Digital Post-Cinema: Perfect CG game film

Written by Kang Yuan

Talk about CG film, we cannot ignore Japan, but because the cost of CG film is too high, that cause the CG film product is very less. Today I’m talking about the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005), this opus has lots of highlight points, such as its fidelity, role’s every details. Some fans even thought that’s not CG film but real people are acting.

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I think the most important thing of CG film technology is to strive for a sense of reality. If a CG film want to be good or in order to become a classic one, its reality cannot just the character’s appearance, but also need to character role’s facial expressions to express the inner feelings of the characters.

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The final battle scenes played very dazzling, very shocked, role’s movement is also very smooth and fast, especially valuable in the fast-paced fight, the unbelievable point is it can be a good performance of the hair and clothes fabric physical flutter in the fast-paced fight. It’s hard to imagine how much time this fight has been played. This is the most exciting CG film I have ever seen as so far, its fighting scenes can get the best marks in all CG films.

Reference:

Xiaokeai1042925, 2008, The best CG film, the highest level in tech

http://movie.mtime.com/15713/reviews/1269833.html

Which one is better?

https://www.zhihu.com/question/51267846

Will Smith, 2006, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

https://www.gamefaqs.com/PSP/920785-final-fantasy-vii-advent-children/reviews/98211

Textual and contextual factors of moving images

By YU TIAN

There is an interrelationship between textual and contextual or structural factors that is made up of moving image aesthetic reception, media, and experience. Therefore, films such as Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Inception, and Avatar are all examples of how digital visual influences have changed filmmaking in Hollywood. As such, it can be argued that such digital transformation in the textual and contextual or structural factors marks a radical break with the cinematic tradition, indicating the loss of serious, realistic movies for real spectacles that are computer-generated (Prince, 2011).

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Figure shows an advanced video imaging technology, portraying a global front position of innovative concepts of design that has brought together many senior professional technicians.

In regards to the moving image practices, the digital revolution in the recent years has strengthened the major transformations of the moving images practices. This is achieved whereby the computer has been privileged as not just the facilitator of processes engaged in establishing the works of the moving pictures, but producing the moving images as well (Wells and Hardstaff, 2008).

The moving image extends the existing body of work by presenting a resource that is made up of theory, visual styles, color technology, and the practices of particular filmmakers. There is also the added element of color film restoration to bring up the variety of new perspectives. Aesthetic is also the other image that is connected to design and color form in the moving picture (Brown, Street, and Watkins, 2013).

Prince, S., (2011). Digital visual effects in cinema: The seduction of reality. Rutgers University Press.

Wells, P. and Hardstaff, J., (2008). Re-imagining animation: The changing face of the moving image. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Brown, S., Street, S. and Watkins, L. eds., (2013). Color and the moving image: history, theory, aesthetics, archive. Routledge.

Confessions as Impure Cinema

Bazin wrote that impure cinema situates at the intersection of multiple media from literature, theatre and painting, to photography, video and synthetic imagery. Apart from David Lych, there are many other filmmakers producing ‘impure cinema’, such as Tetsuya Nakashima from Japan. Interestingly, the first time I heard about him was a critisize from my friend complaining Confessions (2010) like a commercial rather than a film.

Well, it is true that Tetsuya Nakashima filmed commercials before he started filming. However I will see him more as a visual artist since all his works are very distinct. Here is some commercial directed by him.

 Therefore there is no surprise that Confessions (2010) is like this.

Based upon a novel and dealing with themes of bullying, revenge and savage murder, the film is an exceptionally cruel affair, all the more so thanks to Nakashima’s typically idiosyncratic approach and gorgeous visuals.The film is packed with gorgeously overblown imagery that with a use of dark and light, and more importantly of dull grey that immaculately fits its themes- revenge. (Mudge, 2010)

Confessions (2010) can be seen as not we learn in class as ‘pure’ cinema but a film including the expression of contemporary media technology as well as experimental musical scale, involving Radiohead and Japanese experimental rock band Boris, and The XX, which at times does take it into music video territory. Though the overall effect is a multi layered assault on the senses, at times Nakashima may well go too far for some viewers like my friend. 

