Category Archives: television

Thoughts on Production: The Producer

A producer is often the only key member of the production team who guides a project through all phases of production, from pre-production planning through post-production editing and distributor. The producer on a project is largely responsible for moving the entire process along, from drafting the proposal and gaining financial support, to assembling a team and overseeing the entire production process.

The role of a producer can be summed up as the middle man or liaison between those who financially support the project and the artists who are working to create the project. This can be a very stressful and hard job to fill, as it requires someone who can not only manage time and money, but also people.

Producers often rely on production strategies to help ensure that a project is successful in hitting each area of their job description. They must organize and come up with a plan to help them obtain necessary funding and reaching an audience. The development of a production strategy involves at least these four steps:

1. Turning a provocative idea into a funded and marketable media package

2. Defining the goals and objectives of the project

3. Researching the topic

4. Assessing the potential audience

Some famous producers have been Jerry Bruckheimer, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Bay. As producers are responsible for organizing their production team, you can always tell the producers style by the artists he or she chooses to help make their movie/television show.

 

 

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Thoughts on Television: Streaming Changing the Game?

Television shows now compared to when I was growing up in the 90’s have changed drastically. The way we receive information is almost instant, making our desire for instant streaming and downloading even more prominent.

With the rise of the internet and digital technology, this also means anyone around the world can produce their own videos and share them with any audience willing to watch. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO GO have also changed how audiences expect their television shows to look and sound compared to cable and network television.

While those involved in more traditional television production follow more classical rules for filming and post-production deadlines, the advancement of streaming services has allowed for more accessibility to high-quality shows, mini series, documentaries, etc.

“At a time when everyone in the TV industry is trying to guess what the future holds, it seems that technology and services which meet viewers’ new “on- demand attitudes” is the surest way to success,” said Eric Deggans in his article for NPR.

Film makers can now choose when their show will air, and without being concerned about meeting rating requirements, as most streaming services do not have restrictions on language, sexual content or violence.

As more and more households switch from cable to Netflix, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for television broadcasting.

Thoughts on Film: The Director

In Chapter 5, the text discusses the role of a director and how significantly it can influence the artistic influence of a project or film.  Depending on a director’s aesthetic focus, a film can create a completely different look and feel from another director’s vision.

In order to better create a specific artistic expression, a director must know how all facets of the film making process work together to create the final project.  Once the director understands lighting, sound, angles, filming, and editing, the director then has complete control over their entire project beginning to end.

Growing up, I had very little exposure to movies and television. It wasn’t until I started college that I began going to the movie theatre and watching film regularly. It was during this time that I developed an appreciation and love for Quentin Tarantino and his artistic approach to film.  With a modernist style, Tarantino takes moments of realism and moments of postmodernism and blends the two worlds together to create something audiences might not have experienced before.

In any director’s film, you can typically identify the aesthetics of film: Function, form, and content.  These things are what drive the purpose and vision of each project and provide clear direction for the film maker and crew.

Some directors use traditional shots and angles to create realistic images, while others choose to integrate angles and shots, providing a jarring visual for the viewer. While these modern and postmodern styles of film are valuable in film, often times it is important for a director to follow more “realistic” styles when filming professional interviews, news packages, or educational material. The Rule of Thirds, Essential Area, Framing, Speed of Motion, and Scale and Shape are all things that are important for a director to know before he/she can break the rules.

 

Thoughts on Film: Lighting

When it comes to artistic creativity on a film set, the lighting director or director of photography has the freedom and ability to create any scene from any time and place.  By creating and manipulating light, those who are proficient in the complex art of lighting can make the directors vision come to life on screen.

Following with the styles of film, expressive design and effect of lighting setup are typically described as realistmodernist, or postmodernist.

Realist lighting appears to come from actual light sources in a setting or location.  The goal is to create an illusion of reality and enhance how a scene should normally or naturally appear.

Modernist lighting has no real-life basis, which leaves the design director free to design a light setup that can be more abstract or more subjective to emotional criteria.  The goal is to achieve a specific emotional effect or abstract design through sequences and design that might not seem natural.

Postmodernist lighting usually mix a variety of styles that comes from many different genres.  This style often is used to evoke a strong emotional reaction from the audience, either by bombarding them with powerful sensations or to highlight extreme moments.

The book lists an example of postmodernist lighting in Batman Forever which was released when I was five years old.  I remember watching this movie many times, in awe of the lighting effects and stylized scenes.  I didn’t quite understand what postmodernist lighting meant until I read this example and was immediately reminded of the disorienting feeling I would get when I watched certain scenes.  The film is truly a blend of moments of realism and modernism, creating lighting that is unlike anything else.

