Introduction to Film Cinema and Literature Essay
1) EVOLUTION OF FILM In 1873, Leland Stanford, a former California Governor needed help in winning a bet that he had made with a friend. Stanford was convinced that horse in gallop had all four feet off the ground and was bent on proving it. Since it was impossible to prove such a thing by merely watching a horse race, he employed the services of Eadweard Muybridge, who was a well-known photographer. Muybridge worked on the problem for four years and finally came up with a solution in 1877.
He arranged a series of still cameras along a stretch of race track and each camera took its picture as the horse sprinted by.
The result of the photographs proved Leland Stanford right thereby making him win the bet. But rather than forgetting about the event, Muybridge had a brilliant idea which was inspired by the pictures of the horse. He therefore began taking pictures of numerous kinds of human and animal actions. Those pictures were displayed through the Zoopraxiscope, a machine that Muybridge invented for projecting slides onto a distance surface (fig.
1. 1). People saw pictures as if they were in motion when the pictures were rapidly projected in sequential slides.
This was made possible due to a physiological phenomenon known as persistence of vision in which images our eyes gather are retained in the brain for about 1/24 of a second. This means that if photographic frames are moved at 24 frames a second, people perceive them as actually in motion. In 1888, Muybridge finally met Thomas Edison who was a prolific inventor. Edison quickly saw the scientific as well as the economic potentials of Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope, so he appointed his top scientist, William Dickson, and gave him the task of developing a better projector.
Dickson identified the limitations of the Zoopraxiscope, which included shooting numerous still photos, then putting them in sequential order and then redrawing the images they held onto slides. Therefore, he combined Hannibal Goodwin’s newly invented celluloid roll film with George Eastman’s easy-to-use Kodak camera to form a motion picture camera called Kinetograph which took 40 photographs a second. He filmed all types of theatrical performances through the use of this device (Fig. 1. 3). DEVELOPMENT OF PHOTOGRAPHY
It is impossible to talk about the evolution of film without mentioning the development of photography since film is an off-shoot of photography. Among the people who significantly contributed to the development of photography was the French inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce. Niepce was the first to develop photography around 1816. He photographed natural objects and produced colour prints, but unfortunately his images would last only a short time. Because of his success, Louis Daguerre decided to work with him to perfect the process.
Their partnership led to the production of the Daguerreotype though Niepce died before it was introduced in 1839. Another inventor along this line was William Henry Fox Talbot who introduced paper film process in 1850. The last face of development of the photographic process necessary for true motion pictures was champion by Hannibal Goodwin in 1887 and Eastman in 1889. Their inventions were adapted to motion pictures by Edison scientist Dickson. SIGNIFICANT ADVANCEMENTS IN FILM DEVELOPMENT
Thomas Edison built the first motion picture studio near his laboratory in New Jersey and named it Black Maria. He did not project the completed films on any surface; rather, the films were run through a Kinetoscope, which was a sort of peep show device (Fig. 1. 4 & 1. 5). The device became very popular and was adopted by many business men. The Lumiere brothers envisioned great wealth in their ability to increase the number of people who can watch a movie at the same time. To achieve this, they made people sit in a darkened room to watch motion picture projected on a screen.
In 1895, they patented a device that both photographed and projected action which was named Cinematography (Fig. 1. 6). Some common features of both the Edison and Lumiere movies were that they were only few minutes long and they showed mostly filmed preproduction of realities e. g. celebrities, weight lifters, jugglers etc, and they were shot in fixed frame because they never moved their cameras. This also means that their films were never edited. French film maker Georges Melies was the first to make narrative motion pictures in 1896. This he did by using his movies to tell stories.
Melies is often called the “first artist of the cinema” because he was the first to introduce creativity into movie making by using different frames, changing sets and telling stories. The movie industry has since then passed different other stages in its developmental journey till it has come to become what it is to be today. Figures Fig. 1. 1 [pic] A forerunner of the modern movie projector, the zoopraxiscope was an invention of the 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge. The zoopraxiscope used light to project sequential images from a rotating glass disc, producing the illusion of animation.
The principle was much the same as in earlier projection devices, such as the zoetrope. Retrieved from http://encarta. msn. com/media_461518398/Zoopraxiscope. html Fig. 1. 2 [pic] Retrieved from http://masters-of-photography. com/M/muybridge/muybridge_galloping_horse. html Fig. 1. 3 |Kinetograph (W. K-L. Dickson-Thomas Edison) |[pic] | |Camera (the first to use perforated film stock) for | | |producing subjects for the Kinetoscope peepshow machine. | |Developed over several years, and shotting commercially-used| | |films from 1893 | | | | | Retrieved from www. victorian. inema. net/machines. htm Fig. 1. 4 |Kinetoscope (W. K-L. Dickson-Thomas Edison) |[pic] | |2. Kinetoscope – exterior view. Electrically-driven | | |peepshow machine for films produced with Kinetograph | | |camera. 894 | | | | | Retrieved from www. victorian. cinema. net/machines. htm Fig. 1. 5 |Kinetoscope (W. K-L. Dickson-Thomas Edison) |[pic] | |1. Kinetoscope – interior view.
The 35 mm film travelled | | |continuously over a bank of rollers, each picture being | | |viewed briefly through a narrow slot in the revolving | | |shutter | | | | |
Retrieved from www. victorian. cinema. net/machines. htm Fig. 1. 6 |Cinematographe (Auguste Lumiere-Louis Lumiere) |[pic] | |2. Lumiere Cinematographe set up for projection, 1895-96 | | | | | Retrieved from www. victorian. cinema. net/machines. htm Fig. 1. 7 [pic] Film strip, retrieved from http://www. mediachance. om/dvdlab/helppro/films_strip. htm 2) GENRES AND FUNCTION OF FILM The Collins English Dictionary defines film as a sequence of images of moving objects photographed by a camera providing the optical illusion of continuous movement when projected onto a screen. There are different genres of films; among them are the following: 1. COMEDY: Originally, a comedy is any story that has a happy ending. It can be easily identified by its appearance and plots, and by the deliberate way that these plots are arranged so as to influence the attitude of the audience by generating laughter.
