Is dialogue important?

Most films you’ll ever see have plenty of dialogue in them, but how important is dialogue really? I’m not saying that the next blockbuster should be only music and action without your average “what’s going on?!” line in the trailer, but if it’s done right, a film without dialogue can be just as communicative, if not more moving.

At high school I did a two year film course, and the first time we sat down for pre-production, we started writing the script before anything else. Not only was this film not very good (to be fair, we were only 16 with little experience), it just had too much talking and not much communication. We got the story across, but in the wrong way. As the course progressed, our teacher suggested we cut down the dialogue as much as possible to see what effect we could achieve. This pushed us to find other ways to communicate less directly using techniques such as macguffins or symbolism, thereby provoking more questions from the audience and creating further interest.

Again, I’ll press that dialogue is important enough that it is mostly necessary in some scenes, however there are some films out there that use other techniques beautifully, using minimal dialogue.

‘Wall-e’ presents a post-apocalyptic world whereby a rubbish-collecting robot is left to pick up the mess that mankind has created. Wall-e says little other than Eve’s name, yet you get so much emotion from his expressive binocular eyes and tone of robotic voice. In fact, the first dialogue between Wall-e and Eve isn’t until 22 minutes in.

Disney’s ‘Paperman’ from 2010 is a 7-minute long short film with no dialogue whatsoever, but it’s lighthearted tone leads to a feel good ending. The love story follows a young man who meets a beautiful woman at a train station and is led back to her by animated paper planes. I love the style of animation and how one can take so much from something so simple. Again, expression is key here, paired with evocative music.

When ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ first came out in 1968, there were conflicting reactions from its audience. Many viewers felt that after Star Wars, the film didn’t have enough action so was therefore, boring. On the other hand, the film was very ahead of its time and its aim was to portray space realistically, so by using silence and extremely slow-paced editing, this was achieved spectacularly.

2009’s ‘Up’ is not dialogue-free but there is one sequence that really stood out to me, where if dialogue had been added, the effect would be significantly less effective. This is the story of how Carl and Ellie grow old together, planning to travel to South America, but never finding the funds or time. The montage alone is only a few minutes long, but is the most emotional, flicking through the ups and downs of their life together, leaving you feeling like you know the couple, and wanting to solve all their problems for them so that they can be happy.

To wrap up, although dialogue can be very important, the art is knowing where and how to use it in order to be create the most impact on your audience.

The Best Historical Films

Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Now by saying historical films I don’t mean the next documentary on the History Channel, I’m talking about films based on people like Mark Zuckerburg and Marilyn Monroe. Although no one can ever prove their accuracy and know what actually happened, insights into people who changed history are always, in my opinion, fascinating.

Another aspect I like about these films is that, unlike many documentaries, you connect more with the characters on the screen. I was never a huge fan of history, but being able to witness someone’s story and understand their emotions more thoroughly meant that I was automatically more interested. This direct atmosphere allowed for a greater connection which I think is more entertaining.

I’ve gathered and nitpicked at a few historically-based films (mostly recent) that I think you should give a go in no particular order, even if history isn’t your thing:

The King’s Speech (2010) – Who doesn’t love a bit of Colin Firth? He plays King George VI, who suffered from a stammer. He seeks help from a slightly unconventional speech therapist named Lionel, since he would otherwise be claimed unfit to be king.

Gladiator (2000) – Russell Crowe plays a Roman general whose family is brutally murdered, so seeks revenge after being captured and forced to become a gladiator until his death. Filled with action and incredible costumes.

The Social Network (2010) – “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies”. How Mark Zuckerburg created the most well known social network in the world, and the lawful complications he faced against two brothers.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940) – One of my favourite films from the 40s with a powerful ending. The Grapes of Wrath follows the Joad family throughout their struggle through the Great Depression. A very personal and effective story, with amazing cinematography and editing.

My Week with Marilyn (2011) – A film following a week that Colin Clark spent with actress Marilyn Monroe, experiencing her struggles with acting, fame and the need to be loved and accepted. A great film, I loved the musical score and characterisation.

Searching for Sugarman (2012) – Although the style of this film is not something that I would usually watch, the way that the story is told is spectacular. check domain . Searching for Sugarman is a brilliant documentary style film about searching for a man named Rodriguez, who reached inspirational fame without knowing it until many years later after long-running rumours about his suicide. You really invest yourself in the two South African detectives looking for him, and find yourself questioning how anything like this could ever realistically happen.

