Friday, December 7, 2012

What I've learned in TCF 312

TThis has been my favorite class in TCF thus far. I think because I got a much better understanding of workflow, what makes a success production, the importance of knowing what goes on a set, how to get a certain look and what equipment will give you such look. I see how lighting ultimately gives you a good shot or a bad shot. I understand how to incorporate lights as far as color temperatures, kinos, arris, diffusors, cookies, etc. Lights can make a scene look realistic, 3-dimensional and set the mood. I learned about the various cameras, their limitations and their specifications. I always thought that when a person is shoot a film, they use the same camera but as I learned in this course, you can’t always use a DSLR when you’re trying to zoom, or you can use an HDV is you want a shallow depth of field. I learned that like Shane, I like to use DSLR. I think they produce cinematic and beautiful shots that I want to incorporate in my future films. I learned the importance of knowing things like aperture, ISO, ND filters, shutter speed, etc, because without the technical parts taking care of, your shots could consequently be effected by poor quality. I learned the importance of each person’s job on a shoot. Though I only had about 8 people assisting me on he the Delinquency shoot, I see how there are so many positions that contribute to the success of a production. For instance, I wish we had a person checking our actors lines and positioning for editing purposes. Have a good relationship with you crew is another thing I gathered as a 312 student. Like any work space, having a good relationship with your crew is critical to a success piece and I’m glad that I was able to develop good relationships with people I can work with in the future. I found out what I think I would be most successful at and that's directing. I feel like the director, as the visionary and guideline for the mise-en-scene of a film, serves as the leader and I think I am a natural born leader.

Scene Assignment Reflection: "Delinquency"

I learned that when I want to focus and organize my ADHD thoughts, I can! I was very impressed with how all my prior work made the shoot go by rather swiftly. In addition to me having preplanned what I wanted to shoot and capture, I had arranged to have my crew fed and happy and I think that kinda gave a positive undertone to the day's work. I think I am good at brainstorming creative ideas and giving direction. I have experience acting and now of course, filming and I think I articulate a vision well so directing might be my calling but I'm not limited to that notion. I want to be able to speak film language like my second language. I wanna know terms, camera operation, lighting techniques and so on so that I can be competitive in a field that millions of people are pursuing. Having this knowledge will no only make me marketable but help me produce work that shows my skills set and creative vision. I think I crew work well together. The actors and crew got along really well and at some points I had to step in and keep everyone on task. The DP and I did not exercise good communication skills, which was evident in the final product but regardless each experience teaches you something and now I know the importance of said relationship

GOOD Reels

I think a well composed, well thought out and fashioned for whatever position a videogrpaher, editor, graphic designer, director, etc., is applying for. I think clips that show a variety of work a person can do. In a industry that is rapidly changing and requiring less people for more things, I think it is critical to have a good understanding of how to do everything. Here are some reels I thought were done really well: "> ">

Dorothy Dandridge

For my Mass Communication History class, I had to write a 20 page paper about a subject of my choice. I chose to compare 1950's actresses Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy Dandridge. As a practitioner of film, I found it interesting that cinema portrayed the two equally talented women very differently during the height of the conservative, religious, anti-communist, and segregated 50's. I had become interested in this subject because I noticed how Marilyn Monroe has transcended the limits of her time and become a billion dollar image that is plastered on wallpapers, posters, fashion, etc. I especially noticed it in the black community that young girls idolize this woman who didn't even look like them. I learned about Dorothy Dandridge after watching Introducing Dorothy Dandridge starring Halle Berry, a couple of years ago. Halle Berry did a phenomenuel job portraying the 1950's actress who got her big break in the all black opera Carmen Jones. During an era that was starting to embrace sexuality in its cultural and vaguely accepting black people as human beings, the high-spirited, pretty and sensual Dandridge had found success as a black woman in Hollywood. Though her roles were stereotypical and strategically executed to give her sex appeal, Dorothy was a beautiful black face on a big screen when African Americans were subject to roles as slaves or servants. While we idolize Marilyn Monroe, who in her own respect was stereotyped as a sexy dumb blonde in the 50's, I think we should also include a place for Dorothy. She paved the way for black actresses and black filmmakers in general because she, against all odds, endured a generation who wasn't ready for her (as seen in the TAN movie posters with Harry Belafonte) and reached a stardom that few people like her did.

