Goodbye, not really…?

So it’s that time of the year! 2015 is just round the corner and we’ve finally reached the end of the first semester, there’s however 7 more to go! This class has undoubtedly changed my perception on the digital culture within our generation. It additionally allowed me to explore storytelling in a very unconventional manner, such as creating a movie poster and a 10 second teaser for my motion graphics project.

This term has been rather eye opening in terms of what I can do with such softwares, however I feel as if I am not yet ready for intermediate digital media production as all this is new territory to me. Both my projects, however were distinct from one and another, in terms of genre and style. I am, although comfortable with the themes of the poster assignments; youth empowerment, love, drama, comedy as opposed to horror. I still am developing a specific style and as of now experimenting within different genres.

 

I can’t wait to start more video based projects as it is the realm I am most comfortable in and won’t be as nervous as I was for After Effects or Photoshop. Next semester is going to be the bomb!

 

Sahil Lulla 🙂

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Them Games Bro…

The term ‘Gamer’ in my opinion is a person who not only likes games and is an avid player, but are much like an organ to the player. Similar to how we’re addicted to our phones. However, when I arrived at Ryerson, almost everyone is considered a ‘gamer’ as everyone plays some sort of game. In my humble opinion, I do not think everyone is a gamer because we play games. For the general public, games are essentially played on the side, when one has time and this is highly different to those players whose lives run around games. It almost is unfair to them. Therefore, I do not call myself a gamer, although I am interested in game culture and like playing games.

There has been evident drastic evolution in the gaming industry. It is now a 6 Billion Dollar (yearly) industry. From the initial Cathode ray tube amusement device to games such as Bioshock Infinite. But what’s more fascinating is that the indie game culture has risen immensely due to the rapid technological advances. Essentially, the indie community is coming out with more content than the big labels, and this is even happening in film. Every day thousands of individuals are making games or uploading short films, the 21st century has led to some crazy and beautiful innovations! Look at the whole Fez drama!

However, gaming does indeed have its fair share of issues, one of the most predominant ones are racism and sexism. Our prof mentioned how most of the protagonists of games are white males and a very few percentage or of other ethnicities. In addition, women are portrayed as subordinates of men and have a rather sexual appeal, rarely they are a symbol of empowerment. Of course you have exceptions such as the Tomb Raider franchise and Bioshock Infinite, however these are the selected few.

We continued to discuss Constance Steinkuehler’s Games as third places, a remedy for stress, loneliness and alienation. It’s quite fascinating really, how prominent the role of escapism plays in our society today. Some radicals say that we as the public are being brainwashed by all this content as it acts as a distraction from the real issues. Just a theory, but rather cool…check it out sometime. Others say that games are the cause of alienation, such as the aforementionedConstance Steinkuehler, however there are others such as Jane McGonigal who believe that people need to play more games, in order to ‘save the world’ as it’s some sort of simulation.

I guess at the end of the day games are really important to us today as I firmly believe that it helps unite people, helps them learn and educate, and furthermore it has a very long future ahead. It undoubtedly will affect every media platform we know till date and possibly change the way we view media and by extension the world forever.

Tip Toe…Through the tulips…

My After Effects project seems relatively simple, however to me personally it seems rather complex due to making a 3D space from a 2D image and then create movement within them. That’s the first part, the second part is allowing the color grading of the image becomes darker and grittier as the camera tracks forward in the photo. Finally, the title appears, that emerges from the grungy green background that I created. On the background, there will be a flickering light sort of effect in order to accentuate the overall mood. The following 4 photos illustrate what it looks like;

Hallway 1 Hallway 2 Hallway 3 Final Title

In the final frame, I was thinking of implementing a stuffed animal as it seems rather empty. Furthermore in the third photo, in the last frame, the camera would zoom  right to the end of the corridor and a little figure would appear there, much like the Shining Twins, as Insidious’s horror style is quite akin to The Shining.

Lastly, as the title emerges with the background flickering, a song “tip toe, through the tulips” shall play as well. This song was utilised in all the film trailers and was also in the first film itself. It is an important component to the soundtrack as it really aided in the overall creation of the mood.

Until next time guys, hope you like the project!

