eiffel tower. They change the back ground to Tokyo as he speaks of going there and they change the back ground as he speaks of going to Georgia and New Orleans.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Tim Burtons Alice in wonderland!

The film stars blockbuster favourites such as Jhonny Depp, Barbara Windsor, Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hatheway, Helena Bonham Carter, Matt Lucas & Alan Rickman.

The first scene opens as a fade in of the moon in the night sky and fast paced music is playing. The camera slowly zooms out over London city and you see Big Ben is lit up. It then keeps zooming out and pans down to a window which it zooms into. I like the way this film opening has been shot as you get the location and time of day yet you are left wondering who's window it is.
Once inside the room you automatically can tell the time period, which is about 200 odd years ago. The men in the scene are wearing suits with bow ties which shows they're high status. A young girl of about 8 walks into the doorway and says nothing. The father asks "the nightmare again?" this leaves the audience intreged into what nightmare they are on about!

They use alot of close ups and medium camera angles and they are constantly playing a small amount of quiet music. The rooms a slight sepia colour to show the authenticity of the scene.

The next scene fades in at a medium long shot of a horse drawn carriage with medium writing saying "13 years later". The camera pans down as the carriage draws closer.

The costumes are big dresses with corsets and stockings, you can tell the people within the carriage are of high status by their extravagant clothing.
They use cut shots between scenes of dancing to flash between medium long and close ups. They mainly use eye level shots and classical music is playing in the background.

I like the way the scene where Alice falls down the tree after chasing the rabbit is shot. She falls down the tree and is seen falling. You see a point of view shot as she is falling and she is looking at the exit and you see her hands waving about. The picture swiftly changes from sepia to blue and back again. When she is falling she bumps into books, pianos and all sorts. The fast paced music makes the scene alot more intense and dramatic. You see a reverse shot of her looking at the piano and falling on her, and you see the piano. The cut rate increases as the tension builds up. When she lands, she notices everything in the room is upsidown, the camera turns 360 degrees and she falls to the ground. The sepia colour are used
To represent unnatural and the film is set in the past. The image begins to become distorted and the image moves double time. Tim Burton chose to use a close up of Alices hand as she trys a key in the door and as she finds it doesn't work they use a high angle shot to make her seem vulnerable. The image suddenly changes to a point of view shot of two people talking about Alice and they're looking at her through a keyhole. I like this as your left in suspense as to who's talking!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Mize en scene in Desperate Houswives

The scene is set on a small lane in the American suburbs. There are four main characters in desperate housewives who the TV drama is based on. This particular scene is set in mid afternoon on the street. You get to see each of the housewives on this particular day.


The costumes within this actual scene are casual.

Bree: Bree is a well respected working class woman who wears pearls, cardigans and pencil skirts. You can tell what sort of person she is by her outfit as it shows she prides herself on being a perfect mother, wife and friend.

Susan: Susan is a working class mother who is recently experiencing money problems. She wears jeans, a basic t shirt and trainers. You can tell she is an active person as she wears comfortable clothes rather than anything too dressy.

Lanette: Lanette is a mother of 5 and a wife. She normally wears oversized shirts and linen trousers. She is a stay at home mum due to recently giving birth.

Gabrielle: Gabrielle is a former model who has a top class businessman husband and two children. She is wearing a figure hugging jogging suit in lime green. She is also a stay at home wife.


The lighting is slightly artificial and doesn’t seem too life like sometimes however they are stood in daylight in part of the scene which looks better.


There are some top actors in desperate housewives such as Teri Hatcher, Marcia Gross, Eva Longoria Parker and Felicity Huffman. There has been some guest appearances such as John Barrowman, John Schneider & Emily Bergl.

The actors are very good and they play believable characters who people can relate to e.g. the working class mother, the divorcee, the mother on maternity leave and the stay at home mum.


The movement in the scene makes the scenes flow well, they all seem to be in the right place and camera angles are very good.

IMAGE: "Desperate Housewives" 

Some of the props I saw was

Cooking bowl and spoon
Newspaper & mail
Baby bottle

They are sometimes used to get a character from one place to another e.g. outside to get the mail and they bump into a friend or go to get a baby bottle from the fridge and they see something out the window.


The setting is a normal summer afternoon on a lane in suburb America. Most the girls manage to cross each other in the scene e.g. using props and driving past each other and waving. Each one of them is in their house with their family.


There are both diegetic and non diegetic sounds within the scene. Some examples of diegetic I heard within the scene were wind and birds.

Some examples of non diegetic music I heard within the scene were a tumble dryer, a coffee machine, a car, speaking and walking. They also played a bit of subtle music to get between places like a piano played quietly as it swapped between characters. The upbeat music fit in perfectly making the scene flow well

Mr and Mrs Smith

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt star in an action film directed by Doug Liman in 2005. The film is based on a couple who attend marriage counselling and neither one knows the other is a highly skilled assassin.