Camera Selection

For my scene assignment, I chose the T2i, which is my fellow classmate's personal DSLR. I like the cinematic look the DSLR gives so I was comfortable using this particular camera when it was suggested for class equipment distribution purposes. I think the cinematic style in a production makes it more realistic and creditable and because my scenario is serious and dramatic so I think using a camera the gives this look helps the tone of the story. DSLRs are able to give a scene a shallow depth of field and uses really awesome lenses, however it requires a lot of moving because it isn't able to zoom in, small LCD monitor on camera which makes it hard to see exactly what you're filming and you must capture something white in order to white balance it. EX3, HDV, Go Pro as well as the DSLRs have CMOS sensors which prevent the jello effect for action shots. HDV have a lower number LUX and therefore can film will in lower light. You can also use lenses with these cameras which are good with natural color. However, the workflow is difficult because you must use a capture cam.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My New Love! DSLR!

I have always had a thing for photographs! Maybe it has something to do with my mother's longtime boyfriend of 8 years who was a professional photographer. Therefore, because the DSLR can double as photo taking machine and a video capturing machine, I've developed a new love for it. I aspire to use it in my scene assignment! I've learned that it has the ability to rack focus, which I really wanna use for my intense moments! It gives a quality cinematic look that I adore. The DSLR uses interchangeable lenses (which reminds me of the Sony's filters) and a sensor that is larger that gives it that higher quality. I also like how it tolerate low-light levels better. My film is dark and eery so I think it would work well with my film. Here are some Pros and Cons of the DSLR, that I've reviewed from" Pros: 1. Greater lens versatility. 2. Almost always better image quality 3. Better performance. 4. Usually a more functional "shooter's" design. 5. Greater flexibility. Cons: 1. Generally bigger and heavier. 2. Increased complexity 3. Higher prices. 4. Generally inconvenient to use the LCD for framing. ( I plan on using an adapter to connect the camera to my laptop so my DP and I can monitor our shots.) I was curious to find out what feature films where shot with DSLR and here is a list of what I've discovered: ROAD TO NOWHERE Shot with: Canon 5DmkII Trailer: Road to Nowhere - YouTube PERCEPTION Shot with: Canon 7D FANTASTIC MR. FOX Shot with: Nikon D3 IMDb: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) - IMDb DESPERATA Shot with: Nikon D90 Official website: Desperata - official homepage of the feature film ACT OF VALOR Shot with: Canon 5DmkII, Canon 7D, Canon 1D Trailer: Act Of Valor (2012) Official Trailer - HD Movie - Navy SEALS - YouTube ALÉM DE TI Shot with: Canon T2i Official Facebook:

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Can't Wait to Use Dollies!!! Eeek!

Blogger's Note: All of my dolly examples are used effective!
I beginning my blog with this new commercial from Chanel's Fragrance Number 5. Brad Pitt is still, he recites some poem or monologue, it's in black and white and the camera moves closer to him in for a Character Dolly or Push In. This highly attractive man is a sight for sore eyes and I had no problem with the camera's steadily approaching him. My heart leaped at the cutaway of a wide close up of his beautifully aging face (MELT!!!). His words are intense and thoughtful. You're drawn to whatever it is that this handsome man is saying and the camera's movement towards him exemplifies this longing you have to understand.
Across the Universe has to be one of my all time favorite movies. For a generation that validly hold some type of regard for The Beatles, this movie gave them an opportunity to get lost in the magic that decades of fans where introduce to during their time. The scene I picked has a spin look at about :20 into it. The cheerleader singing has a desire to be with an unidentified person that she hasn't adequately expressed for a reason that is understood later in the scene. She is singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand," which makes for a sad sort of undertone and as the spin away occurs, you see the distance between her and her mysterious crush. As it spins around, you get to see the emotion on the singers face as see stares at her love from afar.
My next chose comes from the movie Accidents Happens. The link I've provided is only a teaser. I could not find the clip I wanted on line. Anyway, pay attention to :00-:05 as the camera tilts down into the scene. In the movie of course, it continues this motion until it introduces the characters but this teaser does not. I liked this scene because it offers a new way to present an establishing shot. Instead of simply holding the camera on the location for whatever seconds, it "enters" the scene as we, the viewers, kind of do so as well.
My next scene is from the 2006 Spanish movie Pan's Labyrinth. This is one of my favorite movies as well. It tells the story of a girl growing up with a stepfather who has the demeanor and heart of Hitler. She escape her troubling situation by making up wonderful stories that come true in her real life. I chose the scene where she is introduce to a mystical garden leading to a labyrinth behind her new home. At about 1:36 there is an example of a fly over. The garden has been shaped into a maze so it is effective that the director chose to do a fly over as we follower our main character through the maze.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Color Purple Scene Analysis #6