The comic characters in the comedy are usually single-minded. They usually possess some peculiar character traits such as gullibility (believing everything, especially obviously impossible and outrageous things), greed (getting into trouble because y can not be satisfied), gluttony or lust (their unsatisfyable appetite leads them into trouble), etc. The real humour lies in the fact that those characters single mindedly pursue their foolish ambitions thereby exposing their inadequacies and foolishness from time to time.
They also never suffer psychological or physical pain since they are not even aware that they are doing anything strange. 2. TRAGDY: In this genre, the protagonist is confronted by overwhelming dilemmas and also finds him self participating in his own downfall. The image presented by tragedy is that of a human being who is forced to endure the worst, and yet not surrendering to self-defeat, but who finally is subdued and loses out completely. Tragic characters usually possess admirable traits such as ambition, patience, fortitude, self-confidence, intelligence etc which draw audience affection to them.
However, they are eventually confronted by their inadequacies. They are usually shocked at the latest moment to realize that they have overestimated themselves. Their tragic overestimation usually includes a character flaw that has been carefully hidden for which they have to account. Their downfall usually affects everyone around them. It is however important to note that tragedies in this sense may not be too common in popular arts such as movies; this is because audience do not wish to regard any situation as hopeless or be burdened with misfortune. Nevertheless, they still exist. 3.
MELODRAMA: This is a broad term that is applicable to most movies. This genre stresses elements such as strong emotion, high adventure and self-sacrifice in the service of a noble cause. It usually presents a conflict between good and evil in which good finally triumphs. The characters in a melodrama are easily recognizable by their moral or social commitment to a cause. 4. ADVENTURE: These films are also melodramatic in nature. Among what adventures and melodramas have in common are; action, film climaxing in physical conflict, confrontation between good and evil, experience, persistence etc.
Adventure movies may have classic fairy tale structures, or they may follow traditional plots such as that of an originally helpless hero who finally locates and destroys a villain. Adventure heroes are usually full or virtues. Actions in adventure films usually take place in exotic settings such as jungles and unfamiliar or inaccessible parts of cities. A Thriller is not really a genre, rather, it is a characteristic of many adventure as well as other films. Thrillers place emphasis on suspense and fearful anticipation. 5. HORROR FILMS: These are films that horrify by invoking experiences that are strange and difficult to explain.
They create the feeling of encountering unfamiliar circumstances within familiar environments, with the threat of the unknown destabilizing the security of the known. One of the major characteristics of horror films is the use of low-key lighting so as to intensify the contrast between the seen and the unseen as well as the known and the unknown. They also make use of dissonant music with the intention of creating the feeling of disharmony. Horror films play on the secret fears that lurk at the sub-conscious of their audience. They also give substance to the nameless fear that dwells in the minds of such audience. 6.
SCIENCE FICTION: “Sc fi”, as films in this category are popularly called; also specialize in offering strange and mysterious experiences. They are sometimes sub-genres of horror while at other times, they stand on their own. Their own prominent characteristic is the displacement of time into a technological future where some current tendencies of our culture have become dominant. This may include a situation in which machines become more active in the running of human lives that they (the machines) even attempt to, or actually take over. It may also be in the form of a technological invasion by more advanced cultures (mostly aliens).
E. g war of the world 7. MUSIC VIDEO: A music video is a film that is predominantly musical in content and which is mostly combined with dances or some sort of movement. A musical, as it is also called, displays the performer’s and composer’s talents through singing and dancing and thereby making the music very satisfying. This type of film has become quite common in these modern times. Most music videos are recorded as mini-feature films and some can even be as elaborate as feature films both in cost and in production. E. g trapped in the closet by R Kelly. 8.
DOCUMENTARY: A documentary is a factual film about an event, thing or person, and it presents the facts with little or no fiction. It is a film that captures the various stages of the existence or the process by which something is achieved. This type of film is usually produced for the sole purpose of educating and enlightening its audience. Information in documentaries can be taken at face-value because it is suppose to be the product of a research. Examples of documentaries are films produced on subjects such as wildlife, historical developments, political events etc. 9.
BIOGRAPHY: In biographical films, real life experiences are fictionalized so as to provide examples of virtue, bravery, perseverance, commitment etc to the viewers. Biographies permit the audience to enjoy a feeling of intimacy with famous people, and allow them to feel a part of those personalities’ adversity as well as their triumphs. 3) FUNCTIONS OF FILM Film has so many functions that it will be absolutely impossible to cover them all under this topic. It is also important to note that a lot of the functions of film are subjective, that is, they depend on the individual who is making the personal judgment.
Some of the functions that film is known to perform include: 1. Entertainment: Film serves as a means of interesting and amusing people. This is one of the major functions that film performs. It gives people the opportunity to explore the lighter side of life which may or may not be realistic. It has been acknowledged that majority of movie audiences are aware that film is a make-believe. This simply shows their readiness to take part in a fantasy purely for the sake of entertainment. 2. Relaxation: This function is very similar to the previous one.
In this case, film serves as a means of easing tension. After the tasking day’s or week’s work, some people love to watch film so as to ease the tension generated by the formal environment of their place of work. 3. Catharsis: Film has a catharsis function because it helps to purge people of negative emotions. It is believed that when people see characters in films undergo a dilemma similar to theirs, by weeping, they release their own pent up emotions. 4. Psychological Escape: In this case, film serves as a temporary anesthetic by helping to stop the feeling of pain (emotional or mental stress mostly).
By being lost in the world created by film, people are able to temporarily forget about their problems and see that life can still be beautiful. 5. Creation of Heroes and Role Models: Whether deliberately or not, film creates role models. It has been observed particularly among children and also some adults that they try to imitate their favorite film heroes. This includes attempting to look, talk or even behave like them. 6. Mirroring the Society: Some films can serve as agents of change by mirroring the ills in the society and thereby call attention of their audiences to them.
