Below is a stop motion video we directed and produced in order to understand and develop narrative structures.
Our video does fulfil the traditional linear narrative structures formalised by Todorov. The exposition of the video is a family walking in a park, the climax is the child wandering off after the pig and the denouement is the discovering the child with the pig.
Additionally, the anthropologist Levi Strauss’ conflicting narrative ideas also influenced the creation of this video. He believes that there are cultural concepts underlying in narratives with contrasting messages and meanings; this is called binary opposition. A binary opposition could be anything from age and youth or injustice and justice. In this case, our binary opposition was ‘lost and discovery’. This is shown through the loss of the child and the child’s discovery of her newfound friend the pig as well as the parent’s re- discovery of the child.
The characters in the sequence do meet some of Propp’s conventional character types, for example the child who goes missing plays the role of a damsel in distress whilst the parents act as joint hero/heroin figures. However the child could also be portrayed at the protagonist heroin saving the pig.
These conventional ideas can be morphed and developed within a music video as time and space often differ. The narrative could be anachronic, meaning the order of events is disjointed within the plot; or episodic which is where the story is told in segments or even thematic where there is a common concept to the narrative. Alongside this, the narrative in music videos usually repeats itself as it can complement the lyrics and recurring chorus. The narrative in a music video is often split up with performance aspects which can effectively portray the star image and suggest the star’s own metanarrative to an audience, making the video more personal. Conflicts are generally used to inspire a music video; in ours we wish to utilise the binary opposition of dominance and susceptibility.
I am looking forward to carrying out my own narrative shoot for my music video and testing these new concepts and ideas.
For this task we were asked to create a short story without dialogue so that music could be later added. This ensured we could develop out camera skills for example holding a shot steady, framing a shot and shooting a variety of shot distances.
Above is the finished product.
We first created a storyboard to organise and plan our short film, including descriptions of each shot and the type of shot.
Here are some strengths in which my video holds:
I experimented with different shot angles, for example the low angle looking up at the paper as an eyeline match. This added variety and a sense of chaos to the sequence.
Additionally, I believe that the story line is clear and well portrayed, as the shots and edits are erratic which replicates that of the mood of the sequence.
The sound effects and music used again adds to the hectic tone of the sequence and mirrors the actor’s emotions and facial expressions.
Some weaknesses are:
There is a lack of close ups and variety of different shots, which would engage the audience and help the audience make sense of the space.
Also, I feel I should have directed my actors better to ensure the the correct emotions are being portrayed.
Finally, the sounds effects are in consistent in volume as well as the changing shots not matching the beats of the music.
To conclude, a major skill I have developed is my knowledge of Premiere Pro, as I now know how to add music, next and blank stills.
I have used the following camera techniques; firstly an establishing shot at the beginning of clip. Then to an over the shoulder shot and a shot reverse shot; which changed to match on action as his hands go on his head and then a close up of his hand grasping the jumper. The clip finally finishes with yet another match on action shot as he leaves the room. Additionally, I filmed the whole scene from each angle on a tripod and did not use any aspects of camera movement, which allowed me to use the edit to order the scene instead.
I used these techniques to create a sense of conversation and clarity within the shot so that a clear discussion is shown without confusion for the audience. The closeupenhances the shot and draws attention to what is being shown; additionally, the over the shoulder shots ensure that the audience is aware of who is speaking.
I have learnt to use the following continuity editing rules, first of which is the 180 degree rule as well as match on action, shot revise shot and the establishing shot.
I used the 180 degree rule to ensure that the camera maintains the line of action; furthermore, this prevents confusing the audience, and instead gives them a sense of space. I used the establishing shot to give the audience a sense of place and and it also adds context to the clip. The shot reverse shot gives a greater insight into the facial expressions of who is speaking and ensures that the audience are aware of the flowing conversation. The match on action makes sure that the audience can make sense of the action and clearly see what is taking place.
I have learnt to use the following tools in Premiere Pro: mark in, mark out and the razor tool.
I used the razor tool to cut each individual clip so that I could make sense of the story line for the audience. I also used the mark in , mark out tool to expand the clips I was working on so that I could finely cut them in the correct place.
If I was to do this project again I would do some things differently, for example directing the actors so that they would repeat the same actions, with the same body parts at the same time for each shot so that cutting the clips would be easier; however I could just use multiple cameras so that the actors don’t have to carry this strenuous task out. Additionally, I would like to experiment more with techniques on Premiere Pro such as transitions, and try out more shots with more continuity editing rules.
Below is the master script used to help direct myself and the actors when filming each shot.