As we are now in the era of post-cinema, ‘impure’ films are expected to immerse us into innovative landscapes of film.

References

Mudge, J. (2010). Confessions (2010) Movie Review | BeyondHollywood.com. [online] Beyondhollywood.com. Available at: http://www.beyondhollywood.com/confessions-2010-movie-review/ [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

Post-cinema as game: Edge of Tomorrow

“In today’s cinema of interactions the photographic ontology of classical cinema gives way to a digital ontology where the future, not the past, is the object of mediation—where the photographic basis of film and its remediation of the past gives way to the premediation of the future more characteristic of video games and other digital mediation and networking” (Shane Denson, Julia Leyda, 2016, P70).

In the global, ACG cultural integration trend intensified, animation, games and movies often adapted to each other, the distance between games and movies have been closer. In post-cinema era, though development of digital technologies, some films feel like game. When audiences finish a film, it likes completing a game.EDGE OF TOMORROW

Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 American military science fiction film. In the film, Tom Cruise as the main character Cage-a military speaker who has no real experience. Cage likes the most of rookie hero RPG players played in a strange world to explore and fight. In the road leading to the final BOSS, he was knocked down and killed again and again. And, in the film, Cage can archive his process. When he died, he can read his previous archive and keep going. It’s much like playing games. In this infinite reincarnation,he accumulated experience, improved the level and increased the proficiency to defeat the BOSS and successfully saved the heroine.

As a science fiction business blockbusters, the film is full of a large number of real-world effects and the grand war scenes which can pleasant audience’ eyes. In the beach landing war, the plot of Cage and alien thrilling gun battle can be found the similar  plot in numerous shooting games. The audience will be immersive.

written by Muchen Ren

References:

Shane Denson, Julia Leyda (2016). POST-CINEMA: Theorizing 21st-century film. United Kingdom: REFRAME Books.

Where does continuity stand?

Ever since American film theorist David Bordwell stated the idea of “Intensified Continuity“, filmmakers have followed the rule of intensified continuity editting for nearly one hundred years. Things have changed when Denson and Leyda(2016) defined post-continuity as “how … 21st-century media help to shape and reflect new forms of sensibility”.

Steven Shaviro’s lecture video gives the differences between ‘continuity’ and ‘post-continuity’ in respect of narrative, structure, spacetime, causality as well as perception. This reminds me of a video called Shanghai Forever which I think resembles the idea of post-continuity in some degree.

The director JT Singh, according to the video, is an urbanist and media artist. In stead of shooting landmarks or tourist area, Shanghai Forever emphasizes people and things about life, which generates a whole new city symphony.

Alongside the unique representation, this short video was filmed in a dispersed way. There’s only a glimpse of shots; viewers won’t feel Euclidean spacetime like that was applied in most classical Hollywood films; the continuity is incidential, connected by scattered images from the same city. Audience’s sensation towards this film is just like they state themselves, “with JT’s riveting visual storytelling, viewers experience a series of impressions around historic shikkumen neighbourhoods, which foster a network of real-life experiences, memories, and encounters with locals, which are the tender heart keeping the city alive and charming to live in. “(JT, 2016)
So where does continuity stands? If I take this video as an example of post-continuity, the continuity stands as we understand what this video is about. I’ll finish with a quote from The Lumiere Galaxy.

We recognize identity based on difference. In this way, we allow cinema to continue to live. It is cinema precisely because it asks us to recognize it on the basis of how it diverges from what went before.(Casetti, 2015)

References:

Denson, S. and Leyda, J. (2016). Post-cinema. 1st ed.

CML – 19 – Steven Shaviro: Post-Continuity and Post-Irony: The New Audiovisual Regime. (2014). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY7knRMF2NI [Accessed 18 Mar. 2017].

Casetti, F. (2015). The Lumiere Galaxy: 7 Key Words for the Cinema to Come. pp.211

Written by Huiyuan Zhou

“I’m still here”: travel in a (fake) documentary

The documentary cinema is by definition the most faithful portrait of reality. However, the fiction is inherent to the filmic image and cannot exist without her. So, what is the line between true and false?