Light can also be distinguished by the color temperature the light emits, which is measured in degrees of Kelvin.  Light sources have different color temperatures that give various amounts of color wavelengths (red, green and blue), which together make up white light and the visible spectrum that we can see.  Depending on the light source, there will be different hues of the white light we see which is why it is important to white balance before filming.

Light can also be classified by the way it is housed, which we refer to as lighting instruments. These instruments are further classified according to the directness or indirectness and hardness or softness of the light they emit.  Some examples of these instruments include spotlights, floodlights, portable lights and various types of lamps.

In order to understand lighting control in the studio or on location, the director of photography must be proficient in understanding how light is measured and translating that to using patch panels or dimmer boards in order to get the appropriate amount of lighting in each shot.

While learning about lighting and how to control it takes patience and practice, becoming an expert in this field can allow to endless amounts of creativity and ability to design new scenes and aesthetics for movies and television.

Thoughts on Film: The Camera

In Chapter Eight, The Camera, the author explains the importance of the camera operator and the camera itself.  The operator must try and get the best pictures in order to enhance whatever aesthetic approach is needed.  They must know the proper techniques for framing, positioning and movement, as well as understand the numerous aspects of the camera and its lens.  Digital and analog cameras give a camera operator many options, just like other aspects of production discussed in previous chapters.

Camera placement is a large part of capturing the best possible images.  There are three camera operations that must be learned by those interested in the art: Framing, Positioning, and Movement.

Framing refers to the arrangement of action within the cameras frame.  The operator creates the perfect frame for each shot by considering the essential area, the walkspace, the lookspace and the headroom.  By placing the subject in the correct spot that allows for these four things, the photographer can achieve a photo that tells a story.

Positioning simply refers to the position of the camera to the subject and the angles it creates.  The operator must understand the rule of thirds and know where to place the camera in position to the subject. He/she must also know the appropriate terminology when giving directions like pan, tilt, truck and dolly.

Movement can be accomplished by various camera-mounting devices that allow the camera to move freely around the set.  Possibly the most sensitive and difficult of the three, achieving the right amount of movement can be tricky.  Each shot should begin and end with a stationary shot, so the scene can be edited appropriately.  Too much movement can become distracting and take away from the scene.

Not only must a camera operator understand everything happening on the outside of the camera, but also inside the camera.  A camera lens is made of glass that allows focus, and can frame an image within the camera.  In order to control the lens, the operator must be familiar with basic optics.

The lens bends light and help the camera operator control an image’s field of view, brightness, focus, perspective, and depth of field. Lenses can be categorized by their focal lengths and offer a wide variety, allowing for various types of photography and film.

Thoughts on Film: Production & Distribution

In chapter one of our text, the reader is given a deep look into digital production.  Even before a TV show, movie, or commercial is made, producers must take a deep look into their intended audience.  After much analysis, the producer then must decide the method in which medium he/she will be used, which requires a vast understanding of each possibility for production.  Technology has evolved rapidly over the last twenty years, so production of music, movies, and television also had to adapt.

With the rise of digital brought exciting new ideas for production, but also complicated distribution and storage.  Despite some of the negative possibilities in the digital world, if those in production have a good idea of their audience, then they can better utilize the many forms of media production.  Once there is a clear understanding of the intended audience, research analysis should lead the production team to answers surrounding content, advertisers, budget, etc.

Continue reading Thoughts on Film: Production & Distribution

Thoughts on Movies: Film VS. Digital

The film documentary, Side by Side, takes a thorough look into the evolution of film to the digital era. I found the film to be incredibly interesting, and learned a lot of things I didn’t know about some of my favorite movies. Digital journalism and film production are foreign to me, but the documentary, narrated by Keanu Reeves, is easy to follow. Following a linear timeline, Side by Side takes the audience through the history of film production and it becomes quickly evident that there are two “camps” among those in production and the art of film making: movies that are made with photo chemical film and movies made digitally using pixels to create images rather than traditional film.

To many filmmakers, making a movie isn’t just about the end product, but the journey taken to create a piece of art. Most of these directors, cinematographers, producers and actors believe, that while more time consuming and expensive, the use of traditional photo chemical film is crucial is creating the art that is filmmaking. Since the 1980s and 1990s, digital slowly made its way into the hands of filmmakers in the form of digital cameras and camcorders. Directors were able to see their recorded scenes instantly, rather than waiting on reels of film to be developed over night. Continue reading Thoughts on Movies: Film VS. Digital