Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Communication Artifact

A glove for lovers

For my section of this group project Trey Davis and I worked together to produce this 55 second video. Trey and I went to town square for a location scout. Once we got there and saw the lights on we knew this was the place we wanted to shoot the commercial. Trey drew up the story board as we collaborated on where the actors would start and finish their movements and how we would digitally shoot it. We got help from 10 other film students at DSU and made it happen. Everyone had a specific job and I directed the commercial. 

This commercial has multiple design principals and gestalt theories incorporated into it.
When we first started storyboarding one of my main concerns was that everything in the video would have continuity so it would flow together seamlessly. I wanted the video to look as if it was shot in one take. This required having the actors repeat the same movements so when I went to edit it there would be no trouble in transitioning to a new shot. Once I got to post production I needed to make proper color adjustments so that the color matched and followed our style guide throughout the scene. 
In the following screen shots I break down the colors in this video more.

Master Shot: here the scene is established. You can tell it's cold outside because they are dressed warm and there are light blue and violet hues, which gives that chilly feeling.

Here Isabella has to stop her date during this walk through the park to warm her hands.

See those cool colors? Don't you wish there was something to keep your hands warm?

Zac to save the day! At this point once the Luva has been placed on their hands they immediately step in closer to warmer light. When Trey and I were story boarding we wanted the couple to come and sit down in these red lights because we knew the red would give a warmer feel to the video. So basically there are to halves to this video: the cold half and warm half. Right after the Luva was slipped on, it provided a solution to the cold and our actors stepped into the warmth.  

In this last shot I release the brighter colors of our Luva logo and the actors are fully submersed in the warm hues of pink and a kiss of violet. 

Next, balance and harmony was also a big focus for this video. I feel these principals were accomplished because there was a problem introduced in the beginning of the video and later a solution provided which gave balance and harmony again. Visually the composition of each frame also helped keep the balance. There was a establishing shot and then wide shots which moved into close ups. The rule of thirds was also applied which helped make the shots interesting and flow together. An example of this is where Zac and Isabella were exchanging glances back at each other as Zac introduced the Luva. Both actors faces were put on opposite sides of the rule of thirds to help show how they were each looking toward each other with leading space in front of their faces. 

Another visual element that was used was space; which has to deal with what fits in the frame. I decided to keep the frames very tight on this couple because I wanted it to seem like their chemistry was the only thing that mattered in the moment. In addition the very last shot we used a 100mm lens which gave great depth of field to blur out the background and keep the focus only on the couple. 

The orientation of the camera was mostly directly in front of the couple the whole time. I felt this was the best angle to tell their story because it allowed us to be completely involved with them. 

Contrast also helped separate the characters from the background as I tried to make the couple's faces brighter than everything else. Shadows were beneficial in separating the characters from the background as well so this scene would appear three dimensional. 

Back to Gestalt principals: 
I greatly feel that the Law of Proximity was accomplished through this video because it states: objects near each other tend to be grouped together. That is the whole point of the Luva; to bond two people together. The product showed how comfortably a couple can keep their hands close to each other.

The Law of Closure was followed when your mind sees a close up shot of hands going into the Luva and it doesn't seem awkward having the arm chopped off in the frame. Another example is the close of of Zac's head being cut off while he's looking down at Isabella. Your mind naturally fills in the rest of Zac's head.

Law of Pragnanz: reality is reduced to it's simplest form. The whole goal of this video was to keep it simple and make it look good. I feel that it only looks as good as it does because it was kept so simple. 

I enjoyed working with my group on this project and to see how our ideas improved as we collaborated together and that I especially got to make some new friends from it. In addition, I had a great time applying visual communication principals which have helped me improve my skills as a cinematographer and will continue to help me as I further my career. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mis-en-Scene TAKEN


Few scenes in my lifetime have had me on the edge of my seat like the scene where Kimmy was taken from her bedroom. There were many creative aspects from this film like the production design, to the music score that made it so dramatic, but it is the cinematography on which I would like to focus.

The Director of Photography was Michel Abramowicz. He has done many other movies, most of which I'm unfamiliar. However, his work here in TAKEN took me on an emotional roller coaster.
It was Michel's job as the DoP to create the look of the film by working with the Director, camera crew and lighting department to achieve this.

