Final Video Essay: ” Guess the Film From The Props!”

What can define a movie? Its story, its cinematography, its actors etc… What about props?

In my video essay I created a riddle game to demonstrate the importance that props can have in films. By using the Best Picture Oscar Winners films from The Schindler’s List to Twelve Years a Slave, I wanted to play on the common perception and understanding of the audience about films that have been awarded by the cinema industry. So this films are supposed to be a part of the common knowledge of people in terms of film culture. This video essay try to illustrate, by the game, how specific props can remind a film to a spectator. In other words, I try to show how props can be a part of the identity of a film and reflect the nature of it.

Now let’s play!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_V8y9y9elTFbzZzZGprOHpTTjQ/view?usp=sharing

Oral Presentation

“Guess the Film from the Props”

My video essay is focusing on how props can reflect the atmosphere of a film and/or summarize its main issues. I decided to create a little game. To play on the common perception and understanding of the audience about each film I  focused my riddle video only on the Best Picture Oscar Winners from The Schindler’s List to Twelve Years a Slave. My purpose is to demonstrate how props can be a part of the identity of a film.

To create my video essay, first I did various screenshots from each film to select the props. Then I used photoshop to extract all the props from their background. For some of them it was too difficult to use the shots from the movies.  Some props are used by a character or not well visible in the frame. So it’s hard to erase the background surrounding, that’s why I decided to use some images from the web.

Screenshot Photoshop

I also used photoshop to create the slides with props and posters. Then I put all the slides I already have to edit the video through Premiere Pro.

Screen Shot Premiere Pro Workshop

First I wanted something only visual, but finally it appears clearer to add a voice over in opening. So I used Audacity to record my introduction.

Screenshot Audacity

Now I really need some feedbacks. So after you’ve watched the video, I would like you to tell me if my purpose is enough clear.

  • What can I do to improve the video?
  • Do you think the props are relevant and reflect their respective films? Or should I change some of them? Are they enough visible?
  • What do you think about the musics? The editing?
  • How’s the pacing?

Final Project: Progress Report 3

Today was a busy day! First we listened to the presentations. Then I worked on photoshop to create my Introduction Title Card for the video essay. I also recorded the voice over and chose the song I’m going to use for the video.  I continued to create the various slides with the props and posters, but my work on photoshop is incomplete. I have to integrate all the props I had extracted from the films or from the web in the background I have created. For some props, it was more difficult to use screenshots. In fact, some props are not the focused element of a scene or they are used by a character. So it’s hard to erase the background surrounding the props, so I just selected images identical to them.

After that, it’s going to be, editing, editing and editing.

Final Project : Progress Report 2

Last week, I created the script for my video essay, but there are some gaps and incomplete portions in the script. This has happened because, for some of the films I’m working on, I still don’t know which props I’m going to use.

Anyway, here is my script. I willingly don’t put the specific props that I know I’m going to use. The order of the films is not the final one too, but give the idea of what the video is going to be. I do that in purpose because otherwise when you will watch the video essay you will guess too easily.


TITLE CARD

Guess the Film from the Props!

VOICE-OVER

« Hey! Did you ever think what Star Wars would be without lightsaber or The Wizard of Oz without the ruby slippers or Pulp Fiction without the « Bad Mother Fucker » wallet? I don’t think it’s an accident if some objects are inseparable from the film in which they appear.  Do you think props can reflect the plot or the atmosphere of a film? Let’s play a game called ‘Guess the Film from the Props!’ »

PART I – FILMS WITH ………. PROPS

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

Shakespeare in Love poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ……….

video transition

Lord of the Rings: The return of the King poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

Titanic poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

The Schindler’s List Poster

PART II – FILM WITH ……….. PROPS

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

Braveheart poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… +……… + ………

video transition

No Country for Old Man Poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

The English Patient Poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

………. + ……… + ……….

video transition

The Artist Poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

Forrest Gump poster

PART III – FILM WITH …………… PROPS

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……….. + ……… + ………

video transition

Argo poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

Crash poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

………+ ……… + ………

video transition

The King’s Speech poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

Chicago poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

The Hurt Locker poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

………. + ……… + ………

video transition

Twelve Years a Slave poster

PART IV – FILM WITH …………… PROPS

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

Million Dollar Baby poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

Gladiator poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

Slumdog Millionaire poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

American Beauty poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

The Departed poster

STILL OF THREE PROPS

……… + ……… + ………

video transition

A Beautiful Mind poster

TITLE CARD

‘Guess the Film from the Props!” by Lisa-Maria Benyahia

THE END


Today, apart from listening and commenting presentations of other students, I extracted all the film poster I’m going to use in the video. During today’s class time, I continued to screenshot the props I need from the films I’m analyzing. During the week I have to watch the last films in my list and select all the props  to begin the photoshop work and the editing.

