Monday, November 30, 2015

Compose Your Frame

I crashed my sister and brother-in-law's "date night" at The Crêpery. They were here from California on vacation. I took this picture on my iphone and edited it on Adobe Photoshop(my first time). My sister and I are swinging on the hammocks. It was our first time to this place and we were excited about the hammocks. 

In this picture I used the rule of thirds, graphic, and motion vectors in this picture. 
I made sure the intersection of wood/rope was in a third of the screen and proceeded to swing. I like the shapes of the rope in between the wood circles. All the different shapes created a graphic vector. You can see the other hammock in the background swinging to the left and it is a bit blurry, creating a bit of a motion vector. My sister is in the hammock laughing as we pass each other. I like this photo because I love spending time with my sister. We don't get to see each other often, but when we do get together we have tons of fun and laugh a lot. It was a great outing and I got a cool picture. 

Design Artifact-Lighting product and set up for Groupie Love

Our group focused on a company called Groupie Love. The product is jewelry made from guitar picks from different bands, mostly classic rock. My part was helping Shay in capturing pictures of product to put up on the web site. The client wanted her product on a white crisp back ground with no shadows and a daylight temperature(lighting). We went on a "location scout" trip to see what kind of light, natural and practical light we were going to be working with. We also talked about what lens Shay had and what she was going to use. I took pictures of the set up and the lighting we had to work with.


This picture shows that we have a practical light and two sliding glass doors to work with. One sliding glass door is facing North and the other to the West.                             

 Another window we have to work with.

We are seeing the light from the sliding glass doors and the light from small rectangle sky lights above our heads to the left.

If you look at this for a little bit, you can see the light spilling out onto the top of this picture. It is from the sky lights that are almost at a 45* angle above me. 

The sky lights and the light they are letting in. It was about the same time we were going to do the photo shoot too. So it was a good approximation of what light was going to be there.

The biggest part of my job was to set up the product and put it in the best light possible. I am learning doing film shoots or photo shoots it is best to stay flexible and roll with the punches. We needed a white box in order to shoot what the client wanted. I was going to borrow one from a friend, but that fell through. The client had made one and had used it a few times so we used that. We fiddled with it and tried to think of ways to hang the earrings and nothing was working. I used what was laying around her work space with permission. I found a rock that she had used in previous photo shoots to display the earrings. I also found the top of a shoe box. I used these items to put under the white poster board to make a slope that would keep the earrings from slipping into a clump at the bottom of the light box. It worked and the earrings looked awesome. With the longer earrings and bracelets I had to rearrange the poster board so it would curve. I would then lay the product horizontal instead of vertical like I was doing. During the actual photo shoot, it was partly cloudy outside. I moved the box around the table trying to find the best possible light for Shay. We found that the darker earrings needed a tiny bit more light and the lighter ones worked better in a darker light, like when a cloud went by. A few needed a hard light and we put the box facing the sun. We used the light from the skylights and the sliding glass door facing North. At one point it got really dark and we turned on the practical light. I think we ended up waiting for a couple of minutes for the clouds to move. We tried staggering the earrings to see what would happen, but decided to keep them even to keep continuity going. We even made a joke about it and talked about how some things seemed to stick in our brains from class. 

Gestalt Principles

We used the Law of Similarity, Law of Proximity, and the Law of Pragnanz. I already mentioned we used the Law of Continuity. The Law of Similarity is used within the product itself and we put matching earrings together and took a photo of both earrings. The Law of Proximity was used by placing the product side by side, like earrings. If you put them too close together it would seem like a big glob and you wouldn't be able to tell what you were looking at. The Law of Pragnanz is used with the white back ground. The client wanted her product to look clean and crisp, so you notice all the details. We reduced it to the simplest form possible. All you see is the jewelry not some crazy background. Your mind won't wonder about where the picture is taken at, or who that person is wearing the jewelry, it will be focused on the product itself. 