We can say that is a very thin line, where there is also the genre of the mockumentaries. But what is the mockumentary? The fake documentary or mockumentary (salad word formed by the words “to make” and documentary), is a film and television genre in which fictitious and fantasy events are presented as real through the artifice of the documentary language. The purpose of the use of the mockumentary may be to add dramatic intensity and facilitate the involvement of the viewer. Alternatively, it can be to make people think on the relationship between truth and fiction in contemporary communication. In some cases it may be just purely humorous.

I’m Still here “shows” a year and a half of Joaquin Phoenix’s life, in the beginning of which the shady Hollywood star announced that he was retiring from the world of film to start a new career as a hip-hop singer. What follows was already (American) history before the movie came out: Phoenix disappears from the big and small screen only to reappear from time to time on a stage as a rapper. When it comes time to devote to the promotion of the melodrama Two lovers, shot before the “retreat”, he went to the David Letterman Show with sunglasses, unshaven and his cigarette in his mouth, answering questions with a faint voice and a blatant indifference.

At that time, no one knows for sure if it was all a joke of questionable taste or if he did seriously. But his breakthrough did not go unnoticed, so much so that during the night of the Oscars 2009 Ben Stiller came up with a long beard, cigarette and sunglasses, and he made it a brilliant parody. Newspapers and TV gave updates on Phoenix’s psychophysical state for a long period.

Now, that it was all fake was not difficult to understand. But in this case the nature of the facts does not change the substance. Phoenix has really compromised his public image for over twelve months and for the same period has really given up on making films, letting himself go physically and taking an unfriendly attitude. When towards the end of the film he vomits, he vomits for real. When he is snorting cocaine, he is sniffing for real. When he goes on television and looks like a human wreck in front of ten million people, the face and name are the one of him. And all this has lasted at least 15 months, not an evening or just a week.

All of this is a demonstration of how in mockumentary the difference between reality and fiction is really thin. We could say that art imitates reality. Or that reality imitates art.

 

Written by Nardos Maffia

Touched by the uncanny: experiencing Un Chien Andalou (1929)

Salvador Dalí and Luis Bunuel’s scandalous endeavor Un Chien Andalou (1929) is capable of eliciting a collective wince even after 90 years of its creation. In the opening sequence when a male hand slices a female eyeball and the fluid flows out, its much obvious to ‘feel’ the need to flinch your eye or tighten your fist when you see a male hand with crawling ants. Why does that happen? Why can’t we just ‘look’ at it like any other cinematic image? Are occcularcentrism and Psychoanalysis just enough to explain the tactile qualities and corporeal experience of cinema?

Redefining the relationship between cinema and the spectator, Vivian Sobchak asserts that film theory has been reluctant to recognize the phenomenological aspects of film viewing as a bodily experience. Since “at the movies our vision and hearing are informed and given meaning by our other modes of sensory access to the world” (Sobchack,2004,p60), it is easier to make sense of the experience of watching an unusual surrealist imagery of Un Chien Andalou. The recurrent motifs of wounded, severed and sexual advancements through hands create a fidgety sensation and make the viewer feel disgusted as the disjointed images flow one after the other.

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The opening sequence is particularly important to understand that how the sensation of a  film is experienced by the skin through eyes. The first shot of male hands sharpening the razor and  then the close-up of a cigarette smoking man put your senses in suspicion that something horrible is going to happen. Then, when the famous eye-slicing scene follows, one’s body reacts by looking away or expressing disgust. “That is, we do not experience any movie only through our eyes. We see and comprehend and feel films with our entire bodily being”. (Sobchack,2004,p63).

By Swati Bakshi

References

Elsaesser, T. and Hagener, M. (2015). Film theory: An introduction through the senses. New York: Routledge.

Sobchack, V. C, (2004).Carnal thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture. Berkley: University Of California Press.

 

Archival Footage in We Are X

Written by Huiyuan Zhou

I watched this film called We Are X in London Film Festival last year, when I had no idea that it was actually a documentary about the legendary rock band Japan X . What impressed me was the combination of footage and interview with the lead singer Yoshiki.