Milk (2008) – A tale based on a gay activist who changed political history by being the first openly gay elected official in America. Sean Penn gives an incredible performance, presenting how Harvey’s courage changed lives and American history.

So these are my top historical films 🙂

Don’t miss a film about Princess Diana (‘Diana’), coming out later this year. Ever since her death there have been endless conspiracy theories about her life and how she died, but no one will ever know the real story. What do you think? Share your top films on our FB page.

Why do we watch films to escape?

Source: Getty Images, http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/photo/movie-royalty-free-image/143921276
Source: Getty Images, http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/photo/movie-royalty-free-image/143921276

Ever been to the cinema just to get away from it all?

Many people watch films or programs just to have that half an hour or more to themselves. Watching made-up characters do made-up things is a bit like watching adults playing with real-life dolls, only with more complicated story lines. This is ordinarily seen as simple entertainment, but since many of us watch films or telly to escape our everyday stress, it is sometimes known as escapism. However, why do we search for this and why is it so effective?

The answer is known as catharsis, a form of releasing our pent up emotions vicariously through certain characters’ emotions. This happens by being both attached and detached from what we’re watching on the screen. We are attached because we can either empathize or sympathize, yet we aren’t physically next to the real-life puppets crafted by directors and screenwriters. As a result, we feel their emotion and respond with our own emotions in return. And since we are all capable of feeling the same emotions, we can relate to them.

Here’s an example; you’ve had an extremely long day at work; very hectic, emails every 2 seconds, phone won’t stop ringing and everyone’s on edge. You get home, plonk yourself down on your sofa and turn the telly on. Immediately your mind begins to switch off as you focus on what is happening in front of you. Maybe you’re watching a soap and someone somehow managed to wake up from a coma, or you’re watching a comedy and possibly chuckling along with the recorded laughter coming from your speakers. Either way, you are engaging yourself in the characters on the screen by watching them and feeling their emotions, yet any second you could get up to make a cup of tea and start thinking about work again. This creates a balance of attachment and detachment between your real life and the pretend life on screen;  it is not real, but the emotions that you feel because of it are.

This example is a very regular one that happens all the time. However, there could be an occasion where you watch an extremely sad film where a character that you’ve grown fond of dies or the ending isn’t how you expected it. You walk out of the cinema with puffy red eyes and have to rush to the loo to get more tissues. By witnessing and indirectly experiencing someone else’s loss or sadness you are able to release your own repressed emotions. At the same time, you realize that you don’t have to face the same problem as the character you are watching, you feel relief.

So, catharsis is one of the many reasons we go to the cinema. What’s your reason?

What is Chroma Key

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Would you like to lie on the white beaches of the Maldives or walk on the moon without actually travelling there? Well, the solution is ‘Chroma Key’!

Chroma key is a technique used in post-production or real-time in order to replace a background.  Using an editing software, the editor points which colour to make transparent and recover with another picture. In theory, it is possible to use any kind of colour but you have to be careful because any items which are classified under the indicated colour range will be made transparent.  For example,  if you use a red background and the subject wears a red T-shirt, you may be left with a floating head and legs!

The main characteristic of this process is the monochromatic background; it means that it is necessary to use a one-coloured backdrop which is usually green.

WHY GREEN?

The main reasons why green screen is a popular choice:

– it is the furthest away from skin tone and in this way it is easier to separate the person from the background.

– digital cameras are more sensitive to green

– can be lit with less light than that required for blue screen

– is a less common colour for costumes.

It is important to note that the background should be evenly lit as shadows could damage the chroma key process.

WHO CAN DO IT?

When you think about this kind of process you may immediately think about a big expensive Hollywood production, but fortunately things have changed for small-medium crews who want to shoot on green.

Live Vision provide all the things needed for a professional chroma key shoot, affordable and easy. We even have two kinds of chroma: a spongy removable curtain and a hard cyc so we can adapt to your needs.

You just have to bring your ideas, and we will do the rest.

By Sara Aversa and Nieves Matias

The best ‘Ends of the world’

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“Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.”

These are the words of Roger Zelazny, the American writer of science fiction and fantasy. Who knows how and when the world will end? But through several movies about the end of the world we can imagine a variety of ends and choose our “favourite” one!

During the history of cinema a lot of directors have used this topic and it is one most appreciated by the audience. People probably like these types of movies because it’s a mysterious topic or because the director can push their imagination and share their ideas through the creation of breathtaking special effects.

