However, before we take a look at those elements, let’s take a look at the history of films. Let’s start with silent films; many silent films were produced in the United States back in the early 1900’s. However, filmgoers never really got to enjoy the film in the theaters as they were intended to be seen. Silent films were meant to be viewed with the intentions of a full musical orchestra behind the film as was the case with The Birth of a Nation in 1915 (Griffith, 1915).The silent film, with the full musical composition playing behind it, made the movie experience seem much more complete. Now days, so many years later, after the original context, the films have lost the excitement as was intended by the directors. As we look more into the actual making of the film itself, each and every film was recorded on a reel of film.
Until the standardization of the projection speed of 24 frames per second (fps) for sound films in 1926, silent films were shot at variable speeds or "frame rates", typically anywhere from 16 to 23 frames per second or faster.Unless carefully shown at their original speeds they can appear unnaturally fast and jerky, which reinforces their alien appearance to modern viewers. Eventually, they had the ability to add shades of color into the film. When they wanted to add color into a particular shot, they would actually have to hand paint the slide prior to the film being projected. After many attempts to color each slide and make a complete movie, the directors realized how difficult and time consuming it was to complete it. As time went on, they tried to use another technique known as “tinting”; this was done by coloring the film stock prior to printing on the film.This two-color effect would display the look of black and white and whichever other color that it was tinted in, for example, if they wanted to have a night scene, they would tint the stock blue to make the allusion of a night scene.
As was the case in the movie Intolerance (Griffith, 1916), by the Pioneer director D. W. Griffith, also known as the, “Father of American Films” (Boggs & Petrie, 2008, p. 482). Another coloring technique that was used was known as “toning”; this was done by adding dye to the film itself so that the lines of the image were colored.By combining the two steps of toning and tinting gave it a two color image experience. Furthermore, as it comes to the langue of the silent films, we could hear a breath taking and moving experience even without the actors saying a word.
When the actors were acting in a silent film they were able to communicate and express to the audience by body language, purely by visual elements. How they were able to say so much and have the audience’s attention and involvement was done by their ability to communicate with their eyes, mouth, hands, and body movement.For example, in the movie, City Lights (Chaplin, 1931), Charlie Chaplin, was able to get the audience involved and laughing with his ability to use his body language and facial expression. He would make distinct facial expression with his eyes, eyebrows and mouth to display a stage of concern, happiness, or disbelief, and his ability was very powerful. The silent film language was not limited to the face alone; it was expressed by all aspect of the actor’s body. Another very important element of silent films was the actor’s ability to walk. We would think that being able to walk in a film would have no merit to it.
No so, as in the case of Charlie Chaplin, he had a very unique walk of his own. When Charlie Chaplin would walk in the film, you could tell who it was without even seeing the actor’s face. It has stated that silent films at its best could express ideas that words itself could not express. As we have enjoyed silent films for many years, we have come to love and enjoy other forms of techniques that unfortunately were not in the silent films. For example, as we moved out of the silent film era, we moved deeper into sounds and we are therefore able to hear the dialogue that gives a different type of expression and experience.Considering that film is usually thought of as a visual medium, sound plays an incredibly vital role. There are three very important elements that go into creating sounds in motion films, they are, sound effects, dialogue, and musical score.
By adding these elements into the movie, they are increasing the involvement and intensity of the experience. Capturing great quality of sound for the movie is another craft that you will need to learn. If the film contains dialogue, it is very important to be able to record it so the words and mouth movements match up; this is known as “lip sync”.Shooting film is not just getting a hold of a camera, unlike video, you cannot just record sound directly into the camera, and you will need to record onto sound-recording equipment, like a tape recorder. Although the “Nagra” reel to reel was the standard for decades, DAT (Digital Auto Tape) has captured the market because of its quality, convenience, and price. Sometimes when recording a film and the dialogue is not very clear during the shoot and must be re-recorded in a studio, preferably using the same recording equipment used during the shoot, this is known as “dubbing”.There are many different types of equipment that are available for recording known as the ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement).
When it is necessary, the actors would sit in a sound-proof booth with a screen to play back the movie and allow the actors to re-enact the scene and re-record the dialogue all over again. On feature films, sound engineers use huge multi-track mixing desks and high quality monitor speakers to ensure that the audio is well-balanced and what needs to be heard is audible. Furthermore, any sounds that were not captured during the shoot are added at the post-production stage.Work on sounds that need enhancing; footsteps, doors, creaking, and so on, are usually done by a Foley artist. They create and record all manner of sound and noises in a studio using their own favorite props. A great example that a Foley artist would be used for would be any animated movies. My favorite animated movie of all time is Monsters Inc.
( Docter, 2001). All of the different sound effects that were made, for example, when “Sully” was riding around on different doors, the Foley artist had to create the sound of a pulley.Another example of this would be from the movie Titanic when the ship was breaking apart and people were jumping into the water, the sound crew and Foley artist had to implement the sounds by creatively using breaking wood pieces and splashing water as a sound effect. Never the less, the quality of the equipment is very important for any sound crew member. They will need to be using some sort of a microphone; professional shotgun microphones are extremely sensitive and will pick up an incredible amount of ambient sound, despite their narrow recording field.To ensure that they capture only the actors’ voice, they need to have the microphone as close as possible to them; this would want to be done by mounting the microphone onto a boom stick. Apart from the environmental sounds, shooting the movie outside has the added challenges of picking up the wind sound; however, this can be eliminated if they were to use a “wind boot”.