I only provided pictures of my job. You can find the finished photos on Shay's blog. I loved the product we were designing for. It is original and nothing like what I have seen out there. One of the many things I am looking into as a career is lighting and taking photos of product. I think it would be fun and you could fiddle with light and take time in what you are doing. As a professor pointed out, I could also stay home with my kids and do this. It would be a perk, but I am not sure I want to stay home.  

Monday, November 2, 2015


Pan's Labyrinth

I chose to look at the production designer in the film Pan's Labyrinth. His name is Eugenio Caballero. According to IMdB he is most known for Pan's Labyrinth, The Impossible (2012), and Resident Evil: Extinction (2007). He won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Art Direction for Pan's Labyrinth. In the Art Directors Guild he was nominated for his Production Design for The Impossible (2012). He won the Excellence in Production Design Award for Pan's Labyrinth. I found this information on IMdB. Here is the description of the Job description of Production Designer. Eugenio Caballero was an assistant set decorator, art director, and set decorator before becoming a production designer.

Mr. Caballero was in charge of the look of this scene, everything from the creepy paintings on the ceiling to the food on the table. He worked closely to Mr. del Toro to make sure the details are close to what he has envisioned. I bet there was even a talk about whether the fire should be gas powered or not. The girls dress and hair had to be a certain way because it is a time period film, the Spanish Civil War. The Production designer also works with the special effects department. This would include the Pale monster and the fairies. I watched an interview with Guillermo del Toro and he had a certain lighting concept for the movie. The main characters dream world it would be golden with shades of orange and her real world was full of blues and greens. He also said the film took a lot of team work

The Gestalt Principles identified in this clip are the law of closure, when the Pale monster puts his hand/eyes up to where the eyes are supposed to go. When he does that your mind thinks it a little weird, but his eyes are in the right place. The law of continuity is found with the table full of food and the monster runs after her in a straight line.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Favorite Director

I gave some serious thought to who my favorite director is and what draws me to watch movies. I looked at my blu ray/dvd collection, my itunes account, and my Netflix list. My tastes are all over the place. What draws me into a movie is the story. It is also how everything works together, the audio, the production design, lighting, etc. 

My list of favorite directors begins with Guillermo del Toro. He uses Guillermo Nabarro as a cinematographer in many of his films. He used him in Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, Hellboy 2, The Devil's Backbone, and Cronos. My favorite movie of his is Pan's Labyrinth. Pan's Labyrinth movie trailer I loved the story, the creatures, and lighting concept. I can't wait to see his new creation, Crimson Peak. Crimson Peak Movie Trailer

The next director on the list is Kathryn Bigelow. She has worked with Mark Boal twice. He is a writer. He wrote The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Her best known films that pop up on IMdB are my favorites, The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and Point Break(1991). Point Break is cheesy, but I love it. Its Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, and Gary Busey at their best. 1991 Point Break Movie Trailer The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty were thought provoking and again it was the story brought me in. 

The next director is Darren Aronofsky. He has used Matthew Libatique as a cinematographer in Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and The Fountain(2006). My favorite films of his are Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. Both movies are very dramatic and deal with interesting subject matter. One deals with obsession with perfection and the other with addiction. Black Swan Movie Trailer Requiem for a Dream Movie Trailer

The next director I will mention is David O Russell. He has used Judy Becker as a Production Designer in Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, and The Fighter. I loved Silver Linings Playbook. My brother has the same mental issues as the main character. In some scenes it was a little too real. It was like reliving parts of my life with my brother. Silver Linings Playbook TrailerThe other movie I loved is an odd one, I Heart Huckabees. The story is quirky. Its one of those movies where all the characters intersect at some point. I Heart Huckabees Trailer

The last director is David Cronenberg. He has used Peter Suschitzky as a cinematographer a lot. The films include, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Maps to the Stars, A Dangerous Method, and Cosmopolis. I've seen A History of Violence and Eastern Promises. I actually own them. I love the storyline of each film. A History of Violence TrailerEastern Promises Trailer

After putting this post together I have realized that I like movies with a dark undertone. I do like watching happy movies. I like Disney movies and I am a huge Star Wars fan. I also like musicals. I grew up in a musical home. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Design in motion

I chose opening credits as an example of design in motion. I had just finished working on a project and I started noticing this kind of work more closely. I am a fan of HBO's True Detective and I finally had a chance to watch season two. I immediately fell in love with the opening credits. Credits for this kind of show usually give an idea of what the story is going to be about. It may be a upcoming scene, or pictures of the stars of the show in character.

