Look. Listen. Analyze.

I chose The Good The Bad The Ugly Cemetery Scene to analyze.

  1. Look: The first thing I noticed is the pan up/ wide lens shot as he sees the cemetery from behind the grave stone. It makes it seem overwhelming and almost daunting. The angle keeps getting wider making him seem smaller and less important to the scene. As the angle switches and he is running, the whole background blurs, making him seem the focus again. When looking from his perspective it again gives a sense of overwhelming. In a way the blurring makes him seem lost and unsure through the scene until he finds what he is looking for and focus is found again.

2. Listen: After the canon shot the music is suspenseful and slowly gaining pace. There is almost two songs happening one a steady rhythm and the other softer over it. A dog barks. The music grows to be hopeful before becoming unsure and frantic. Then the music slows back to hopeful again and cuts as he finally speaks.

3. Analyze: the growing hope goes with the frame getting wider, sense of growth. Dog bark signals music change. The music gets louder and more hopeful with the running until he gets caught up in running and becomes more nervous and frantic. As he gets closer to his goal the music gets hopeful again until it cuts out at him finding the grave.

Overall, the music and video tie together to make the final goal apparent. The scene alone he looks more scared than anything, but with the music it becomes a hunt for whatever he was looking for, it is more hopeful and less about running away.

Reading Movies

The article on reading movies taught me a lot about perspective of shots in two ways. One was that it showed me new ways to think about how films are shot, but also to reflect on things I recognized in the past and now have a name for.

While I don’t know all the techniques now, this article taught me more about how to recognize them though light, color, angle, and weight of a shot.

I next chose to read the article on camera angles. I liked this because I didn’t realize how much thought goes into different angles and they all have a purpose. I’ve always recognized an over the shoulder shot was to show a conversation or confrontation, but knowing that there is a defined intention adds to my understanding.

The one point perspective video made me recognize that this effect seems to almost create a suspense to the shot. The depth stretches out the moment. It also creates a frame around the scene that it builds for itself.

The from below video also added more to the perspective I’ve seen many times. It gives you a good shot of the actors face, but also shows you how they are really viewing whatever you are in the angle of. Often this will be the angle of an injured or dead person, or an item they are inspecting closely.

Overall, these different shot types add to an experience and help you understand the context of a shot without even having to think deeply in the moment.

Ted Radio Hour and ScottLo

The Ted Radio Hour used a lot of good techniques in a short amount of time. They had music that grew with the suspense, making it seem almost hopeful before cutting out causing a feeling of loss as the word ‘depressed’ was spoken. There is a sense of mystery in the music in the same way you would hear in a murder mystery show.

As ScottLo explained, music needs to add to an experience, it shouldn’t be the whole thing. The usage of music can greatly amplify the story being told, but absence does a lot too. When stories lead in with music it creates a guide into it, and helps begin the story. When ScottLo used intro music I was much more ready to listen when he began talking.

Ira Glass and Jad Abumrad

When listening to Ira Glass talk about story telling he encourages the engagement of the reader. He recommends work on getting the listener to ask question and feel involved in the story. The story must string together information that flows in a linear way, even if that means cutting out boring information or limiting what you share. Overall, elevating your story to keep listeners engaged. The goal is that by complimenting your story you can make the most boring idea come to life.

Jad Abumrad recommends the idea of connecting yourself to the reader. When describing on the radio, there is a loss of visual that allows room for the listener to make up for that. In doing so, good descriptors can make a story even if you view them in different ways. He says that in a way it is a collaboration between listener and speaker to fully form the story.

I listen to many story based podcasts, but one “welcome to night vale” comes to mind when listening to this. While its often nonsensical, it pulls you in with just the right descriptors and extra audio to create a solid story.

Moon Graffiti

When listening to Moon Graffiti, I picked up on the different usages of sound that were displayed. The first thing I noticed was the first minute of the story fully was designed to instill fear or a sense of dread in the listener. The sounds were frantic and worried, showing that something was seriously wrong.

Then the music overlaid was suspenseful and fit the mood whenever necessary, without overpowering the voices or the story.

Yet the showstopper for me were the voices themselves. It was fully acted out like a show, but without the visual elements the voices had to have all the emotions portrayed without exaggerating too far. They also had to describe the scenery in a natural dialogue without losing the story.

Overall it was a very immersive listening and I learned a lot about the audio storytelling from listening to it. Everything said and added complimented the story without making it seem overwhelming or hard to follow.

I think many audio stories try too hard to be immersive that they forget that there is an overarching story that needs to still be understood.

Reflection on Vignelli

The thing I found most interesting about the Vignelli Canon was the use of the techniques within the booklet. The ideas were demonstrated within the pages so that even when skimming the design principals were clear. I especially liked the section on grids where on page 40 it actually applied the grid to the page so that the element was understandable even in the format of the booklet. There was also a lot of balance to the book, pairing the text wiht an image on next page in a way that divided it nicely.

Overall, I appreciated the general design of the booklet and you could tell the thought put into it created an easy to read, but still very interesting layout.