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Film Making: Production Design and Visual Story Telling

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Elliesha Clarke

on 25 November 2013

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Transcript of Film Making: Production Design and Visual Story Telling

All film boiled down are just thousands of sequential images. I looked at how the elements of visual story making get weaved together. It is usually (at least in larger productions) a combination of directors, storyboard artists and teams led by Production Designer.
Preproduction and animation production
Shorts can be more explorative
Big budgets, more artists, tighter control for consistency, can achieve a...
Production Design and Visual Story Telling
I really believe…that if you’re sincere, that people will feel that. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the editing is, or how good or bad the visual style is. If there’s an energy there, it will communicate, and that’s where we have to get…The process is to get to a point where you are engaging, where you are open enough.

~ Christopher Doyle
Use of arrows show camera and movements of what is framed, used for tracking or to give motion for dynamic visuals
Lighting effects mood, such as in horror the light may often shine from below up at the face which unsettles the audience as its an unnatural light.
colour storyboard
Optical toy: Phenakistoscope, made in 1841
40,000 years ago
-Composition: composition: the keys to help discover the composition are the mood and actions in the scene as well as what happened earlier and what will happen after. Action scenes will have fast cuts of hectic differences of shot compositions. It should have the right selection of order, rhythm and intelligence of balance
-Colour: colour creates mood and its used everywhere. In film the pallet is explored through colour storyboards, and characters given colours to suit themselves and oppose other characters colours to help identify them through comparison and contrast.

the placement of characters. The movements choreographed and surrounding elements constructed accordingly.
According to Hans Bacher (character designer, Producer, animator and visual development artist who has worked on Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast and many more), “usually a storyboard is not visually interesting. Its job is only to tell the story. The breakdown into different shots, perspectives, number of characters per scene, the exact location following a floor plan, the direction of the light, props, effects, all of this is decided in the workbook meeting. It is easy to imagine that only one sequence can be worked out in a several hours-long meeting, with all major department heads in attendance.” He also said,
”The idea is a rhythm of the
best—balanced design elements
camera arrangements
along with
a well choreographed action.
The next important step is to
connect all different scenes in a sequence.
Their rhythm creates the visual language of your movie.”
Best Directors have own their niche
Such as Tim Burton with his pale blue, tall characters, supernatural themes, Quentin Tarrentino with his gore, fight scenes and striking visuals, James Cameron with epic tales of depth and technical leaps.

And it’s not limited to the visual narrative storytellers. In advertisement tricks are used such as unrelated visuals to the product to make it memorable (Cadburys eyebrow dance). And painters tell a story within one image by use of symbolism and composition. Sound designers weave audio together to take us on a journey.
Style vs tech
-Backwater gospel, thanks to tech advances, can have the textures and lines of hand drawn wrapped around a 3D world
Backwater Gospel, 2011
Animated Motion Graphics, 2009
Unfair Trade, 2013

In conclusion the things I have found have clarified my path to me, as I want to work in the capacities of a story and character concept artist and animator, storyboard artist and all together a Director or head of Production Design seems to fit. My desire is to share stories and to draw people in with thoughts that will free their own. I want to know how I can tell the stories and utilise all the elements at my disposal as an animated film maker and I feel more full with knowledge and also confidence now that I have discovered deeper depths into visual story creation.

No matter the length the basic principles remain the same in the art of visual story telling.
Kris Pearn, co-director of Cloud With a Chance of Meatballs 2 said "The cheeseburger became an interesting artistic challenge in that, even though we were showing the audience you know, the creature as a monster in the very beginning, we were adhering to our Cloudy rule that the food always looks delicious. So if you watch those scenes again, that cheeseburger is lit perfectly. In fact to the point where every time we came out of a cheeseburger review we went over to In-N-Out Burger because it was such a good marketing campaign to sell cheeseburgers."
Ren Kylce, Sound Editer on Fight Club and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo said one when the sound was recorded in production the dialogue was not captured well because of rain so they recorded the lines separately. He talks of the quirk and importance that one little sound had for the entire plot of the film.
graphic abstraction, softness, dimensions, changing horizons, epic compositions, intersecting positing of characters, selective focus, different sizes, moving patterns, still patterns, sizes the other way around, depth, tilted angles, interesting framing (proportional dark + light), dramatic upshots and down shots, interesting diving of space, size exaggeration, open space, beauty of nature, distribution of masses, balance of shapes.
MOS (sometimes MUTE): shooting a scene without any sound.
OFF: "off-mike" means that the dialogue was not picked up properly by the microphone.
OOV: out of vision; the dialogue is heard without the speaker being seen.
VO: Voice over
WILD TRACKS: the individual sounds recorded after a scene is shot, to help the dub.
I think if movies are still successful, whatever the support is—tape or disk or, I don’t know, crystal in ten years or in a hundred years, I don’t know—it’s because movies are strongly related to our feeling of truth.

Jean-Luc Godard
You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.

Walt Disney
Depiction of movement can be seen as early as cavemen paintings, to optical toys like the the Phenakistoscope, The Original Animated GIF made in 1841 to the earliest animated film recorded (a stop motion called Matches an Appeal by Arthur Melbourne Cooper in 1899) to the greatest film works of todays talent met with technological advances.
Francis Glebus, 2009, Directing the Story, China, Elsievier Inc

Hans Bacher, 2008, Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation, China, Elsievier

Karina Wilson, 2001-2013, Horror Film History Introduction, [online], accessed at http://www.horrorfilmhistory.com, 20 October 2013

Vsauce, Why Are Things Creepy? [online], accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEikGKDVsCc#t=67

LuckyStrike502, Nosferatu (1922), [online] accessed at

Dean Tahkashi, How the Great Animation Film Directors Got their Start, [online] accessed at http://venturebeat.com/2013/07/23/how-the-great-animation-film-directors-got-their-start/, 16 November 2013

Kevin Kelly, September 28 2013, 'Cloudy With a Chance' of Filmmaking Advice from Directors Kris Pearn and Cody Cameron, [online], accessed at http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/news/cloudy-2-directors-interview.php, 16 November 2013

FilmmakerRIQ, Hitchcocks Storyboards from 13 Classic Films, [online], accessed at http://filmmakeriq.com/2010/11/hitchcocks-storyboards-from-13-classic-films/ 19 November

4Filmmaker, Composition, [online] , accessed at http://production.4filmmaking.com/cinematography7.html, 24 November

Writing Tools, Roy Peter Clarke, Little, Brown and Company, 2006, United States of America

Randy Ingermanson, The Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel [webpage] , 3rd Nov 2013, can be accessed at http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/
"You have your own kind of cryptic messages in there - cryptic things that most people wouldn`t understand but are important to you. Things that kind of keep you going through the process."

Tim Burton
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