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.

 2.gif

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.

3.gif

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.

  8.gif

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.

7.gif

5.gif

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.

6.gif

References:

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

My Favourite Adobe Premier Shortcuts

I’m a great fan of adobe’s keyboard shortcuts. I had memorised most of the keyboard shortcuts when I was working in the post-production studio. Learning shortcuts is an energy saver which can speed up our work considerably. Certain shortcuts are easy to remember because the first letter of the tool matches the task name, namely Peen Tool [P], Mark In [I], Mark Out [O].  In Premier Pro we can copy customised shortcuts from one computer to another computer, or to another location on our computer.

The are many keyboard shortcuts one can utilise in Adobe Premiere Pro, but I would like to discuss those we will be using on a more consistent basis as we edit a movie. If it’s on Mac: CTRL = COMMAND and ALT = OPTION.

  1. Selection Tool: [V]
  2. Razor Tool: [C]
  3. Slide Tool: [U]
  4. Slip Tool: [Y]
  5. Track Selection Tool: [M]
  6. Ripple Edit Tool: [B]
  7. Rate Stretch tool: [X]
  8. Add Edit: (SHIFT) + CTRL+[A]
  9. Mark In/ Out: [I] / [O]
  10. Default Transition: CTRL + [D]
  11. Mark Clip: [X]
  12. Link / Unlink: CTRL + [L]
  13. Pen Tool: [P]
  14. Unselect All: CTRL + SHIFT + A
  15. Navigation: (SHIFT) + LEFT / RIGHT / UP / DOWN
  16. Hand Tool: H
  17. Export Media: CTRL + M
  18. Rolling Edit Tool: [N]
  19. Insert to Timeline: [,]
  20. Grouping Tool: CTRL + [G]

I would like to discuss my favourite tools:

Selection Tool: [V]

Selection Tool is the default tool in Adobe Premier and the most used. It is used to select clips in the timeline

Ripple Edit Tool: [B]

This tool is used to adjust an end point and move the other clip in the timeline to compensate.

Rolling Tool: [N]

Rolling Tool is my favourite tool in adobe premier which is used to adjust an end point between two clips. Changing this end points won’t affect rest of the timeline or other clips.

Grouping Clips :[CTRL] + [G]

For using this tool firstly we should select all the clips to be grouped and then press CTRL + G. When we click a clip in the created group, they all turn grey, i.e., gets selected. Grouping helps in moving multiple clips as a whole. After grouping, if we click on the end of a clip, it trims that clip and clicking on edge trim the group.

Razor Tool: [C]

Using Razor Tool, a clip can be divided into two pieces, i.e., unwanted part of the clip can be removed easily.

Add Default Transition: [SHIFT] + [D]

By this tool, default transition effect can be added to the selected clips. Transition effects sink two shots correctly and blend nicely.

Add Edit: CTRL + K

Add Edit is similar to Razor Tool, but it cuts only targeted clips. Add edit can be viewed in a sequence by clicking the wrench icon and choose “Show Through Edits”.

Track Selection Tool: [M]

With Selection Tool all clips on a track from a specified point can be selected, or even select multiple tracks.

Film Making: The Key Process

Filmmaking takes place in many places throughout the world in a range of social, political and economic contexts, and using a variety of filmic techniques and technologies. Typically, it involves a huge number of crew members and can take a few months to several months or years to complete. I have experience working as an associate director in two feature films in India.

I wish to discuss the development stage first; It is a vague, amorphous, and painful period in which the movie’s conception takes form, and the fundamental elements get sorted. Development mainly consists of the building of the story, treatment, script, plot points and structure. In the initial development phase the main plot is developed, here the screenwriter has a personal style of developing a story. However, anyone who takes the three-act structure will determine the plot’s  structure as a matter of significance. During development, the screenwriter decides the boundaries between the three acts, also the inciting incidents, conflicts and the midpoint of the second act. After developing the basic story, for most screenwriters, the next step involves writing a scene by scene outline of the full movie. Most of them use an index card for each scene to arrange and re-arrange the scene.

Next, I would like to discuss the Location. Finding appropriate place would be a real pain. From my experience, the best way to get a good deal on places is to contact an honest film location agent and explains the situation. Depending on the movie budget, location scouts, as like casting directors are worth every denomination if one can afford them. They do exactly what their name proposes; they go with our specifications and cast candidates for our location, and in any case, they already have wide-ranging libraries of location.

How do I write reflectively?

I spent a great deal of my time thinking about stories and scripts in my life. When I reflect on a story first, I start with building a character and make a story based on character. Initially, during my bachelor’s degree, I use to think of a story and add characters and incidents to it. Later when I worked under a director, he asked me to build a character and then brainstorm to make sub characters and conflicts that the character could face.

After reading reflective reading, I realised that what he asked me to do was a similar idea. I use to think about what people have said, and I always try to include it in my stories. Most my character’s characteristics are same as my real world friends or colleagues. I would say, reflection is a personal response to new ideas, information, situation, or experiences. It is a phase of processing where learning and thinking would take place. In my opinion, there is no particular style or format of reflective thinking; there are only questions to be explored and answered. Studying other people is an opportunity to gain self-knowledge, and also a way to achieve clarity and a better understanding of what we are learning.

I would like to discuss the strategies for enhancing learning from surrounding experience. We should also think about the different perspectives on what we read or experience, i.e., alternative interpretations I would like to call. We should be able to answer few questions like, why it is inspiring, confusing, challenging or exciting. We should be able to explore what comes next after thoughts and actions. Later at the end, we should think about, how we solved the problem, reached a conclusion and attained the point of understanding.