Sahil Lulla 🙂

The Future of Storytelling?

We are bombarded by information every single day of our lives. The word ‘information’ is synonymous with stories in this current scenarios. Story-telling as a platform as evolved immensely in the 21st century and now they are everywhere. Stories are an imperative component in the structural design of our society. Even during the Victorian times, stories were an imperative notion that maintained a socio-political stand, in order to keep the country united. Our minds, however are highly tuned toward conventional story-telling platforms such as television, films and theatre. This is mainly due to the fact of a cultural evolution of story-telling. Although, if one were to examine every tangible and concrete object, each has it’s own story, photos, keys, billboards, shoes, everything and if one were to expand on this notion, transmedia storytelling comes into play.

On the street, I listened intently, eavesdropping everywhere I could and I realized something very strange. We go through our whole lives confined by our own space, however on the grand scale of things, everyone, together, collectively is in this world together, 7 billion people in this world with 7 billion stories and each artefact they own speak their own stories. As a term, transmedia is essentially a narrative being expressed through multiple platform and all this is possible due to the  digital revolution! I like to call us, The Meta-Generation.

We just learnt about ARG’s (Alternate reality games) and what I consider the embodiment of ‘transmedia’. Out of pure honesty, I would never be part of such a game as it’s simply too much effort! On an off related note, I never used to pay much attention to Transmedia until I got to Ryerson, I barely ever came across the term. I suppose that now it’s time to start paying more attention to Transmedia story telling. The only example that I consciously know of is Avatar Secrets and that is because it’s created by one of my profs!

Until next time!

Sahil Lulla 🙂

Interstellar

Christopher Nolan’s upcoming feature Interstellar is going to be the topic of discussion today! (A personal favourite) I suppose film comes under the digital media realm. However, Mr Nolan only films on celluloid, through that logic, does Interstellar come under the digital realm? Of course it does. Why? Simply because it involves digital technology, example? CGI!

Mr Nolan is a personal idol, he has revolutionized the superhero genre, however he is often considered to be the best and the worst thing for the superhero genre as every film tries to adopt a darker tone in order to portray some sort of realism! Man of Steel and Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier are two such examples.

The digital revolution that recently occurred in the film industry has made traditional directors feel forced to be a part of this change. Quentin Tarantino explicitly stated that he would stop making films if celluloid became extinct. Furthermore, Christopher Nolan stated that he couldn’t see himself making films if he had to shift to digital cameras.

Anyways, back to Interstellar, the prescreening is recently going on, in fact, the pre-pre-screening as the official pre-screening is  between the 4th and the 7th, which is literally next week! My tickets are already booked for the 6th. The pre-screening is only being shown in 250 screens across North America and primary in film formats, thus the official REAL IMAX 70MM!!!

No one knows much about the story as it has been kept a secret, people are still speculating who Matt Damon is in the film. The early reactions have been pretty great so far for the film, giving it the top rating in IMDB! That’s gotta count for something. One critic explicitly stated “Take that, Gravity!” Well, I suppose he’s right!

It’s crazy how Mr Nolan took this film from the great Spielberg, did he back down? Was he forced out? That part still remains a mystery? If you don’t know the backstory, here it is. Basically, Interstellar had been in pre-production since 2005 where Jonathan Nolan (Christopher’s brother) was writing the screenplay for Spielberg to direct. However, he kept bouncing ideas of with his brother and soon Christopher Nolan got invested into it and took over the project. That’s all we know…so far!

Anyways, this is part 1 of my blogger’s choice! I will post a review this time next week! So expect 2 blog posts next week!

Sahil Lulla 🙂

Them Graphics Bro…

First and foremost, although I am a fan of motion graphics, I haven’t paid much attention to them as every time I watch one, I feel inadequate as I am unable to create such a thing. Anyways, I’ve always found motion graphics rather appealing and highly fluid. An extremely fluid animation captivates my attention almost immediately, however it’s rather ironic as I am a big fan of the shaky cam and documentary style filmmaking, which acts as a direct juxtaposition. The youtube link below is a somewhat fusion of both though, it’s a kinetic typography of one of my favorite scenes in cinema.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuiKJ0rRTAo

This motion graphic video is one that I have watched a plethora of times and show a lot of my friends instead of showing them the scene of the film. Fincher’s Fight Club is undoubtedly my favorite film and ever since I heard of this assignment, I was pretty much set that I would do it on this. Although recently, the author of Fight Club announced the sequel to Fight Club, which would be written in the graphic novel form, so I’m contemplating on doing my assignment on the sequel and the little synopsis that Chuck Palahniuk has provided.

