Art Direction Practice

As the research that I mentioned on my previous blogs.

lichris820.wordpress.com/2018/12/01/art-direction-2060/

lichris820.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/art-direction-1980/

This is the pictures of my original bedroom and this is the link of  my art direction below

Let’s see how big the difference is!

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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

This is my second time watching an interactive film. The first one is Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale. Puss in Book is an interactive film for children. Every step the audiences choose can affect the consequences of Puss. Because the film is for children, the characters frequently break the fourth wall to make fun with children audiences. Bandersnatch is a more serious and darker film. Any option the audiences choose will change the whole storyline of the protagonist.

SPOILER ALERT!

The story is about a 1984 game designer who has a mental illness, he is struggling with his unhappy childhood, the mental issue, and the stress of the game design.

PROS and CONS

PROS

Interactive films must be a way for watching films, especially for watching on portable devices. It is easier to be disturbed when people watch films or TV series with a portable device rather than watching in cinemas. Your mobile phone, your notification, or you might do your chores while watching. In interactive films, the audiences will become an essential part of the film and the audiences can strongly feel the participation in the film. You will stop every activity you are doing and concentrate on the film. This will be the new way in order to let viewers immerse in and focus on the plot, the cinematography, and the production design filmmakers made. Additionally,  it can win the respect by the concentration from viewers.

Additionally, it can against pirated movies. Within the technological development, sometimes people can record screens or download online videos then spread it to other people. But you must be the subscriber of Netflix in order to enjoy the unique experience of this interactive film. Even somebody can record the process they did, it still feels differently when you control the plot by yourself.

It must be an inevitable trending for future filmmakers such as VR and 360-degree camera. It breaches the bottleneck of filmmaking and creates a new thinking process for filmmakers and viewers.

 

CONS

The main con is disappointing the expectation of viewers. If the film has 10 paths to choose and all the path must affect the ending, it will have 1024 different ending to show. Obviously, no writer can show different 1024 ending in a story so some option will be a dead end. Which means when you encounter a dead end, you need to go back some point to choose again. I believe all the viewers are expecting they can be the power of deciding the story. If they keep meeting a dead end and the film keep failing their expectation, the viewers will become really impatient. The duration of the film is mentioned one and half hour. But if you keep meeting a dead end, it will take longer in order to bring the audiences to an effective option. How long can a person concentrate with many failures? And the impatient could cause the audiences to lose their interest in the film. It will be a huge problem for interactive films.

BIG SPOILER ALERT!

According to the reviews, there are 5 different ending. I got a very interesting one. When the main character is doubting someone controls his life and asking who is watching his life, you can choose an option, Netflix. He will realize someone on Netflix is watching him and control his life. That’s an interesting setting because it is really happening. The viewers will feel like a god to choosing a destiny for him. It is kind of breaking the fourth wall in another way and the viewers are truly interacting with characters.

 

Overall, this new interactive film has blown my mind about watching films. It still is not a perfect outcome for everyone, but it shows a new opportunity and a new breakthrough for filmmaking.

 

Home Futures

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Home Futures is an exhibition at Design Museum, it displays from 7 Nov 2018 to 24 Mar 2019. This exhibition illustrates the imagination of future from 20 century. People from 20 century predict various social issue and living environment in the future. The exhibition makes viewers reflect the difference between previous prediction and current reality.

Home Futures shows different perspectives of imagination for the future. The perspectives include portability, function, pollution, living space, and some avant-garde and experimental design of furniture.

My favourite project is Telematic House by Ugo La Pietra

https://ugolapietra.com/en/the-1980s/the-telematic-house/

This project made in 1983. Ugo La Pietra used lighting and arrange of furniture in order to make a surreal atmosphere. Interestingly, he still used the furniture and devices of the 80s. It seems also surreal from the viewpoint of now, the future they imagined. And it looks like another parallel universe of the earth because it feels old and new at the same and makes a feeling between real and surreal.

Firstly, this project will be my key reference for my film. I create a world that everything is exactly the same as now, but only it has a new principle to follow. I want to make a world between real and surreal to make viewers can explore and be convinced from the new world, but also can reflect their own real life. Additionally, the future lighting with the 80s items can also make a feeling that it could have happened before or it could happen in the future.

Secondly, many films have their own imagination of the future. We can see the clearness of a utopian future as 2001: a space odyssey.

olivier-mourgue-djinn-chairs-1965-stanley-kubrick-2001-space-odissey-1.jpg Or messy cyberpunk as Blade Runnerblade-runner-010

I think Blade Runner 2049 is the closest development of the future.Blade-Runner-2049-0130.jpg

Architecture and interior design do not really change a lot in this 50 years. The things changed are electronic devices such as phones and computers and the design of vehicles.

This is an interesting topic to discuss. How will the future look like? or how will our imagination world look like? The clearness of environment in 2001: A Space Odyssey does provide an unemotional distance to the viewers. Blade Runner does show the chaos and the uncertainty through the messy environment.

What kind of world I want to deliver to viewers? How can I achieve it? Those are big and significant questions for me.

