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Visual communication. Motion Pictures. Motion pictures. “Movies” - a term for motion pictures that are produced primarily for entertainment. i.e. Hollywood “Films” – motion pictures that are primarily non-fiction or “art” films. i.e. documentaries, biographies, foreign and independent films.

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visual communication

Visual communication

Motion Pictures

motion pictures
Motion pictures
  • “Movies” - a term for motion pictures that are produced primarily for entertainment. i.e. Hollywood
  • “Films” – motion pictures that are primarily non-fiction or “art” films. i.e. documentaries, biographies, foreign and independent films
technical background
Technical background
  • The illusion of movement
  • Persistence of vision
  • Still images projected in rapid succession
  • Frame rate = the number of still pictures projected per each second to create the illusion of constant fluid motion
  • Flicker (critical fusion) rate = the number of frames required each second to eliminate visible flicker
frame rates
Frame rates
  • Original motion pictures were based on a frame rate of sometimes 12-16 frames per second
    • Images appeared jerky with noticeable flicker
  • 12 frames per second (fps) is the minimum to create the illusion of seamless motion
  • 18 (fps) is the minimum to avoid flicker
frame rates5
Frame rates
  • “Home movie” formats (8 millimeter) used 18 fps
  • Commercial films use 24 fps
  • Television uses 30 fps
  • In modern motion pictures, the shutter projects each frame twice to reduce flicker
  • Persistence of vision (animation) first demonstrated by Eadweard Muybridge
  • Muybrigde was settling a bet on whether all 4 of a horse’s left the ground at any point in its gallop
  • Arranged a series of still cameras along the track with trip wires
  • Edison invented the kinetoscope
  • Used Eastman roll film
mutoscope kinetoscope
  • The penny arcade
  • Machines that cost a penny to view
  • Some adult content
  • Edison also developed a projection device based on the kinetoscope called the “kinetograph”
  • Operated on electricity – Edison’s pet project
  • Robert Paul bought the Edison Kinetograph and gave it a crank
  • This was the first movie camera
  • Lumiere Brothers (French) used the “cinematographe” to both record and show films
  • Lumiere films were documents of daily life
  • They exhibited the films at night in the towns and villages where they filmed
thomas edison
Thomas Edison
  • Pioneer filmmaker
  • Created documents of daily life and simple acts
  • Also pioneered in fantasy and drama
  • Edison built a studio on a turntable to make films – turned to make use of sunlight
  • The “Black Maria” was covered with black tar paper
george melies
George Melies
  • A surrealist - magician and filmmaker
  • The inventor of special effects
    • Accidentally discovered the “stop trick” disappearance effect
    • Pioneered other science fiction effects
milestones pioneers
  • D.W. Griffith
    • “Birth of a Nation”
    • The “blockbuster”
    • Epic drama about the Civil War
  • Nanook of the North
    • The first documentary
    • About an Eskimo
  • Nickel = 5¢
  • Odeon = roofed theater
  • Neighborhood theaters in early 20th century
sound in the movies
Sound in the movies
  • Early films were silent – sometimes with live musical accompaniment
  • RCA Vitaphone system used 78 rpm records synchronized with the silent film
  • Now film sound is recorded onto the film optically
the movies
The movies
  • Sound helped the industry grow
  • Studios grew and their control expanded
  • The movie industry was controlled by a few huge studios that were vertically integrated
    • Production, talent, distribution, exhibition
  • United Artists – Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin – formed as reaction to the big studios
  • Sex scandals
    • Culminating in the Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle scandal in which he assaulted a minor
  • House Un-American Activities Commission
    • The “Red Scandal”
    • Joe McCarthy
    • Blacklist
threats to the movies and how they responded
Threats to the movies and how they responded
  • Radio siphons off audience
    • Movies introduce color
      • Technicolor
  • Television siphons audience
    • Movies introduce wide screen
      • Cinerama – 3 cameras
      • Cinemascope – Panavision
    • Movies create ornate palaces
    • Other gimmicks
      • 3-D, Smell-a-vision, Sensurround
  • Color television challenges the movies
    • Movies respond double features
      • Giving birth to the “B” movie
      • Cheap movies to be shown with a big budget movie
    • Drive ins
  • Other media still challenge the movies
    • Surround sound
    • Cineplex
technical considerations
Technical considerations
  • Film width
    • 8 mm – home movies
    • 16 mm – independent and documentary
    • 35 mm – commercial film production
    • 70 mm – super wide screen
    • Imax – 70 mm projected horizontally
technical considerations32
Technical considerations
  • Aspect ratio
    • 5 X 3 = “flat” prints
    • 16 X 9 = “anamorphic” wide screen – “Cinemascope”
technical considerations34
Technical considerations
  • Color
  • The principle of color photography was introduced by James Clerk Maxwell in the 1800s with additive color
  • Color in the movies
    • Hand tinting
    • Kinemacolor – 2 color process
    • Technicolor – 3 color process
technical considerations35
Technical considerations
  • Early films used hand-cranked cameras
  • Lighting was not available to allow indoor filming with deep focus
  • Lens optics did not permit “deep focus”
  • Early sound films used “blimped” cameras that were extremely large and heavy
  • The camera did not move – only panned and tilted – and not often
technical considerations36
Technical considerations
  • Films are shot “MOS” – silent
  • Sound is added in post production
    • Looping
    • ADR – “automatic dialogue replacement”
    • Foleying
  • Sound tracks include dialogue, score and sound effects (Foley)
  • The Hays Code
    • Named for William Hayes former Postmaster General of the United States
    • The U.S. Motion Picture Production Code
  • Replaced by the Motion Picture Association of America
    • G – M – R – X
    • M replaced by GP
    • Now G – PG – PG13 – R – NC17
the language of filmmaking
The language of filmmaking
  • The shot
    • The basic component of filmmaking
    • a shot is a continuous strip of motion picture film, created of a series of frames, that runs for an uninterrupted period of time. Shots are generally filmed with a single camera and can be of any duration
  • Shots are assembled into scenes
    • Scenes share a common location
  • Stereotypes in the movies
    • Racial
    • Gender
    • Cultural
    • Other?
contemporary issues
Contemporary issues
  • Foreign Marketing
  • Product placement
  • Merging technologies marry film, vide, and computers
  • Future directions
    • CGI
    • Interactivity
    • ???