True Detective season 2 opening credits

I like how the pictures play around with the law of similarity, law of proximity, law of pragnanz, and law of closure. The first law that works as we watch is pragnanz,"reality is organized or reduced to the simplest form possible." The law of proximity, similarity work, and closure, work hand in hand as we see the shape of someones face is in a picture of something else. We even see eyes open and close. The law of continuity is left alone and it flows really well from one image to the next. Personally I love the color pallet that was used and the song works well too.

I really couldn't find anything close to compare this to, so I decided to stay within the HBO family. I am comparing it to the opening credits to season one of the same show. Warning! This one is rated R.

True Detective season 1 opening credits

This does the same thing as season two and it works. I think they did a good job on this. The color pallet is more muted and gives a moody feel. Its actually a little bit creepy, which is intended. I like what they did, but I think season two is much better. I think it has to do with the color pallet. I get a little bored half way through season one's credits. Too much of one color, especially grey can get tiring. The music chosen to go with it works really well. You can tell this story takes place somewhere in the South.

I looked at some of the comments people had and it all came down to preference, in comparing the credits. Some people found the music in season two was too cheesy, but loved the song for season one. I like how at the end of season two's credits you are kind of left wondering what the story is going to be about. At the end of season one credits you pretty much already know.

Which season did I like best?
I like season one the best because of the storyline. It had closure. It was more gritty than season two. Season two did have strong roles for women, but I had a few questions that didn't get answered at the end. I had a hard time watching Vince Vaughn be a "bad" guy at first, but after a while he made the role believable.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Contrast, Balance, & Harmony

I found this gem while going through some old photo albums. It was taken with a camera that used actual film. I had to scan this into my computer. This is the Brooklyn Bridge. At the time I was living in the NYC area. My friends and I decided to take a walk across the bridge in the cold, winter weather. We didn't make it very far. The wind was ice cold.

The sun is going down and is creating a shadow on the bricks. It is also creating a highlight on the top  left hand corner and in the arches of the bridges. The tones of brown and blackened bricks against the bright white clouds all create contrast in this picture.

I love the suspension cables in this picture. The arches are symmetrical, but the suspension cables are creating a kaleidoscope effect. They kind of mess with your eyes. It could be the angle I took the picture. The suspension cables remind me of a spider's web.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of my favorite bridges. It seems kind of silly to have a favorite bridge, but I do. The arches, the contrast of color, the texture of the bricks, the time of day, the season, the suspension cables, all come together and bring a harmonious picture. Without one of the items mentioned the bridge wouldn't have very much character.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Visceral Response

This is a picture I took with my iPhone. It was taken on location for a documentary my class was working on Spring semester. The documentary is about a violin maker. This tree is in front of his shop. We asked him why parts of violins hanging from this tree. He told us this is where he took the violins "die". All the violins he makes a mistake on or unrepairable ones people give him get a place on the tree. He ties the violins and/or pieces to the tree as a reminder not to make those mistakes again. The tree was later named, The Hanging Tree.

I've never really thought of myself as a photographer, which is funny because I'm in the film program. I took this hoping to capture the story of the tree, but not expecting anything cool. This was a turning point for me, because I totally surprised myself with my creation. All the negative voices in my head faded away. I became less afraid and more eager to create. So, I love this picture.

By putting this picture through a couple of filters I created depth, texture, and contrast. I love how the sagebrush is highlighted and how the top of the hill has a yellow glow to it. I love the darkness of the sky and the way the sunlight hits the tree. I also like the violin piece is sticking out at a weird angle. The finished product brought the story of the tree to life. We ended up not using the picture in the film, but I put it in the credits. So, if you happen to go see The Devil & The Angel at DOCUTAH next week you might see it.