This creates general awareness and makes people conscious of such issues. 7. Education: Even though this is the least function of most films, it must still be noted that some films educate along with entertainment function. This is particularly true in the cases of biographies and true life stories. 4) COMPARISON OF FILM AND TELEVISION Film is a sequence of images of moving objects photographed by a camera and providing the optical illusion of continuous movement when projected onto a screen.
Television on the other hand is a system or process of producing on a distant screen a series of transient visible images usually accompanied by sound signal. When a camera is focused on an object and it starts to record, electrical signals are converted from optical images by the camera tube, and transmitted by radio waves or cable. A television antenna receives the signals, and then the radio waves are reconvert into optical images by means of a television tube inside a television set. Film, both as a medium and as an art is very different from television.
At this point, we are not interested in proving which is more important; we are only out to highlight their major differences. These two important media are different in the following ways: 1. The process that led to the development of film started in 1873 while that of television started about 11 years after, that is, 1884. 2. Movies are “larger than life” and movie stars are more glamorous than television stars. 3. Film is always pre-recorded while television had only live transmissions until 1951. Pre-recorded programs were introduced when Lucille Ball introduced syndication in 1951 and thereby making rerun possible. . Films are largely independent, but networks control what appears on the vast majority of local television stations. 5. Film has cinema audience while television has home audience. 6. Film is more expensive to produce while television production is cheaper. 7. Film contains only one type of program while television offers variety of programs to choose from. 8. Film is simply rated through the office box while television was initially rated through a rather complex process of an audiometer, and later changed to the use of people-meter. Neither the audiometer nor the people-meter accurately served the purpose. ) KEY PLAYERS IN FILM PRODUCTION Film Production is a very big process which involves a lot of people. It will be quite impossible to mention here all the people that are involved in the process. Therefore it will be an error to assume that those players who are not mentioned are not important. The major players in the film production process and who will be studied under this topic are as follows: 1. The Producer: The producer is the person who initiates the idea of production. This person may continue with his idea himself and become the actual producer or he may collaborate with someone who is a recognized producer.
The producer provides for the financing of the project and therefore has the power over the production. He is also the chief business executive who is responsible for the film’s corporate management which includes business planning, insurance, contracting, hiring etc. Since his money is at stake, a producer most of the time gets involved with the casting process of the film. 2. The Director: The Director, who is also known as the artistic director, is in charge of all the film production. He is the film’s primary creative authority and is ultimately responsible for virtually everything that appears on the screen.
The responsibilities of the director includes; casting (alongside the casting director; if any), coaching actors, arranging blockings, deciding camera shots, overseeing editing etc. 3. Production Manager: The production manager has the responsibility of running or managing the entire production. This means that he must ensure that all the materials that are needed for the production are available. He secures locations whether special or common, set props, and he makes sure that everybody needed is at the right place at the right time and doing the right thing.
The production manager bears the weight of the whole production since he must effectively manage money, materials, equipments and people. 4. Script Writer: This is the person that creates the screenplay. He may be the originator of the story and wants to either market it or produce it himself. He may also be hired to write a screenplay based on a concept (story idea), a treatment (story outline of several pages or more, with character description), or an adaptation of a novel, play or short story. 5.
Cast: This includes the players and walk-ons who make up the dramatic characters, that is, the stars that most people want to see, and the supporting players that people see whether they notice them or not. It also includes “extras”, who are ordinarily- people and are hired to fill out a street scene, hotel lobby or crowd. There are also the “stunts doubles” for lead players and other “stunts men” and “women” who crash the cars and take the falls, all being coordinated by a stunts coordinator. Dancers and martial artists are also part of the cast and their movements are designed by a choreographer. Camera doubles” stand in place of stars while cameras are focused and the set lit. 6. Director of Photography: Or the cinematographer is the artist and technician that is responsible for the photographic look of the film. He is also responsible for the film’s lighting, color values, visual texture and framing. Since all the filming processes cumulate in the final outlook, a bad cinematographer can destroy the whole process. The cinematographer has three principal assistants and they are: the camera operator (who actually operates the camera), the focus- puller and the clapper loader. 7.
Production designer: This artist is also known as the set designer or the art director. Though he, along with the director and the cinematographer are responsible for the look of the film, he is primarily responsible for designing and creating each set according to the budget and expected strategies for each shot. The job of the production designer also includes drawing or commissioning of sketches and architectural drawings of rooms, buildings, facades, huge flat paintings used as backdrops, or even streets; all of these being subjected to the mood, period, and even dramatic necessity.
He also supervises the construction of these sets or the selection and preparation of the “real” location if actual buildings and places are being used. 8. Costume Designer: This artist selects all the clothing worn by the players in different parts of the film. It is also the responsibility of the designer to design special clothing with due regard for the required action e. g. rough fighting, comic tearing or vigorous dancing. The costumes can be “day-to-day costumes”, “special costumes” or “periodic costumes”. 9. Make-up Artist: this is the artist that is concerned with the look of the natural body of the actors.
Make-up is applied to the natural body of actors so as to either enhance their looks or transform them into the character they are playing. The make-up effect can be straight, character or fantastic. 10. Composer: the composer, who is also known as the music director composes or selects music to be heard during the film. The music can be classical or popular, symphonic or guitar, traditional or modern. If an existing sound track is needed, the composer makes the arrangement for obtaining the copyright for the music. On the other hand, if a fresh music is needed, he composes the music and arranges for the performance. 1. Sound Director: this artist has the responsibility of ensuring quality sound output of the film. He works with other professionals such as the sound recorder, boom operator, sound editor, mixer, balancer, dubber, e. t. c. 12. Editor: the editor handles the editing of the production. He selects good ‘shots’ and ‘takes’ from among the numerous ones taken on location, and arranges them together. He also arranges the shots not according to the sequence by which they were taken, but according to scene in the script. 6) FILM PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES
Film production is made possible through the use of some very important equipment. These equipments are many and they range from the pen with which the scriptwriter writes the script to the camera with which the cameraman shoots the scene. Though all the equipments that are used in film production are important, we shall focus only on the major ones. This we shall do by examining them under the four major departments of film technical activities. The four departments are the visual, the audio, the lightning and the editing departments. ) THE VISUAL DEPARTMENT: in this department, we have the equipments that are directly involved in the visual recording of the movie. It also includes the equipments that enhance the actual recording. a) Camera: a camera is portable device that is used for recording whatever image that is in front of it. The camera is made of a lens, a shutter, a film strip coated with light sensitive chemicals, and some means for transporting the film strip past the lens for successive intermittent exposure to light, one frame at a time. b) Tripod: this is a three- legged camera platform or support.
