Black and White Jasmine

For my take on the Return to the Silent Era assignment, I used a trailer for the movie Blue Jasmine. This Woody Allen film made me think the first time I saw it and had an interesting way of getting the audience to dream alongside Jasmine through her memories and current struggles. The back and forth between her memories and current life reminded me of a silent film going back and forth from the action of the film (current life) to the cue cards that provide context as to what is happening (her memories/flashbacks). I think the assignment was appropriate for this movie and the black and white effects and silent movie era music bode well for such a dark movie.

I downloaded the trailer for the movie from Youtube using savefrom.net and edited in Movie Maker. The first thing I did was add the black and white effect to the video. I do not think Movie Maker has an “antique” effect, but perhaps that is made available as an add-on? I stuck with the pain black and white for purposes of this assignment. I then split the clip where I thought the cue cards would be a logical fit. Once I found an image online, I uploaded it to PowePoint and added text. I then saved each of the slides as an image and inserted where I had split the clips. I deleted some of the credits at the end for a more dramatic effect with the last cue card. I then added a fast paced song I thought mirrored the confusion of the movie, and published as an MP4.

Here is what my video editing looked like.

Blue Jasmine

This assignment reminded me of a movie that recently came out that is entirely in black and white. It will be interesting to see if directors revisit this black and white effect. In this instance, I think it was effective in demonstrating that bizarre nature and internal struggle Jasmine deals with.

Fresh Perspective

I really enjoyed reading the tips from the Storify resources. While I do find many of these tips more opinion than photography technique, it was still interesting to read about how others strive for a great photo.

Two of the resources stood out to me, and made me want to test them out. The first was the 8 photo techniques. I wanted to try the leading/diagonal lines, selective focus, and get close tips. The first that I tried was the leading/diagonal lines by positioning myself far away from the planters, and following the natural lines of the wood on the deck. I also experimented with the high/low angle in this photo by placing my camera (iphone) directly on the deck. While looking back I probably would have removed the background clutter of the chair and the hanging planter, I think that the photo does illustrate these principles.

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The photos below demonstrated two perspectives of the same plant. The photo on the left was taken from a high angle, while the photo on the right was taken up close to a bloom of the plant and also used selective focus. I had gone back and forth about whether or not to focus on the leaves or the flowers, and I think retrospectively it would have made for a better photo to focus on the flower. I think it really speaks to Jason Eskenazi’s point of the fact that so much of photography is what the photographer leaves out. By focusing on the bloom, the plant looks completely different. You may even assume that the plant is filled with flowers when, as demonstrated in the photo on the left, is not the case.

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The second resource that caught my eye was the 10 Unconventional Tips to Become a Better Photographer. In particular, the tip to take pictures of ugly things. While out on my deck experimenting with these tips, I tested out this bizarre advice and captured a plant that has been through quite a rough winter, which also inspired a potential final project idea. This was a cherry tomato plant that somehow, despite the feet of snow that has covered it all winter, still has a tomato hanging from its stem. I’m not sure it will make the cover of National Geographic, but the tip did get me thinking of how many powerful photos have been taken of “ugly things.” Dorothea Lange’s photography of the effects of the Great Depression were certainly not beautiful in the conventional sense, but they were beautiful in terms of their power and expression.

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Taking photos of ugly things.

 

Heart Healthy

For the review of a commercial as a short film story, I chose the heart warming commercial about a girl who just wants everyone to be healthy.

When looking at the shape of the story from the perspective of the daughter in the commercial, I suppose it starts off low as she is worried about her dad’s health, but then quickly moves up as she discovers a solution in pouring the Cheerios over her father’s heart. One could argue that the story ends on a happy note as she believes she has healed her father’s heart. On the other hand, the father probably didn’t see the ending as happily ever after as he likely had to clean up the mess that was made.

There is a very clear storyline in this commercial. Once upon a time there was a little girl. Every day, she was worried for her father’s heart health. One day she realized that Cheerios could be the solution to her father’s health issues. Because of that, she asks her mother if Cheerios can really help the heart. Because of that, her mother reads the health benefits of Cheerios. Until finally we find the father awaking from a nap with a pile of Cheerios on his chest.

The element of surprise comes from the fact that we assumed the daughter would be serving her father Cheerios to eat, not pouring them on his heart! As the viewer, we empathize with the daughter as we all want our loved ones heart healthy. I was left with a feeling of admiration for the daughter as she was determined to keep her father healthy.

When looking at the story in 5 second increments, we see how the story plays out, and can get a closer glimpse into the mind of the daughter.

  1. (0:00 – 0:05) A woman is working at her kitchen counter. The camera angle shifts to show a young girl with curly hair bringing a box of cheerios and placing them on the table where her mom is sitting. She says “Mom?” and her mom replies “Yes honey” and looks up from her writing.
  2. (0:06 – 0:10) The daughter explains “Dad told me that cheerios are good for your heart, is that true?” The camera shifts back and forth between the mom and girl. The girl looks confused and concerned. The mom replies “It says here…” while looking at the Cheerios box.
  3. (0:11 – 0:15) The mom then proceeds to read the nutritional information from the box. The girl lifts the box from the table and smiles at her mom.
  4. (0:16 – 0:20) The girl then runs out of the kitchen while the camera shifts back and forth from her running, to her mom looking confused.
  5. (0:21 – 0:25) The scene then moves to the dad on a couch in the living room asleep. He has a huge pile of Cheerios on his chest. He is startled awake and as he raises up, the Cheerios slowly fall to the ground and he appears confused.
  6. (0:26 – 0:30) The screen then shifts to a yellow screen with the word “Love” displayed in the classic Cheerios font. Cheerios fall across the screen. We hear the dad calling out “Jen!” as the Cheerios jingle plays as the commercial ends.