Here is my pitch and storyboard for a film to be shot entirely on a mobile phone.
Title: ‘Carmen’ is the title I will give to my short film and is also the name of the song by Lana Del Ray that will be the soundtrack to my film. The name Carmen automatically articulates an idea about the kind of character who could be in this film to anyone who knows anything about the opera titled ‘Carmen’ about a fiery gypsy of the same name. Instead of focussing on the singer and the art of singing I will be creating a short film to be a visual representation of my interpretation of the song.
Cast and Crew: I will be directing, filming and editing this video myself. Mobile filmmaking seems like such an individual task because of using your own personal phone so I don’t see the need for additional crew. I will source one actress to play the role of Carmen, preferably someone who has an element of timelessness about them. This will aid the use of the vintage film aesthetic I am planning to have.
Location: Part of this film will be shot in the dressing rooms in the 77ft theatre as they have mirrors with light bulbs around them, a very old Hollywood aesthetic. I will avoid any location that involves things that are obviously modern such as certain buildings, and technology. A part of this film will be shot at a playground in the evening, on a bus stop seat at night time, and in a bedroom.
Technical Specs: My music video/short film will be shot entirely on my iPhone 4 and will use the 8mm camera application. This is an app that lets you shoot videos with vintage filters and aesthetics. Because I will be dubbing the audio on top of the video I do not have to worry about recording sound. I will edit the video on either my personal laptop or the computers in the Mac Lab at University then export it back onto my iPhone for viewing. The small screen of my phone in comparison to the computer screen will mean we will be looking at the footage through a similar size frame as when people used 8mm camera viewfinders. It will be viewed best if headphones are plugged in to give a good sound quality, as the film is still a form of advertisement for the music.
I’m interested in testing out this new fascination where people take good quality photos or videos particularly with the iPhone -which holds HD capabilities- and then edit them to turn them into something that looks like it has been captured from another decade. Instagram is the most common photo-editing app where people edit and share their photos worldwide after they have applied a retro filter on top of the photo.
Lana Del Rey is an artist who uses this vintage aesthetic in her official music videos. Seth Abramovtich suggests in his article on The Hollywood Reporter online website “The grainy images suggest that the events on screen took place around the 80’s, an era free from HD technology”. It is interesting that we have the ability for HD technologically advanced mobile phone films yet many people use this new technology to create lower quality images. It is like going forwards with technology to go backwards with style and look.
Story Pitch: I will be shooting a short film/music video for the Lana Del Rey song called Carmen. The song tells the story of a 17 year-old party girl in New York who is battling with public appearance vs private appearance, drugs and alcohol and being involved in the downside of fame. The song is 4mins 11 seconds, which will be the length of my video. In “Experiencing music video: aesthetics and cultural context” Carol Vernallis states that “The video will hint at a narrative but like the song it will be cyclic and not be sequentially directed” (3), my short film will do just this. Show elements of a story yet still remain quite ambiguous to the viewer, there will be no complete end at the video clip, instead, it will hint at the struggle of my character being an ongoing process. There is already an official video for this song and although it uses many of the aesthetics, story lines and visuals that I am aiming to incorporate in my video, my purpose is to show how these stylistic elements can be created through mobile filmmaking. The style of Lana Del Rey is something I am trying to reference through using my iPhone to shoot a film. I will not be following the lyrics exactly, instead focussing on a teenage girl who has two personas and is struggling a bit from depression.
Lana Del Rey is a singer who has just started to become mainstream, she has a very timeless feel about her and her music videos definitely reflect that. Many of them have been edited to look like they have been filmed on an 8mm camera in any decade ranging from the 50’s to the 70’s. Just like the 8mm camera app I will be using, the vintage filters make the video not HD and aesthetically grainy and aged. There are 10 different filters that range from 1920’s camera to an X-Pro filter to a rose tinted filter. Many of the shots will have a light leak on one side of the frame, which looks like the film used to shoot has been incorrectly developed, there are 7 other frames that could be applied to the video, which all extend the idea that these videos have been shot using original 8mm camera equipment. This app lets you apply an authentic frame jitter, signalling that there is some sort of malfunction with the equipment. According to Ben Long on the website Macworld, “the more abstract an image is, the more power it has for the viewer, because their visual sense must do more work to interpret it”. By making my film look like it is from another time we must interpret the story and character according to how we perceive the ideologies from that particular decade. He continues, “Maybe you see “old” or maybe you see “80s music video.” Either way, these associations lead you to cast the image into a place a little bit removed from reality”. The jitter, frames and filters all come together to try enforce that this is authentic retro film-making from another reality/decade, even though we are shooting using an HD capable iPhone4.
Here are some examples of Lana Del Rey aesthetic in her videos:
Here is an example of the light leak on the side of the frame,
Here is an example of the grainy black and white footage with a vignette around the edges,
Here is an example of a coloured filter, giving the image an old fashioned look,
Music video presents a range all the way from extremely abstract videos emphasizing colour and movement to those that convey a story (Vernallis, 3). I think music videos have some of the most advanced stylistic experiments with film, what I mean by this is because of the short length of the video, the directors generally have to chose one particular stylistic element to use throughout the video and because of only having one, they tend to push these elements as far as they can go, and explore every inch of them. Such as the handheld vintage aesthetic in this Lana Del Rey video clip, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVjsGKrE6E8
Storyboard: The pages are all in chronological order
Vernallis, Carol. Experiencing music video: aesthetics and cultural context. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004. Print.
Abramovtich, Seth. “Lana Del Rey’s ‘Carmen’ Video: Sex, Drugs and Vintage Rock n’ Roll” The Hollywood Reporter. 23rd March 2012. Web. 30th March 2013. <http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/earshot/lana-del-rey-carmen-video-315055>
Kinder, Marsha. “Music Video and the Spectator: Television, Ideology and Dream.” Film Quaterly. 38:1 (Autumn 1984), Web. March 30th 2013. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/1211862>
Long, Ben. “Why we love Instagram, Hipstamatic and the lo-fi photo trend.” Macworld. 5th August, 2011. Web. 30th March, 2013. <http://www.macworld.com/article/1161514/whywelovelofi.html>
Simpson, Leah. “Stark warning: Lana Del Rey tells sombre tale of drug-addicted street walking teenager in video for Carmen.” Mail Online. 22nd April, 2012. Web. 30th March, 2013. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2133410/Lana-Del-Rey-tells-sombre-tale-drug-addicted-street-walking-teenager-video-Carmen.html#ixzz2PCS2Ys1G>