The last blockbuster of the category recently released in the cinema is “World War Z”, the last movie directed by Marc Forster with Brad Pitt. The story is about the UN employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), who saves the world from a zombie pandemic. The plot is not something new for cinema, but the many visual and special effects created for ‘World War Z’ would have even woken Mr Zelazny!

Due to the endless list of end-of-the-world movies, we thought we would pick 5 movies that we believe you should watch, if you haven’t already:

  • “DR. STRANGELOVE” (1964) – Satirical movie about an insane American general, who plans a nuclear attack to destroy the whole world. It’s not the best movie for amazing effects, but it’s a Kubrick’s movie so definitely worth watching.

  • “INDEPENDENCE DAY” (1996) – The aliens invade the Earth in order to destroy it. A group of special men will stop the invasion. This movie launched the craze of armageddon type movies and a passion for special effects.

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  • “ARMAGEDDON” (1998) – NASA recruits a team of deep core drillers to save humanity from the impact of a huge asteroid.  Amongst the chaos there is a wonderful love story and a touching relationship between father and daughter. You will shed a tear!

  • “MATRIX” (1999) –  After a long journey or attempting to understand what the Matrix is, a computer hacker will save the human race from the control of “the machines”. 4 Academy Awards, the movie has a complicated and entangling plot and it is famous for the incredible visual effects and fight scenes in slow motion.

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  • “MELANCHOLIA” (2011) – This movie tells of the strained relationship between two sisters, while the Earth is going to collide with a mysterious planet called Melancholia.  This movie is not only an end of the world film with beautiful visuals and brilliant performances. It is also a deep analysis of human feelings in a painful atmosphere.

The Cosmonaut

Cosmonaut1

On the 14th of May there was the premiere of the movie “The Cosmonaut”, a Spanish film of science-fiction. It tells the story of the first Russian cosmonaut, Stas, who travels to the Moon during the Space Race. When he comes back to the Earth, he finds it completely empty.

However, the plot is not the main reason why you should watch this film. There are many reasons why this movie attracts my attention and I would like to explain a few of them.

First of all, “The Cosmonaut” is a movie produced by more than 5000 people! The main producer is Riot Cinema, a small studio based in Madrid, which is composed of three young people: Nicolás Alcalá, Carola Rodriguez and Bruno Teixidor. They wrote and produced the film, but they didn’t have enough money to achieve it. In order to solve this problem without asking money from other cinema producer companies, they used a great idea to find funds: crowdfunding. It is an alternative way to fund an activity, usually by Internet, and you just need to find enough people interested in your project that are willing to give you money to support it. In exchange for a little money, you can get a role in the project or exclusive items. For example, in “The Cosmonaut” case, if you paid €5, your name would have appeared in the credits of the movie as a producer!

Cosmonaut2

After four years and a final budget of €860,000, the Riot Cinema team was able to release its movie. Even if the final budget wasn’t so high, “The Cosmonaut” is a great film full of visual effects. The team declares and believes that “in cinema, to crash a car you don’t need a car, nor a crash, or a million dollars”. This quote explains how it was possible to make a brilliant movie with a low budget. They just needed a green screen, computers, a lot of patience and creativity.

If you don’t believe me, you can visit the movie website and watch it immediately. This is another reason that makes the movie very interesting: “the Cosmonaut” is available not only in the cinemas, but also on Internet for free.

However, even though the Riot Cinema team has given people the opportunity to watch it for free at home, most of the cinemas have sold out of tickets! This proves that people still like to go to the cinema to enjoy a good movie. The cinema industry is not dead, but it always needs new ideas to give people a reason to go. Cinema is always the best place to create the right atmosphere to enjoy a movie and live different stories through different characters.

The deep voice of Mario Biondi

Mario Biondi at Live Vision Studios

A couple of weeks ago I was looking at my work calendar and I read on the 14th of May these words: “Mario Biondi interview”. I immediately asked my boss if he was the famous Italian (I am also Italian) soul-jazz singer and, when my boss answered “Yes” , I was really surprised and excited!

Maybe a lot of people still don’t know him and I didn’t know a lot about him too. So, I have started searching more information about him and I have realized that he is a great singer who is becoming very famous all over the world because of his amazing voice.

Mario Biondi was born in Catania, Sicily, and his original name is Mario Ranno. He took his stage name from his father, the singer Stefano Biondi. Since he was a teenager, he loved soul-jazz music and he studied English language in order to get closer to the international soul-jazz stage.

