TAXI DRIVER – Travis asks Betsy out

The ‘Taxi Driver’ is the most existential film by Martin Scorsese, even before “After Hours”. Scorsese tells stories through his characters, the main plot is derived from a handful of perspectives, but taxi driver often clings on to Travis’ mind, no one else. In this scene where Travis asks Betsy out, it’s quietly visible. The selected scene involves the protagonist Travis going into Betsy’s office and insisting her to go on a date. What the protagonist says can be described in two ways; the first one, he is describing and reflecting himself onto her. On the other hand, he could be describing Betsy. The cinematographer used some pretty claustrophobic camera shots in this scene to zero in on protagonist’s world and get his perspective and camera work dishing out Travis vision in detail and reality.

The scene starts with a close-up of Travis sitting in his Taxi and looking at Betsy, cut to, Travis walks into the office where the camera tracks sideways of the street, from the suggestion of the cab, where a big space in the frame is empty, showing his isolation and loneliness, and towards the end of the tracking shot, camera zooms onto Travis. Both of the shots take us into the perspective of Travis even before the scene starts.

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Inside the office, a tracking outshot where Travis walks towards the frame, fast. These three shots close our thoughts around the character of Travis. The whole scene is told from the perspective of Travis, apart from a couple of lingering close-ups of Betsy’s reactions, most of the time we see Travis or his perception of the moment. After this, Scorsese cuts into the POV of Travis, where we see Betsy and her flirty colleague look into the approaching camera, thus to Travis. The shot tracks into a mid close up of  Betsy.

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When he reaches her table and tells that he needs to volunteer to her, and when the colleague hesitatingly leave, we see a couple of middle shots, with slight movements of tracking in and sideways, showing a really fast and vague vision of the office, which leaves the audience with less details, just like Travis.

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Visually this scene saturates our thinking process in and around Travis until Betsy is introduced. When Travis compliments her we see her close up, and thus the conversation continues, he uses the mid-close track into lock ourselves into the main characters, the only time the camera grabs a wider view to show her colleague spying on them and an aerial shot of her desk.

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When Travis tells her how he thinks of her as a lonely person and he wants to befriend her, the suggestion shots starts to track out slowly, and when she accepts his invitation, we are left out with somewhat of a third person perspective and these characters isolated from their surroundings and connected to each other.

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References:

  1. Scorsese, M., (2017). Taxi Driver (1976). [online] IMDb. Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075314/ [Accessed 9 May 2017].

THE FIRST RULE OF FIGHT CLUB

Here, I am going to discuss my favourite scene from the great movie “Fight Club (1999)” directed by David Fincher. The scene is “The First Rule of Fight Club”. The movie is about an insomniac office worker, who is looking for a way to change his life. And, he crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more. The visual presentation of the scene matches the theme of the story. Harsh lighting and dark, bleak colour help to convey the tone of the film. The shift in the colours and lighting also contribute to representing the schizophrenic nature of the protagonist.

In the first shot, a focus pull is used. A focus pull is a creative camera technique in which you change focus during the shot (mediacollege.com, 2017). This is effective for the audience as it allows the audience to focus on one thing, in this case, Edward Norton’s character. This suggests that he is a more important character than the rest. The tone used in the film is dark. In my opinion, this is used to show the contrast between two places, i.e, the outer world and the underground club.

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In the second shot, when Brad Pitt says ‘Gentlemen’ the other characters and the scene/ surrounding goes quiet, which suggest that everyone listens to him and has the respect of people around him. The camera at this point moves around the main focus which is Tyler (Brad Pitt) which suggest to the audience that this revolves around him, and is an important part of fight club. When Pitt is around, the lighting is dark, and there is a significant contrast in colours and light. The scenes with Brad Pitt are very tense and excessive compared to everyday life, i.e., the hard lighting emphasises the intensity.

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At the end of the second shot, shot cuts to mid-close-up of Brad Pitt. Here, we start to see men take off items of their clothes, which suggest to the audience that they are getting ready for what they are about to do. By Pitt’s character saying the world fight club over again, with firmness, it suggests that he has more authority and has the power to command the other men in the club.

