Student photo session experimenting with filters and light

First shot, with no filters or anything


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The Noori video blogs, bomb phatta song and more tech talk

The Pakistani band Noori has been posting video blogs on their website


The blogs offer a candid inside look at the life of a band. Please have a look see and do write and let me know (on your blogs) what you think about blogging as a media form, compared it to twitter and facebook and let me have a nice post with your reflection about blogs.


Meanwhile, have you checked out the Bum Phatta song? What do you think about it? What issues does it raise? What are some issues of representation that it raises, for instance by its choice of language and metapohors? I would like you to analyse the lyrics of this song and place them in the context of Ali Azmat’s past work.


Finally, I’m a little behind the times and was super surprised today when I realized that iphones not only take some really nice photos, you can actually photoshop your pictures on your iphone. Simultaneously, you couldn’t possibly have missed the heavily advertised new nokia phone that can apparently edit video for you.

So, I want you to think about technology, media making and distribution. How is the model of media that consisted of broadcasting changing? And what are the implications of these new technologies: cell phones that allow you to capture and manipulate media content as well as distribute it via YouTube or your blog etc.

This is an important question for you to spend some time thinking about because the OCR is very likely at some point in the next two years to ask you an exam question about how technology helped or hindered you and also how technology is changing media- uses, users, makers and texts.

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Film Architecture

As most of you must have noticed I have been going over your blogs with a fine tooth comb and emailing corrections and comments to each of you. I want you guys to share these comments with your group members.
Some people haven’t received their blogs back yet, be patient I will try and send them to you by tomorrow InshAllah.
A few things I want to say here-
1- I want you guys to shoot some video (cell phone is fine) during your internship
2- In Feb we will be working on your evaluations which are worth 20 marks in OCR so it would be great if you could record some of your group discussions- and shoot yourself in action- shooting, editing, working out details and problems- we can use this to make the evaluations look awesome
3- I want you guys to look at some art/artists- as inspiration for the mise en scene of your final film and do a blog post about it like you did the mind maps- here are some ideas and options you can choose from:
REMEMBER- inspiration does not mean imitation- it means inspiration (look it up)
Art Deco has been an important movement inspiring the sets of a number of films
similarly expressionism has also had a great impact on mise en scene
also you may find it useful to look at pop art
or kitsch
here is a website that shows how art and design and film work together
here is a resource about mise en scene that might help- its short and sweet
also look at this website- which talks about film architecture which is what I am trying to explain to you here and would be thrilled if you guys talked about it in your blogs
and finally one more:
-Salvadore Dali- Surrealism- worked with Alfred Hitchcock
Monet- Impressionism- what kind of films do you think might be inspired by this movement.
You could also look at some contemporary artist, like, Damien Hirst– a contemporary British artist
also look at other contemporary British artists, Tracy Emin, Gilbert and George
You can choose more classic stuff too if you like, for example Leonarda Da Vinci or Michaelangelo.
be good children and do some awesome work please
Another thing I want you to do is to look at various films and see how they have been designed from an art, design, architecture point of view- a slightly lame example of what I mean is the song by Fakhr that features Amina Haq. The video is clearly styled to look like the musical “Chicago,” (you can check out the film version with Richard Gere)
Art Deco meanwhile is an art style from the 20’s that became associated with film noir and is another interesting kind of film styling to look at. And you may enjoy watching Christopher Nolan‘s debut film, The following, which is strongly noir in its style. And with Memento and The Dark Knight, Nolan has become known for his neo noir films.
Some films are more obviously styled around a particular art movement, or city, or genre of music, for instance Chicago with its 1930’s crime, jazz, celebrity and Chicago kind of styling.
You should also have a look at “Brazil” and 1980s sci fi film with very interesting styling and mise en scene.
Finally, someone recently mentioned Bladerunner as a good film to watch for film architecture. The movie is mentioned in a book about film architecture and both the book and the movie are referenced here:
watch this documentary about the making of Bladerunner and how the look of the film was achieved with the opening.
and now those of you who say things like, oh, comedy is gone, suspense is gone, now we have no genres left to work in, I hope you’re beginning to see that genre is flexible and that there are more than just 3 types of films styles you can choose from

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Gendered greeting cards and representation

I was in a store buying a card for a friend who had a baby recently, and it occurred to me that new baby greeting cards, father’s day cards, mother’s day cards etc are very interesting in terms of media representation and gender. Those of you who are working on gender issues in your films and are looking to write/research gender representation in the media, this may be a nice area to research, go pick up some cards and examine them to see how they’re constructed in terms of gender.

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first years

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Some useful links for you


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As you work through your prelim videos, you are hopefully beginning to think about issues of representation- something you must do when you move on to your final projects with the opening titles.

Here are some ideas to start you off:

today, in class we watched the opening titles and sequence for the Robert Downey Jr starrer Sherlock Holmes. In many ways, the Arthur Conan Doyle character has set some of the patterns, stereotypes, conventions with regard to the representation of detectives, conventions that have been defied in some instances and perhaps not, in others. What do you think some of these conventions are?

You should think about how Sherlock Holmes is represented in this film and how that representation might be different from the representation or characterization in other tv or film depictions of this character versus the character in the book.

For example, BBC recently did a 4 episode serial entitled Sherlock, that takes place in a contemporary world where technology plays an important role in the detection of crime. This serial appears to see Sherlock in a more sociopathic light (do you agree?). In other ways, Sherlock’s the series sticks to certain conventions about Sherlock Holmes- talking about the dysfunction of his personal life versus his crime fighting life, his amazing cognitive prowess versus his ineptitude with personal relationships (with the exception of his friendship with Dr. Watson). These appear to be conventions that impact other depictions of other detectives, can you think of any? Frost? The characters in Law and Order? Poirot?

What are some of the conventions with regard to detective characters?

Are they, for instance, mostly male? Do they have lonely personal lives? Are they unusually perceptive and observant?

Jane Marple, an old, spinster is an interesting spin on the detective genre. This Agatha Christie creation has also been depicted on TV and you may be able to find clips on YouTube.

Meanwhile, the TV series House is suppose to be a spin off inspired by Sherlock Holmes. What kind of conventions does House defy when it comes to representing doctors?

Here are more representation issues for you to think about:

How are children represented today? How is this different from the manner in which they were represented in films like Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Chitty chitty bang bang?

How are superheroes represented? Male? Female? Animal superheroes? Animals who think they are superheroes?

How are old people represented?

How are Muslims represented on film and television?

How are you going about creating a representation of the characters in your films? Are you falling back on stereotypes when you deal with mentally ill characters, school principals and bullies? Or are you defying these conventions or stereotypes in any way?

Look back at the characterization exercise we did in the beginning of class- did you fall back on conventions or patterns when you were constructing these characters? Did you look at real life for inspiration or did you turn to media and what you knew about characters in books, films, TV etc? Falling back on patterns without realizing you’re doing it is what happens when you are new to media literacy. As you acquire greater literacy with media you will begin to analyze how things are always done versus how certain media texts introduce a spin on what we are used to and you will be able to question whether this spin or departure from the norm has been meaningful (i.e does it tell the audience something new) or successful (does the writer/director succeed in creating something new and meaningful?

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