Most shots in this scene were all very tight to capture the fear and emotion on the faces of Kimmy and her father Bryan. This was effective because we could tell how scared the characters were compared to if there would have been more long and wide shots the scene would not have been as dramatic. Many of the shots at the beginning of the scene where Amanda, Kimmy's friend was being taken were happening very fast from shot to shot to give a sense of action and intensity. These quick shots continued until Bryan told his daughter to "Calm down. You have to keep it together." and then the shots lasted a few seconds longer until they switched to something else. Color comes into play by cool and warm hues. Kimmy has cool hues and colors around her which I feel express the cold harsh cruelty of the brutal kidnappers and Kimmy's fear of being taken. In contrast, although her dad is probably also afraid, Bryan is staying calm and knows what to do. He is filmed with warm light which I think helps compliment his calm demeanor. In addition, the warm hues show a more positive light how Bryan has a plan and is confident that he will find and kill whoever it is that has taken his daughter.

Within these shots we see many aspects of design along with Gestalt principals that help make the bedroom scene so intense. Contrast is manifest well through the shadows cast onto Kimmy's face as she is looking out the window. Natural light seems to be mostly used at the location where Kimmy was taken which explains why when she goes under the bed it also becomes very dark. Harmony was also key to make this scene flow so nicely together. The shots played off well from one another because when Kimmy was watching her friend be taken, the camera would then cut to her to show her reaction and eventually would follow her when she went under the bed. However when she was taken, the camera no longer followed her and just stayed with her phone under the bed. I thought that was very effective to show how she was now gone and the audience and her father were left without her.

Another example of effective camera work is the law of similarity that was used. The rule of thirds was followed for the most part, but once Bryan sat down the camera was straight on him with his face in the center of the screen. The shots would go back to his daughter and her face was also in the center of the screen. These two separate people had their faces grouped in the center of the screen which is why this technique followed the law of similarity. This seemed to make what was happening much more intense because all of your attention was focused on the expressions of a concerned father and frightened daughter.

Lastly, I just have to say how I love the very last shot of the scene where it focuses on Bryan as he talks to the kidnapper because Bryan slowly stands up and the camera pans up to show how Bryan has a powerful and domineering figure that is ready to start the man hunt and kick some butt to get his daughter back.

All of these elements came together to help make this one of the most dramatic and knuckle tight cinematic moments I have ever witnessed. Because of the well thought out and planned cinematography elements, I feel the DoP combined with the cast and crew completed their tasks very well.

Link to credits of cast and crew

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Design Evaluation

Take a moment to compare these two visual designs.

Now that you've looked at them I'm sure you've noticed a few design aspects that make these similar products different. When I look at these two products I think back to the people in Africa who didn't buy the Gerber baby food because they thought there was literal babies inside of the cans of food because there was  a picture of a baby on the label. If those same people were placed with these two options of which deodorant to buy I wonder if they would choose the product with a palm tree in the picture, or the one with a picture of what looks like a clock in the background. 

The Old Spice product makes me want to impulsively buy it, while I feel like I want to stay as far away as possible from the speed stick. Lots of design has gone into the packaging of these two different items and I feel the Old spice one was successful, but the Speed Stick one was not done as well. 

First, I believe simplicity helps make and break it for these two products. The very first thing I notice is the picture of the palm tree and the tropical beach on the Old Spice deodorant. Guessing from this picture I have an idea of what it might smell like without reading any of the label. On the Speed Stick label there is what seems to be an analog clock with only the minute hand and not the hour hand that is incorporated to show how the deodorant will give you full day protection. It took me a while to figure out that was a clock in the background. It wasn't something I could easily understand right away.

Next, I feel that the simple shape of the Old Spice packaging makes it visually more appealing because of it's design. It has gentle and smooth curves that aren't distracting from what the label is trying to explain. In comparison, the Speed Stick has two big side grips that functionally may give more purpose if your hands happen to be slippery, but I find it just a little distracting. 

Color also has a very big influence in comparing these two products. The Old Spice container is all one solid light color that compliments the color of the sand on the beach. The blue on the Speed Stick is so bold that it seems a little overbearing. In addition, the yellow also sticks out so much that it gets the point across, but it does it in an unattractive way for me. 

