Use of Audio-Visual Techniques in expression of ideas – an insight into the use of effective techniques
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The use of the different audio visual techniques in communication and expression of ideas has been widely regarded as an important and significant evolution of the different techniques used for communication that emerged from the use of print medium and incorporation of multimedia.
Communication has always been an important part of human existence and throughout the history of mankind; the same has seen a transformation from mere papyrus sheets to the incorporation of the elements of sight and sound (Branston and Stafford, 2010). The opinion of experts on the transformation on the use of visual communication is diverse, but all of them are believed to be in affirmation with the fact that the use of different audio visual techniques in communication is considered to be the most effective and efficient by senders and receivers alike (Cunningham and Turner, 2010).
The reason behind the same being the fact that the incorporation of the different audio visual formats helps in the presentation of the communication in a most concise manner, yet again enabling the sender to create a long lasting impression on the mind of the receivers (Chandler, 2004).
The aim of this academic work is to highlight the importance of the different audio visual techniques and formats and its application to the creation of two astounding creations – short films, that have made it to the finals of Tropfest, considered being the most prestigious recognitions of Australian short film categories.
What makes the feature more important and relevant is the fact that annually only 16 short films are considered by the jury as finalists from a pool of more than 700 entries annually. The two important finalists to the same event that have been selected for analysis in the study are director Michelle Lehmann’s Marry Me that had been adjudged the winner of 2008’s Tropfest. The other short film is that of Photo Booth, which had been directed by Michael Noonan (http://tropfest.com, 2014).
The following sections of the academic work will be individually considering taking into consideration the narrative, characterisation, genre convention and specific technical features that have helped these short films receive the accolades (Cunningham and Turner, 2010) that have led to the popularity of the films in the Australian and International film circuit as well.
Michelle Lehmann’s short film Marry Me that is of 7 minutes duration. The plot revolves around a little boy and girl with their individual attention and objects of interest. The following sections provide an insight into the narrative, characterisation, genre convention and highlight the technical features that have set the film apart from the rest of the entrants to the contest (O’Donnell, 1999).
The film is seen to revolve around the interest among two young individuals and the communication or the idea that has been expressed in the film has been carefully crafted, reflecting the different individual pursuits of two young people, which have been seen to have a strange co-incidence to real life drawing significant parallel to people’s needs and wants.
The film depicts the girl is particularly interested in the boy who is overwhelmed by materialistic pursuits signified by the love for his little BMX bike. The message and expression of the idea of the film is clear through the emotions that have been captured through the girl’s expressions and gleam in eyes every time he sees the boy. The girl is depicted to have fallen in love with the bike riding boy and the same has been clearly expressed through the attempts by the girl to draw the boy’s attention through a number of different ways (http://tropfest.com, 2014).
Many are of opinion that the film is about the complexities of emotions of the young, but it also subtly underpins the interest and love of two different people – love for the boy for the girl, and the boy’s (Jason) interest in nothing but the bike that he has.
Michelle Lehmann had drawn crucial similarities to the character of the girl as she had stated that even as a 5 or 6 year old girl, she had experienced the same emotional tension as being attracted to a boy who had been her neighbour and like Jason, had been found to have a particular knack to materialistic pursuits that are considered to be natural (O’Donnell, 1999).
The girl who is seen to endlessly pursuit her love interest in the film has been named Chloe and the boy Jason. In order to express her idea clearly to the audience, Michelle has carefully selected the two most astounding young actors in the roles of Chloe and Jason who have been able to win the hearts of the viewers through their childish charms and natural acting.
For Jason, the need was to portray a character that was very much in skin of the role portrayed by him – a young BMX enthusiast and the ease with which Jason has been seen to express his disinterest for Chloe busy fixing the wheels of his little bike makes on feel as if it is almost real and not a short film. On the other hand, the role that had been portrayed by the young girl Chloe has been nothing less than au naturel. The determined look and the expression on her face towards the end of the short film as she approaches the high plank constructed by Jason leaves one spell bound and many would wonder whether the expression can be attributed to the next to impossible task in real life (http://tropfest.com, 2014).