After he sang in several small choirs, at the end of 80’s he started performing at the concerts of international artists, like Ray Charles. However, the turning point was with the song “This is what you are”, his most famous song, which was released even in Japan. From this moment his career started growing very quickly and in 2006 Schema Records published Mario’s first album: “Handful of Soul”, which won four platinum records just in a few months.

In 2009 he released the second album “If” and for this album he collaborated with the strings of the London Telefilmonic Orchestra and other affirmed international musicians.

After several tours and important collaborations, this year the new album “Sun” (produced by Biondi and Bluey, leader of the British jazz band Incognito, and distributed by Sony Music) was released and on the 10th of May, Biondi gave a concert at the Royal Albert Hall for the world premiere of it.

Mario Biondi’s main quality, that makes him a natural talent, is his voice. When you hear his voice, you can recognise it. It is warm, deep and strong. Through his voice you can feel the warmth of his country, Italy, mixed with the traditional and international soul-jazz sound.

During the interview I have also realized that he is also a humble and easy going person. He told us a funny anecdote about him. When he was younger, he wanted to be a dentist. During his traineeship he used to sing all the time and at the end, tired of his constant singing, his colleagues suggested, or maybe pushed him, to start his career as a singer. And from that moment he has dedicated his life to music.

Moreover, even if Biondi sings in English and he is always around the world, he has never forgotten his country of origin, that he loves. He declared that his main aim is to bring the soul-jazz music into the Italian people’s soul, but also bring the Italian culture into the world.

It was a pleasure to meet an artist like Mario Biondi, who wants to spread not only his amazing voice, but also his culture and his strong passion for the soul-jazz music.

He is developing a lot of new projects and collaborations with international and Italian artists and I can’t wait to listen appreciate to his next works. I wish him good luck for his career and I hope people from all over the world will his great talent.

Viral Marketing: New single by PSY

LV_Gangam style

Viral marketing is one of the most widespread strategies that marketing managers use for their campaigns. It is not hard to understand the meaning of ‘viral marketing’. The word ‘viral’ helps us to understand that it is a way to spread a message very quickly, like a virus. However, it is very hard to create a good viral marketing strategy.

 It usually refers to marketing on the Internet and there are different techniques to create a viral message but the most common is by viral video. facebook down . Everyday several videos crowd websites, social media and email in order to go viral, but just a few of them achieve viral status.

 We recently had a great example of a viral video that has reached one billion YouTube views in less than 6 months! The infamous South Korean musician PSY with his song “Gangnam Style” became a viral video without any special campaigns. Who hasn’t watched the video at least once or tried to mimic the dance? Even if you don’t understand the words of the song, it doesn’t matter because the motif is in your mind anyway. This artist became the most famous South Korean musician in the world, in less than a year.

 PSY is now ready to debut with his new single tomorrow at 6.30pm Korean Standard Time in a live streamed concert from Seoul World Cup Stadium. The world is eager to listen to his new song and to start dancing again. Will he be able to do another great viral video? Will he be able to get into people’s mind like ‘Gangnam Style’? This is a big challenge for PSY and we look forward to listening to him!

Production of Thor: The Dark World

Behind-the-scenes: Thor The Dark World

Walt Disneys second episode of the superhero film Thor (“Thor The Dark World”) is coming out in 2013. As the first episode the casts consists of great number of Hollywood actors as Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster.

Thor shooting in Greenwich

I was very happy when I heard that Marvel Studios decided to film at the lovely Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, next to the Cutty Sark and not far away from our studios in Deptford. So I decided to have a quick look to behind the scenes to get an impression of the production process. I definitely was not the only one with this idea, tourists and students accompanied me and were taking pictures. As usual London it was cold and rainy, but nevertheless lots of people were attracted by this happening.

Next to the Cutty Sark

In the second episode of Thor the superhero battles again to save the Nine Realms from an old enemy. During my visit at the recordings I saw this mysterious race, which tends to lead the universe into darkness. On the pictures you can see the actors searching for the right position.

About an hour later I was lucky to see Thor flying in the air, it all happened next to a burning car.Unfortunately I couldn’t take pictures from this scene. Everything happened too fast and the guardians warned me not to take pictures any more.

After seeing this great Marvel production near our film studio in I am really looking forward to release of Thor: The Dark World in November 2013. I will definitely watch it.Im November naechsten Jahres kommt der zweite Teil des Walt Disney Films Thor in die Kinos. Wie der erste Teil besteht auch The dark World aus einer grossen Anzahl an Hollywood Schauspielern, wie unter anderem Chris Hemsworth als Thor und Natalie Portman als Jane Foster.