I wish I could post another motion graphics video, but there’s none that I frequently watch and the ones that I’ve come across during random browsing since I was introduced to the internet,  I’ve forgotten. However, in the spirit of this assignment, I did try to google some to find some I like and I came accross this link, which is the best motion graphics of 2013, my favorite of them is OSCILLATE

http://www.fromupnorth.com/best-motion-graphics-of-2013/

So, that’s it for today! I hope you all are looking forward for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar! (Which he stole from Steven Spielberg btw :O)

Sahil Lulla 🙂

Generation Z presents…Rise of Digital Media

Within the last 10 years, the technology has been evolving at an exponential rate, and has undoubtedly altered the very fabric of our lives. We have delved into an era of consumer convenience. Think about it, 10 years ago, if you were going to your friend’s new house for the very first time and he gave you and address, it would take ages just to figure out how to get there, however now all we need to do is punch the information on our phone and google would do the rest. ALL HAIL GOOGLE, seriously, what would we do without it? Now, imagine this, imagine after being exposed to all this technology and being spoilt with facebook, whatsapp, instagram, snapchat, music players, imagine you are being transported back 15 years, where walkman’s were the only source of portable music and the horrible radio on your non-colored Nokia Cell Phone, how different would life be? The frustration would reach to incomprehensible levels.

10 years from now, who knows what the world will be like?
For our assignment, we were asked to keep a 24 hour digital diary and I was absolutely shocked to realize how much of my phone I use in a day. On an average of 5 times in class, sometimes even if there’s no message, just because I’m used to it. If I’m standing in line somewhere, listening to music isn’t enough, I end up using snapchat and sending random photos to my friends or scroll through a plethora of photos on instagram. It’s CRAZY! There wasn’t a single moment in my entire day where my mind wasn’t occupied! I guess it’s the reason why more and more people are developing ADHD. However, “me-time” is extremely important to me, and I’ve been practicing it for a few years now. Every morning before my day and every night, before going to bed, I isolate myself from the world at large for 10 moments and focus on my thoughts. But other than those mere 20 minutes, I was engulfed into the world of social media.
Okay so infographics, once again, there’s a whole culture behind this. You might think it’s random for me to randomly bring up infographics when I’m talking about social media and our world. However, it comes under the umbrella of consumer convenience as infographics are crafted in a manner which is easy to interpret for the audience. Although, infographics are meant to be easy to comprehend, there are some ridiculous one’s. Personally, I love infographics, I believe it is the perfect form of manipulation in terms of posters and communicating to the public. The following are two simple but effective infographics…
 jamesbond smoking2
It is true that humanity is progressing at an exponential rate, however there is a theory that entails, an abundance of progress can lead toward a progress trap, thereby reversing the role of progress and causing humanity to regress. For example, during the tribal times, man had to kill animale in order to present food for the family and ensure their survival. Man then created the speer, technological progress that made human in terms of finding food easier. So instead of killing 1 deer a day, man killed 2 deers a day. However, if man were to find a way to kill 1000 deers in a day, for example by creating a hoard and leading them to a cliff which they would fall off from, then humanity has reached a progression trap, as this would result in adverse effects in the ecological cycle by means of disrupting the food chain. This analogy can be applied in today’s world and how such technology (social media) is affecting our generation. It is crazily evident that we use our cell phones way too much, and we are either on our phones and our computers, our interaction with digital media is much more than human interaction as even during human interaction, we still utilize our phones.
Are we descending into a collective apathy? Or is such technology actually good for us? The ambiguity of this answer reflects upon the central predicament of our current generation.
 
