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The best thing’s come in three!

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Analyze the camera work :  The first part of this assignment was to listen to it with the volume all the way down, paying special attention to camera angles, the film “tone”, and the various camera switchings throughout the clip. Prior to watching this clip, I watched this clip on camera techniques so that I wasn’t completely clueless and I had a relatively good idea of what to look out for. For my clip, I watched 300, which happens to be a phenomenal movie but I never realized the techniques that go into making a movie and emphasizing every moment. One of the most prominent techniques in this scene is the use of zooming in and out. When reading about techniques, I saw that zooming is used to emphasize certain scenes, or moments, and by using this, it really draws attention. This happens right at the beginning as Gerard Butler immediately walks towards the camera. The scene then zooms out some and begins to switch back and forth between two characters. Then there is what I have recently learned to be a dutch angle, which is when the camera is set to a tilt so that it sets the mood of tension. This angle is used for some time during the clip, despite switching scenes, whenever it returns to Gerard Butler, it continues to be either a Dutch angle or an extremely up close shot of him. This angle is from beneath his eye line, which by Ebert’s definition in How to Read a Movie suggests that it was meant to heighten the character and enhance whatever current emotion. Towards the end of the clip, several movements are slowed down to emphasize and prolong the moment. Also, at no point is the background just stoic, it plays apart of the movie and sets the mood, therefore, turning it more into a foreground that is an active participant in creating a scene.

Analyze the audio work : The next part of this three part assignment was to turn off our visual but crank up the volume instead! For the first couple of seconds, there was no noise, except for the crackling of some ground, gravel maybe? And some heavy breathing, so this already builds for an intense scene based on no dialogue or background music. The dialogue was mostly slow and drawn out with no rush, as if to further build a mood, or tension in the scene. This includes dramatic pauses throughout the clip, with sound clips with emphasized wind or bird caws in between dramatic stops. However, whenever dialogue was rushed was when one character would show his anger and it would be rushed to show the immediacy of his anger. There were definite clever pauses to stress moments, which was also followed up by even better soundtracks. At moments when tension would build, the music would build as well and towards the end (THIS IS SPARTA!) the music crashed along with the moment but right before, the music is calm just as the there is a calm before a storm before something big happens. At the end, there is warrior yelling and the chaotic along with it.

Putting it all together :  The third part of this assignment was to put it all together, after taking it apart. In reuniting my senses, it felt as if I had an entirely new perspective in looking at this scene. Unfortunately, more often than not, audio (such as background music) takes a backseat to visual because if it’s in your face, you hardly notice the subconscious things such as the swelling of the music, despite the fact that it entirely effects your mood on the scene. In watching the two come together, I took better notes on noticing the dialogue but how the music compliments the dialogue or how the switching from character to character to character after Gerard Butler says something shocking really shows the different responses to it. This is where Ebert’s how to guide really comes in because the various angles, the panning throughout, really highlights and heightens the mood. As you zoom into a character’s face, it’s easier to read their emotions and in this case, it happens to be tension and you could definitely feel that something was about to happen. The angles worked in favor to the scene because it allowed leeway for the mood to build and build.

The biggest thing I learned in the assignment is how hand in hand visual and audio go. You can have an awesome actor, such as Gerard Butler, but if his dialogue is going to the soundtrack of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me”, I can guarantee nobody would have remembered THIS IS SPARTA!, or at least not for any of the right reasons. However, with the audio complimenting the scene as a whole really causes it all to come together. In watching this clip through various manners, than doing a review, it causes you to be more critical and notice the finer details of every dramatic throughout the scene.

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