Dementsprechend gluecklich war ich als ich hoerte, dass sich Marvel Studios dazu entschieden hatten den Film an dem Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, neben der Cutty Sark und nicht weit von unserem Studio in Depford, zu drehen. Ich entschloss mich also einen kurzen Blick hinter die Kulissen zu erhaschen um so einen Eindruck von der Produktion zu bekommen. facebook down Jedoch war ich nicht die einzige mit dieser Idee, Touristen und Studenten begleiteten mich und nahmen Foto’s vom Geschehen. Wie gewoehnlich war es an jenem Tag kalt und regnerisch in London, nichts desto Trotz zog die Marvel Produktion einige Zuschauer an.

Im zweiten Teil der Episode kaepft Thor gegen alte Feinde um das Gute zu beschuetzen. Waehrend meines Aufenthalts bei den Aufnahmen sah ich diese mysterieuse Spezies, die das Universum in die Dunkelheit leiten soll. Auf den Fotos, die ich dort gemacht habe, sieht man wie sich die Schauspieler in die richtige Position begeben. 

Etwa eine Stunde spaeter durfte ich sogar miterleben wie Thor alias Chris Hemsworth neben einem brennenden Auto durch die Luft geschleudert wurde. Da alles sehr schnell passierte und ich freundlichst aufgefodert wurde nicht zu fotografieren, konnte ich leider keine Aufnahmen von dieser Scene machen.

Nach den ersten Eindruecken dieser neuen Marvel Produktion bin ich sehr gespannt auf den zweiten Teil Thor: the Dark World, der im November 2013 in die Kinos kommt. Ich werde ihn mir auf jeden Fall anschaun.

Music Video: Once In A Lifetime

Music Videos: One on my favourites..

Once a music video was a promotional tool, it began as a popular promotion of music. During the ‘80s and especially by the upswing of MTV it became a television phenomenon. The music video mixed with fine arts and new technologies, so new trends ascended.

One of my favourite music videos is Once In A Lifetime from the Talking Heads from 1980. In this music video singer David Burne is dancing like a marionette by flinging his arms, tapping his head and patting the floor, as we all know from the Puppet Theatre. Talking Heads have never been commercially successful until the music video of Once In A Lifetime came out. It has become one of the most popular clips in MTV history and according to Time. Entertainment it is the ‘All Time Best Music Video’.

This music video is a good example of how the combination of music promotion and the fine arts can increase the success of a band. The popularity of this song is owing to David Burne’s creative and innovative mind and the music video production. By the emergence of MTV the experience of music changed. The music video became an essential element of the appreciation of music. Therefore the clip is an elementary medium for experiencing music. The video of Once In A Lifetime challenged the distinction between commercial goals and video art and helped the band to gain popularity and prevalence.

Frueher dienten Musikvideos hauptsaechlich der Vermarktung von Musik. Durch die Entstehung von Musiksendern wie unter anderem MTV wurde das Musikvideo zu einem beliebten Fernseh-Phenomen. Die Videoclips entwickelten sich weiter, sie kombinierten die bildende Kunst mit neuen Technologien und neue Trends entstanden.

Eines meiner Lieblingsvideo’s ist der Clip Once In A Lifetime von den Talking Heads aus 1980. In dem Musikclip tanzt Saenger David Burne wie eine Marionette. Er schleudert seine Arme in die Luft, klopft auf seinen Kopf und taetschelt mit den Haenden den Boden, wie man es unter anderem vom Kasperletheater kennt. Die Band Talking Heads war bis zur Entstehung des Musikvideo’s Once in a Lifetime nicht sehr erfolgreich, heutzutage wird der Clip jedoch gesehen als eines der beliebtesten Musikvideos der MTV Geschichte. Die Time. Entertainment ernannte es sogar zum ‘All Time Best Music Video’.

Der Videoclip der Talking Heads ist ein gutes Beispiel dafuer wie die Kombination aus bildender Kunst und Vermarktung zum Erfolg einer Band beitragen kann. Durch die Kreativitaet und die Innovatitaet des Saengers und durch die Musikproduktion gewann der Song an enormer Beliebtheit. Durch der Erfindung von MTV veraenderte der Musikgeschmack und das Musikvideo wurde zu einem wichtigen Element der Musikbewertung. Das Musikvideo ‘Once In A Lifetime’ von den Talking Heads kombiniert Videokunst und mit kommerziellen Zielen und verhilft der Band zu Popularitaet und Praevalenz.