The location of the film is a city in America. Their clothes are smart casual.

I like the way the film was shot as it isn't in chronological order. For example they open the film in the marriage councillors office, they move onto the first time they meet, they then swap to a scene at the marriage councillors office.

In the scene they use lots of different cut shots and different camera angle.

My favourite scene is a fight scene. They went against the prejudice damsel in distress and made her strong enough to fight her own battles. In the scene they actually chose to make the man chase the woman. The woman was stronger and faster and Brad Pitts character could not keep up, meaning he's weaker.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Camera shots

We took some sample photo's of different camera angles and looked at why they are used...

Extreme long shot

An extreme long shot is taken from over a quarter of a mile away and is used to mainly show scenery, e.g. a building or a landscape and is often used to show war or horror film scenes. Although they are taken from a far distance, they normally denote a particular location which is normally located in the center of the screen.

Extreme close up

An extreme close up is an unrealistic shot, which you probably wouldn't experience in real life. They normally show emotions for example, happiness, anger or being sad. They are quite a dramatic shot and they can be easily ruined by lack of lighting or a slight shake to the camera.

High angle shot

High angle shots are used to show characters status'. They make the photographed object seem less significant or scary and the object often gets swallowed up by their surroundings e.g. they become part of the bigger picture.

Low angle shot

A low angle shot is used to show a characters high status or great importance. They make the photographed object seem more scary. The object is bigger and takes up most of the screen and as the angle is low other than the object all you can mainly see is the sky or ceiling.

Close up

A regular close up is used to show emotions for example happiness, anger or being scared. They normally focus on an object, face or body feature e.g. hand. They can be used to show writing on a paper or an expression on someones face. A close up is an extremely intimate shot and can be used to make the audience feel very uncomfortable or very comfortable.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs - trailer

The beginning of the trailer shows a series of funny clips with upbeat music. You aren't told who the main character is but you can tell who the main character is as he appears in most clips.

The colours change from bright to dull when having an experimental breakthrough. The music changes as he speaks about building a machine which would minimize world hunger.

He wears casual clothes so you can tell he's not too high class and probably isn't taken seriously.

They use sound to make the scene more dramatic by making the voice alot deeper and the cut rate increases. The music gets faster and the cut rate gets faster and you hear screaming.

The camera shots are used to show different things e.g. they mainly use medium and medium long shots with some close ups. They use a birds eye view to show something falling towards the main character.

17 again.

"17 again" was directed by Burr Steers in 2009. It stars Matthew Perry, Zac Efron and many others.

The film  begins with a close up of a basketball ring which has basketballs been thrown into. They then show a close up of his face which shows his emotion for the game.

In the film they use several different camera angles, for example, medium shots, long shots of the city, close ups, extreme close ups and point of view shots.

I like the way the basketball match was filmed as it builds up tension.

The scene fades in at a basketball scene. The cut rate of the scene is fast. The music is fast paced, the cheerleaders are dancing and the crowd are cheering. The cut rate is fast and there are lots of different angles making the scene a lot more tense. The different angles are wide, close up, medium and medium long.

In the scene the older Mike wears a suit to highlight the fact he is important however the younger mike wears trendy clothes, e.g. shirts, jeans and leather jackets. All the other characters wear casual clothes.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The making of - Shrek forever after

I wanted to look into the making of an animated film to see the differences and how it is put together so I looked at the following clip of an all time favourite, Shrek.

The four Shrek films took only 10 years to make. During this time, technology was advanced dramatically allowing them to do things that's never been done and improve various aspects of the animation. Shrek forever after (the final instalment) was even made in 3D. When they made the first few Shrek films they struggled with Global Illumination. This is where sun rays shine through and highlight emotions of the scene. 

By looking back in time you see the transformation of Shrek. You see him change from someone with little self confidence who was rude and abrupt to a loving husband and father. 

One problem Dreamworks have faced since the beginning was hair. In the first film they really struggled to make hair move naturally and therefore they gave Fiona a simple hair do, where she had no single stands. Making the hair sway as she walked took tremendous time and effort. In the fourth film you see Fiona's hair blowing with the wind. This shows how technology has improved over time. 

Faster machines allow the creators to make the animation better. If they are working to a timed schedule they wouldn't have the time to perfect every small bit however if the machines were faster they could get more done, to a higher standard in a smaller period of time. 

Shrek (original) was given 5,000,000 render hours, Shrek 2 was given 10,000,000 render hours, Shrek the third was given 20,000,000 render hours and Shrek happily ever after was given 46,000,000 render hours. Render hours are the hours that are spent on the animation being made. This is a lot more time as the films went on. The scenes are more complex allowing them to make a more exciting film. 

Music video - "for the first time" by the script

In the beginning of the video the girl is writing a post card, it is shot using a hand held camera. In the video she isn't talking however she is narrating what she is writing. The image frequently changes using cut shot which changes with the beat. The hand held camera gives you the effect your actually there and makes the image more real.

