Visual Literacy Review #7 – Movie Poster “Gone with the Wind”

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The movie “Gone with the Wind” is one of the most epic of all time, and the poster above is also quite legendary.  There are three main graphic design aspects in this poster that make it visually appealing, as will be listed and explained below (since I have already seen the movie it is not possible to analyse the poster from the perspective of one who does not yet understand the details):

Colors: the vibrant colors red and yellow clearly dominate all others. However, there is also an interesting use of white. While in the title, white is appealing because it soothes the eye when in contrast to the red, but on Scarlet’s dress, the white is almost as vibrant as the red. The theme suggested by the colors is clearly one reading fire and flames, alluding to the movie’s war scenery but also to the fiery relationship between Glark Gable and Vivien Leigh.

Font: there are several different font stiles though four dominate the poster. The title of the movie is written with a Western-like font, suggesting an epic adventure, while the names of the actors are written with a more elegant font as if appealing to the hollywood glamour instead of the destruction portrayed in the poster. 

Foreground/Background: there is a multitude of planes on this poster, each containing its own scenery. The first one shows Leigh in an earlier scene in the movie with her white dress and by her house. It is the only scenery with pale colors (blue sky, and green leaves)–this is because at this point in the movie Scarlet was still innocent of what was to come and lived in a happy bubble. The second plane shows destruction on both sides of the poster, as if one image split in half by Leigh’s body. The third plane is the dominant one with the two characters. Although the transition between the first plane and the third plane is not settle, it still adds to the theme of fire and flames. While they are centered, both heads are leaving toward the right corder and the had and knee are on the left corder–this follows the rule of thirds and creates movement in their action. The fourth plane are the flames behind the lovers; the the flames are rising and entering the screen on the right, but they are also moving against Gable’s head, creating a dynamic situation in the poster. All these four planes fit well together and create an atmosphere of chaos and tension. The fifth plane is set apart from all the others because of the white background and the Oscar Statute, which disrupts the epic nature of the poster. 

Overall, the poster for “Gone with the Wind” is a good representation of the movie’s plot as well as its epic nature and splendour.

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Photoshop Assignment

For the self portrait below I used: Noise (at 16%), Pixelate (Crystallise at 3), and Black and White (Reds at 300%, Yellows ate 142%, Greens at -17%, Cyans at 239%, Blues at -177%, and Magentas at -97%). I noticed that decreasing the red in the image made accentuated the marks on my skin and that increasing the yellow made my lips and nose disappear. The blues and greens changed the color of my eyes.

IMG_11680            face

The second manipulation was with a photo of my foot. I cropped the image to make it more portrait-like then used a distort twirl (-287) and a radial blur. Then I added vibrance (65) and adjusted the saturation to 100 and hue to -42. The final result was completely different compared to the original photo.

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The third portrait was of my hand. I also cropped this image to focus more on the hand and less on the background. I adjusted the brightness to -58 and the contrast to 100. Then, I added a curve (output 199, input 71).

IMG_1155  Hand

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Word Photo #8 – Motion

A slow shutter speed was used to blur the background but not the foreground.

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Visual Review #6 – Title Sequence “The Pink Panther”

The title sequence for “The Pink Panther” was designed by Friz Freleng in 1963 for Edward Blacke’s film; however, it is a story in itself. Although the film is still well known, the music by Henry Mancini and the cartoon of the panther, which is absent in the movie, are undoubtedly timeless. Freleng’s work was praised on many levels and its success led to the creation of the Pink Panther cartoon.

One of the most important motifs in this title sequence is the interaction of the panther with the words. In the beginning, the panther sits majestically in the center of the screen and is bothered by the titles that take over her position at center-stage. The titles come from every direction and do not follow a specific pattern; while some words enter the screen one by one, others are spelled out and each letter has its own animation (1:03). The interaction between the panther and the words is rhythmic when the letters spelling out “The Pink Panther” enlarger and occupy the screen one by one (1:12) and later shrink once again.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 12.31.56 There is a clear sense of entering and exiting the screen. The glove is first introduced entering the screen from the right and its interaction with the panther makes the latter exit on the left (0:27s); the glove then exists again on the right. One more character, the detective, is introduced entering the screen from the right (0:35s).

