Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 8: Sealab 2021

I’ve been a fan of Sealab 2021 for quite a while now, along with other Adult Swim shows which have the same stylistic elements, such as Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Harvey Birdman. It looks like the animators use motion tweens to control the characters as if they were puppets, but these days the bone tool would be used to more efficiently do the same job.

Sealab is great a satire of old Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Johnny Quest, which is where it derives much of its style from. Although there isn’t a wide range of movement within the characters’ bodies and facial movement like you would see in old episodes of Johnny Quest, the animation is still effective delivering the humor. Sealab doesn’t need a lot of action animations to move the story because it really isn’t for kids, but the humor is still there.

Narratives Exercises


I’ve seen this Listerine mouthwash ad on Hulu about a dozen times today. It fades in to a woman in a bathroom brushing her teeth, and the a narrator saying, “If you’re only brushing, add Listerine total care for a more complete oral care.” It doesn’t really have a set up, but the setting hints at what the commercial is about. There isn’t a narrative at all, just a bunch of claims by the narrator about strengthening enamel and fighting cavities. The woman really only appears for about three seconds before going into an animation of Listering swishing around in her mouth cleaning her teeth. After all the claims are made, we see the woman again for a brief second smiling then to a graphic of the Listerine bottle and text that says “the most complete mouthwash,” and the narrator saying the text.


I think the suspension of disbelief is much greater within animations than it is with live action. Since nothing in animations are ‘real’ the audience is more accepting of the exaggerations employed within it than they are with live forms of media. This is a great tool for narratives, since a point can get across to the viewer more quickly through the use of exaggerations in the story.

Also, there is a much less emphasis on continuity with animated shows than there is with live action shows. For example, if Bart rips his shirt in one scene and his shirt isn’t ripped in the next, the audience is okay with it.

I don’t think different styles of animation necessarily means different styles of storytelling, I think it is more the content of the shows that drives its storytelling. The Simpsons, South Park, and the Incredibles are all targeted towards different demographics, and I don’t think their forms of animation are what drives the content of their stories.

Week 7: I Met the Walrus

I absolutely loved this animation. Even though the audio drove along the piece, the animation added a whole new depth to the words. Animating Lennon’s words literally (like calling Levitan’s classmates squares and having them be animated as cubic children) and symbolically (when Lennon said “...the only thing they don’t know about is non-violence and humor” and showing the humerus bone for humor as a play on words), was a really powerful convention for this animation.

Stylistically, it was really well done as well. Being a fan of hand drawn art, I enjoyed the animated Lennon. Combining the hand drawn elements with real pictures in a Monty Python-esque way looked really, really amazing. I think that combination of imagery is what really made this piece as powerful as it is, to really visualize Lennon’s words in that manner.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Blog #4 Reflections on Class

I enjoyed the classes very much, and the lectures opened my eyes to some of the histories of the technologies I use everyday. I learned much about the beginnings of the camera and lens, the science behind them, and how they work together. Beginning the course with photography was a great foundation for the rest of the course; it allowed me to think about style and composition heavily for all of my assignments.

The unit on film and the video camera was great, but I expected more hands on projects. I would like to see more coverage on the subject in terms of production and editing, even if its on beginner programs like iMovie. It would have been great if the units on filming and lighting were better tied together in a more hands on manner. For example, using lighting equipment to film a mock interview in lab.

Also, I would have liked to see some coverage in the medium of sound, ranging from sound design, sound effects in movies, soundtracking, and the histories of recording sound for music and film.

Overall, the class was extremely educational, especially in terms of technicality. I don’t consider myself very well-versed in the technical aspects of photography and film, but the class laid a very good foundation on those subjects for me. Lastly, as this semester comes to an end, the class has really led me to appreciate new mediums in our current age and taught me to adapt to our ever changing world of media.

Blog #3 "What I Like"

I am a huge fan of London artist Von, aka “Hellovon,” who remade the movie poster for classic 80’s movie Teen Wolf. The composition is simple and beautiful, very pleasing to the eyes. The way he descends from large to small objects from top to bottom make the message easy to grasp.

The main focus of the poster is the illustration of the werewolf, in standard Hellovon style. It is large and takes up the most of the positive space.

The colors scheme is simple, mostly brown and black, but the streaks of yellow in the hair offset the otherwise muted colors. It really ties the colors of the poster together making it aesthetically balanced.

The use of handwritten type for the title “Teen Wolf” works perfectly to convey fun and youth. Juxtaposed below it is the tagline for the movie, but in a helvetica-looking serif font. This combination of type works very well together, and distinguishes the messages of the text from each other. Aside from the look of the type, the way Von employs font size to emphasize the message is also well played.

There is something about the text that makes it look alive. I believe he hand wrote all of the text so that the the lines are not completely straight, giving the poster a warm and welcoming aesthetic.

Each element of the poster is so well designed that each can stand on its own with confidence. I continue to be amazed at the work of Hellovon.

Blog # 2 "What I See"

I recently watched Buffalo ’66, a film directed and starred in by Vincent Gallo. A film essentially about a lost soul trying to find meaning, the film begins with plenty of wide and aerial shots, to emphasize the main character’s (Billy Brown) alone-ness and smallness. As the film progressed, Gallo incorporated closer and closer shots as we began to find out more and more about the mysterious Billy Brown. In one early scene, Billy uses the pay phone to call his parents. The scene begins with a medium shot, with the camera man following his every fidget and twitch in a very “hand-held” fashion. I feel this shot really highlighted how uncomfortable Billy was talking to his parents (whom he hasn’t talked to in years). As his conversation became heated and more intense, the extreme close up shots were applied. In one shot, the camera only focused on Billy’s eyes darting back and forth as he lies to his mother on the phone.

In one of my favorite scenes in the movie, Billy starts to open up his heart to Layla (Christina Ricci). They are in a motel room, and the camera looks down from the ceiling at them. It is composed very symmetrical, the bed completely centered with two of the same side tables on opposite sides. Billy and Layla lay on the bed about a foot and a half apart, then cuts to them getting closer and kissing, then cuts to them cuddling. What I really liked about this scene is that it didn’t need dialogue to move the story forward, it was all pushed by body language.

The style was consistent throughout the whole movie, with well-framed, Norman Rockwell-esque compositions. I love Vincent Gallo’s work.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Main Drag Music

Check out Main Drag, they've got some sweet stuff.

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