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What is a movie?
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  1. What is a movie? • Here are some main points from Barsam’s opening chapters. • You already know some things about movies, but • Your knowledge is mostly instinctive • You probably view movies primarily as entertainment • Learning more about movies is likely to surprise you.

  2. Form and Content • These are the two key elements of any narrative form, including film. • FORM: the means through which a subject is expressed. • CONTENT: the subject of an artwork

  3. What’s the difference between a surveillance tape (below). . .

  4. . . .and a narrative film?

  5. What is the relationship between a work of art’s meaning and its form?

  6. What are the form and content of • The Wizard of Oz? • Courage Under Fire?

  7. What’s the difference between the form and content of these two pics?

  8. Form creates expectations. • What expectations do you have of the following forms? • Romance • Mystery • Thriller • Fantasy • Children’s film • Instructional exercise video

  9. What do you expect from this film?

  10. Or from this one?

  11. Patterns are key element of both form and content. • Patterns are elements that are repeated so that their meaning is expanded and intensified.

  12. Connections implicit in patterns create important illusions

  13. What has been repeated?

  14. 3 important film principles: • Movies manipulate space and time in unique ways. • Movies depend on light. • Movies create the illusion of movement.

  15. Movies manipulate space and time in unique ways. • Erwin Panofsky: “the movies give time to space and space to time” by creating the illusion of movement and the illusion of the passage of time • The audience remains fixed while the screen images move in a variety of directions • Film creates the illusion of time passing faster or slower

  16. Photography • Literally means ‘light’ ‘writing’ • Began from 1800-1840; proceeded through • Camera obscura • Silhouettes • Glass negatives • Series photography (Edweard Muybridge)

  17. A magic lantern slide:

  18. A silhouette and glass negative:

  19. A series photograph:

  20. In 1883 Thomas Edison began making movies in a crude, hot, cramped shack which he jokingly called “Black Maria.” He shot on a kinetograph.

  21. A kinetograph (peephole viewer) allowed a series of pictures to be presented:

  22. George Eastman originated celluloid roll film. Celluloid roll film is also known as motion picture film or film stock.

  23. Diagram of a motion-picture camera:

  24. Film stock comes in different speeds according to the amount of light that will be used in shooting • Slow – intermediate - fast speed • Film stock “speed” or “exposure index” indicates the degree to which the film is sensitive to light • “Fast” film stock is used in low-light situations or to capture rapid motion that would otherwise just be a blur

  25. This picture, taken at dusk, was shot with fast film. Note its “grainy,” coarse texture.

  26. This photo is blurry because it was shot with regular-speed film.

  27. What about digital film? • Film comes in analog and digital formats. • Traditional film is still used to shoot most movies. • Increasingly, digital film is being used in both still and motion-picture photograph • Barsam does not devote a lot of discussion to digital film technology, as it is still relatively new.

  28. A film’s format is its gauge • Gauge equals width of the film • 8 mm to IMAX (210mm) in width • Small-budget or intimate films are generally shot in smaller gauge stock (16-35 mm) • Big-budget or blockbuster films are generally shot on wider gauge stock (70 mm widescreen or IMAX 210mm)

  29. Here are some standard film gauges

  30. Optical illusions help create a sense of motion when we watch films. • This website provides examples of a variety of optical illusions, such as motion aftereffect. http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/mot_adapt/index.html

  31. The illusion of movement is provided by three factors: • Persistence of vision (our eyes’ tendency to “hold over” gapped images) • Phi phenomenon (the illusion of movement between adjacent events) • Critical flicker fusion helps create this • Apparent motion (our eyes’ tendency to connect disparate images into a single smooth motion)

  32. Persistence of vision is our eyes’ tendency to “hold over” gapped images). Consider a flip-book.

  33. Phi phenomenon is the illusion of movement between adjacent events). The early thaumatropetook advantage of this phenomenon.

  34. Critical flicker fusion – what is it?

  35. You’ve probably noticed this. . . . . .at the movies, when you watch a character use a computer monitor, and the monitor seems constantly to flicker. Yet when you look at your own computer monitor, it doesn’t seem to flicker at all.

  36. Realism, Antirealism, or Verisimilitude? • Realism is the creation of scenarios that seem plausible • Anti-realism is the creation of scenarios that seem implausible (or defy the laws of physics) • Verisimilitude is the illusion that a one- or two-dimensional surface is three-dimensional and actually real

  37. Got that? • Plausible (realism) • Implausible (anti-realism) • Three-dimensional or real (verisimilar)

  38. Is this realistic, anti-realistic, or verisimilar?

  39. The Lumière brothers were among the first to make films that captured reality - attempted to be verisimilar. • Their 1895 film, “Exiting the Factory,” to which sound has been added, utilizes fixed cameras and tries to capture an everyday event. Here’s the You Tube link: • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nj0vEO4Q6s

  40. How about this?

  41. And this?

  42. The human eye always identifies with the camera lens.

  43. Genres are types of movies. Some familiar fictional movie genres: • Action • Biography • Comedy • Fantasy • Film noir • Gangster • Horror • Melodrama • Musical • Mystery • Romance • Science fiction • Thriller • War • Western

  44. IN YOUR VIEW: • Which genres does Courage Under Fire belong to? How does it experiment with conventions of those genres?

  45. Generic transformation occurs • . . .when filmmakers alter generic conventions • Often they do this to meet the expectations of a changing society • What has happened to the western genre in the past two decades?

  46. Nonfiction film genres include • Factual • Instructional • Documentary • Propaganda • Sometimes, as with fictional films, these sub-genres overlap or are impossible to distinguish or determine.

  47. Was this film a documentary, propaganda, or both?

  48. IN YOUR VIEW: • How can we determine what is a documentary, what is factual, and what is propaganda?

  49. Animated films are a third genre • Animation is created through manipulating artificial characters – drawings, figures, etc. – to provide the illusion of movement and life. • Puppet animation • Clay animation (ClayMation) • Pixilation • Traditional cartoons (like a celluloid flip-book)

  50. Experimental films are a fourth genre • Avant-garde films: style becomes subject • These films are often designed to shock or amaze viewers • They can be deliberately anti-realistic • Stream-of-consciousness is an avant-garde technique