 

One Cut of the Dead

This will be the best reflection of my 2018

This is a low budget Japanese comedy film, they only used 3000000 Japan Yen ( around 22000 pounds) to make the 90 minutes feature film.

 

Spoiler Alert!

The beginning of the film is a 37-minutes long shot of a zombie film team encounters real zombies. But many things look strange and abnormal in the long shot.  The rest of the film is talking about how the long shot has been programmed and executed.

This film doesn’t have an impressive art direction or camera movement, but the script provides a solid foundation for the whole film.

The film reveals issues of every shooting, disobedient actors, injured crews, broken equipment. Those issues related back to the abnormal part in the long shot to make audiences understand how difficult and how many problems in that.

 

COMPROMISE and ADAPTATION

Making a film is a series of problems to solve. After the studio exercise, I realized it’s difficult to make a film exactly looks as same as my imagination. The location, the lighting, the equipment, and budget, everything could cause a good effect or bad effect on the film. We have to compromise the reality many times during making a film, but how can I adapt to the problem and find the solution is the most amazing process in filmmaking. There always is a bunch of conflict between the goal and compromises, but the most touching moment is when everyone uses out their all energy to achieve the same goal together.

In the last scene of the film,  the crane is too broken to make the last shot. But they still make it with all the crew stack together to make a little tower to finish the last shot.

This film shows my feeling while I was struggling with the studio exercise and my feeling after the shooting. I believe the same struggling will always show up in every shooting, but the cheer of overcoming those problems in a clever way together is also making me enjoy the process of filmmaking

Figure

Play the song below while you watch. 

 

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This is my presentation above, I’m going to explain my idea and vision of my story.

What’s your inner animal is the cord of this story. In the world I want to build up, everyone needs to find an inner animal in order to represent their personality and position in society. Like we have our star signs. Sometimes, we use some symbols to categorize ourselves.

This story is about identity. Figure is the appearance of a people. Figure is a process of exploration and problem-solving. In this story, we are going to join the journey of finding the inner animal for the protagonist.

And the log line is When everyone needs to find their inner animal as identification of personality and ability, a fresh graduate who is uncertain his identity must find his inner animal, or else he will lose his position in the society.

The main character Renard is a 23 years old fresh graduate. He keeps finding his job for one year. But he has been rejected many times because he doesn’t know his inner animal. And the company cannot arrange his position if he doesn’t know his inner animal. The story starts from Renard has been rejected on his 23rd Birthday. He has no time to waste, so he gets a higher desire to find his inner animal. He will meet different people and everyone gives him different advice.

The scientist is the tester of inner animals. He has done this job several times. He has seen various inner animals and many people struggling with their inner animal. He tells Renard to think about his initiation. What animal he like in the childhood or what animal has potentially shown up many times in his life.

Then his parents, his parents explain how inner animals work out in this world. The animal will affect your personality and the job you choose. They also explain how it affects their relationship. His dad is a bear and his mon is a red panda. These two animals are the same infraorder. Even though Renard has supportive parents, his parents still have some expectation of their child.

Leo is Renard’s friend. His inner animal is a lion. When Leo was young, he has noticed that most successful people are lions. So, he tried to make himself as a lion as well. He did become a lion and on the way of a successful person. But he just broke up with his partner.

In the end, people are not really having a happy life even they know their inner animals. How can Renard make his decision?

In production design, everyone will show up in different rooms. The environment they show up will represent their personalities and inner animal. Those rooms will put a lot of items to leave a clue and let audiences understand that inner animals are related to their living environment.

Why I want to use a lot of items? Those items can clearly symbolize their inner animal. Then when we see the room of our main character. The audience will follow him and look around his room, try to help him to find his inner animal.

Additionally, those items also can be a metaphor in the story, for example, the main character receives a watch with panther logo from his parents. It means his parents want him to be fast and strong. And also, the remind him the time is running out.

For cinematography, I will use a lot of subjective shots. When we are hearing others opinion. It could be helpful advice and also could be pressure. Subjective shot can make audiences feel the tension of the main character and also to experience the world I build up.

I also want to use projection shooting in my film. When the main character does the test of the inner animal. The machine can project his inner animal on the wall. I can also use the projection on each character to show their inner animal or inner mind.

In term of using projection. The light will be low key to show a clear projection image. And use different colours of lighting to enhance the effect of projection.

Combine the projection and lighting. I hope I can make the effect like this

The music will be like the music you are hearing. Using some electronic instrument to create the atmosphere of a parallel universe and suspicion. And add some animal sound as sound effect to improve the atmosphere.

Why I want to tell the story? I want to set up a surreal world to let people get out of their bubble and rethink how identity is important for everyone and how to find your own identity.

 

FEEDBACK:

THE STAKE IS NOT STRONG ENOUGH.

What’s the consequence of people don’t find their inner animals? Once I can set up the comprehensive rule of the world, the audiences will easily be convinced and immerse the world. Like The Lobster, “single people have 45 days to find a partner, or they will be transformed into an animal.”