The scene begins with a sudden long pan left to right.
Albert enters the scene by throwing a suitcase of Nettie's and it's content off his front porch. The camera quickly follows his movement until he reaches Nettie and Cecile, whose arms are locked around each other desperately trying to stay together. The way he abruptly enters the scene adds a sense of surprise that the two girls may have felt when they discovered what Albert intended to do. The pan leads to the joint Cecile and Nettie as Albert forcefully tries to split the two.
A long shot of all three characters on the porch is reduced to just a medium closeup 3/4 frontal on a negative angle to show the emotion in the two girls. This shot allows for the audience to see their embrace as well as their anxiety and anguish. The next scene is another wide shot with a long pan that follows Albert dragging Nettie out of his house. They fall in a small pool of mud at the end of the porch's steps in the process.
They are covered in mud as they land and Nettie tries to escape Albert's grip but is once again caught. As he continues to throw her out, he drags her through the mud and I'm reminded of the saying that suggest speaking unfavorably of a person. In this scene he embodies behaving unfavorably towards someone. The next shot is an extreme wide shot that use the branch tree house in the foreground as the background is occupied by the background for a while, then the girls dash from the background to the foreground as the camera pans into another frontal 3/4.
Like the children in the scene that follow all the commotion, the pan allows the audience to become a part of the scene as they watch how each moment unfolds. Then there is a medium close up of Albert as his forces Nettie's hands of the side of the tree house. We follow him down as he pounds her hands off the tree post. This gives way to his cruel calculate behavior that cause him to go to unimaginable measure to rid his life of the innocent Nettie. Albert finally accomplishes putting Nettie out.
The scene that shows him pushing her out of his gate is shot at a low angle and then as Nettie hits the grown, the camera follows until it locks on a close-up of Nettie in the dirt. The Series of pans that brought us to this point seem like the opener for how mean Albert is. Nettie leaving was the turning point in Cecile's life, and her being thrown out in such a matter creates a uneasiness in the audience's view of Albert. The last couple of scenes show Nettie leaving Albert's property for good.
It starts off with a medium close-up facing Albert holding Cecile back and pushing Nettie away. Then it transitions to a 3/4 positive shot of Albert pushing Nettie away, to an over the shot facing Nettie who has given up trying to get to her sister again. Albert holds us a strong fist that causes Nettie to give up her fight. This shows a power in Albert. This power is made more evident with another low angle shot behind Nettie that makes Albert the subject of the shot, gives them authority and demeans Nettie standing before. Him The lighting seemed merely natural sunlight from an overcast day. The characters live on a farm and I think the dull lighting goes well with the location. When the scenes are on the white porch, the light seems to be a tad bit brighter. As the scene moves onto the dirt road where low angle shots reveal a purplish pinkish sky that covers the sun with clouds, the scene has a orangish darken feel to it. This change in scenry and light concludes the sad segment of the movie well. The purple tone in the sky that's shown from Albert's high angle shots is a nice little additive. The color purple has be theorized as being "represent the future, the imagination and dreams, while spiritually calming the emotions" (Empower yourself with color psychology, "The Color Purple and The Color Violent") but in this scene, doesn't correlate at all with this idea. This irony made this scene stand out to me and thus, I did it for my assignment!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Portrait of a Place: "Walking Down The Street!"

Portrait of a Place from Kyerra Dexter on Vimeo.

Who says Tuscaloosa's downtown isn't a lively and exciting place? It's filled with great restaurants and businesses and students, locals and visitors can be found enjoying the scene on any given day. This short film shows all of the wonderful things Greensboro and 6th Street has to offer. It encourages the viewers to visit the location and indulge in the food, companies and scene!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Post #5 Reflections

TCF 312 has helped me remember the skills I've learned in TCF 201 and it has expended my cinematography knowledge as well. It has given me an opportunity to see what filming something is like with the lighting exercises we've done, which shows how hard it is to light a scene for a particular look, and with Dr. Raimist constantly asking us questions that challenge our memory. Asking what lone C-stands are called for instance or what words to use for certain directions are some of the questions that get our baby film brains going. Working on sets help me learn terminology better and I am growing more comfortable with being on location.  So far my strengths have been responding to directions. I've worked as grips for both of our onset exercises and when I am told to jump, I jump and fairly quickly I might add. I am eager to be a DP because that seems to be the most challenging job thus far. Creating a look based off of what a director envisions. I anticipate having this position because it allows me direct people to create something that has an awesome mise en scene.  I aspire to do this as a career so I look forward to practicing it and whether or not DP is truly what I want to do. Being given that opportunity couple with the activities I have done so far in this class, as united to become a rewarding experience for me and I look forward to learning and doing more as the year progresses.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blog #4