As they begin to sing the image changes using a cut shot and then the image is in black and white rather than colour. They use hand held camera and colour shots when shooting the actors however when shooting the band they use fixed cameras at a medium close up in black and white.

In the video they use various shots like medium shots, long shots and close ups. As the band reach the first chorus the image begins to be shot in colour. They use reverse shots and extreme close ups to show the emotions the actors within the video are feeling. The cut rate is about every 2 seconds meaning it's a fast paced video.

Love happens

The romantic comedy was directed by Brandon Camp in 2009. It stars blockbuster favourites like Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart and Dan Fogler. The film is a basic love story between two people who accidentally meet.

The film opens with a medium close up and changes between medium shots and long shots of scenery and the character, Burke. There are several cut shots between the shots of scenery which changes at the same time as the music in the opening sequence.

The main character, Burke, wears a suit in the film as he is a buisness man the costume works very well to portray his importance. The woman in the film, Erika, is a working class woman who wears knitted cardigans and casual clothes maybe showing she isn't as higher class as him.
Whilst watching the film I also saw low angle shots, high angle shots, medium long shots and long shots. I like the way the scenes are edited as the cut shots reflect the way Burke is feeling as he is waiting for his meeting. The several cut shots show his anxiety and how long he's been waiting.

They use a reverse angle shot as the man is giving a talk, this shows the man and the audience. They also use close ups of the audiences faces showing their reaction to the motivational speech being given.

The scene changes on a face out to the man being photographed for his book. As he is being photographed they make the cut rate faster and change between photo's of him and video and also add in a camera flick.

When the man has a flashback in the film he looks down and the shot is faded out. This colour of the video gets darker and there is subtle music being played to tell you it's from the past. 

The man often narrates the film at the beginning or end of the scene, one quote he says is...

"Chapter 2. Happiness is a state of mind, and like all things it takes practice. Devote at least 5 minutes everyday to smiling, just smiling, and one day it will become natural."

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Superman Returns

Recently we watched a clip of Superman Returns which was made in 2006 and directed by Bryan Singer.

Whilst watching the clip of Superman we noted down as many camera shots as we could. We saw big close ups, close ups, long shot, medium shot, low angle shot, high angle shot, birds eye view shot and reverse angle shot. Bryan singer also used pan and zoom very effectively.

Bryan Singer had cleverly picked each individual shot within the clip to emphasise a particular thing e.g. surroundings, character relationships and surroundings. He also used them to show feelings.

In the clip Bryan Singer chose to use a hand held camera to shoot a particular moment adding tension.


After watching a short clip of the all time classic Jaws (by Stephen Speilberg) we saw the different shots and how it was edited and I also saw a variation of camera shots and angles.

At the begining of the scene you saw several shots of the same people e.g. the man with the dog and the mother and her child. The several shots of the same characters lets you get to know the character before the action takes place.

One of the camera edits we saw was cut shots, these are where you focus on a subject. They are often used to emphasise feelings e.g. anxiety, excitement or enthusiasm.

Also as the scene built up the cut rate increased. The cut rate increasing adds tension to the scene and gets people on the edge of their seat.

Stephen Speilberg uses his trademark edits between scenes by having an actor walk past the camera. As the camera focus' on the person the scene can change location or camera angle.

King Arthur

We were looking at the camera angles in King Authur (2004) directed by Antoine Fuqua.

There were many edits/cuts within the scene:

Matched cut - change of angle keeping the continuity to show, an arrow flying through the air from the bow to the enemy. You can see the two sides at war and the relationship between the characters.

Jump cuts - were also used to flick from one conversation to another between characters and you see their reactions.

The cut rate increases in speed over the duration of the scene. As the level of action increases the cut rate increases building tension.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Casino Royale

To begin to understand how sound is edited in a film to make it seem more life-like we watched a behind the scenes of Casino Royal.

Some people say that sound makes up to 50% of the film.

In the behind the scenes we saw how they made the sound track for the film. First they shot the film and then they went back and added on a tune. The problems they faced when doing this was that when editors wanted to cut bits or make scenes shorter the music doesn't fit in time with the music.

Some of the sounds within the scene had to be added on after the scene was shot. This was because some of the gun sounds, hitting and such couldn't be heard when filming.

As they change between countries they change the style of music e.g when in India they play Indian music, when in Africa they play music with an African theme to it.

As the tension builds up in a film, they make the camera shots change faster and the music speeds up. Also they use sounds that will burst onto the screen, this will make the audience jump and give a better effect for example, they didn't show James Bond was driving a bulldozer then he bursted onto the screen.

In the film they re-use music to signify characters. They will show several short shots of a character doing something e.g. flipping poker coins, then when the sound is played again but not in the shot the viewers will recognise the noise and know what character is making it.