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In the fourth shot, we see another focus pull. The camera focuses on Tyler, and the other characters are not in focus. This again emphasises the point in which Tyler is the main character and is also shown to be the leader, as he is standing in front of the camera and front of the crowd of men.

In this scene from Fight Club, the low-key lighting creates dramatic shadows, and in many ways there seemed to be no fill light at all, i.e., creating some harsh shadows in the scene.

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After the fourth shot, we start to see more close-up used on the different men doing different things to get ready for fighting. This gives the audience insight to a little of each person’s identity/ personality which allows the audience to create some rapport with the characters.

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Each close-up of the people’s faces shows what’s happens between these people in personal and means something to them.After the continuous close-up’s, we could see a quick transition from one shot to another. The camera movement zooms in on Tyler’s’ (Pitts) face and then zooms out in different directions which suggests that we are looking at the next scene in Tyler’s perspective.

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As I said in the previous paragraph, the camera zooms into Pitt’s face and zooms out to another scene, i.e., a fight scene. During the fight scene, we see Tyler leaning on the wall casually smoking a cigarette which suggests he is used to this type of behaviour and activity. The voice-over of Edward Norton’s (Jack) character makes us think of what is happening from his perspective; this makes the audience want to relate with his character and see what he is seeing. Jack’s voice-over throughout the film serves as both narrative, as Jack’s VO throughout the film serves as both narrative, as most VO’s do, but also as a point of levity to balance out the dark images the film shows.

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The mis-en-scene and acting make the men in the fight club seem like animals. They are sweating, dirty and are yelling for the men fighting.

In between the wide-shot, one of the fighters enters the shot and changes to mid-close-up of him. In this, the blood seen around his mouth shows how dangerous fight club is and shows how men are strong but also shows how weak men are as they could not defend themselves and lose.

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Next shot takes to next day, here we can see what damage has been done next day. We can also see the contrasting between the two places, his office and the underground fighting ring. We can also see the different members and how they interact with each other out of the club. Everything in the normal world is flat nad bland reflecting the protagonist’s feelings towards the corporate life and the rut that he is stuck in.

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The Sound Design and Editing in the selected scene is minimal. Nothing more can be said other than diegetic sound incorporating Pitt’s and low shuffle of crowds’ sound stood in silence. The editing in this scene looks interesting for me as it represents Brad Pitts’ mood in its simplicity.  In this scene, the first shot is very slow but is then cut’s with reasonably rapid edits to show Pitt’s temper increasing as he starts his speech. When he talks and gets annoyed at the lack of discipline of the new members, the edit remains at a reasonably fast level until his speech gets into full flow. Later when the speech goes on the cuts become very slow representing how Pitts is then calm and disciplined himself to make his idea clear.

Another important element I have to discuss is about the dressing of the characters. All the characters are battered and bruised and even the freshers who are yet to fight. Each of the characters is covered with a form of grit or grime even in suits or formals.

References:

MUST HAVES FOR A SUCCESSFUL MOBILE APPLICATION

 

The development of a successful application begins with a solid foundation of planning. In 2016 the App Store made a shattering record and didn’t show any sign of slowing down soon.

The total number of Mobile application downloaded worldwide:

BlogPhoto-WhyAppsFail2Source: Statista

Mobile applications are progressively becoming the go-to resource for communication technology, shopping, productivity, entertainment and lot more.  In turn, the time users spend in applications has exploded over the recent years. There is continuous growth in the number of companies that are adopting the mobile-first attitude and realising that mobile is no longer an optional asset, rather an inevitability. However, with lots of selection in application market, customers aren’t expected to give an application a second chance when they lost interest in it. In fact, around 35% of mobile applications engagements less than a minute, suggesting users do not take long to find a mobile application that delivers them with more worth. (Marketwatch.com, 2017)

Must haves for a mobile application:

  1. Research Market and Target audience:

At present, there are 2.2 million mobile applications available in the App Store, and there’s plenty of choice for smartphone users, so we need to make sure that users want or need our app. The final decision to launch a product in the market should be research driven. Once the target segment is chosen, we need to examine the users in greater detail, i.e., we need to understand why our target audience will want our product or service. Most of the users searching for a solution that would solve a problem they are undergoing in life, whether that is faulty mobile checkout or troublesomeness in personal banking experience. This kind of problem points motivates the users to find a solution which would resolve this issue. Identifying the user’s problem points is the most significant step during product discovery, else we would end up wasting money and time developing an app.