Its height can be varied depending on the level that is required. A tripod is used for shooting from a fixed position, with the camera attached to a ‘head’ which is able to pan or tilt smoothly should the movement be required. [pic] c) Dolly: a dolly is similar to a tripod, only that it is a camera platform with wheels. These wheels enable the camera to take slow, rolling shots towards and away from the subject of the shots. It can also move along side the subject. d) Track: a track is a specially constructed path on which a camera can smoothly move towards, but more commonly, along side the subject, while it is moving. pic] e) Crane: a crane is a camera platform that is placed on one end of a long metal support that has a hinge on the other end. The hinge allows the support of the camera platform to move freely thereby providing the camera with a smooth movement from a considerable distance vertically, horizontally, or both. [pic] [pic] [pic] A 100 ft camera crane, retrieved from http://www. stradacranes. com/ f) Clapboard: this is a slate with a hinged clapper on top of it. It is used for labeling the beginning of each take visually and aurally.
This is for the purpose of later synchronizing the film with the sound track and also for proper editing. 2) THE AUDIO DEPARTMENT: equipments in this department include all the equipments that are used both for recording and mixing sound. a) ADR Machine (Synchronizer): ADR means “automatic dialogue replacement”. ADR machine is used for dubbing dialogue in the studio so as to replace the one on location. In advanced film productions, dialogue as well as other important sounds recorded on location is not usually used for the actual film.
This is because such audio works are mostly beclouded by unwanted noise and may also not be good quality. [pic] Retrieved from http://photography. search. ebay. com/synchronizer_Professional-Video-Equipment_W0QQsacatZ21162 b) Boom Mike or line mike: this is a long pole with a microphone on one end. It is highly directional and is surrounded by a dark grey foam rubber or a fur like windscreen. Because this mike is highly directional, it requires someone just outside the view of the camera to carefully keep it aimed at the source of the sound i. . near actors to pick up their dialogue. This mike is kept near the actors as they move about. Retrieved from http://www. mediacollege. com/audio/microphones/boom. html c) Muffler: this is used in the cases when the camera that is being used is one that makes noise. The muffler is like a camera casing that helps to absorb the unwanted sound. d) Film Sound Recorder: this is the equipment to which all other sound generating equipments are connected. This equipment accepts all the outputs of the other machines and balances as well as records them. ) THE LIGHTING DEPARTMENT: this department includes all the equipments that have to do with the illumination of the set in which the film will be recorded. a) The key light: the key light represents the primary illumination for a scene. It illuminates from the front various prominent features of the image, such as the face or hands. b) The fill light: this light is designed to fill in, with its own softer light, the areas where shadows caused by the key lights are obscuring some outlines or details. c) Back light: the light illuminates the subject from behind to make the subject emerge more clearly from background.
Being opposite the camera, the backlight is placed high enough to be out of the camera range, avoiding possible lens flare. d) Background light: this is the use of lighting upon the background of the image and it is more optional than the other three types of lighting. 4) THE EDITING DEPARTMENT: the editing department includes all the equipments that are used during the editing of the movie. a) Digital VCRs: Digital Video Cassette Recorders are used during editing to play the “rushes” or “footage” that was generated during the shooting. There are usually two or more VCRs feeding a central system at the same time. pic] Retrieved from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Digital_video_recorder b) A Computer system: a computer system that has editing soft wares installed on it is also used during the film editing. This helps to synchronize the different shots into a single scene. c) Audio Visual Mixer: this equipment is used to synchronize both the sound (which includes the studio generated sounds, music and dialogues) and the visual recording. [pic] 7) THE FILM PROCESS Film production is a process that involves a lot of activities, but all these activities can be categorized in to three major stages.
These stages are the pre-production, production and post production stages. PRE-PRODUCTION STAGE: this stage of production includes every production activity that done before the location period of the film. 1) Conception of idea: the evolution of an idea marks the beginning. Without an idea, there can never be a script, without a script there can never be the crew, cast and so on and so forth. This is a period of intensive thinking that gives birth to the very essence of the production. The idea represents the message that the producer intends to pass across to the audience.
The idea can be originated by the producer himself while it may be brought to him by other people. The people who are most frequently involved are the producer or the director or the writer or some combination of these three. 2) The evaluation: the evaluation of the idea is done in terms of the likely cost of the project. There will be a careful consideration of how much it can require to produce the film, how the fund can be generated, and particularly the profitability of the idea 3) Script writing: the evaluated idea is given to the script writer in form of a concept, treatment or an adaptation.
It is now the responsibility of the script writer to convert the idea (in whatever form it is represented) to scenes, dialogues and also to develop the plot as well as the characters. What he comes up with is called a script or screen play. Usually, there are many versions of the script. This is because there will continue to be changes and amendments even up till the time that the film will be shot. A good script for any film should reflect its writer’s ability to think cinematically. It is important to note that a script is unlike a prose because while a prose writing tells a story, a visual writing (script) shows the story.
It is also important to note that a script or screen play is different from a shooting script. A screen play is a working script for the actors while the shooting script is a working script for the film crew. The director must however have the two types of script. The “shooting script” or “scenario” usually includes not only all of the dialogue but also the extensive technical details regarding the setting, shots, sound effects, lighting e. t. c. A shooting script may also have its scenes arranged in the order in which they will be shot and this can be radically different from the arrangement of the screen play. ) Script editing: the script is modified by the script writer, the director and sometimes the producer. This process is one that is repeated from time to time as the production process. This is not because the writer did not do a good job initially, but because of circumstances ranging from weather to availability of fund. 5) Budgeting: the production manager, who must have been employed by now, starts his own function by planning the budget and the schedule of the production. It is important that the estimations made at this stage be as true as possible.
