Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tracking shots and Boogie Nights

There is a scene in Boogie Nights that always sticks out to me, in terms of the shots used and the editing. It's the scene with Little Bill at the New Year's party. If you've seen the film, you'll know which scene I'm talking about.

Little Bill has just discovered that his wife is, yet again, getting fucked by another man. Instead of angrily telling his wife to stop (and, subsequently, getting told to fuck off) as he did in previous scenes, he instead calmly leaves the house, walks to his car and and pulls a gun out of a compartment. He casually loads the gun, walks back into the house, wading through the crowds of partying people, opens the door to the room and shoots his wife and her lover dead before calmly killing himself.

The tracking shot isn’t “fancy” or “flashy” in a traditional sense. The camera simply follows every step Little Bill takes, every action he makes. In previous scenes, Little Bill always makes his anger and discomfort clear, but it is always treated very humorously. In this scene, the calmness of his actions gives the entire sequence a sense of extreme discomfort and tension, and just what is happening isn’t clear until he actually loads the gun.

It is simple and to the point, and its simplicity highlights the utter coldness and creepiness of Little Bill and his revenge. The fact that Little Bill doesn’t speak just seems to make the whole thing more unsettling, and it properly sets the tone for the new decade ahead of the characters.

A Soundwalk

A walk through the Hunter Library is the same as a walk through the city.

To my right, somebody is complaining - rightly so - that $8.33 is too much to pay for a serving of broccoli with garlic sauce. (She opts for fries instead.) There is the clicking of keys on a laptop - several laptops. Shuffling papers. Coffee cups being picked up, then placed back down. And again. Coffee cup up, back down. It's the place is a veritable coffee shop, rather than a place for study.

I pass by the reference desk, hear someone say that the stapler is near the "document finishing" station. There is the hum of printers spitting out ink on papers. Somebody is complaining about someone else, before asking if a seat is taken.

The "silent study" area is quieter, but louder in other ways. The shuffling of papers is more pronounced. You can more readily hear the buzzing whine of the fluorescent lights above. The neurotic need to text is also present. But people seem to actually be studying - I overhear someone going over something vaguely resembling psychology. (Possibly because it is psychology.)

People are more likely to take up residence on the floors, if the muffled apologies and careful shuffling through shelves is anything to go by.

Exiting the library, I find that there doesn't seem to be much difference between the inside and the outside. Still the same shuffling of papers, the same keyboards, the same coffee cups. So much for a "quiet" place to study.

Assignment Whatever: Continuity

BOO. My eyes hurt.

I made two versions - both exactly alike except for the soundtrack.

Don't Raise Your Hand - True

Don't Raise Your Hand - Porto Alegre

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Museum of the Moving Image Redux

I am glad to know that the arcade games are still there.

I've always liked this museum. I've seen these exhibits before, but it's still great to see them again. Just to seem all the different ways a piece of film and media come together is eye opening. I always particularly enjoy the stop-motion animation stations, and I always forget how annoying it is to get your dialogue in sync with the footage when I (watch someone) try to attempt the ADR. The wall of photographs of actors and actresses of the past is always, personally, awe-inspiring.

It's pretty humbling to see all the old school equipment that was used to make all these films and media of the past. It's amazing how far we've come in just a few decades. Still, it shows that there's still so much more that can - and will - be accomplished. Here's to a future filled with more opportunities!