Without being entirely sure of what foreground and background are I got a picture of my friends, on starkly in the foreground and the other completely in the background almost unnoticeable due to the depth of field leaving him out.
Kadebostany’s Castle in The Snow is a unique video that consists, for the most part, of a single camera movement, a pan, around a single subject, the lead singer of Kadebostany.
The music video starts with an overhead shot in black and white of a woman surrounded by what looks like shards, she rotates 90 degrees from 3 o’clock to a 12 o’clock position. The next shot is of a projection behind a pillar that shatters into what resembles the shards in the shot before; additionally a burst of focused light points to the top middle third of the frame. The entirety of the music video is in black and white for the duration.
In the succeeding shot the silhouette of the lead singer of Kadebostany is shown and the camera rotates around her along the same orbit for the rest of the music video. The source of light that was making her silhouette a focused light pointing right up toward the top half of her body. She is positioned in the center of the frame but interestingly there was an active choice to use a more cinematic aspect ratio with narrow black bars at both the bottom and top of the screen. About halfway through the rotation the source of light changes to one that speckles light onto her black dress. When the drums are introduced in the song the lights match the rhythm and flash independently from each other onto her. Before the song really gets going the light, of which there are three, dim before displaying an array of different patterns onto the subject.
There are a lot of specific choices with light in this that if nothing else should give a lot of inspiration to someone who is looking at it from a cinematic perspective. There are so many different angles used in the lighting and just as many different styles of lighting that have a strong effect with the music and independently from the music. While the camera moves are simple and fairly steady. The use of lights flashing in varied rhythms are a strong indicator of how important lighting is. There is lighting that flashes quickly and sporadically that, with the help of a small wind machine, the creators were able to give a very intense sense of motion. The camera moving at the same speed it had been moving at with only a change in the lighting is the technique used throughout this music video.
Although there are too many images to go over in under 500 words there is also another technique i learned from this video when I watched it a couple years ago. Transitioning with/without light. The use of light can be beneficial when transitioning from one bright scene to the next or, as demonstrated here, from a dark shot to another dark shot. Occasionally the light would be pointed directly at the camera and the transition would happen there where only light filled the screen. The dark shots as transitions are what impress me more because there are far more blatant, and it isn’t as if they were transitioning from a black screen to another black screen, the transitioned from a low lit scene to another low lit scene. The change in what was on the screen is visible but also ignored because of how the timing allowed the dark shot to transition.
I tried to get a shot that was of something symmetrical but not in entirely symmetrical framing to see if the symmetry was still captured and depending on the subject it was but I settled for a shot that was off in the framing but was still visible as a symmetrical.
On this first portrait I really tried to overdo the effect and it turned into some abstract piece that feels much like it was finger-painted by a child (me).
First I used a posterize adjustment to a level 10 then with curves I adjusted only the input to 145 around the center of the x axis of the graph to draw emphasis to the colors and darken the shadows. Lastly using liquidate I brushed the image in circles and the back the other way to make my appearance even more indistinguishable.
First I lowered the brightness to -35 and raised the contrast to 44 after deciding that I didn’t want to make this one entirely abstract. I then changed the photo filter to cyan without preserving luminosity. Lastly using the dust and scratches option under noise to threshold:8 and a radius of 35. Initially I thought it would add dust and scratches until i realized it sort of blurs scratches and dust away and it just looks like I softened the photo.
I changed the Hue + Saturation to Saturation -40 and lightness -5 just to give myself a better base to work with. I applied the B & W filter at the “darker” preset . I added noise in Guassian distribution at 25% on a monochromatic scale. I went for a slightly grainy effect and wanted to make sure you couldn’t see the whites of my eyes well.
It is pretty common to have someone’s, especially the protagonist or antagonist’s, face plastered with makeup and Photoshop in their theatrical costume then pasted onto the poster and that’s the end of it.
The Silence of the Lambs poster takes the normal methodology and give it a bit of a twist. There is certainly Photoshop involved but this time not to remove impurities; Photoshop is used to enhance the focus of the photo and the rest of the poster.