The applications can be validated in many ways such as user acceptance testing, soft launching or focus groups. Putting our applications through one of the tests will demonstrate precisely how our product will perform.

  1. Marketing Strategies and User Acquisition Plan:

Many developers often underestimate the time, resources and efforts needed for an application awareness and achievement both before and after introduction the application. Our user acquisition is going to vary based on the nature of our application, target audience and many other aspects. Certain areas we need to consider while creating a customer acquisition and marketing strategy include early outreach, teasers, early access offers, collaterals, beta list, app store optimisation and discovery., The user acquisition involves ongoing marketing efforts, like appealing users for any other business, does.

  1. All-in-one User Experience:

Even though there are lots of components involved in developing an app with seamless user experience, basest level our need is to be intuitive. If an app user is struggling to do basic functions on our app and could not able to figure out main functionalities easily, the outcome is destitute usability. For instance, app performances issues like lagging or slow, long load times, lengthy registration processes and features that are difficult to access are some examples of poor user experience.

  1. Proper Testing:

Testing is the most critical step in an app development. It’s estimated that the user finds 44% of the defects, 24% from feedback and other 20% from reviews in the app store. (perfectmobile.com, 2017) Everytime application crashes or lags, all other mobile applications metrics will be affected as a result. Because of this, it’s very significant to track front end and back end functionality to get an understanding of how good our app is functioning.

References:

  1. PremiumPremium statistics Industry-specific and extensively researched technical data (partially from exclusive partnerships). A paid subscription is required for full access. Read moreNumber of mobile app downloads worldwide in 2016, r. (2017). Annual number of mobile app downloads worldwide by region 2021 | Statistic. [online] Statista. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/266488/forecast-of-mobile-app-downloads/ [Accessed 1 May 2017].
  2. MarketWatch. (2017). One-Third of Mobile App Engagements Last Less Than One Minute. [online] Available at: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/one-third-of-mobile-app-engagements-last-less-than-one-minute-2014-07-17 [Accessed 4 May 2017].
  3. Mobile, C. (2017). App Store Submission & Optimization Guide. [online] Info.clearbridgemobile.com. Available at: http://info.clearbridgemobile.com/app-store-submission-optimization-guide [Accessed 4 May 2017].
  4. App Annie Content. (2017). App Monetization: Store, Ads to Deliver $189B by 2020. [online] Available at: https://www.appannie.com/en/insights/market-data/app-monetization-report-2016/ [Accessed 1 May 2017].
  5. Clearbridge Mobile. (2016). The Step-By-Step Guide To Product Discovery | Clearbridge Mobile App Development Company. [online] Available at: https://clearbridgemobile.com/the-step-by-step-guide-to-product-discovery/ [Accessed 2 May 2017].
  6. Perfecto Mobile Helps You Perfect the Digital Experiences that Define Your Brand. (2015). Failure to Launch. [online] Available at: https://www.perfectomobile.com/why-apps-fail-survey [Accessed 4 May 2017].
  7. Foreman, R. (2017). Mobile Application Development Blog By Apptology |. [online] Apptology.com. Available at: http://apptology.com/blog/ [Accessed 4 May 2017].
  8. Clearbridge Mobile. (2016). 4 Strategies For Product Validation | Clearbridge Mobile. [online] Available at: https://clearbridgemobile.com/4-strategies-for-product-validation/ [Accessed 4 May 2017].