The genre of the film is based on the complexities of human emotion and it needs to be highlighted that the message that has been attempted to be conveyed through the short film is largely based on the different emotional pulls and pushes one might experience at a young age.
Much of the film is aimed at the general audience who would leave the screen enthralled and spellbound by the enigma of analysing the meaning and idea behind the short film. The convention of the genre is based on the fact that the theme of the film holds true for human beings in reality as well. Most individuals are often engaged in the tireless pursuit of something or the other in life that is perceived to have been difficult to attain for them. The same has been carefully highlighted in the feature film through Jason’s character as he is seen to remove the ancillary supporting wheels from his bike at first, failing to successfully ride his bike without the use of the same. In the background, the girl is shown being able to learn what Jason fails.
A little later, Jason attempts a small jump off the plank created by him, which also leads to a fall. Chloe tries her best to impress Jason and draw Jason’s attention; successfully achieving the feats which Jason attempts to achieve a number of times (http://tropfest.com, 2014).
The variation that needs to be highlighted in the same is that human beings sometimes become so engrossed in being able to achieve a particular job or accomplishment, that they end up undermining the abilities and success of other human beings that are near to him, failing to even to pay attention to any important or critical messages that the other might convey. The same has been specifically observed while Chloe tries to give her opinion to Jason about the bike and riding.
Though the film does not showcase any impressive graphic or video filming in conveying the message across, one cannot help but wonder about the smallest details that have been used in the film for spreading the intended message (Cunningham and Turner, 2010).
For example, when Jason removes the red coloured attachments to the spokes of his bike wheel and expresses his disinterest in them, the emotional attachment of Chloe is also expressed through the same behaviour. In the same scene, if it is considered that Jason had been rotating the wheel simultaneously whereas Chloe is seen to focus more on Jason instead of her bike, the emotional quotient is carefully reflected. More camera focus has been devoted to capture emotions on Chloe’s face as it must have been found that the girl would be more expressive in terms of emoting by the director.
These are small and important specifications that need to be captured and presented by any short film director to successfully convey the intended message and at the same time be able to keep the audience entertained.
Michael Noonan’s short film the Photo Booth is an interesting and contemporary take on the aspect of hope and despair that has been portrayed in the short film of around seven minutes’ duration. The film captures the important themes of human life and the message it tries to portray is an important aspect for critiques and short film enthusiasts around the world (O’Donnell, 1999).
The short film revolves around three solders on a war torn landscape who suddenly find an abandoned photo booth in the middle of nowhere, whereby the pictures coming out as print carry messages for each of them.
The narrative of the short film revolves around three soldiers and their fate outside an abandoned photo booth in the middle of a war torn landscape that keeps the audience glued to the screen to wonder about the outcome and message of the film unlike that in the case of ‘Marry Me’.
The narrative is unpredictable and has successfully incorporated one of the most critical elements of movie making – uncertainty and suspense. These are considered to have an everlasting impact on the viewer and many regard the same to have a lasting impact on the mind of the viewers as the key element of surprise and awe is always a key ingredient to the success of a film or small movie (http://tropfest.com, 2014).
The narrative brings to light the plight of three soldiers who are trying their best to survive and do not know for themselves the future of their predicament in war. Suddenly, they are met with an unpredictable situation, that of a lonesome photo booth in top of a small hill. Curiosity is one of the most dignified and yet sometimes cursed traits of human behaviour and the same has been highlighted in the film as the soldiers wonder what awaits them at the photo booth and goes on to investigate, under estimating the threats of being exposed to enemy observation and gun point.
The characterisation of the short film is an important attribute as it becomes the responsibility of the actors in the film to bring to life the relevance of each of the characters that are planned and incorporated in the film. The film revolves around the three soldiers and each of them is found to display three different emotions among human beings – adventure, curiosity and suspicion (http://tropfest.com, 2014).