The City at Night. I choose this because often times taking pictures at night can be hard to do because small lighting can cast shadows over things that make up the scene, however in this photo, the street lights and building lights work together to make an easily identifiable scene. It’s taken from an angle near the edge of a building so I go t the feeling that was walking into the scene and stopped to admire city that illuminates a darken sky.

Mountain Landscape. I am a sucker for the natural world. I think it’s beautifully fascinating with it’s rich greens, glorious blues, fluffy whites, etc.  In this photo the photographer obviously used the lighting from the sun to capture this mountainous scene. It’s taken at an angle on a hill near a cottage like home and the position allows the photographer to look down and across the magnificent landscape that takes my breath away. Glorious! I wonder if he or she used some type of filter to make the colors so vivid or some kind of editing once the pictures were developed or uploaded. Whatever the method, this happens to be one of my favorite pictures thus far. It makes me want to go there, sit on top of the hill and watch the day turn into night.

The Tree.  My next photography is a picture of a tree with a falling sun shining through the branches and leaves. If you haven’t notice yet, I’m choosing this geological collection of pictures to analyze but anyway, I like this picture because of the timing. It seems like dusk is approaching and the photographer either planned this or it just happened but everything works.  He or see also used the sun to light the photo and this light has brownish glow about it as the rays with different shades running down each, create lines of light piercing the holes in the tree. It is almost magical the way it makes the tree turn into a shadow that is manipulated by the glares around it. I love it. I think about the Lion King for some strange reason even though this tree is nothing like the African ones drawn in the film! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Blog Post #3

I can remember going to the movies as a little girl, watching whatever Disney film that premiered and leaving the movies captivated like I was Mulan, Princess Jasmine, Snow White or Simba.  I developed a fondness for the cinemas ability to distract me from reality and engulf me in its magic, entertainment and craft. As I got older, I found myself addicted to every movie channel on my satellite lineup and when I discovered behind the scenes shows that detailed all the elements that made a movie successful, I found my calling.
“I want to be a filmmaker!” I told my mother.
“A filmmaker,” she said reluctantly.  Her reaction frightened me and her long pause didn’t make my emotions calmer. “Well,” she finally said as she loosen the muscles in her face, “you better be good damn filmmaker if you’re going to buy me a house. Spike Lee, Juile Dash, Antoine Fuqua and Gina Prince-Bythewood should be your inspiration!” With the approval from my mother, I pursued Telecommunications and film at UA with a media production track. I tried to enroll in this TCF 312 class countless times and received a lot of rejection but since I finally received the override, I hope to learn the art of cinematography. I want to make films that are beautiful, crisp, well crafted and entertaining. I believe this knowledge will help my ultimate goal of being a filmmaker that is worthy of being listed amongst the Lees, Dashs, Fuquas and Prince-Bythewoods. I want to create films that give my viewers the same impression I had leaving those Disney movies as a child and I want to, like my mama said, buy her a house with the revenue I get from executing this goal. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Aesthetics: 5

1. The circus scene.  Big Fish (2003) was directed by Tim Burton and written by John August. The story is based on the book by Daniel Wallace and it follows a son trying to uncover the truth about his dying father by reliving the stories and myths he told about his life. The father's elaborate stories include witches, giants, mysterious towns, epic adventures and much more. When he talks about how he met his wife, he recalls a trip to the circus where he caught sight of her, fell in love instantly and time stopped so he could greet her. The first picture is the young father, our main character, walking across a busy crowd to the woman in the second picture. I chose this particular scene because I think Burton did an excellent drop of poetically conveying the idea of love at first sight by freezing time for everyone but the main character, who walks to his love interest and moves frozen things, such as the hula hoop, out of his way in the process. He also puts this bright white light on the main character's destination which makes her seem even more beautiful and glorious. I believe the audience watches this scene and shares the zealousness of the main character to reach his true love.

