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.
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
What is the relationship between a work of art’s meaning and its form?
What are the form and content of • The Wizard of Oz? • Courage Under Fire?
What’s the difference between the form and content of these two pics?
Form creates expectations. • What expectations do you have of the following forms? • Romance • Mystery • Thriller • Fantasy • Children’s film • Instructional exercise video
Patterns are key element of both form and content. • Patterns are elements that are repeated so that their meaning is expanded and intensified.
3 important film principles: • Movies manipulate space and time in unique ways. • Movies depend on light. • Movies create the illusion of movement.
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
Photography • Literally means ‘light’ ‘writing’ • Began from 1800-1840; proceeded through • Camera obscura • Silhouettes • Glass negatives • Series photography (Edweard Muybridge)
In 1883 Thomas Edison began making movies in a crude, hot, cramped shack which he jokingly called “Black Maria.” He shot on a kinetograph.
A kinetograph (peephole viewer) allowed a series of pictures to be presented:
George Eastman originated celluloid roll film. Celluloid roll film is also known as motion picture film or film stock.
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
This picture, taken at dusk, was shot with fast film. Note its “grainy,” coarse texture.
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.
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)
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
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)
Persistence of vision is our eyes’ tendency to “hold over” gapped images). Consider a flip-book.
Phi phenomenon is the illusion of movement between adjacent events). The early thaumatropetook advantage of this phenomenon.
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.
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
Got that? • Plausible (realism) • Implausible (anti-realism) • Three-dimensional or real (verisimilar)
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
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
IN YOUR VIEW: • Which genres does Courage Under Fire belong to? How does it experiment with conventions of those genres?
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?
Nonfiction film genres include • Factual • Instructional • Documentary • Propaganda • Sometimes, as with fictional films, these sub-genres overlap or are impossible to distinguish or determine.
IN YOUR VIEW: • How can we determine what is a documentary, what is factual, and what is propaganda?
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)
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