Whatever equipment or methods they might be using to record the sound, getting the best voice recording is imperative, even though it is possible to do voiceover in post-production; the actors are not always able to recapture the intensity of the moment.This leads me into what is the next important element of the movies, “effective storytelling”. Maybe there is no absolute right way to tell a story, however, I am sure there is probably a wrong way, which will be obvious if you don’t capture the audience. I feel the trick of storytelling is not what you say, but how you will say it. How you tell the story will also be how the audience will interpret it. This is a common device that is used to sway people’s opinion or to gain sympathy for a person or event.For feature films the general idea is that you have to grab the audience within the first ten minutes, although this really means that the screenplay needs to catch the reader within the first few pages or take the chance of it being rejected.
A credible story has many elements that need to be woven into it, for example, the theme of the movie could be the main focus, however, other elements like the characters, plot, and conflict must be carefully selected so they are uniformed in their relationship so the theme of the movie is clear.By doing this you are able to keep the audiences attention and sitting on the edge of their seats expecting more. There are different components of the film that will keep some moviegoers interested; however, those same components might be boring to other moviegoers. So how does one develop a storyline that will keep everyone’s interest? That might be done by the simplicity of the film, by clearly and directly communicating, so that it is clear to all moviegoers. However, some moviegoers like the more complex challenge of using their intellectual minds.This is done by the author’s ability to implement dramatic or emotional structure, by achieving the maximum intellectual or dramatic impact. The author would then develop the storyline in a linear or non-linear format.
The storyline would still be composed of the same elements of exposition, complication, climax, and denouement; however, it would just depend on the way they were structured in the storyline. For example, in the movie Titanic (Cameron, 1997), at the beginning of the movie, they showed an elderly Rose talking with the researchers about the gemstone necklace.However, when she starting telling the story of how she received the necklace, they flashed back decades earlier to the year the ship first set sail, this is known as “non-linear structure”. In addition, conflict is another major degree of complexity within the film. When I recently watched the movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Forman, 1975), I noticed the dramatic component of “human conflict” between Nurse Ratched and the mental patient Randall Mc Murphy. They struggled constantly throughout the movie until the very end when Randall received a frontal lobotomy.Needless to say, the conflict between Nurse Ratched and mental patient, Mc Murphy, was not the only thing that I noticed from the movie.
The actor’s ability to portray the characters that they were playing really stood out to me. I noticed the roles of Miller played by Alonzo Brown, Turkle played by Scatman Crothers, Martini played by Danny DeVito, were done in an impersonator role, they all had the ability to take on the personality traits of a mentally ill patient. As was the case of “Rudy”, who was played by, Michael Jeter, in the movie Patch Adams (Shadyac, 1998), Actor MichaelJeter had to take on the characteristics and traits of a very disturbed Schizophrenia patient. He very successfully portrayed the behavior of someone suffering from the mental illness of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia causes affected people to exhibit odd and often highly irrational or disorganized behavior, included such symptoms as anxiety, restlessness and hallucinations. In one of the scenes, Rudy, who was a patient in the mental ward, had mentioned to “Patch” that he needed to use the restroom and then instantly, Rudy’s mental state changed, he was hallucinating that he was being under attack by squirrels.For someone who did not really suffer from this disease, by his ability as an actor that he was actually suffering from the disease, he sure convinced me.
In this scenario, I feel that Michael Jeter developed his character from the “inside out approach. ” He was able to fully understand every aspect of his character’s personality and develop the behavior from there. Not the case of Robin Williams’s character, Patch Adams was developed on the “outside in approached. ” Robin Williams portrayed a “living” person; therefore he had to learn everything about this character form the source.With this approach, the actor must know everything there is know about this certain individual, his likes, dislikes, his behavior, his wants, his needs, what makes him tick, and especially his sense of humor. I am sure that this particular “interpreter” character was not very difficult for Robin Williams to get into character. He has always been very successful as a stand up comedian, therefore, when he was asked to play this character; he seemed to be right at home.
When I stop to think about the real reason behind why movies are made, one can only think about the true intentions of the film industry.There are many reasons why screenwriter, directors, producers, and everyone else that are involved with the creation of the film. What stand out the most is how the film makers are able to depict so many important issues that need to have a wide array of people’s attention. What better way for something to be brought to the attention of thousands, even millions of people’s attention, except through a film, plays, stage performances, or musicals. They are creatively brought to light through different genres, a comedy, documentary, drama, musical, or any other form of entertainment.Some are of true life stories, others are done through the creative mind of an artist. With this we get to see the lead actor, supporting actor, super hero, villains, demons, tricksters and many other characters that are brought to life through the films creator.
Furthermore, it is important to understand the elements that are woven into the creation. As I bring this paper to an end, I hope that in some way you are able to understand that there are many components that are woven into the creation of a film that is extraordinarily magical.To be able to see the magical transformation within the experience is an individual experience that one must find within them. I know for myself, I have seen and experience something new and hope that everyone else has the ability to find and encounter the same extraordinary experience.