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Visual Communication Week 12

by: Grace McBride

Visual Communication Week 12 COMM1300

Marketplace > Cornell University > Communication Studies > COMM1300 > Visual Communication Week 12
Grace McBride

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Introduction to visual communication theory. Examines how visuals influence our attention, perspectives, and understanding. Uses examples of visuals drawn from advertising, TV news, documentaries, ...
Visual Communication
Norman Porticella
Class Notes
25 ?




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Grace McBride on Wednesday June 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to COMM1300 at Cornell University taught by Norman Porticella in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see Visual Communication in Communication Studies at Cornell University.

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Date Created: 06/08/16
Monday, April 25, 2016 COMM1300 Visual Communication - Citizen Kane vs. The Fall • “Analysis of techniques used in Citizen Kane and The Fall to direct your attention and creating meaning. Your paper must focus one of the three following areas and apply these to the films Citizen Kane and The Fall. • 1. Point of View editing. POV editing is the editing, camera angles, viewing distances/shot lengths, etc. that take place within a consistent time, location, and reality. Citizen Kane and The Fall often use very different techniques to tell the story. How do each deal with point of view and influence your perceptions? For instance, Citizen Kane is famous for the use of low angles. But in many cases, the use of low angles seems to be different than traditional use. Traditionally low angle are used to imply power…but in many of the shots in Citizen Kane low angle seem to imply loss of power. Why? Doesn’t this violate the rule— and the real world? Discuss. • 2. Deep Focus. The camera is generally seen as telling the viewer where to look, and what to look at. This is generally done through edits, close-ups, and shallow focus (look at what’s in focus). In Citizen Kane, however, much of the film uses “deep focus” where everything in the frame is in focus. This seems to violate the rule of the director/camera telling the viewer what is important. What’s going on here? Does The Fall use Deep Focus? How are you, the viewer, told what to look at? Are you told what to look at? Where does your attention go? How does the use of deep focus affect the meaning you get from the scene? How does the use of shallow focus affect meaning? • 3. Transitions. Citizen Kane is full of time/place transitions from the famous breakfast scene to the flash-forwards within flash-forwards or flash-backs within flash-backs. Describe how these transitions work and how they are used in Citizen Kane (you don’t need to describe every time transition—just pick one or two as examples). The Fall uses different techniques for time/place transitions using many juxtapositions of images. Contrast these techniques with those used in Citizen Kane. How do you know when and where the film has transitioned to (time, place, reality). Is it primarily through Code? Context? Other techniques? • For each topic you might include a discussion of your thoughts on why the filmmakers may have chosen their respective techniques? Are you able to identify any patterns in each director’s use of these techniques? Are there implications for the differences in the overall patterns? Do they relate to the narrative in some way? Do they evoke different meaning? Different emotions? You don’t need to address all of these questions. They’re just food for thought. • Grading: - Ideas are clear and concisely written. All writing is focused on explaining and providing evidence for your argument. 100 pts. - Concepts are defined and described. 100 pts. - Concepts are applied well. 175 pts. - Overall—followed directions, included references. 25 pts. • Much is written about Citizen Kane, and you are free to use any source you want, but you must reference any materials you use (FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT, THIS INCLUDES COURSE READINGS, not lecture). This means that you indicate within the body of your paper the source of information or ideas you have used from other sources, and include a page of references at the end. You may follow any style you prefer, just pick a style and follow it. APA style is the most popular for Communication work. • For full credit this must be a well-researched and carefully written paper. You should also feel free to be creative in your approach. For example, you might include still frames from the film in your paper to define which scenes you are describing. • Extra notes for this assignment: - An important question is: How do we understand the use of these techniques from the visual storytelling perspective? - Point of View Editing: For most films, they tell you very explicitly what to look at, but this is very rare in Citizen Kane, which usually includes all characters having conversations in one frame. The camera stays and does not change. It does not tell you explicitly what to look at. In addition, deep focus is often used when point of view editing happens in Citizen Kane. In contrast, The Fall usually tells you explicitly what to look at. But there are also some scenes in The Fall that use similar point of view editing as Citizen Kane. For instance, there is one scene where Roy and Alexandria are sitting on the bed talking. The camera stays and does not change. This is similar to Citizen Kane, although it does not have deep focus. 1 Monday, April 25, 2016 - Deep Focus: This technique is frequently used in Citizen Kane. For example, when Kane signs his fortune away, he looks so powerless in the background. In The Fall, there are a lot of scenes that include deep fields. What does the main purpose/effect seem to be? • TIPS: - Providing concise little explanations of the course concepts you are applying in your analysis is effective. It gets your reader on the same page as you and shows us you understand the concepts and how to apply them. - Using a standard structure will tie your paper together, making it more professional, clearer, and generally more enjoyable to read. For instance, you might start with an overview of your argument and some of the concepts you'll discuss. Then go into your analysis and conclude with an overall assessment (e.g. rearticulating your argument). - Beyond POV Editing • change in time, not location - how do you know? code? narrative context? personal context/culture? - Notting Hill (Roger Michell) - The Wrong Man (Hitchcock) change in time and location • - Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean) - The Red Violin • change in reality, not time - The Matrix (The Wachowski Siblings) - The Bear change in location, not time • - Shoot the Piano Player (Francois Truffaut) - Code v. Context • Context over code • Personal context over narrative context - The Fall (movie from section) changes between reality and time • • similarities that link spaces together - people and experiences overlap - Citizen Kane • influence on reality and time: long shot vs. close up shots 2 Wednesday, April 27, 2016 COMM1300 Visual Communication - Citizen Kane v The Fall Essay 4 • must be a well researched paper - textual analysis - looking at critics and reviews - don’t use blogs or imdb for references, use legitimate sources • how does the structure of the film influence the plot? - Review for section activity and final exam: what is the impact on attention, emotion, and meaning? • Dondis - balance (overall image) - stress (overall image) - leveling/sharpening (dominant element) - attraction/grouping (individual elements) • Symbolic vs Iconic vs Indexical Nature • Syntactic Indeterminacy - as weakness and strength • Indexicality vs Truth (truth about what?) - (mis)labeling - staging - selection (what to include or exclude) - editing (rearrangement of image, juxtaposition) - photographic alteration (from changing exposure to moving pixels) • Attracting Attention 1 Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - direct eye gaze - rear view - violating reality - visual metaphor - visual parodies and homage - viewing distance - subjective camera - goal relevance • Mechanics of Photography (& its impact on meaning) - controlling light (brightness, direction, hard/soft) - controlling motion - controlling depth of field (what is in focus) • Juxtaposition • Context - in our heads (culture, knowledge, experience) - in adjacent images - natural tendency to try to make meaning • Code - relation to context - why can codes be broken? • Angle of View (high vs low) • Viewing Distance (long shot vs close up) • Eyeline Matching - think about the expectation created when a character looks off camera 2


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