After the budget and the schedule have been presented to the director, it is taken to the producer who has the right to accept or reject it. If the budget is accepted, then the production can proceed to the next level. 6) Casting and crewing: location and studios: The choice of cast will be made by the director and the producer with the help of a casting director (if any) . The cast covers everyone, including stunt artists who are involved in performing in the film. In casting, an audition exercise is usually carried out. Auditioning is a trial performance to select the best actor for a role.
In U. S. A, a ‘players’ directory’ publishes names of all actors with the photographs. From such a directory, the director may source for the actor(s) whose physique matches the one he desires. The crew for the production is also employed at this point. The crew members can be employed individually or as a group from their professional trade unions. The director meets with the technical crew and the production department so as to discuss the production plans. Just as the cast and crew have to be employed as early as possible, the locations and studios also need to be secured early.
Finding a location is only part of the job because, once it is found, the location manager needs necessary permissions for the production to take place there and, depending on the location, this may require a number of lengthy negotiations. Finally, rehearsals are scheduled. This is necessary so that the cast can assemble, meet with, and get acquainted with one another. Rehearsals usually include scrip reading, story analysis, dialogue and character analysis, and suggestions offered towards reducing mistakes. During the rehearsals, the director also coaches the actors so that time is not wasted on set.
This helps to create a better understanding and interpretation of the script, and to reduce mistakes from the actors. Wrong interpretation of roles and eventual wrong portrayal of characters can also be corrected at this point. THE PRODUCTION STAGE The shooting phase of film production is quite strenuous, yet it is the most exciting part of the process. As it has already been stated, the director is the person most responsible for the ultimate style, structure and quality of the film. Hence, he takes the credit or blame for its form and content.
Before shooting commences, the director must ensure that all the technical personnel are ready; the sound man must have tested the microphone and certified it in good condition, and the lighting man must have ensured that the light is adequate. The director most of the time is with the cameraman giving him directions as regarding the kind of shots to take. At the same time, he talks to the actors correcting them or modifying their actions. The director and the cameramen work together for smooth production, in fact, the cameramen can offer useful suggestion in respect to the techniques of shooting.
Every actor and crew member is expected to be on location everyday except the ones that are not needed for that day according to the schedule. The ones who are not on set must be traceable in case of eventualities. When everything is set, there can be a ‘dry run’ during which the director asks the actors to perform, instructing them on particular movements and asking the cameramen to take note so as to have a corresponding movement when it is time for him to do so. After the director has been assured that everything is in place, he calls everyone to ‘standby’, and then he calls out ‘action’.
The actors begin to perform and the cameramen start shooting. At the end of every ‘take,’ or if there is a mistake, the director says ‘cut’, and the mistake is corrected or they move on to the next take. It should be noted that unlike the television in which multiple cameras maybe used, in film, only one camera is mostly use. However, multiple cameras maybe desirable for scenes that includes a crowd or some stunts that may be difficult to re-stage. This becomes necessary in order to capture the different perspective of a scene that is too risky to be shot again. P0ST PRODUCTION STAGE
The post production stage includes all the activities that are carried out after the shooting of the movie have been concluded. This stage includes the following activities: 1) Editing: after the shooting session has been completed, the filmed materials must be organized; this is the editing process. This stage of the production process does not involve the cast and a majority of the crew. The people who are usually involved at this stage are the director, editor, studio technicians, sound director and some other crew members who still have functions to perform.
During the editing process, the recorded materials are not only arranged, sound and other special effects or dubbed dialogues are also included. 2) Music recording: most of the time, music is overlooked in film production even though it is a very important part of the process. The mechanics of the music recording is the responsibility of the music director and the production manager. If the production requires having music specially recorded for the film, then the music director arranges for the composition of the needed music.
He also books studio sessions, recommend who should be employed, and when the recording should be done. On the other hand, if an already made music is to be used, arrangements must be made to secure copyright protection. 3) The mix: since the mix is a part of the editorial process, it is usually managed by the editor. Nevertheless, because it is also a part of the production, the production manager must be available in case his help is needed. This production process involves the mixing of sound track with the other recorded visual materials. 4) Packaging: this means the physical presentation of the movie.
At this stage, special attention is paid to the sleeves or case of the movie so that it can be attractive to the target audience. The attractiveness of the case of the movie goes a long way in encouraging the audiences to respond to it. 5) Marketing: marketing involves all the activities that take place from the time the final packaging of the film is done, to the purchase by the target audience. This also includes advertisements, jingles, displays e. t. c. 8) ELEMENTS OF FILM PRODUCTION Visual image: the visual image is what we see on the screen i. e. what the camera allows us to see.
This can also be described as filmic image or components. The elements that make up the visual image are: 1) Camera Shots: these are the visual images that appear on the screen in varieties of shapes and sizes. A shot (or take) is the film from a single continuous, uninterrupted run of the camera. That is, what is recorded between the time the director gives the instruction for the camera to record to the time he instructs the cameraman to stop. The following are the types of camera shots; a) Extremely Long Shot (Ex LS): is the widest view on the smallest scale e. g. hen you have houses appearing as tiny dots on the horizon. Retrieved from http://www. mediaknowall. com/camangles. html b) Long Shot (L S): this is a shot that is made with the camera placed at some distance from the object viewed, showing at least a human form fully visible within the frame. It also sometimes shows a wide area of land seen by a camera even further away. This shot is used for following the movement of a subject in relation to the environment. It helps to show the environment where an object is situated, it accommodates more images, and finally, it can be used as an establishment shot e. g. urvey of environment. c) Medium Shot (MS): this is a shot made with the camera seemingly near a subject but not close to it, thereby showing a human figure from the waist up. Sometimes it may be from the breast line (MCU). In this type of shot, the background does not appear. It is usually used to highlight an object or to single out or focus on an object for better concentration. d) Close Up Shot (CU): a shot made with a camera position or lens setting filling the screen with the image of any object the size of a human face or smaller. It generates a strong viewer attentiveness and feelings of intimacy.