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This constant entering and exiting of the screen created the illusion that the action is happening beyond the screen, which in turn makes the characters and action seem more realistic. In addition, the screen also seems larger and deeper due to the perspective created when the Panther use the title as a well to drive off into the screen (0:45s).

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There is a clear use of line that divides the panther and the credits (1:18), which is also accompanied by motion because the credits take over the screen. While lines are used to create new sceneries, there is still interaction between both planes as the panther finds itself in both.

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Lines are used once again, along with repetition, when the credits go back to the previous form (1:59). While the lines are not symmetrical, there is still a sense of organization and order.

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Moreover, the lines expand into different geographical forms and enter and exit the screen from different sides, distorting the image (for example, the diagonal below within the rectangle of the screen is not completely centred).

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One of the only times circles are used is to create a repetition of colors in an unsystematic fashion. In fact, many of the graphic design choices in this title sequence are based on asymmetrical and random organization.

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The choice of colors is also important to convey a “disorganized order”; while several different colors are used and sometimes in opposition to each other, they are all the same pale tone and fit comfortably together.

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The one time when the colors radically change is at the end, when the black background creates a positive and negative situation in which the pupils of the panther are emphasized due to their pale color compared to the vibrant black and red.

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Word Photo #7 – Symmetry

Photo of a sculpture by Katzen composed of three circles with an open middle. Looking through each of them shows the symmetry of the other two when their lines combine.

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Word Photo # 6 – Wide Angle

Photo of the Bender Arena. The entirety of the image is in focus, creating a wide angle with a deep depth of field.

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Visual Review #5 – Music Video “Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” is a video that involves a lot of structured choreography, which is enhanced by the camera angles chosen. The video looks like a continuous shot with several different angles and although simple, can be analysed to have many symbols and metaphors.

The first scene- before the story in the clip actually starts has a woman dancing in the center of a stage illuminated by red lighting. This puts the focus on the woman instead of on the male character that will be introduces later one, but also creates an atmosphere of seduction.

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The second scene – when the story between the characters starts, the woman’s body is once again in focus and the dolly out shows the larger perspective of the setting. At first, the lighting separated both characters and the room remains dark creating an atmosphere of mystery and section. The symmetry of the pillars, as well as the lights and the characters on the extreme sides of the screen contrast the mysterious tone because it gives away a calmness and the understanding that things between the couple will go symmetrically and smoothly.

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The layout becomes very geometrical when the lovers come together and the merged lights become a triangle-things just look like they fit together perfectly, which works for the purpose of the cheesy song and love story. The camera then pans left in a circular motion while the actors occupy the circle as if the only ones in their world. At times, the camera transitions are not very smooth but they still work in tandem with the beat of the music (00:32).

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At other times, the lighting and the camera angle come into conflict and the light blinds the vision of the viewer (00:52) and (01:03); however, they add to the geometrical sense of the clip because they always come from the corners of the image–even tough things are not perfect in the scenario, they still work in a proportional way.

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Symmetry is shown once again when the female character moves in circular motions and clockwise around the male character with the camera also pans clockwise–this could be interpreted as him now being in the center of her thoughts. The setting changes when the lights in the room are turned on (01:20) and the darkness fades. Their relationship is no longer based on mystery or seduction but on transparency and trust.

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The dynamic use of the space varies from unequal spacing to the full occupation of the screen. When the characters are lying down, the high angle creates an interested image where the couple occupies the center right of the screen and the chandelier occupies the center left in an extreme foreground situation, which does not allow an unequal spacing to emerge. Once again, the video becomes quite cheesy when the spotlights combine to form a head–this is aesthetically pleasing because a larger heart (or half of it) is projected below it and the shadows of the actors are symmetrical in tandem with the angles of the hearts.

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On other types the occupation of the space is significantly different and fills the screen. The relationship between the characters is always dynamic and while unpredictable, due to the dance moves and different camera angles, it is always symmetrical.

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