Sahil Lulla 🙂

Sands of an Hourglass (2015)

Sands of an Hourglass is my upcoming film and is a coming of age comedy drama film, which delves into the theme of youth empowerment. Upon hearing about our Photoshop assignment, I was immediately inspired to make a film poster for Sands of an Hourglass as there would be an immense pressure and motivation to get it done well. Since I have had no experience in Photoshop before this course, I decided to adopt my favorite director’s principle, which is to capture as much as you can on camera thus my poster heavily relies on the natural visual aesthetics of the photo as opposed to any digital manipulation and/or effects.

In addition to this, I had to bear in mind that my cast is still not set in stone and this would merely be a teaser poster, however it yet had to be a snapshot of the themes of the film and after a few drafts that I dumped into the trash, I finally arrived to this one, which was heavily inspired by Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film, Interstellar’s poster.

Interstellar-2014-Movie-Poster (1)

 

The simplistic nature of the poster is what stemmed the initial idea of framing a poster in such a manner. Moreover, to accentuate the mood and the themes of the film, I decided to add a tagline which provides a hint to the audience what direction the film will be going in, although it is short enough to retain film’s ambiguity and mystery.

Although the poster heavily relies on the photo and visual aesthetics, using Photoshop was still not an easy task. It was extremely difficult to capture the essence of the film and make it appealing toward the desired demographic, which would be 15-28 year olds, males and females. There were issues with the colors of the font in conjunction to the colors of the grass, as I wanted to have the black and white contrast, however the different shades of the grass often camouflaged my letters. I asked a few friends on my floor on how to overcome this, and the response was fairly simple, thereby making me look a little silly.

Furthermore, the main issue I had was choosing the photo to use for the poster, as there were quite a few to choose from. We posed differently for different photos and finally ended up picking this particular photo. The issue was that, this photo, when taken was in fact, disregarded as the camera was framed differently and the actors weren’t center aligned. However, upon viewing the photo on the desktop, the sense of imperfection captured a sense of beauty and mirrors the film’s themes perfectly. I asked around as well, and most people picked this photo, thereby assuring me that this was the photo to be used for the poster.

In the end, I am quite satisfied with the poster, especially considering it was my first attempt. However, I was limited too, as this film is a project that I am currently working on and have no cast yet, and thus the poster had to be a teaser, thereby not having any faces in the poster. With this in mind, I had to frame the entire poster, which took some time. Other than that, my experience was extremely enlightening as it opened up the world of Photoshop to me, and although I have just taken a mere step, at least I have entered the digital realm.

Sands of an Hourglass

Sahil Lulla 🙂

Typography- Week 4

We are all aware that type is a form of persuasion and is highly influential within the media industry. Recently, I learned that our eyes are more focused on the shape or rather the typeface as opposed to the word itself. This allowed me to become more self-aware of the fonts I use for everything and began to analyze as to why certain fonts are used for certain things. Formal essays often have a serif font, such as ‘Times’, whereas Helvetica is highly used and widely recognized in everyday life. Helveitca is a sans serif font, and I suppose it is so highly utilized due to the fact that it is simple, readable and perceivable by everyone in the same manner, much like an everyman protagonist in a film.

On the topic of films, here are three posters that utilize highly different styles of typography. Firstly, visionary filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film, Interstellar has taken a rather ambiguous undertone to its poster. Evidently, the poster heavily relies on the visual aesthetics of the photo rather than special effects or even typography, however it is indeed of paramount significance as it accentuates the mood of the poster and the film. Unlike Nolan’s other posters, Interstellar’s poster seems to have a sort of Speilbergian  vibe to it.

INTERSTELLAR                           SUPER 8

Interstellar Speilberg hommage

Although Super 8 wasn’t directed by Spielberg, it was J.J.Abrams homage to Spielberg, and the commonality within themes of these posters are highly prevalent.

The simplistic nature of the font allows us (the consumers) to feel comfortable and relate to the film’s poster rather easily. Interstellar, however has used Baskerville (perhaps?) which is serif font for the film’s title thereby illustrating that the film does have a serious tone to it. At the same time, it attempts to make you feel comfortable with the other caption writing, which is in sans-serif. I believe this poster has been crafted rather intelligently, as the visual aesthetics, the tagline, the typography have all culminated in attracting a wide array of audiences, ranging from adolescents to 40-50 year old adults.