The first soldier who enters inside the photo booth is unsuspecting and is taken by surprise once the flashes of the camera start to go off. The second soldier is portrayed to have a trait of curiosity and wariness as he is seen to be cautious when he enters inside the photo booth after seeing what the first soldier had been presented with. The third soldier had to be portrayed to be suspicious of turn of events and this is the same reason why there have been extra alertness displayed by the first and the second soldier while guarding the booth as the third entered inside.
The three of them have been shown to have different outcomes based on the character portrayed by them. The first one, unsuspecting and taking life as it is, is presented a picture which shows him part of a beautiful family comprising of a beautiful wife and twin daughters. The second soldiers displays mixed traits and is shown to receive a picture with only his companion who gradually disappears from the frames while the third is shot dead by enemy gunfire as he was the most suspicious one and enters the booth at the last.
Through the characters, the director tries to portray the message that it is perception and thought process of individuals which leads to the outcomes.
There have been two specific genres displayed in the short film – that of human nature and the relation between the thoughts and outcomes faced by human beings in reality. It needs to be highlighted here the fact that initially the genre of the short film was thought to be related to war and the outcome of the film being rendered predictable. However, the message and surprise element of the film clearly unfolds when the pictures are presented to the soldiers (http://tropfest.com, 2014).
In the end, what makes the film so interesting is that the film portrays a multitude of different factors that are related to human life and fate, and it is highlighted how the thought process of human beings influence the outcomes and fate that is met by individuals in the real world.
Genre convention and variation is an important aspect of any communication to large section of viewers as the same enables the makers of the short films to captivate the interests of the audience and keep them glued to the outcome of the message to be portrayed in the film.
The film is considered to be richer in terms of the technical features that have been included in the film. The aim of the director was to include the elements of surprise more on the lines of shock and the same has been effectively incorporated in the sound designing of the film which makes the film more relatable to reality and one can identify the suspense and uncertainty that is faced by soldiers in the war field. Fear and anxiety has been portrayed well in the movie as the soldiers are successful in expressing the same feelings on their anguished faces (http://tropfest.com, 2014). Moreover, the loud snapping of the shutter of the camera has been effectively used to shock the audience which is considered to be an important component of film making.
Especially in the last scene when the third soldier gets shot and there is an element of confusion clearly depicting the mental state and trauma of the soldier when he gets to see his picture in the photo is considered to be outstanding in highlighting the theme of despair as the soldier is shown to lose composure and his guard at the most critical time – in the face of enemy gunfire, when in the previous scenes, he is portrayed to be most suspicious of the circumstances.
There are different factors and aspects that are considered to have an impact on the success of film making and the effectiveness of the director to incorporate these elements determine the ability of the production to captivate audiences and determine the outcomes of film making.
This academic work was aimed at highlighting these specific factors in film making and the effective incorporation of the same in the two short films that have been highlighted in the study.
Branston, G. and Stafford, R. (2010). The media student’s book. London: Routledge. NB
Chandler, G. (2004) Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese
Cunningham, S. and Turner, G. (2010). The media and communications in Australia. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
Marry Me, Michelle Lehman (director), Australia, 2008 http://tropfest.com/au/2011/12/08/marry-me/
Morley, D. (1996) Television, Audiences and Cultural Studies. London : Routledge.
O’Donnell, P. (1999). The other 66 per cent? Rethinking the labour market for journalism graduates. Australian Journalism Review, 21(1), 123-142.
Photo Booth, Michael Noonan (director), Australia, 2012http://tropfest.com/au/2012/02/04/photo-booth/
Ruthven, K. (1998). The Future of Disciplines: A Report on Ignorance. In Knowing Ourselves and Others: The Humanities in Australia into the 21st Century. Australian Research Council Vol. 3, pp. 95-113.
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