2. 2012 Music Video, "I Was Here" by Beyonce. It was filmed in front of a live audience at the UN General Assembly for World Humanitarian Day in General Assembly Hall, United Nations, NY and was co-directed by Kenzo Digital and Sophie Muller. The song describes a desire to be remembered once an individual has passed away. Beyonce uses the song to encourage society to help others around the world. The second verse of the song describes her goal perfectly:

"...And know that I meant something in somebody's life
The hearts I have touched, 
Will be the proof that I leave
That I made a difference
And this world will see..."

More lyrics:

 I chose this shot from the video because the graphics behind her show a beautiful display of the cosmos. Throughout the video, there are other images of scenes from the world but this one caught my attention because I am very fascinated with our galaxy and I believe, ultimately, we were created for some unclear spectacular reason that contributes to the well-being of all that we see around us. The world is mysterious and space is even more mind bottling and humans only know so much. Therefore, I agree with Beyonce's efforts because like I ended up existing in this perfect and wondrous Milky Way of life, so has another human being and the time I'm allotted on this earth is my opportunity to help my fellow man. It would be even better if my life was a legacy to this perspective. 

3. Screenshot of the clearly stated YouTube video "Cities at Night, an Orbital Tour Around the World." The video by Don Pettiti is a part of his Saturday Morning Science program and comes from the Expedition 6 to the International Space Station. He mentions that the display of lights at night illuminates the human presence all around the globe. The lights also help identify what part of the world it comes from by different colors, the location of the lights and what forms the lights make. For instance, Japan shows a bluish greenish color, the road to Meca in Saudia Arabia is traced by rivers of lights and in most US cities, gridlines show westernization. I chose to take a screenshot of Las Vegas which is the brightest place on earth at night. I think anyone would find this as interesting as I did because going through our hectic lives on earth, we seldom take the moment to look up at the amazing sky over us. And with little attention being given to such thing, we rarely consider what we look like from beyond the hemisphere. This visionary, I believe, is revolutionary because it challenges us to consider ourselves in a different light. Literally!    

4. Hot Candle Wax from the movie Powder Blue (2009). Directed and Written by Timonth Linh Bui, the movie follows the lives of a mortician, an ex-con, a suicidal widower ex-priest and a stripper, Rose-Johny, pictured above. Rose-Johny is addicted to cocaine, poor, lonely and has a son in a coma. Her father passed away years before the movie takes place but she often finds time to communicate with him in her mind. She tries desperately to find a companion but has trouble getting men to like her. She is struggling to pay her son's doctor's bill and is constantly pressured by the strip club owner to prostitute for more money. In this scene, she performs an extremely erotic dance in a steamy red lightening and concludes by pouring hot candle wax down her naked back. I chose this because I believe this scene illustrates the pain that she experiences through most of the movie. Nakedness reminds me of vulnerability, the red brings cautionary emotions, and the wax is self-inflicted pain. Besides her son's condition and the death of her father, most of  the misfortune she is subject to is of her own doing. She makes herself vulnerable, she doesn't take heed to the mistakes she makes that can serve as warnings, and she endures the pain of both of these components for a living--stripping.

5. Tara the Vamp. HBO's True Blood, created and produced by Alan Ball, follows the lives of the supernatural world and the people that live in it. It is based of the books The Southern Vampire Mysterious series and centers around a seductive, hothead fairly named Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie's best friend, Tara Thornton, who has had many issues that made her an unforgiving, cranky and quick tempered person, is forced to become a vampire in season 5. At first she is tortured by her new identity and even tries to kill herself by using solar power to burn to death (Vampires roast in the sunlight) but eventually, she adapts to the life of a vampire and channels all that meanness she once own in her fangs. I chose this clip from the show because it shows Tara kind of emerging out of the dark and the attention is drawn to her pearly white fangs. Her character prior to becoming the blood-sucking, nightcrawler seems to be embodied in the transformation she experiences. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

10 Things About Queen Kyerra

1. I enjoy listening to music genres like Hip-hop, Rock, R&B, Country, Pop and World Music
2. My mom was in labor with me for 49 hours and when she finally had me, a crowd of people in the waiting room cheered for my arrival
3. I am a Student Recruiter for the university! 
4. I've been working on seven screenplays and haven't completed but one
5. I am an excellent dancer.
6. I own a raggedy Honda Accord that was made when I was six years old.
7. I squat 280lbs
8. My favorite place to be is a place where I can walk everywhere and never use my car. 
9. I secretly wanna be an NFL player. 
10. My best friend is in Georgia and I tried to teleport her back here when I was drunk two weeks ago.