Secondly, Silver Linings Playbook, seems to have a more playful and fun tone to it as opposed to Interstellar. Although I can’t seem to recognize the font, it does seem rather informal due to it’s messy and playful-like nature. Considering that the film predominantly focuses on humanity, their imperfections and their issues, the film stresses that at the end of every dark tunnel, there shall be light. With that in mind, the poster acts as a snapshot for its themes. Moreover, the playful style of the poster attracts once again a wide array of audiences, adults, teenagers, possibly even children.

Silverlinings

Finally, Tarantino’s cult classic Pulp Fiction has adopted a rather unconventional approach for their poster. Unlike most film posters that try to make their poster universal and reach out to multiple demographics, Pulp Fiction has a sort of niché market. Their gritty dark magazine cover styled poster provides a rather vintage and retro look. Additionally, sexual undertones are highly prevalent and thereby asserts the notion of having a selected market and is not a film for everyone. The poster also manipulates its audience through its bold use of colors with their words. Colors such as black and red often have a dark undertone to it thereby referencing to the film’s themes. Furthermore, the title is in a serif font, and thus provides us with the idea that the film has a serious tone to it, however this contrasts with the caption in front of it, “A Quentin Tarantino film.” It’s in a cursive font thereby juxtaposing to the serious nature of the serif font. This makes sense as the film is a dark thriller comedy.

Tarantino

Until about 3 years ago, I never gave much thought to typography. However, when I had to make my first poster for The Calling, the longest section of making the poster was selecting the font for the title. It was then that I realized the importance of typography and paid a lot more importance to it. It’s one of those things that accentuate the mood and themes of a poster immensely, however it isn’t given much attention and taken for granted by the audience. However, I believe subconsciously it plays a major role and can greatly influence one’s decision.

Sahil Lulla 🙂

Digital Media…? Waddup!

Until about a year ago, I got introduced the term ‘digital media’ and failed to understand as to why people use the word digital alongside it. Wasn’t all media digital? Then I thought, perhaps we view media on digital platforms and thus I automatically relate media to ‘digital’. After some research I was shocked to learn how a digital revolution is occurring within the film industry. Celluloid and film culture is slowly being eradicated! Visionary filmmaker, Christopher Nolan infact invited a few directors such as Jon Favreau for a viewing of the prologue for The Dark Knight Rises, which was shot in IMAX celluloid. He stressed the importance of celluloid and how it’s the finest quality in the market and such culture should not be left behind. There are a few directors much like Nolan who are highly traditional such as Quentin Tarantino and David. O. Russell. Tarantino in fact stated that he hates digital cinematography and may retire as a director if he can’t shoot on film, he believes that digital cinema is basically TV on the big screen. However some directors such as, David Fincher love the idea of digital and is always utilizing the latest digital cinema technology for his films. Personally, I would love to shoot on celluloid at least once in my lifetime, however I believe that by the time I graduated from Ryerson, it will be extinct.

Anyways, let’s get back on track. My experience in the digital media world was mainly shooting videos with my DSLR and editing them on FCPX. I’m not sure if that counts, but I believe it should as it comes under the term ‘digital media’. Photoshop and After Effects are two softwares I never explored but always wanted to, but now I wish that I had! After my first intro to photoshop class, I feel left behind as one of my friends is a photoshop wizz and completed his assignment within the first 5 minutes, when it took me around half hour! I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen during After Effects. YOUTUBE TUTORIALS!!!!!

In all seriousness, I’m extremely glad that we are learning these two softwares in our first year as by the end of the 4 years we all probably will be masters of it and evolve immensely! Digital Media Production is the class I wait every week for as I finally get to learn softwares which, I’ve always had the desire to master! What’s so brilliant is that I feel as if I’m not in an academic course as I am literally studying my passion! That sounded so cliché when I re-read it but whatever. Back in my high school, I had no one to talk to about media as everyone was either into business or engineering but here in RTA, it’s crazy! Students already have jobs as graphic designers or are working and earning money! I used to think I was special, but now I’ve been exposed to a whole new world, a world of endless possibilities and I love it!

Can’t wait till the next class!

So goodnight everyone! See you’ll next week!

Sahil Lulla