Final Project: Progress Report 1

After making a project proposal, there is nothing better than get feedbacks from your Peer and your Teacher! I needed to clarify my project to know where I’m going with my idea. I was afraid that my purpose was not enough clear and I wasn’t sure of which type of elements I should use in the video. Now I know exactly what I’m going to do to create my riddle video essay about props in film. So today, I just exchanged with my classmates and the teacher about my project. I organized my ideas, and chose what kind of material I’m going to use (still pictures, screenshots, score). I also created a concrete plan and schedule to help me to organize my work progression in the following weeks. First step, watching the films I didn’t watch yet and then imagine a storyboard!

Final project proposal!

The « Hipster Kits » work  of the french filmmaker and graphic designer, Alizée Lafon appeals to me. She decided to illustrate popular TV shows ans Movies to their absolute minimum with daily objects.

Breaking Bad Kit - Alizée Lafon

Breaking Bad Kit – Alizée Lafon

Her work, make me wonder about the importance of objects in films. That’s why, for the Introduction to Multimedia course Final Video Essay, I want to focus on props in films. So my purpose will be to see how props can reflect the nature of a film and summarize its main issues. I will specifically focus on the Best Picture Oscar Winners from the past twenty years.

I would like that my video essay will be like a riddle game. I think about using graphic pictures of one or three specific props from each movie, and presented them in chronological order from 1990 to 2014. Each picture of the props will be following by an extract of a scene from the movie that the props depict. Maybe it will be something like this:

prop + prop + prop=

video transition

scene of the movie

I’m not planing to add voice over, because I would like something more visual. My purpose is to see how props can illustrate the main theme of a film, so I think my video has to be visual, without any voice over. Moreover, using only pictures and extract of movies will allow me to play on the common perception and understanding of the audience about each film. So I think my audience can be as well the average spectator as the film lover.

To create this video essay, I will use an video editing program and probably a photo editing software such as Photoshop, but I will need to work on it because I’m not really familiar with it. So any help or feedback are welcome! Especially about the comprehension and the construction of my video essay.

Movie analysis: Bye Bye sheet of paper and Hello video essay!

“Help to see films differently and produce quality podcasts, analysis video and full length commentaries” Daniel Foley

This is exactly what this remarkable video essay does. Brief, clear and relevant, this about 4min video essay offers an analysis of the opening shot of Steve McQueen’s Shame.

First, this essay is a production of Daniel Foley. He is a films lover and he decided to make videos of his interpretations of famous movies to discuss with other passionates. His first videos met with success so he created his own website MUST SEE FILMS, and posts regularly new videos analysis.

  http://mustseefilmspodcast.com

When I watched this particular video essay, Shame ‘opening shot’ – Film analysis, I was really impressed by the simplicity of the montage and the efficiency of the analysis. It’s very interesting, how he focuses only on the opening shot to reveal the issues of the entire film.

Since the beginning, he introduces what his video is going to talk about, using a screenshot and the score from Shame which come to illustrate his voice-over comments.

Shame

The analysis progresses in three times. Each times is composed of a different argument to explain how this opening scene works. The first part use the extract from the movie and focused on the colors and the framing composition. Daniel Foley show us, how the blue color and the off-centered framing of the shot reveals the emptiness and the secret atmosphere which prevail in the film.

Shame

The second argument explain how the overhead camera position combine with the introduction of the title enhance the main issue of the film. Foley uses a screenshot from the end of Taxi Driver to explain how the camera position convey a judgement position from the audience. Moreover, he interprets each details of the scene, from the moment when the main character gets up from the bed to the exposure of the title as a metaphorical representation of what is going to happen to this sex addict character, in order to demonstrate how the director gives « an almost prologue to the entire film ».

Capture d’écran 2014-10-15 à 23.46.33

The last part of the video is more general. It uses shots from two others films, The Shining and The Graduate to demonstrate how other directors show a multiple levels of information in their shots to reveal the main issue of their characters. For example, the shot from The Graduate convey the idea of a naive young man trapping as a prey by Mrs Robinson consider as a predator.

The Graduate

I think the strength of Foley’s analysis is how he succeed to demonstrate how the entire conflict and themes of Shame are summarized in a single shot, using a simple editing of the extract, some screenshots, a voice-over and the music. This video essay is modeled on its subject, a smooth form and a lot of contents!

So refreshing and more effective than the traditional paper analysis!

Dissecting “Duet”

First group project! So, we took a deeper look into Glen Keane’s short film, Duet, creating a narrative to coexist with the film that explains how we percieved the developement of the characters. From a broad point of view, we analyzed the developments undergone by our characters, Mia and Tosh, as they go from babies with little interest in one another to adults in a loving relationship in under four minutes.