The base picture of Jodie Foster was either initially black and white or made to seem black and white. Her skins is ghost white which on the left side of the poster makes only her eye stand out as well as part of her eyebrow. The rest of her blend into that side of the poster which is completely white except for the bottom which is left dark blue; this is likely so that the text below Jodie Foster’s chin is legible.
The right side of the poster is filled with shadows which I believe demonstrates the dark parts of herself that Dr. Lecter leads her to through conversation and in her job while she works with him closely. The shadows show the features in her face in more detail, especially her nose, eye socket area, and cheek. Although only apparent on one side, we would clearly be able to know what Jodie Foster looks like assuming symmetry. The shadow is so strong that I might argue it is made to look like it is taking over her face.
Her eyes are a dark deep red which alludes to Hannibal Lector’s eyes and in turn possible the bloodshed that is happening while she tries to find Buffalo Bill and his next victim. Dr. Lector’s eyes are mentioned as maroon and reflect the light in pinpoints of red which more closely resembles the eyes pictured here in the poster than Jodie Foster’s eyes would’ve.
The moth and more specifically, the death’s-head hawkmoth, is positioned right above Jodie Foster’s mouth is important for two reasons. First because it is symbolically silencing her and second and most importantly because of it’s important in the movie’s plot. The moth is very symbolic of two things, the moth itself is symbolic of the pursuit and eventual capture of Buffalo Bill but in the poster it serves another purpose. Picture right in the center of the moths back where there is normally something naturally resembling a skull as those moths are attributed to have. The opposite is true, a photo by Salvador Dali, In Voluptas Mors, which is actually several naked women pictures as a skull takes its place. This is important because of it’s subtlety and it’s importance as a reference to the victims of Buffalo Bill who are all young women.
A stand out title sequence for me has to be the Watchmen (2009) title sequence. Regardless of how the movie was received by critics and fans alike the title sequence is unarguably fantastic and set the movie up well in the short 6 minute span. It not only gives some backstory that alludes to events played out only in the comic or talked about by the characters in the comics but it also interjects the characters into some historic events they weren’t originally a part of that establishes the divergent reality that the story is set in. One where the minutemen have fallen, Nixon is elected for a third term, and the Watchmen are rising, but not for long.
The sequence opens with a slow motion sequence that shows all the Minutemen in their prime, action is important in these slow motion sequences, a gun goes off, a camera bulb flashes, all while the Minutemen are protecting in their prime. There is a shot with all the minutemen taking a picture together that, at the end of the title sequence is replicated by the Watchmen. This is important both in showing how time passes but also that their acts become cyclical.
The use of popularized events or captured moments in history changed by the characters put in it like in times square after Japan surrenders the nurse who is kissed by a sailor is instead kissed by Silhouette. The shots after show how the minutemen have all fallen in different ways, death, confined to an asylum, or simply retirement.
It then goes on to show JFK’s death after showing Dr.Manhattan meeting him. It turns out that the comedian is the one who shot him. Each of these historical instances are not only integrating the story with a reality we are familiar with but they are also composed and framed meticulously in the same way that people have seen them in. When JFK is shot we see his car from the same angle as the infamous video of his death. If then uses the same techniques to show how the Watchmen have been affecting the timeline as we know it. Dr. Manhattan takes a picture of the american astronaut on the moon.
The sequence also shows the moving through time, a significant theme in Watchmen, through news outlets of many sorts. For the Japanese surrendering a close up of a news paper is shown before the kiss is. To show that Nixon has been elected for a third term we dolly out from a television set into an angry mob outside the store window. Then a molotov is thrown into the window and a burst of flames fills the screen.
Lastly but certainly not the least important, the music. Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin” is used to perfect effect. The song plays steadily throughout the sequence and the lyrics however simple remain incredibly relevant as the titles sequence takes the audience on a ride of ups and downs through a long period of time landing in a world which we have only just become familiar with because of the title sequence.