Big Close-up (BCU) is a shot covering the forehead and the chin. [pic] Retrieved from http://www. aber. ac. uk/media/Documents/short/gramtv. html 2) Camera placements or angles: the camera does not only show us what we see, it also dictates the way we see it. The angle of a camera shot establishes not only physical, but also psychological relationship between us and the images we see. The following are the types of camera placements. a) High angle: a high angle shot is done with the camera placed above the subject. It is the most aloof, superior, detached or indifferent point or view.
Frequently, the last shot in a movie is a high angle long shot so as to separate the viewer from the action. An extreme high angle shot, which is nearly straight down, provides the least familiar way of looking at another person- the most dehumanizing. b) Mid angle or eye level: this camera angle provides the view of looking across, as if from a sitting or standing position at someone similarly positioned. The character that is seen appears fully but merely human, though strong but still fallible. c) Low angle: this camera angle provides the view of looking up.
The viewer tends to feel intimated and relatively helpless, and whatever is seen seems strong and dominating. d) Canted angle: to create this angle shot, the camera must be set off vertical on its tripod. Canted angles are commonly used in horror films to suggest characters’ disorientation and to disorient the viewer. e) Subjective or point of view (POV): this angle presents the point of view of a character in the film, as if the camera and viewer had momentarily become that other character. 3) Camera movement: camera movement enables the director/cameramen to create special meaning by shifting the focus of the camera.
The following are the types of camera movements; a) Horizontal movements I. Pan: this is a slow horizontal pivoting of a camera fixed on a spot, a panoramic inspection of the setting as a potential field for action. This movement is like a head turning slowly to inspect the scene systematically or curiously. A pan to the left often seems to complete and confirm a scene, while a pan to the right is often used for discovery or surprise. A pan can also be used to follow an object that is moving across the picture plane e. g. a car or a person running.
When a rapid movement is taken in which the field of vision blurs by the speed with which images seem to cross the screen, it is called a swish pan or a flash pan. II. Tracking shot: a tracking shot is a linear movement of the camera alongside a moving subject or along an extended background such as a row of buildings. Most of the time, tracks are actually laid down on rough ground for smooth camera movement. This type of movement helps to maintain the viewer’s involvement with the subject. b) Vertical movement I. Tilt shot (up or down): this camera movement is created through the slow vertical pivoting of a camera fixed on a spot.
An upward tilt can imply aspiration, curiosity, or perhaps fearful revelation of something above one’s line of sight, while a downward tilt can imply the completion of a picture. II. Crane: this movement sends the camera vertically or diagonally up or down so that the viewer can inspect a large object or collection of objects (or people), or a tall building. Some cranes are several stories high like those used in the construction of skyscrapers while others are just a few feet high. Helicopters are often used to create extreme crane shots. c) Interior movement I.
Dolly (in or out): this is a camera movement that smoothly rolls into or out of the field of vision, and is created by a small wheeled camera dolly. a. Dolly-in: is usually used to create a sense of curiosity satisfied, but it is also used to create the feeling of intrusion. It grants the viewer the privilege of entering the space he previously only observed and thereby makes the subject that is being viewed vulnerable. As it moves closer, the point of interest grows larger and gains more importance. b. Dolly-out: this interior camera movement is the exact opposite of the dolly-in.
It is used to create the feeling of abandonment. II. Zoom Shot: this is not a camera movement; rather, it is a less costly lens effect that approximates the visual effects of dolly in or dolly out. III. Hand Held: this camera movement is created by carrying the camera without any camera stand, and moving with it so that it can depicts the rocky, weaving movement of one of the characters in the scene 4) Camera speed: camera speed refers to the speed at which film strips are moved by a motion picture camera past a lens at a given time. This speed can be fast, slow or normal depending on the requirement of the movie.
When the motion picture camera moves strips of film past the lens, it pauses periodically so that a shutter can open and expose the film to light from the lens, then moving the film slightly further; it pauses again so that the shutter can open again. This continuous process leads to the recording of pictures in ‘frames’. There are three different types of camera speed and they are the fast motion, normal motion and slow motion. a) Fast motion (under cranked motion): here, the camera shoots fewer than 24 frames per second but projects it at 24 frames per second, thereby artificially speeding the action.
This process will be easy to imagine if we bear it in mind that it takes projecting pictures at the rate of 24 frames per second for the human eye to see ‘continuous motion’ which is the theory behind the persistence of vision. When a camera shoots fewer than 24 frames per second, the human eye will detect the single frames and will notice a kind of a jacky movement. But if those fewer frames are projected at the speed of 24 frames per second, not only will the human eye not notice the independent frames, the actions will also be faster than normal because of the compression.
Fast motion can be used for comic actions; fast paced action films (though in a controlled way depending on the requirement of the movie). It can also be used to depict the passage of time. b) Normal motion: a camera speed is seen as normal when the motion picture camera shoots 24 frames per second and projects it at that same speed of 24 frames per second. When this is done, actions appear as normal with a balance between fast and slow actions. This forms the larger percentage of camera speed in films generally when there is no special requirement. ) Slow motion (over cranked or ‘slomo’): here, the camera shoots faster (hence more) than 24 frames per second but projects at 24 frames per second, thereby slowing the action. This effect follows the exact opposite of the process used in creating the fast motion. Slow motion can be used for expressionistic and aesthetic purposes. It can also present a dream-like world or horrific entrapment in time as well as space. 5) Transitions: transition is the movement from one shot and scene or sequence to another. The manner through which shots, scenes and sequences are changed display dramatic relationship between those separate units. ) Cut: a cut splices the last frame of one shot to the first of another. This causes the previously continuous shot to change to another within a 24th of a second. In effect, the audience’s positioning in relation to the action changes suddenly. b) Dissolve: this is a quiet ‘major transition’ from an earlier time to a later one. Dissolve is used to show that time has passed, and sometimes it includes a change of place as well. Dissolve is achieved when an earlier shot is gradually replaced by a latter shot super impose upon it (or placed on it) for a brief moment. The significance of the earlier action is sustained into the latter.
