Sunday, 7 December 2008

Animation Research

Animation Research Questions:
  1. What are the conventions of Animation?
    (See Blog #1)

  2. How have they changed/ developed over time?
    (See Blog #1)

  3. What are the different styles of animation?
    (See Blog #1)
  4. What are the different methods of animation?
    (See Blog #1)

  5. Why are there cartoons being made for adults when they are supposed to be aimed at children?
    Many debate weather or not adult cartoons should be aired on television. However i think that it has only become an issue because the majority of cartoons are generally directed towards children. The animation audience is made up of more then children as such, the content of an animated series should not have a default requirement to be 'kid-friendly'. There is no hard or fast rule that animation must be limited to children.
  6. How does the style of animation vary throughout cultural interest?
    There is a very wide variety of different styles/methods/themes in animation. And sometimes depending on the cultural background of the theme/idea that the cartoons are based upon, obviously the style will be different.
    For example one of the most popular and recognized animation films are the Japanese Anime cartoons. They are most commonly recognized for their unique exaggerated stylization.
  7. Why does the stereotypical theme of 'damsel in distress, villain and hero' commonly occur in animation films?
  8. How come animation has remained so popular in the advancing technology industry?

An interesting clip of animation i found on you tube, i found the method and stylistic of it very interesting:

Die Flickenkoenigin

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


Montage (from the French for "putting together") most often refers to collage including photomontage and sound collage. It is a technique in film editing that can refer to a montage sequence, a segment which uses rapid editing, special effects and music to present compressed narrative information.

Battleship Potempkin (1925) directed by Sergei Eisenstein.
One of the most famous uses of Montage in film history.

  • Re-watch up to 0:45. What atmosphere do the contrasting shots create? How does Eisenstein create a sense of foreboding alongside the overriding atmosphere?

In the beginning for the first 45 seconds Eisenstein demonstrated a series of shots showing the civilians welcoming back sailors. Although there is an obvious portrayal of excitement and happiness, even relief that overrides among the crowd, the audience develops a sense of uncertainty alongside.
This is created through Eisenstein’s theories of “montage”. Students of the Kuleshov School of filmmaking were experimenting with the effect of film editing on audiences, this was Eisenstein’s attempt to edit the film in such a way that when the edits were played back together it would convey a emotion of sympathy on the viewers. He was aiming to produce a film to get the greatest emotional response.

  • Watch the rest of the clip again. How dose Eisenstein create a contrast between the soldiers and the people? How and why dose our view of the people's feelings change?

Eisenstein creates a contrast between the soldiers and the people by cutting back and fourth from the scenes. For example it will cut from the soldiers marching with their guns down the steps to the panicked civilians running away in fear. Or it will cut from the soldiers in aiming positions and firing shots to the civilian that has just been wounded but the bullet as they fall to the floor dying. We now see the soldiers as ruthless monsters as we have just seen they shot a innocent mother and her wounded child. Our feelings for the people change to sorrow and unhappiness because Eisenstein cleverly contrasts the separate shots together to make us feel distressed and shocked.

  • Choose a minute in the film which you found particularly effective. Analyze shot by shot the contrasts and effects of the editing in your sequence. Prepare a 3 minute presentation detailing your analysis.

I found the Odessa Steps sequence the most effective scene in the film. In the minuet it shows the massacre of the civilians on the Odessa Steps. It shows the Tsar’s Cossacks marching down the seemingly endless flight of steps in sync to each other in a robotic like manner as they open fire at the stampeding crowd. Here Eisenstein successfully portrays the soldiers as cold-hearted murderers as they kill a mother and her young boy, and a mother who is pushing a baby in a pram. She is shot in the stomach and falls to the floor accidentally pushing the pram with the baby inside down into the crowd of fleeing people. The massacre on the steps includes the most dramatic effect and shot angles. My favorite shot was the boots of the Tsarist soldiers shown marching down the Odessa Steps. I also like the angle where both the mother and the injured young boy and the soldiers are included. The shadows of the soldiers dominate over the mother and her child appearing as the soldiers are bigger and have more power.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Film Studies Blog #1

Film Studies: Animation
Brief Introduction to animation; Past and Present.
Animation is the rapid display of 2-D images or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create the illusion of movement. Some of the earliest examples of animation trace back to the Paleolithic cave paintings of animals where they have multiple sets of legs in different positions, clearly showing a storyboard of motion.
From cylinder disks (known as the Zoetrope) with a row of images along the inside wall that portrayed the illusion of motion by being spun, the next big development towards motion pictures was the flip book.
The first flip book was invented by John Barns Linnet in 1868. A set of sequential pictures shown at high speed creates the effect of motion. This was used to produce some of the first animated cartoons ever made (see: Gertie the Dinosaur).
Today animation productions use what is called Stop Motion. Stop motion uses physical objects instead of images of people. The object will be photographed, moved slightly then photographed again. These series of photos can be played back at a normal speed and the object will appear to be moving by itself. Clay animations such as Wallace and Gromit, as well as animated movies that use posed figures for instance James and the Giant Peach use the stop motion process.
In 1995, Pixar Animation Studios produced the first fully computer generated feature film called Toy Story, changing animated films forever and proving that companies were slowly making the transition from traditional animation to CGI animation. (CGI animation see: Geri's Game, For The Birds)

-What Films
There is a very wide variety of films we can watch for this genre. We have decided to spread out the different animation movies and try to watch as many different ones as possible. We will be looking at some of the original cartoon movies produced by the first big Hollywood companies like Walt Disney studios and Warna Bros productions.
Other movies inclued more recent productions by these companys that are now using the more developed technology systems.

Our list of movies that we plan on watching includes:
-Snowhite and the Seven Dwarfs
-The Lion King
-Beauty and the Beast
-Space Jam
-Peter Pan
-James and the Giant Peach
-The Jungle Book
-Toy Story
-Wallace and Gromit
-Brother Bear
-Happy Feet
-Finding Nemo
-Monsters Inc.
-Lord of the Rings (animated version)
-Ice Age
-The Incredibles

-What I think defines the genre?
To start with the obvious, animation is all produced by photographing drawings or arranged objects a frame at a time to create the illusion of movement. There is no 'real life' scenery or people involved in the movie itself. The only part of the movie where people are actually used is the dialogue. However there have been movies made of mixing 'real life' and animation, such as the movie Space Jam where either cartoon characters are edited into the film to look like they are part of the real world, or the actors (in this case Michael Jordan) are edited in using blue screen to make it look like he is in the 'animation world' (see Space Jam 1996).
Although animations often contain genre like elements they are not so much a defined genre category, but more a film technique. Most animations are stop-motion films that are based upon fairy tales and make believe stories. They almost always include the stereotypical characters such as the hero, villein and the damsel in distress. Animation productions often appeal to children and is seen as "childrens entertainment".
However there are some 'adult' cartoon animations that are targeted only for adults, such as Futurama, South Park and Family Guy (see South Park - The "F" Word), but these often are only TV series.

-What similarities are there? (Include Video example)
Like i said, the similarities between the animated films are mainly the fairy tale/ make believe subject.
Almost always appealing towards the children entertainment industry.
Here are a few examples that link to the blog in some way:

Gertie the Dinosaur (Winsor McCay, 1914)

For The Birds

Geri's Game

Space Jam (1996)

South Park - The "F" Word

-Other interesting thoughts.
I typically like the category of Animation that we have chosen to focus on because being an art student, i am always interested in the creative side to things. Not only is animation creative because its movie making, but it involves a lot of skills and good ideas to draw the characters and make these movies.