Lecture – Week 7

We were just given a serious warning. Apparently a 3rd year project went horribly wrong – police were involved etc. Just have to think about what we are doing and the repercussions.

‘Elvis at the Market’ – SOme of the decisions they made are fantastic. COuld have spent a little more time of how to shoot that. Could have framed it and lit it netter. Could have spent some time planning the shots. Should think through all the issues. They had seen the balcony on the first shoot – they know he has had some sort of emotional crisi, needs space, they get him out on this hideous balcony. Jail-like sort of place. Jump-cuts, voice-over. They would have shot stuff, reviewed it, and gone back to shoot more.

Mise en Scene – Design:
Were not going to talk about it in production design – but design, how the graphic elements come together both visual and aural.

Decisions – both macro and micro.
Big(macro) decisions – talking to each other, the location is a big decision. The style of the shooting (conversations, interviews or observational etc.)
Small(micro) decisions – made when we are at shoot.

Lighting – Darkness~Lightness

Framing – more at a micro level.
Look through your viewfinder. It covers all the technical things, white balance, exposure etc. You concentrate and there is nothing in your peripheral vision. Look through it as much as you can.

Tripod – have the camera handheld and move it around until you are happy with the frame. Then bring tripod in.



Lecture #3

Point of today’s lecture is to help with our developments for our doco. Treatment is due in a few weeks.

Every clip that we watch we need to do a lot of deconstruction about it and reflect on them. We started off with another segment of a doco. Talking about time and the past.

3 questions: When we ask ourselves these questions we may all come up with different answers…we will have different opinions. In our treatments we should all note what we want to come out of the film…
Why are we going to make this film? – We want to tell some kind of story, something interesting, something beautiful. We might have done some research and we just want to explain to the rest of the world about that particular topic.
What’s going to happen in it?
How could we describe what’s going to happen in it?

“The thing that can salvage the documentary amid the meaningless glut of images is Form.” – he makes a great point that it is something we need to really concentrate on.
“More important still is the personal vision of the director.”
– Pawel Pawlikowski –

Here comes another clip:
last week we saw a doco that glorifies drinking. We are watching this sequence to offset last weeks clip…
When the two subjects are being interviewed(mother and son) – would have been relatively candid. When we watch the main subjects interview you can tell it has been set up. Going through her lines. She has notes. They would have gona through many interview processes.

‘The Thin Blue Line’ – another clip
Shows that you don;t have to be locked in to the traditional informational style of documentary. You can recreate – but have to be careful you don’t rely on acting skills. Interesting to compare it to drama. Smaller budget. It is shot on a shoestring, it is reasonably accomplished.
AND ANOTHER CLIP…will notice that there is quite a lot of intercuts. One person is saying something and another is contradicting the other, or they could be agreeing, or they could be conflicting slightly.

In documentary there is a lot more space to experiment.

‘Metal y Melancolia’ – a clip
The director and the camera operator don;t miss a trick. They have their techniques sorted out. Its a difficult thing to hand hold camera, and move the way they did. From one shot to another. You get the feeling the subject has shown the ‘trick’ to someone else before.

The point of the last clip is to show us the tricks of the trade. The tools that we have, the weapons we have in our arsenal. All the different ways and techniques.

Interviews: Audio as voice, over, music, soundscapes, drama, montage

So that’s all…folks.

Lecture #2

Let’s do this. Film TV2. Week 2. Lecture. Go!

This lecture and the next 3 or 4 are designed quite purely for us to develop our documentary and how we’re going to go research and write it. WE will be shown a few films and Paul we let us know why it interests him. We have to deconstruct various work. We have to work out what can be done in these magical 6 minute doco’s. We will be shown various genres, styles forms and cultures. Nothing worse than producing the exact same sort of doco’s.

This first documentary we will be shown is Australia’s most successful surf film. It premiered at the Sydney Opera House. This scene is exciting for many reasons, artistically, mechanically etc. This surfer has a dream…

Immediately the music kicks in…very appropriate surfy music. We are shown what looks like a junk yard. The subject has long blonde hair and is wearing very scruffy-like clothing. Its a very rough, raw scene. Colours are very subtle and washed out. Music stops suddenly when car is crushed in junk-yard. Shift in music and scene. We hear birds and colours are brighter as we hear the subject talk and describe his doings. He speaks very fast as if he is reading something. He seems very odd and eccentric. Suddenly there is another shift as he mentions he wants to fit in some surfing later that day. We interchange between beautiful surfing scenes and him continuing to weld and create his boat. Again, a new song. In terms of the filmmaking we can see a big chunk of it is staged. The director is conscious of shooting drama. We see the glance of the black man looking at him in the 44 gallon drum. It is set up and we therefore are led to believe that he is looking at him and thinking how crazy he is when really the man may not have looked at him at all but simply glanced to the side.

This next documentary is by a Chilean filmmaker. Has a unique way of telling a story. Immediately exquisite shots of telescope. Close ups and then shots of the moon with a stirring score. We shift to a little home. Such a stark contrast between the universal moon and a small local home. We hear birds and dogs barking in the distance. Such beautiful lighting and strong colours. Such a soothing storytelling voice/narrator. This director, to me, has made what seems like a boring topic into an intriguing one. The shots, sounds and storytelling make it so compelling and breathtaking. It has a mystical, secret feel to it.

Here’s some little pointers of what we need to do and work on:

  • Narrow the focus – deepen the film
  • Always seek the centre of your film by assuming that you may not have it.
  • Narrowing its scope always benefits a film because it makes you seek and expand its essence.
  • Tightly focussed films that go deep are always beteer than broad ones.


Everything imaginable, apparently, went wrong with this film. The treatment did not match the film at all. Despote all this the film turned out great. Very moving and emotional.

Seeya next week! Or at the tute…