This means that when there is a change of scene, you can still see the previous one faintly through the new one. c) Fade: a fade is a major closure declaring that a consequential action has ended, and a new event will now begin usually at a latter time and often in a different place. When there is a slow darkening of the picture until the screen becomes black, it is called a fade out, and when there is a slow lightening of the screen until we can see all the actions clearly, a fade has occurred. 9) FILM SCRIPT There is a saying in Hollywood that “you need three things for a good film and they are the script, the script and the script! There cannot be enough emphasis on the importance of the script because it is the blue print by which a production is created. Simply put, if there is no script, there is no film. PLOT A plot is a sequential arrangement of the events that form the main story of the film. The success of a film script depends to a large extent on how the actions in the film unfold. There are different types of plots, and they are; linear plot, cyclic plot, episodic plot, e. t. c. However, we shall focus only on the linear plot in this study. A linear plot is a plot that can be divided into three parts i. e. he beginning, the middle, and the end. It is referred to in Hollywood as the three act structure. The three segments of the plot can also be referred to as the “balance/imbalance/balance”. 1) Balance: this segment features the initial state of the main character which can be a state of satisfaction and contentment. Because the character is satisfied, he is inactive and does not see any need for excitement. Hence he lives in boring life. 2) Imbalance: the hero is confronted with a challenge or an obstacle which he/she undertakes to do something about. This development leads to a change in his or her life. ) Balance: things are restored back to order but with the hero gaining something more. He/she ends up far better than at the beginning of the story. NOTE: The most dramatic events occur in the “imbalance” section. It is also important for the resolution (balance) to be achieved at the end of the story or else the audience will be left dissatisfied. STEPS IN FILM SCRIPTING 1) Clearly write out your concept in a couple of lines. Try to figure out if you want it to be comedy, tragedy e. t. c. 2) Write a paragraph outlining the story in a little more detailed manner. 3) Break specific events into different paragraphs. ) Develop each paragraph into a scene. 5) Include dialogue. NOTE: a page of the script is equal to a minute on the screen. ELEMENTS OF A SCRIPT 1) TITLE: the title of the movie is written at the top centre of the page. It is written in block letters (capital letters). 2) TITLE SEQUENCE: the words “title sequence” are written in block letters directly under the title. In a normal writing style (that is, starting from the left margin of the paper) the sequence of how the title will appear on the screen will be written, e. g. “A crystal ball hangs in space. It floats on one side of the screen and the titles roll up the other half.
As the titles finish, a landscape appears in the crystal ball and we take a closer look at what is to be seen. The TITLE SEQUENCE ends and we dissolve through the ball” (Gates, 1999). 3) SCENES: the scenes are written as “No 1, No 2, No 3, e. t. c. ” the number of the scene is written on the left edge of the page just before the scene begins. 4) INTERIOR (INT) OR EXTERIOR (EXT): these are written to indicate whether the scene takes place inside a building or outside it. The abbreviation “INT” or “EXT” is written immediately after the scene number. Still on the same line, the location of the scene is written in BLOCK LETTERS e. . LAGOS STREET, IBADAN HOUSING ESTATE, e. t. c. DAY or NIGHT is indicated on the same line in BLOCK LETTERS with just a hyphen separating it from the location. This allows us to know whether the scene takes place during the day or at night. 5) SCENE DESCRIPTION: here, a description is given about the setting of the scene, the people on set already (the people that the camera will show before dialogue begins), the mood, and the actions being exhibited. 6) DIALOGUE: the name of the speaker is written at the centre of the page (just like the title of the movie was written) in BLOCK LETTERS.
The lines or words of that speaker are then written just below his name. 7) EXPRESIONS: if there is any expression that the character is expected to show while speaking his lines, it is written in “lower case letters” and put in bracket just after the name of that character e. g. (smiling, angrily, frowning, e. t. c). This allows the actor playing the role to put that expression into consideration while he reads his lines. 8) TRANSITIONS: at the end of each scene, the transition is noted at the down right of the page and it is written just after the last conversation description in the scene.
The transition is written in BLOCK LETTERS with a hyphen on either side, e. g. –CUT-, -FADE-, -DISSOLVE-, e. t. c. 9) THE END: at the end of the entire script, the word “END” is written in BLOCK LETTERS directly under the transition of the final scene. It is written with a hyphen on either side, e. g. -FADE OUT -END- 10) FILM EDITING During the shooting of a feature film, about 500 to 1500 strips of film are generated. Each strip is a product of a well-conceived and photographed run of the camera, and is produced at different times.
Afterwards, all the stripes are arranged into a single seamless series of events that are presented without interruption and reduced to less than two hours [Gollin, 1992]. The process described above is called editing. Hence, editing can be defined as the postproduction process of arranging filmstrips sequentially according to a story, and cutting away parts not needed so as to fit the required time frame. It also involves the infusion of music, sound, graphics, and the effects to the specification of the script. In editing, time is compressed and redistributed in different ways and among them are the following: 1.
Real time: this is time as measured by the unchanging motion of planets, stars, clocks and watches. It represents the natural time in which we live. 2. Subjective time: this time is based on an individuals’ inner sense of duration. It is subjective because it differs from one individual to another. Hence, minutes may drag like hours while hours may pass in a brief moment. 3. Phenomenological time: this time represents the shifts in our minds between events in the present, past or future. 4. Narrative time: this time supposedly elapses from the beginning of the story to its end, which may be hours, days or even years. Footage
According to Gollin [1996:68] a “footage is the exposed strip created while the film is in production” The footage is what is got from all the recordings done on the set or on location outside the studio. It is the filmic raw material that is used to construct the final film. Therefore, we can say that footage is everything that emerges from the camera at the end of the shoot. Take A “take” refers to a single uninterrupted and an unedited run of the camera. It involves the photographing of an uninterrupted and continuous action beginning from the directors’ instruction for the tape to “roll” to his call to “cut” or “wrap” the recording.