EVERYTHING IS HYPER-CONNECTED IN THE INTERNET OF THINGS

Mobile devices have enabled more and more people to be online all the time. We superficially love the Internet, and in that love, some have deep wish to be connected consistently 24/7/356 days a year. The part of technology loosely called IOT (Internet Of Things) has become part of our culture which enables primary objects to be connected to the net, using sensors, beacons and controllers.

Once CEO and founder of Belkin said, “The world is made up of trillions of things, jet engines, exercise equipment, cars, planes, trains, computer, the items on my desk, And then there’s the Internet. All this category is about all things and the Internet, as we know it, coming togeather. Anything that I can do over the Internet blended with my stuff.”

The picture shows the density of devices connected to the Internet,  the red dot indicating a higher density and blue showing less density.

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Twitter: @achillean John Matherly (Founder of Shodan, Internet Cartographer), 2014.

While there is a typical human obsession over the size and scale of the IOT, Gartner says 26 billion connected devices by 2020, Morgan Stanley says 50 billion, Cisco says 75 billion, the focus should not be on the things or the Internet, but on the Data that is going to be generated. This generated data would be the unlocking key to some benefits, and how we act on that information. Over many years, there has been no shortage of publicity about the IOT. Connected devices are the hot topic of discussion in the news, in publication, at seminars, and at conferences. All these kind of devices like, activity monitors and door security to beacons and RFID that tracks items as they pass through the supply chain are developing as the new normal.

It is easy to focus on the IOT as an entity mainly, but, reality is nothing more than a wrapper for all of today’s Information Technology. The most common denominator is that in an internet connected world everything eventually gets connected. Next, it is going to be drones, 3D printing and robots that behave in a far more classy and humanly manner.  All this kind of development will generate data volumes that make a day’s repositories look downright quaint. Tony Fronns, vice president of digital advisory services at Capgemini Consulting said, “Everyone and everything becomes a data point. Context is everything.

Now let’s discuss deeper connected territories. Our utility companies could be made aware of our situation and through our patient wristband and interface to our smart-home, adjust our electricity, gas and water supply plan in line with our limited mobility. Smart gadgets, smart thermostat, smart appliances all can switch off and on and learn our pattern as we recover. Our band could switch on the television for instance if we take a snooze on the couch by monitoring our inactivity.  Our house and smart possessions will be collectively more intelligent by 2020. However, the experience would become hyper-personalized.

To conclude, everything is connected. Hyper-connected in fact. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Realise that everything connects to everything else.”

References:

  1. Forbes.com. (2017). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorikozlowski/2014/04/23/everything-is-connected-what-the-internet-of-things-means-now/#377a8a8325a1 [Accessed 27 April 2017].
  2. Dhrinternational.com. (2017). The Internet of Things: Everything is Connected… Or Soon Will Be | DHR International. [online] Available at: http://www.dhrinternational.com/insights/internet-things-everything-connected-or-soon-will-be/ [Accessed 27 April 2017].
  3. Cioinsight.com. (2017). How the Internet of Things Will Connect All Things. [online] Available at: http://www.cioinsight.com/blogs/how-the-internet-of-things-will-connect-all-things.html [Accessed 28 April 2017].
  4. Cioinsight.com. (2017). Why a Clear, Comprehensive Cloud Strategy Is Vital. [online] Available at: http://www.cioinsight.com/it-strategy/cloud-virtualization/why-a-clear-comprehensive-cloud-strategy-is-vital.html [Accessed 29 April 2017].
  5. Cioinsight.com. (2017). Machine Learning Audits in the ‘Big Data Age’. [online] Available at: http://www.cioinsight.com/it-management/innovation/machine-learning-audits-in-the-big-data-age.html [Accessed 30 April 2017].
  6. Peterson, A. and Peterson, A. (2017). Everything connected to the Internet, in one map. [online] Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2014/08/29/everything-connected-to-the-internet-in-one-map/?utm_term=.46e9244dba85 [Accessed 1 May 2017].
  7. Time.com. (2017). Everything will be connected to the Internet. [online] Available at: http://time.com/money/2793791/everything-will-be-connected-to-the-internet/ [Accessed 1 May 2017].