Generally speaking the documentary chronicled their rise to superstardom, along with many footages for illustrating their growth.These archives vary from the band’s personal photos and videos such as backstage footage to interviews with each member.

Death of one of the guitaists was included in these achives. In this sequence, as Yoshiki recalled, the director Stephen Kijak put the news footage together with the current interview with Yoshiki, reproducing the sadness and shockness of the incident. Besides, the pain that Yoshiki has been through for so many years is well presented.

The footage in this film is basically chonological presented, however in this sequence, there is footage including another footage. The opening scene in this sequence is the concert footage after the incident. Stephen inserted the news footages in between. After presenting the footages of the incident, he cut back to the close-up of them on the stage, which strengthen the pain they felt.

This exlusive sequence is the best of this film for me during my watch, easily driving tears, and it well presented the media arcaeological art as well.

Transmedia Storytelling and audiences

Henry Jenkins (2013) put forward the concept of “transmedia storytelling”: the flow of content across multiple media channels was inevitable in the era of media convergence, the technology in the movie or videos made lower the production costs more realistic through sharing property on across-media. A series or film can be inspired by a novel or game; the Star Wars and Sherlock are two typical examples.

Transmedia storytelling could be adapted entirely by the original story, like Harry Potter movie series. Normally it is a dispersive content because of the difference of customers or other elements, but its nature tends to be serial. Fiorelli (2013) summarize that “The seriality is not linear, but becomes an hypertextual network.”

The relationship between transmedia storytelling and audiences are special and delicate, fans could be the potential consumers and evangelists. Even they can be the producers to create new content to expend the original world through their understanding, though, the situation is rare. But sometimes they could be the key of a successful marketing strategy. The Hunger Games movie trilogy is a good example. The target audiences are the fans who emotionally invested in novel of the same name. They can interact with the content through the popular social media, like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. The producer created a real fashion magazine called Capitol Couture which response to the content of fashion in the film and novel. The campaign based on the content blurs the line between the reality and virtual world, increasing fans’ interests and embracing their passions. The digital and social means to promote the different media is different, but it must place the story and audiences at the center. The core idea and story will spread more in the information-fragmented world and reach more field and people (Npharsen, 2016).

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Reference:

Fiorelli, G. (2013). Transmedia Storytelling: Building Worlds For and With Fans. [blog] Moz. Available at: https://moz.com/blog/transmedia-storytelling-building-worlds-for-and-with-fans [Accessed 29 Mar. 2017].

Jenkins, H. (2003). Transmedia Storytelling. [online] MIT Technology Review. Available at: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/401760/transmedia-storytelling/ [Accessed 29 Mar. 2017].

Npharsen, (2016). Case Study: The Hunger Games. [online] Available at: https://communicationandmarketing1dk15i2.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/case-study-the-hunger-games/ [Accessed 29 Mar. 2017].

 

Written by Yijun Zhang

Turning your eyes into sense organs

Ocularcentric paradigm dominated film theory for a long time. The reviewing of theories such as mirror-reflexivity and the emergency of apparatus theory transported ‘visible man’ into Plato’s cave changed the situation. Then, Thomas Elsaesser’s and Malte Hagener’s Film Theory explored the way audience experiences film through their senses, the sense of sight, the primary sense associated with our experience in relation to images and touch, a less directly related sense yet an important one relating to images.

Eyes, not only the organ of visual perception, but also the organs of all senses.

In films, there different ways to turn spectator’s eyes into sense organs. One of the most common method is to create twisted atmosphere or against audience’s usual feeling and pull audience out of their comfort zone.

According to Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener (2015), when watching Gravity(2013), spectator can feel an equally sense if weightlessness and disorientation with characters in the film. This kind of feeling is achieved by showing the endless and hopeless astrospace with long takes and 3D cinematography.

Another example is Hannibal (2013). It expressed the feelings of strange frightening and nauseated by relating bloody human skin and organs with “food”. In this TV series, close up of “meat” in Hannibal’s kitchen and the scenes of cooking and eating make audience feel eerie when they relate these clues with the evidence of “eating people”.

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References:

Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener, Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses. London: Routledge, 2015.

https://vimeo.com/162750306