Shot When film critics use the term “shot”, it represents a “take” that has been selected, edited and used in the film. When used casually by filmmakers however, it is synonymous with a “take” whether edited or not. During the early days of motion pictures, the process of filming was limited to placing the camera in one spot while the action takes place continuously in front of the lens. The action continues until the film runs out. This means that if a major problem was encountered during or after the shooting, the whole reel was re-shot from beginning to end.
As time goes by however, the idea was entertained that it was possible to cut away the problematic areas and join the rest of the film, and also that the audience don’t have to watch the film in real time. This was the origin of editing. CONTINUITY EDITING This is also known as “cutting to continuity” and it means preserving the sequential essence of an event, yet not showing all of it [Whitaker, 1996]. With the advent of continuity editing, editors began experimenting editing with shortening, rearranging and inter-cutting scenes. This goes a long way to emphasize the power of editors in the story telling process.
For instance, the following are sample shots 1. A snake slides into a classroom full of students. 2. A student screams 3. Students rush out of the classroom 4. A student is seen sleeping in the classroom. These shots can be rearranged to mean different things e. g. 1. 1-2-3-4: A snake enters a classroom; a student sees it and screams, then all the students rush out, whereas one of the students is still sleeping in the class. 2. 4-1-2-3: a student is seen sleeping in the classroom, a snake slides into the class, one of the student sees the snake and screams, causing all the other students including the one sleeping to rush out of the class.
The two examples above are samples of the many ways in which the original four shots can be rearranged. Altering Expected Continuity The art of continuity editing is largely based on editing to create results expected by the audience. That is, when a knock is heard in a movie, and the door opens, the audience expects to see who is at the door. Similarly, when a character jumps from a high building, the audience expects to see how and where he lands. The technique of altering expected continuity however delays the expected result so as to play on the emotions of the audience.
Good editors and directors use this technique to create suspense. An example of the use of altering expected continuity is a scene in which an individual is seen walking through a dark house obviously scared of something. All of a sudden, a shadow moves over him, a hand reaches out for him, and we cut to another scene. The audience keep waiting anxiously for the continuation of the initial scene. Causality This technique of editing is based on the principle of cause and effect. It is believed that every action must have a consequence and every consequence must have cause.
Hence, when the audience sees an individual arrested by the police in a film, they become immediately curious as to why the individual was arrested. According to Whittaker (1996), Good scripts that are also enhanced by good writing should reveal causalities, both in deeds and in storyline. ACCELERATION EDITING As earlier mentioned, film production started with the recording of events in real time. For instance, if a film is supposed feature a person cooking; it will take the number of hours the person will actually use to cook to make the film.
This type of filming is not only boring, but it is also very time consuming to say the least. There is no doubt that it would definitely not be acceptable in our present day. Acceleration editing therefore helps editors to accelerate actions thereby reducing hours of action to just a few seconds. For instance, if a film tells the story of a woman who becomes pregnant and finally gives birth, it will not be possible to record it for less than nine months if the real time recording is to be used. With acceleration editing however, the whole period can be showed in a matter of seconds e. she receives the doctor’s test result, we see a few clips of different stages of the pregnancy and finally, we see the labor room. INSERT SHOTS An insert shot is a close up shot of something that exists within the existing scene [Whitaker 1996]. Editors use this technique to emphasize or call the attention of the audience to a particular thing in scene that is not immediately apparent. For instance, if in a scene, one of the characters comment on the type of wristwatch that another character is wearing, it is expected that an insert shot of the watch is shown to allow the audience to have a clearer picture.
CUT-AWAYS A cut-away is similar to an insert shot, but it doesn’t show things that are present in an existing shot, rather, it shows things or actions that are happening simultaneously with the existing scene. For instance, two people are talking; a third person may be walking towards them from a distance. Since the camera cannot contain the three of them at the same time, the editor cuts away from the conversation of the two initial characters to the person approaching, and then back to the conversation. 1) FILM MARKETING Marketing refers to the sum total of all business activities involved in the transfer of goods and services from the producer to the ultimate user. The “goods and services” would have to be beneficial to both the user and the producer; hence it is seen as “mutual exchange” that results in “mutual satisfaction”. Thus, marketing involves the choice of the channels of distribution, advertising and promotion of a product, also setting prices and terms of supply. MARKETING STRATEGIES 1. Joint production: ) The tripartite promotion: this involves the film producer, the management of electronic media, and the cinema hall owner, with each of them having a role to play. The management of the electronic media sees to the advertisement of the film on radio or television. The cinema house sees to the sale of tickets and the provision of a viewing hall, seats, and possibly standby generator. The film producer provides the film reel and projectors, tickets and posters of the film. However, the three parties would have to agree on a sharing formula to be adopted after the government tax of 17% of the gross sale is deducted. ) The bilateral promotion: this marketing arrangement involves only the film producer and the cinema management. Here, the producer pays for the electronic advertisement. 2. Advertisements: a) The use of print adverts: print adverts include newspapers, magazines, posters, handbills, billstickers, and pamphlets. The advert can be in form of previews or reviews in magazines or newspapers. Handbills can distributed through mobile vans, and posters are usually pasted on walls at conspicuous places. [ Graphic and calligraphic] b) Electronic advert: these adverts are made for radio and television, and could be in prosaic or poetry form. ) Merchandising or distribution: Wholesalers [distributors] and retailers [dealers] are engaged to distribute video films; they take commission on every video cassette or VCD sold. The wholesalers are strategically located in the State Capitals while the dealers are found in all nooks and crannies of the cities and towns. Sometimes, you have a monopolize marketing involving a sole distributor. d) Geographical pricing: variation of gate entry changes depending on the location. The socio-economic status of the people in a