So, to start with, to succeed at my role it was absolutely necessary to look at the work of the cinematographers who are ruling the industry today. I did a lot of watching and a lot of reading into how they portrayed the voice of the story through cinematography. For this blog, I have written down a bit of the research I did that was necessary to the project I am making. In the following paragraphs I look into some of my favourite works that I used to inform my style.
- Emmanuel Lubezki – Children of Men and The Tree of Life top my list as my favourite cinematic films. After watching The Tree of Life, I really wanted to try using natural light, because let’s be real – how beautiful was that. Especially when he did through sunlight coming in through the tree canopies. I was reading of the various rules he makes for himseelf to shoot within and found them very interesting and useful for when I was shooting as well. “In all the movies I’ve done, I always worked with a set of rules — they help me to find the tone and the style of the film,” he says. “Art is made of constraints. When you don’t have any, you go crazy, because everything is possible.” • Shoot in available natural light
• Do not underexpose the negative Keep true blacks
• Preserve the latitude in the image
• Seek maximum resolution and fine grain
• Seek depth with deep focus and stop: “Compose in depth”
• Shoot in backlight for continuity and depth
• Use negative fill to avoid “light sandwiches” (even sources on both sides)
• Shoot in crosslight only after dawn or before dusk; never front light
• Avoid lens flares
• Avoid white and primary colors in frame
• Shoot with short-focal-length, hard lenses
• No filters except Polarizer
• Shoot with steady handheld or Steadicam “in the eye of the hurricane”
• Z-axis moves instead of pans or tilts
• No zooming
• Do some static tripod shots “in midst of our haste”
• Accept the exception to the dogma (“Article E”)
- Roger Deakins – I love Roger Deakins’ Skyfall because of his play with the colours blue and red. Having done a lot of research into it though, I realized he was one for creating artificial light and uses a lot of very heavy duty equipment and builds very expensive sets which is a little hard for a film student to do. Just not enough budget. Having said that, he really is the master of setting the mood using different colour tones.
- Matthew Libatique – Black Swan is another favourite and very relevant here because of the mood and arc it sets. The play of light and shadow is beautiful and so powerful. The fact that the only colour in a space came from the protagonists bedroom, making it a warm space was beautiful. I took inspiration from this as well.
A major problem that Warren, Sabine and I faced was what should be added to our content apart from the main story as well. Should we have some audio, music to set the mood and personalize it further or should we add a few videos to demonstrate our recipes as we were cooking them ourselves anyway. We thought of adding photos of both the recipes and personal photos of Sabina as this was her blog and her story. Then we decided against it. All in all, there was a lot of things that could be done and were thought about in the form of great ideas but it was always a tough choosing how much should be done and how much was enough without over-complicating it for ourselves as well.
Another problem we faced with content was having one voice as it was a story of one person that we tell, from her point of view. All our writing styles differ and it was hard to get a flow going with our content. It ended up being very disruptive in our first draft of the story itself.
To un-complicate the process for us as well as get some good answers I turned to RMIT’s amazing library where I was able to pull some great academic writings which helped me solve my answers.
Digital Storytelling: A Creator’s Guide To Interactive Enteratainment by Carolyn Handler Miller was a great read that I found in the library. Truth be told I just skimmed through it but what I learnt from this book was that, if storytelling is done using socail media, using realistic characters who can be very relatable are more often than not more popular amogst the market online. Also authenticity is craved amongst people on social media and the more the character comes out of real life, the more success. One must concentrate on the character themselves as well as what is trending. you can find more information related to this in chapter 9: Social Media Storytelling.
Over the past month, I have been doing quiet a bit of research on hashtags as I am in charge of the Twitter page for the story we are creating for our CMWP class. Twub has been really helpful, so much so that I actually did not need to use any other search website. Our digital story is about a fictional Indian girl who is in love with spices. Spices have a lot of attributes which are believed to contribute to our lives. For example, cinnamon is a spice for love, often referred to as the Queen of spices. Our story follows her journey of self-discovery as she cooks various recipes to help change her life around.
For this I was succesful with hashtags like indiangirl, recipes, spiceandherbbible, travelindia, goa and a few others. I came across a lot of what people write or enquire about and got some great insights not only for our story but our audience research as well. I discovered that tomato and coconut based curries are more looked at or discussed than any other type. I also found a lot of stuff which added to my knowledge of the indian girl mindset. Being an Indian girl myself, you would probably find that thought really funny, but our story is about a very different girl who grows in different circumstances altogether. My most important or helpful discovery was what I actually got when I searched spiceandherbbible, which was a suggestion on the search bar. It turned out to be a book that people were discussing but I actually got a website name of one of the posts which led me to an entire list of spices and what they stand for.
All in all, I think my hashtag research really helped me out and I would suggest that you all try it out too for your projects. More than most times you find stuff which might not do anything for you but if you keep an open mind, the least it will do is tell you what audience you are looking at.