THE ENDING IS NOT CLEAR ENOUGH

My original idea was the main character can utilize the skills of different inner animals to adopt different situation. But once I set the severe consequence of living without an inner animal, he must find one. How can I transfer the original idea to be reasonable for the consequence is a tough problem I need to work out.

THERE IS NO EXTERIOR SENCE?

Yes, I don’t put any exterior scene in my film. In my opinion, finding your own identity is a very inside thing.  You need to dig in your memory, your thought, and your desire in order to find it. So every scene in my film is interior. But I also can understand it could a little bit dark and limited if they are all interior. I will put this opinion to my concern.

 

After I made the presentation and explained to everyone, I have a clearer idea of my story. How can I put the vision and sounds into my script and explain the principle of the world through the story is my next challenge.

Art Direction: 1980

Today, Zoya and I shot another Art Direction practice of 1980

The 1980 one not only needs to create the exact atmosphere but also need to make a big comparison with the future one.

STYLE

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I wanted to make a room of 1980s hipster. According to my research, it tends to put their collection such as posters and albums in their room. It can be a little bit messy compared to the clean futurist feeling.

PROPS

Props are the most significant aspect of the 1980 direction. The lifestyle doesn’t change much from 1980 to now. The only thing we can tell is from the objects.

Tapestry and Fairy light

How to create a hipster room? According to my references, the rooms have fairy lights and tapestry.

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I put them on the wall to cover the floral pattern of the wallpaper. But I didn’t cover the whole wall. Floral wallpaper is also used in the 1980s. I put the fairy lights on the wall as well to brighten the corner of my room.

Posters

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I also printed out the posters of the 80s film and the 80s musician to make viewers immerse in the atmosphere of the period. I tended to choose some sci-fi films to make the connection with the future of how different it is from the imagination in the 80s and now. The 1980s is also the period of cold war, so I printed some propaganda to emphasize the atmosphere.

Cassette

Cassette tape became significantly popular and iconic in the 1970s and 1980s after Walkman was invented.

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I got some empty cassette cases and a cassette player. I printed out the images of the cassette album cover I found to make it seems really happening in the 80s.

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Pattern & Textile

The floral pattern is easy to be found in the 80s. First, I got the duvet cover and pillowcases. The pattern really enhanced the atmosphere. Second, I needed to find cloths to cover my grey curtain, the textile looks more modern. Additionally, all my furniture are from IKEA. The white bed frame and white table are also modern styles. In the 1980s, people tended to use wooden furniture for interior design. I needed to find clothes to cover it such as tablecloths.

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I found these two patterns of cloths and they did improve the whole atmosphere a lot.

 

COSTUME

My costume reference is from Back to the Future. Denim jacket and jeans are pretty popular in the period.

Also, bright colours and sporty suit are also iconic in the 80s. In term of the clothes I have and the decoration of my room. I think Denim jacket and jeans are more reasonable and approachable.

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LIGHTING

The lighting is easier than the future one because we don’t need to use specific coloured lighting. The first thing is we want to use natural light from outside. Luckily the cloth I chose isn’t too thick and it provides a great soft light from outside. Second, the lamp is always a part of the props and we turned it on to make the subject, the main character became brighter than other areas. The other things needed to do is brightening the whole room but not too fake.

OVERALL

Create a set of an existed period is easier than making up a fake one, There is a ton of reference can be found and some items can be found online or in vintage market. But I used more budget for the 80s one to get an exact collection or objects to present that. This is a precious experience that I proved I can do art direction with research and my design background. And the room feels really comfortable and relaxing, I keep the decoration for a while.

 

Studio Practice – Lighting

Today, we finished the bedroom scene and my position is lighting this time.

After being a director yesterday, I think I have more sense of what should I do in each position. Additionally, I can also help the director to choose which way will be better as a head of lighting. This is the most important thing I learned from the studio practice. In the first scene, we didn’t discuss the detail of everything such as lighting, sound, and blocking. And we were not familiar enough with equipment. Therefore, we can’t be more effective and more active when we can’t be sure what should we do.

Lighting is magic in a film. 

In this morning scene, we have decided and set up the key light, the sunlight which is HMI 2K. All I need to do is arranging the practical lights and fill lights. What lighting is magic in a film? Because the lighting should be between real and artistic. We need to set beautiful lighting that could never exist in a real environment, but also the lighting should be based on a real situation.

For example, the HMI 2K imitated the sunlight in a real life. But the sunlight could make some distracting shadows from objects. The task for a gaffer is to make sure the brightness and shadow are perfect for the subjects.

Solving a problem and making a problem at the same time is always the inevitable process for filmmaking. We had too strong sunlight in this scene, it makes the whole space look more like sunset or night. Therefore we put a soft light on the top to brighten the whole room and decrease the contrast in order to create a morning scene.

But if the lighting is more than one, it will get an overlapping shadow which is not neat and the fake lighting can be told by viewers.  So one of the significant processes for a gaffer is making brightness for the subjects and fixing the shadow for the environment.

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I like the lighting I made eventually. A little bit dramatic contrast but not too unrealistic.

Lighting grabs my big interest. Because if I want to build up a new world, the first to do will be the environment which is art direction and the second important element will be lighting.