Montage vs. Long Take Wars

FMMC 101, SPRING 2011

For your next assignment, you will work in small groups (of approximately four) to shoot and edit a short video. These small groups will be formed out of your weekly discussion groups split in two. You will decide amongst yourself on the discussion boards how to split into two, and choose your teams: Montage or Long Take. You must let me know of your decision by Thursday March 3rd.

PARAMETERS:

Whichever team you are on, your video should be between 1 and 3 minutes long.  It is up to you to decide whether you want to use diegetic sound, extradiegetic sound, or no sound.

For the Montage Teams:

  • Each minute of video should have between 10 and 15 cuts.
  • You must use the full range of framing, from close up (CU) to long shot (LS), and everything in between.
  • At least one of the cuts should be a graphic match.
  • At least one of the cuts should be a match on action.
  • At least one of the cuts must signal a temporal ellipsis.
  • You must pay attention to rhythmic editing throughout.
  • You must open with a carefully chosen establishing shot and close with the same shot, but you can change elements of the mise en scene within the shot.

For the Long Take Teams:

  • No shot should be shorter than 25 seconds.
  • Within the limits of your few shots, you must use the full range of framing, from close up (CU) to long shot (LS), and everything in between.
  • At least one of the cuts should be a graphic match.
  • At least one of the cuts must signal a temporal ellipsis.
  • You must pay attention to rhythmic editing throughout.
  • Pay attention to the careful construction of verisimilitude through mise en scene and shot relation.
  • You must open with a carefully chosen establishing shot and close with the same shot, but you can change elements of the mise en scene within the shot.

PARAMETERS  (for all teams)

You may not use any additional people to appear in your video: that is, only people in your group can participate in this project, whether behind or in front of the camera.

Your video does not need to tell a story; consider how you might effectively communicate a brief incident or anecdote or even a thematic exploration. (Think, for example, the Damages vs. Sopranos opening credit sequences).

Be sure to pay attention to light conditions; dimly lit rooms may obscure the quality of your film.

As you prepare and shoot, keep in mind the basic rules of continuity editing: the 180 degree axis of action, eyeline matches, etc.  These protocols should be adhered to carefully, or broken only with careful consideration.

You must storyboard at least your four opening shots in advance of shooting.  Storyboard sheets will be available for download from Moodle. You will submit these opening storyboards to me when you submit your final film.

Though the basic frame of this assignment centers around shot duration and editing, don’t forget about the centrality of mise en scene. Pay careful attention to all elements of mise en scene, from costuming to sets to color to body language and performance style. Think carefully about every choice you make, from costuming to framing.

Digital Flip video cameras will be available for check out from Ethan Murphy in the equipment room (Axinn 014) From 10-12AM. (Email Ethan if you need to schedule an alternate pick up time.) For more details see: https://mediawiki.middlebury.edu/wiki/LIS/FMMC_Technology_Support Be sure to respect the check out terms and return deadlines for this equipment.

You should plan to meet as a group several times to come up with a subject for your video, to prepare the shoot, and to undertake the actual filming.

Additional assignment components and staggered due dates:

On Tuesday March 1st, Ethan Murphy will visit class to give a quick walkthrough through the cameras.

By Friday, March 4th, you must have signed out a camera and tripod.

Thursday, March 10th your discussion sections will meet in Axinn 105 with Ethan Murphy (ethanm@middlebury.edu), where you will receive a basic introduction to a computer editing program.

Your completed films will be due on Tuesday, March 22nd.

As a group, you will write an online 250-500 word manifesto associated with your project, due to the Moodle Manifesto Forum by Wednesday, March 23rd at midnight.

We will screen your films in class on Thursday, March 24th.

Each participant will also write a 500 word assessment of the process and outcome of their group work, with substantive reference to the concepts raised in class discussion and reading. This individual written analysis will be due to Moodle by Friday, March 25th.



3 Responses to Montage vs. Long Take Wars

  1. Andrew Guff says:

    Download Video

    Group Members: Jack Clancy, AJ Guff, Flo El Kumeshi, Caroline Kahlenberg, Tara Quinn.

    Manifesto:

    The objective of our montage is to parody the way the term montage has come to be understood in Hollywood and the overall American film industry. We want our montage to address how this can be done successfully.

    Through our readings on the theories of Pudovkin and Eisenstein in combination with our class understanding of montage, we have extrapolated Eisenstein’s formula with a twist. We employ the equation A+B=C as a means of colliding two disjunctive events to create meaning rather than narrowing in on the collision of two disjunctive shots. Given this variation of Eisenstein’s theory in conjunction with our storyline—in which two male athletes undergo intense training to open jars of peanut butter and jelly—we have constructed our own equation: Event A (training) + Event B (opening peanut butter and jelly jars) = C (parody).

    In addition, we choose to convey the narrative without dialogue, but rather with music. We feel that the most effective means of communicating the narrative is contingent on the actions and expressions of the characters. Thus, playing “Eye of the Tiger” in correspondence with two athletes training guides the viewer to focus on the athletes’ actions and facial expressions. We further emphasize a viewer’s focus on the imagery through a synthesis of a series of short shots and close-up shots. Through this, we hope to overdramatize the characters’ actions, intensify their facial expressions, and capture their emotions.

    We firmly believe that montage is the most effective vehicle for dramatizing and parodying film and that the long take would not have expressed our storyline properly. As mentioned above, the multitude of shots utilized in montage dramatizes characters’ actions and further constructs anticipation of what is to happen next in a scene. As a result, a series of multiple shots enables the viewer to invest his or herself in the scene and dedicate his or herself to the characters on screen. For example, the intercutting of short shots within the temporal ellipsis—which we include twice in our video—not only provides the viewer with a sense of time, but further causes the viewer to think about how the images relate to each other over time. The long take would have taken away from constructing a sense of time for the viewer and his or her anticipation of what is going to happen next.

  2. Andrew Guff says:

    rtmp://middmedia.middlebury.edu/vod/mp4:aguff/group3montage-VimeoSD.mp4

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