At first, Mia is clearly interested in Tosh. Early on, she stares at him with affection while he doesn’t seem at all attached to her. As a young girl, she trips and falls into a bush while staring at him, while he doesn’t seem to care and simply goes on exploring. This is juxtaposed with their meeting later on in the film, during which she trips and falls and Tosh catches her. Not only does this contrast represent Tosh’s newfound love for Mia, but it also represents his growth and maturity that he lacked as a boy. At that moment, it becomes clear that they will be together.

 

Throughout the film, we touch on some symbols that add layers in helping us understand Mia and Tosh. The dog, which persistently appears throughout the film, represents the youth of the characters, as they often give the dog more attention than they do each other. Another symbol that we examined was the presence of birds. Their most powerful utilization comes when Mia and Tosh are loving adults, as free as birds. Mia, dancing freely, turns into a flock of birds, which quickly turns into Mia and Tosh embracing one another at last. In short, the dog represents childhood while the birds represent adulthood.

 

Some lasting images and symbols that Keane leaves us with are Tosh, Mia, and the dog atop a lone rock. Tosh and Mia, now loving adults, stand unified and mature, but the presence of the dog is used to show that there are still remnants of their childhood that are still with them. The very last scene of the trio fading into the distance, kept together by the glow of a star, is representative of their small, bright story within a much larger sea of stories. Every person has had a different life story and experience, and Duet reminds us of that in the end.


Transcript:

In response to Glen Keane’s short animated film, Duet, we will take a deeper look at the journey that the boy and girl go on and how it all leads to their eventual connection. When we looked into the video more, we learned that the boy and the girl that we meet in this short film are named Mia and Tosh

Here, when the baby girl, Mia is born, she grows from conception to a baby. Then soon after she first meets the boy, Tosh. Tosh crawls by Mia and doesn’t think anything of her, but Mia stares at him and it seems that he means something to her. She is then distracted by the dog, and this shows the childish joy of being young. The dog then runs off with Tosh and they go exploring into new ground together.

Mia’s starting to have aspirations for the future, being a dancer, as she heads off in the opposite direction as Tosh. This begins the recurring theme of them taking separate paths but coming together in the end. It doesn’t seem forced into the film, it just naturally happens.

Grown up more, she then sees Tosh again and is clearly infatuated with him. Tosh, on the other hand, seems to be more focused on adventure, as most young boys are. He runs away looking for adventure, leaving his dog behind, and then climbs into the tree. Up in the tree, he finally sees the girl when he’s free from distraction. He pauses on a branch and finds himself staring at Mia who is a few branches higher, staring back at him. For the first time, we see Tosh match the interest in Mia that she showed in him. Mia is the first to break the stare as she dances off the branch enticing Tosh to follow her. Mia leaps from the tree, twirling joyfully into a sea of water. As she smiles, dances, and grows, she lands in a park no longer an adolescent.

We haven’t seen Tosh since the gaze in the tree, leaving us unaware of if he will pursue Mia. When she falls and Tosh catches him, we become sure that the two will try to be together. For the first time, when the dog tries to pull away Tosh, he resists and tries to stay with her.

They go onto pursue their dreams and do what they like to do. Mia dances and becomes a professional in her adult life, and Tosh goes on a daring adventure. He leaves his dog, representing his childhood, behind as shifts his focus towards Mia and adulthood. He’s no A bird flies from Tosh to Mia, symbolizing freedom. Mia continues dancing, and turns into a flock of birds, once again symbolizing freedom. The birds turn into them embracing one another, representing their freedom to be together. The camera circles them as they kiss and are on what seems to be the peak of a mountain. They shrink into the distance and become a star, showing that there are many other stories like this in the world. Despite this, they shine the brightest.

A “Duet”, a screenshot

"Duet", Glen Keane

“Duet”, Glen Keane

This screenshot from Glen Keane’s Duet condenses exactly all the aspects of the short film that marked me. A limited colors palette which soft blue predominance. Curve lines. A fluid and uncluttered style. Duet is like a sketch, a return to the basis of animation roots. There is no dialogues, just music and lines. In my opinion, all this aspects allow to focus on the movement.  That’s why I chose this screenshot of Mia, the main character, dancing.

I really liked this sreenshot, especially because of its minimalistic style. First time I watched this dance scene, I immediately thought about the pink elephants parade in Dumbo! Especially the moment when two elephants are dancing and sliding with a dark background.

The years spent as a Disney Studio animator has certainly influenced Keane’s style. That’s why, it reminds me others movies like Fantasia or The Silly Symphony, or maybe it’s because, the dance is very central in Duet.  Life is like a ballet and this is the dance of two characters lifeline. The pencil lines draw perfectly the ballerina doing her last pirouette of this Duet before she and he become one!