Friday, 31 October 2014

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Ridley Scott's Alien (1979)

 Figure 1. Alien Poster

Alien is a feast for the eyes yet it’s less known for its story. As Malcom states “The basics of the plot are simple. Seven astronauts, working on a battered space tug that is apparently commercially owned, touch down on another planet, find something odd for the boffins back home, bring it back into the ship and are faced with an ever-growing monster.” (Malcom, 2009). But Alien’s basic plot set a great foundation for appreciating the other fantastic things about the film.

Figure 2. Spaceship Set

The most impressive thing about Alien is its highly detailed set.  Jones mentions in his review the film has “imaginative bio-mechanical production design (with the alien created by Swiss artist HR Giger)” (Jones, unknown).  The spaceship itself is built of many layers decorated with pipes and switches and gives you an impression of a gritty, working spaceship. There’s also the sets that belong to the alien planet. These sets give the impression of being vast and unexplored. Both sets are amazing in terms of design with every little detail thought out, it’s clear that a sense of realism was trying to be achieved.

Figure 3. Extreme Close up 

The way the camera is used in Alien is interesting. The shots help create a tense atmosphere and put you on the edge of your seat. At the start of the film the camera is steady while the crew do mundane things such as eat breakfast together but later on the camera is in first person or there will be an extreme close up of a characters face. An extreme close up (like in fig.3) shows the emotions close up and immediately involves the audience. Ridley Scotts choice to get the audience feel involved is what can make this film so terrifying.

In Alien it’s not made clear until towards the end who our protagonist will be, everyone is shown as an equal until they’re killed off. It’s interesting how Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) becomes the protagonist towards the end as often in sci-fi movies a woman is portrayed as a side character. Larson mentions Sigourney Weaver in his review saying “There is Sigourney Weaver, not throwing her womanhood around but rather carrying herself as if a strong female figure in this time and place was simply a matter of fact.” (Larson, unknown). Her portrayal of Ripley is rather impressive, she’s clearly a smart woman and though she shows signs of fear she’s still a strong character which makes her highly interesting to an audience.

Though Alien isn’t a perfect movie, it’s a movie that will engage many for different reasons.

Illustration List

Ridley Scott (1979) Figure 1. Alien Poster (accessed 23/10/14)
Ridley Scott (1979) Figure 2. Spaceship Set (accessed 23/10/14)
Ridley Scott (1979) Figure 3. Extreme Close up (accessed 23/10/14)

Jones, A (unknown) (accessed 23/10/14)
Larson, J (unknown) (accessed 23/10/14)


Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Figure 1. 2001: A Space Odyssey Poster 

2001: A Space Odyssey as a whole is more of an idea than a story. Its scenes are made for purpose and to portray ideas. As Humanick says in his article “At its core, the film is a journey, a summarization of those questions that are both the simplest in their inquisition and most profound in their answers: Who are we, where do we come from, and where are we going?” (Humanick, 2007). One question to keep in mind is what exactly is Kubrick trying to say about technology? At first he shows technology to be amazing and fantastical however later on it is flawed and dangerous. It’s interesting what Rob Gonslaves says in his review “Technology may have enabled long-distance communication, but hasn't improved its human quality at all.” (Gonslaves, 2008). Maybe what Kubrick is trying to say is that humans can possibly achieve great things however they’re still flawed.

 Figure 2. Ship interior

Whats interesting about 2001: A Space Odyssey in particular is the use of set to show the advancement of technology. Though thought has been put into the story more so has been put into the design. As Milne says “What matters for the lay spectator is that Kubrick's vision of space is as endlessly fascinating as a vast toyshop of intricate, superbly photogenic working models.” (Milne, 2010). The spaceship interiors are full of buttons to press and lots of gadgets made for a purpose.

Figure 3. Distance shot

Kubrick shows his sets through the use of panoramic and mid distance shots alienating his audience and forcing them to wait and watch rather than involving them. You feel like a spectator and that’s what makes 2001: A space Odyssey a thought provoking film.

Illustration list
Kubrick, S (1968) Figure 1. 2001: A Space Odyssey Poster (Accessed on the 21/10/14) 
Kubrick, S (1968) Figure 2. Ship interior (Accessed on the 21/10/14) 
 Kubrick, S (1968) Figure 3. Distance shot

Gonslaves, R (2008) (Accessed on the 21/10/14) 
Humanick, R (2007) (Accessed on the 21/10/14) 


Invisible Cities: Low angle shot and Establishing shot development

Started developing my Low angle shot, I'm pretty pleased with how it's going so far though there's still some things to fix. 

I also developed my Establishing shot more, I think the mountains are pretty much done though I might add extra details later. I also changed the composition slightly because I wasn't completely happy with it. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Invisible Cities: Low Angle Thumbnails

Here are some thumbnails for my low angle shot. I tried different perspectives to make them interesting. The general idea is to show a street from inside the city. I really like 7 but I'm not sure if the angle is low enough so I tried fixing it a little in 8, I also quite like 3 and 9. In my finished piece I'd like to show transport and and fix the strings.