Notes on Recording Human Behavior

Here are some things I would like to keep in mind regarding recording human behavior:

  • Recording human behavior requires mastery of the recording equipment, in order to focus on the people being filmed.
  • Do not influence the subjects in any way – discard preconceptions about what you think people should do in front of the camera. Try not to make the people actors.
  • The example in the reading about the death of the interview with the police captain seems a bit exaggerated. According to me, the mere presence of a camera is enough of an incentive for the subjects being filmed to try to refine their actions, hence ruin the pure behavior that we are trying to capture.
  • Turns out that that is not really a problem. Most people are unable to act out a role for a significant amount of time. It is the overall pattern that counts.
  • Being prepared goes a long way in ensuring you get good shots.
  • Try not to worry about shots that you missed.
  • A bit of luck always helps.
  • Editing is the most deliberate step in the process.

 

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How the Motif video came to be

I was sitting in the dining hall, wondering what I was going to do for the motif project. I was looking for something that people did a lot. And then it hit me. People drink so much over there. Like a lot. And we had so many choices, if you wanted a drink. If you went next to the soda machine at around 12:15, when classes end, all you can hear is the ice dropping into the glass and people filling their glasses. I knew then that I had to make a video about people filling their glasses and that was how I found my motif.

When I was filming, it I wondered if I should just follow random people filming them. I then decided it would be a neat idea to just put a part of that into the film, just me following my friend and filming him filling his glass. It was a fun experience. I hope I come up with even better ideas for next time.

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Things I would shoot to describe November

November is probably my favorite time of the year. Fall break, almost the end of the semester, not too cold America, not too hot in India. Here are some things I might shoot to capture the essence of November:

1) A shot of the snow, which would probably be just a few inches.

2) People buying winter clothing

3) People going home during fall break.

4) People returning from fall break.

5) People feeling cold.

6) The library, with people studying.

 

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2 Short videos and David Lynch’s ideas

What I want to remember from the David Lynch’s reading:

1) The light, sound, place are as important as the story/words/acting.

2) Choosing the right light/sound/place comes from intuition. When its perfect, you just know it.

3) I can’t agree more with his thoughts on the interpretation of films. “It’s absurd if a filmmaker needs to say what a film means in words”. A film should be complete in itself and not require words or anything else in order to convey its message. If I ever make films, i’ll try to keep that in mind.

Here are the two short films that I enjoyed:

The first video is a heart warming tale about an astronaut who sacrifices himself to bring two moon pimples together. For me, the best part about the film was the soundtrack. The filmmaker chose not to put any dialogue or sound effects, which suggests to me that he created the film around the music (I could be completely wrong here). And its beautiful. There is just something about this song that just gets me emotionally charged. The music just followed the story line so perfectly, it was just meant to be. I took a look at the original music video for the song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j01hJUFcoKg) and really began to appreciate what a difficult song this is to build a story into.

The next video is a funny commercial whose story really can’t be explained in words. Anyway, it starts of with this sad, exotic music that perfectly compliments the struggles of the kid trying to learn martial arts yin China. I really like the shots that they chose for the first 20 seconds. It had so much variety and covered so much in such a short time. The sound effects of the rest of the video were also brilliant, especially the parts where they emphasize the opening of the soda cans and main character drinking the soda. I also like how everything goes almost silent for the punchline of the joke, with the theme music returning for the celebration. I feel like its the most perfect 1 minute commercial I have seen.

The two videos used lighting, sound, music and images very differently to create two very different “worlds”. The first video used a unique animation style and used an entire song and nothing else for the soundtrack. The second video used exotic music and a lot of sound effects to go with the monastery setting. The first video uses the song to perfectly convey the emotion that this story generates. It tells a very heart warming tale without any dialogue or sounds, in a way that is only possible with animation. The second video uses really smart editing to make the video as short as possible but still provides enough suspense in the buildup for the hilarious “hahaha, that was brilliant” moment at the end of the video. In conclusion, I think both the videos portrayed their “worlds” brilliantly and watching them gave me much happiness.

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A ritual That I perform everyday

Almost everyday, I drink water. Duh. But I guess its the way that I do it that is interesting. I have so many bottles, and almost every time I use a new one. I go all the way down to the 1st floor water purifier (I live on the 11th floor) just because the water tastes so good. As a result, I am almost always extremely thirsty whenever I go down to get water. On the elevator ride, all I can think about is my throat, and thirst, and that tasty tasty water. When I finally make to the place, I put the bottle in place, and this blue, ultraviolet light sensor lights up, and it always makes me feel nervous, cold like. The hairs on my hand stand up. I think its because when the water starts flowing, there is this tiny gust of cold air that rushes down, and that feeling is quite exhilarating. When I finally get to drink the water, I can feel it move down my throat, down my food pipe and all the way into my intestines. Quite an amazing feeling.

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Intuition and my Broccoli

I have been ask to think of a situation where I just followed my intuition. Honestly, I can’t remember if I’ve ever done that. I’ve always filtered my actions and speech, and I realize now that its probably not a good thing.

I’m gonna call my intuition “the monk”. I’ve always believed that my subconscious is really an old wise monk that knows everything. I’m gonna try listening to the monk and pay more attention to what he’s trying to say and what he wants me to do. And from now, I’m gonna make an effort to try harder to do what the monk tells me, and try to be more like my true self.

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