Asian Correspondent » Bath Spa University Asian Correspondent Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:59:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Effective Audacity Wed, 30 Nov 2011 10:05:49 +0000

Effective Audacity.   What a great expression, what a fitting tribute to such an extraordinary filmmaker as Ken Russell whom you can read about in Derek Malcolm’s obituary

Ken Russell was loved or loathed but never ignored. The great film critic Pauline Kael said of him in her review of Savage Messiah

“Is there any other movie director with the flair and imagination and, yes, the force of Ken Russell who has so little actual command of what is generally considered “film technique”?”

He was for me a fantastic storyteller.  His tales were tall sometimes off the wall but always very, very different.

If you want a gentle introduction to his prowess as a film maker and above all his wonderful insightful into classical music then watch The Song of Summer.  It is available on You Tube in five parts

If then you want to go for stronger stuff head for The Music Lovers and only then can you attempt The Devils.  As a filmmaker and as an artist shouldn’t we all strive for Effective Audacity.

Tommy. Directed by Ken Russell

]]> 21
Wild about good sound Fri, 25 Nov 2011 18:17:31 +0000

How people go on and on about the camera and which camera to use but never go on and on about what sound equipment they use.

It is now the best or should say worst mark of the low budget film.  Most cameras produce a half way decent image as do most mobile phones but sound is another matter.  Anyone who has panned their mobile phone across a landscape as it is in film mode, eventually the little mike will come into line with the direction of the wind and then you know that it really is not up too much.

So if you want to learn how sound can be just as exciting then listen to some radio drama or better still put some headphones on and listen to some holophonic sound.

Now you get how exciting sound can be follow some of the thoughts of some of the masters such as Walter Murch

and  Lora Hirschberg

Yes sound is like music.

Here is a section of wise words from Randy `Thorn

Sound’s Talents
Music, dialogue, and sound effects can each do any of the following jobs, and many more:

  • suggest a  mood, evoke a feeling
  • set a pace
  • indicate a geographical locale
  • indicate a historical period
  • clarify the plot
  • define a character
  • connect otherwise unconnected ideas, characters, places,  images, or moments
  • heighten realism or diminish it
  • heighten ambiguity or diminish it
  • draw attention to a detail, or away from it
  • indicate changes in time
  • smooth otherwise abrupt changes between shots or scenes
  • emphasize a transition for dramatic effect
  • describe an acoustic space
  • startle or soothe
  • exaggerate action or mediate it

At any given moment in a film, sound is likely to be doing several of these things at once.

But sound, if it’s any good, also has a life of its own, beyond these utilitarian functions.  And its ability to be good and useful to the story, and powerful, beautiful and alive will be determined by the state of the ocean in which it swims, the film.  Try as you may to paste sound onto a predetermined structure, the result will almost always fall short of your hopes.  But if you encourage the sounds of the characters, the things, and the places in your film to inform your decisions in all the other film crafts, then your movie may just grow to have a voice beyond anything you might have dreamed.

Now go and watch and listen to some films and you could start with a forgotten masterpiece from the great Francis Ford Coppola

]]> 0
MBA equals Managers Back to Administration Tue, 15 Nov 2011 08:43:47 +0000

Managers were only trained to administrate but then they discovered the word creativity and the administration became just a bit boring.

Take Hollywood. Or take what Sean Connery said when he quit movie making for good

“I’m fed up with the ever-widening gap between the people who know how to make movies and the people who greenlight the movies.

The Graduate (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Harold and Maude (1971), The Godfather (1972), Serpico (1973), One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978) and Apocalypse Now (1979).

‘Sometimes the gambles were absolutely extraordinary, and many of those wonderful movies of the early 1970s and the late 1960s emerged from those gambles. You’d never see those movies made today’. Peter Bart, Editor in Chief ,Variety

But is there is a silver lining to this dark cloud.

“The growth levels inside of the movie business just aren’t there anymore. And therefore, you’re going to find that, every year, they are going to matter a tiny bit less. And the energy in the corporations, and even the energy in the culture is going to start shifting out and into other pursuits, other things. That could have a very interesting and positive impact on film. You could very easily get back to a position that we enjoyed in 1969 and 1970, when movies weren’t so lucrative, and therefore the people who made them were freer to make them better.?”   Michael  Cielpy  Entertainment Industry journalist

So we look forward to the corporations appetite for films as a money spinner dwindling soon.   More importantly to the realisation that creatives are trained to be creative just as managers should be trained to administrate.  The value of each to the other is immense.

More to follow

]]> 0
There is good advice and there is bad advice Thu, 10 Nov 2011 12:13:18 +0000

Two of the most successful names in the film business are Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, yes Steve Jobs who turned Pixar into the most successful animation company since Walt Disney founded his.

What were their strengths, team-work and showmanship.  Teams are very important in both organisations but both were hard task masters and were driven by a personal vision but they knew the power of collaboration.  Showmanship meant giving the public what they wanted but not the way some would do it.  Both were committed to the long haul and knew what Henry Ford meant when he said:

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

I often think of James Dyson who had a brilliant idea to revolutionize the way vacuum cleaner was made and then made 5127 prototypes before launching it into the market and becoming so successful as a “Creator” as he likes to call himself.

So for me these are all strong points for any creator.  Strong personal vision and good team of collaborators and sense of showmanship a desire to give the public something they want even if they do not yet know it and above all to be in it for the long haul.

When it goes wrong in the film industry you can usually see the personal vision has been diluted, the team did not stick together, every one forgot that they were in show business and they did not stick at it for the long haul.

That one about given the public something they do not even know they want?

Well that is the million dollar point and is that were the 1% come in

You know 99% perspiration and 1% ??

More to Follow.

]]> 0
The end of high-end cameras Wed, 09 Nov 2011 18:24:41 +0000

I just watched a film shot on a cell phone . It looked great.  The film was shot in a club with available light.  The image was rich and the detail was extraordinary.  Armed with Filmic Pro App

the filmamker had access to :

  • Variable Frame Rates (1-25 and 30fps) including both the US (24p) and European (25p) film production standards.
  • Four Selectable Resolutions (iPhone 4 or 4th Gen iPod Touch).
  • Framing Guide Overlays (4:3, 16:9, & 2:35.1).
  • Thirds Guide for help with compositions.
  • Audio Metering.
  • Color Bars for Post Production.
  • Film Production Style Slate for adding info to your clips, syncing dual system audio, and organizing your clips.

All the world is waiting for now is low end sound production with high end quality.

The weekend before last I went to London Screenwriters Festival

Highly recommended.

There the key note events were all filmed on cell phones set on tripods.  More than did the job.

So whats a course leader to do when he sets out a new Masters in Feature Filmmaking. Of course I am not suggesting that we give everyone a phone when they arrive. Yes we have all sorts of high end goodies in the equipment store. However when the questions comes what equipment can I use it makes me think of how successful filmmakers are becoming at the low end.

Take the Canon Cameras and how it is sneaking into Hollywood

and prime time television productions

Now Canon have brought out their latest

The only thing is certain is that their competitors will follow.

For more information on high end then this is a good place to start

So I am still asking the question how do I approach a Masters Student and their quest for the best kit for the job.  I would argue to the filmmaker that as in all creations first catch your idea.  Then feed it and develop it and the right method will emerge.  It is not high end or low end but the right end justifying the means.

More to follow.

]]> 0