Text and font in these two designs also differs greatly. In the Speed Stick bar, all the text seems squished together that it had to take up the entire space on the front of the package. In contrast on the Old Spice deodorant there is plenty of open space between the text that doesn't feel busy, but it gives you that sense of relaxation as if you're hanging out at the beach. 

Continuity does play a part in both designs. We see this in how everything in the Speed Stick label is diagonal, and in the Old spice everything is centered and lays horizontally. However, overall I believe Old Spice did a much better job designing their label on every possible way.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Contrast, Balance, and Harmony

This is a photo at Angels Landing that I took with my iPhone 5s on Labor day.
It was my first time doing this hike. I was awestruck standing in this position to think how high I had already climbed and how much higher I had left to go. I'm not really afraid of heights, but this was the point where I had to choose to go on and conquer the hike, or to let the impressive sheer drops on both sides turn me away. 

The first aspect that I thought about from this image was contrast. I realized how small people were compared to the gigantic land formation. People seem to get smaller in this picture because they appear to be engulfed by the massive rock. As we compare the contrast in the size of people to the rock, we gain an understanding of how huge Angels Landing is. 

Harmony is apparent in this photo through lines. First, the line that people are walking atop the crest of the peak leading towards the top psychologically gives us energy. This diagonal path creates a vector and brings our eyes towards the peak. As I climbed every ascending step took more energy to exhort, but I felt that although my energy was draining, my motivation to get to the top was growing larger as I was awaiting the moment where I could bask in the beauty at the top. Its interesting to see how that principal of vertical lines giving energy worked for me even in a real life situation, not just a visual experience. Second, when I reached the top where it became more horizontal, I was also filled with peace. Horizontal lines in this picture of the hike gave me a sense of rest, because they were a level place where I could take a break and absorb the scenery all around me.

Balance is another acknowledged aspect of visual communication in this photo. The shadow on the cliffside adds depth and helps this photo appear three dimensional. Next, the shape of the rock which seems to look like a giant triangle makes me feel like the name "Angels Landing" is very fitting because it is a peak that extends high up to the heavens where Angels could easily land from their decent above. In addition, the contrasting colors help compliment the beauty of this canyon with the red rock against green trees and plants, and the orange rock against the blue sky.

This Natural land beauty demands my respect because of it's majestic height and beautiful colors. I felt that if I were to not respect this rock that reaches skyward, it would not respect me and I could easily slip and fall to my death. I'm grateful to have this photo to remind me of my new respect and appreciation towards this magnificent creation. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Visceral Response

My Suzuki Intruder 1400cc is also known as my boy, Blue. This is one of my favorite pictures of my motorcycle. I love how the details on this bike pop and catch my eye. Color contrast in this picture is what makes my bike stand out so much. The color value is very vibrant. The orange and red of Zion's National Park compliment the blue steel. I like how the orange signal lights stand out from the shiny blue on the gas tank and window shield. Even if you were to take the bike out of the picture itself I still think it's a nice picture because of the ground and sky contrasting colors. 

I also love the way the headlight is resting on the yellow line of the road pointed in the direction it wants to go. The bike tires are almost parallel with the lines on the road as well. It makes me think back to the journey I had been on so far on that ride, and how excited I was to jump back on and continue forward. 

The shape and form of how the bike is positioned and where I took the picture from make it seem very three dimensional. My motorcycle almost looks unbalanced as if the front of the motorcycle appears much bigger than the back. The bike still has a great look from any angle though.

In addition, I'm crazy about how the chrome of the transmission casing, the exhaust pipes and even the forks reflect the light bouncing off the bike which gave off a calming blue glow. There are so many aspects of this picture which make me reflect on how riding my motorcycle is one of my favorite things to do. 

Here is another picture from the side just for fun.

Monday, August 31, 2015


I have tasted the breeze of a thousand winds from riding my motorcycle. I swim with the fishes of the deep and I climb the peaks of majestic mountains. I anxiously await the next adventure life brings and I’m excited to start this class, learn some cool stuff, and make some new friends.
I'm a junior studying communication with an emphasis in digital film, and my dream job is to be a director of photography for feature films. I also hope to set up multiple charitable organizations around the world to bring resources or other services to those in need. 
St. George is my home away from home and I love being here at Dixie State University.