Friday, 30 November 2012

Slander and Libel

Slander and Libel 

What is Slander and Libel?

Slander is the false judgemental charge on somebody's reputation with a malicious intent. The person who has had their reputation charged upon has the right to sue whoever originally caused the accusation. There have been many slanderous cases recently that have reported on within the news. One such recent case would be one that BBC news actually generated themselves. This was based on the idea that an MP for the British government of being a pedophile, which there was no fact whatsoever on this subject. So the director of the BBC left and many other employees were left jobless. Libel is similar to Slander however the result of slanderism is being Libel. If you are found to be slanderous then you are Libel. Once somebody is Libel, they can be sent to court. Usually people who are found Libel for the misjudgement of somebody's reputation are fined a large sum of money. Or even if this Slanderism is continuously presented by a group or a person, they can in fact be sent to prison depending on how damaging the information that is placed out publicly.

Slander within documentaries

Many different documentaries can be seen as having slanderous elements within them. For example Fahrenheit 911 has some slander within it where the director accuses the former president of America George Bush of having connections with the Bin Laden family. Even though the director has no evidential facts towards this slanderous thought. However Michael Moore was never convicted for slander on this matter. Another example of a documentary being seen as potentially slanderous would be Supersize me directed by Morgam Spurlock. He does present many facts in order to stress his opinion of Mcdonalds being terribly unhealthy for the human body. The way he presents this information with interviews with experts makes it seem less slanderous towards the company however if he didn't present this documentary on this way he possibly would has been Libel for Slander.

Another example of a documentary that was seen as slanderous was one by an Uzbek director named 'The Burden of Virginity' this was based around the idea of difficulties for women in Uzbekistan. The director Umida Akhmedova was actually convicted of slander towards the Uzbekistan people. After admitting to this she was allowed to go free however narrowly avoiding a 3 year prison sentence. The Third Jihad was another documentary that was seen as potentially slanderous towards Islam and it's religion. The subject of this documentary was about radical Islamic laws living in the United States. The director Wayne Kopping wanted to present Islam's war against the West but this upset the Islamic people living within America, however Kopping luckily escaped being convicted of being slanderous, but this is most likely because of his documentary being 'potentially' slanderous.    


Ethics are another extremely important fator that should be taken into consideration when producing a documentary. It is the simple preinciple of right or wrong, many documentaries can be seen as right or wrong. One such subject on a documentary that doesn't seem correctly ethical is the recent Jimmy Saville investigation into the allegations that he was a paedophile. Firstly this could not been seen as ethically right seeing as he has passed away and secondly it is not exactly a subject that needs to be publicised on television. Another example of a director who has been seen as unethical is Louis Theroux, he has done many unethical documentaries however one that I found whilst researching was 'A Place for Pedophiles' he had somehow gained access to a mental hospital in California. This could be seen as unethical as he has chosen a subject to report on that doesn't seem suitable to show to an audience. Another unethical documentary example would be Martin Bashir's 'Secret world' documentary based on Michael Jackson's private life, which also touches upon the idea of him being a pedophile. This could be seen as unethical because it invades itself into Jackson's life acusing him of being a pedophile which wasn't fully proven in the end. One other documentary that could have been potentially unethical was aired on TV, this documentary was based on the story of a girl who was kept as a sex slave for most of her life by her school security guard. This could be seen as unethical because this subject doesn't really need to be documented as it may seem quite a delicate subject for some people including the actually person this happened to.

How documentaries can avoid being slanderous or unethical?

In my opinion I feel that documentaries should always avoid being slanderous due to the outcome it produces. However I think that the best way to avoid this would be to stick to the official facts of a particular event that happened. Don't make large judgements onto other people and allow the audience to make up their own minds at the end of the film. Also when choosing a subject to make a documentary on, make sure that the subject is not too sensitive to whoever is involved,and make sure the the documentary actually reaches a conclusion or a point that can be made. Otherwise you could be accused of being unethical by just reporting on a subject.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Animation Timeline

Animation timeline 

These are the top 10 most important documented times in animation in my view.

The Magic Lantern (17th century) 

The Magic Lantern is an early type of image projector created in the 17th century. The magic lantern has a sunken mirror in front of a light source that gathers light and projects it through a slide with an image reflected onto it. The light rays cross an aperture, from there it hits a lens  The lens throws an enlarged picture of the original image from the slide onto a screen.

Thaumatrope (1824)

A paper or card disk with a picture on each side is attached to two pieces of string. When the strings are twirled at a rapid succession between the fingers the two pictures appear to combine into a single image due to persistence of vision.

Phenakistoscope (1832) 

The phenakistoscope is a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed around the center of the disc was a group of drawings showing different stages of the animation, and cut through it was a series of equally spaced radial slits. Whoever was using this would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the discs reflection in a mirror.The scanning of the slits across the reflected images kept them from merging together, so that the user would see a rapid succession of images that appeared to be a single moving picture.

Zoetrope (1833)

The zoetrope contents are of a cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides. On the inner surface of the cylinder is a band with images from a set of sequenced pictures. As the cylinder rotates, the person using this looks through the slits at the pictures across. The scanning of the slits keeps the pictures from simply blurring together, and the user sees a rapid succession of images, producing motion through illusion.

Flip book 1868

A flip book or is a book with a group of pictures that vary very gradually from one page to the next, this is done so that when the pages are turned rapidly the pictures appear to animate by simulating motion or some other change.

Praxinoscope 1877

The praxinoscope was an animation device, the successor of the zoetrope. Similarly to the zoetrope, it used a strip of pictures placed around the inner surface of a spinning cylinder. The praxinoscope improved on the zoetrope by replacing its narrow viewing slits with an inner circle of mirrors, placed so the reflections appreared more or less stationary as the wheel turned.Someone looking in the mirrors would be able to see a rapid succession of images, once again producing motion through illusion.

Kinetoscope 1888

The Kinetoscope is an early motion picture device. This was not a movie projector, it was designed for films to be viewed individually through the window of the cabinet containing its components. It creates the illusion of movement once again by conveying a strip of film bearing sequential images over a light source with a high speed shutter.

Cinemagtograph 1892

This was one of the first film cameras that were invented. However it also had two purposes, not only was this a film camera, it could also be used as a projector, so whatever was filmed on this camera could be then projected onto a wall. This was created by the Lumiere brothers in 1892. 

Felix the cat 1925

Felix the Cat is a cartoon character created in the silent film era. His black body, white eyes, and giant grin, conjoined with the surrealism of the situations in which his cartoons place him, combine to make Felix one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history. This was the first character ever to obtain feelings from a movie audience.

Walt Disney's Steamboat Willie 1928

The film is also notable for being one of the first cartoons with synchronized sound.  Steamboat Willie was produced in black-and-white by The Walt Disney Studio and released by Celebrity Productions. The cartoon can be thought as the debut of the famous Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Steamboat Willie was the third of Mickey's films to be produced, but was the first to actually be distributed. 

Snow white and the Seven Dwarves (1937)

Similarly to Disney's steamboat Willie, Snow White was another drawn animation, however this didn't mean it wasn't a huge development in the animation timeline. It was a massive step forward in animation, this is because it was disney's first full length feature animation film. This showed a definite development in animation and possibly even set the bar for how animation films started due to it being the first. Films such as Toy Story would have gained some sort of influence from this film, they possibly could've looked at some techniques that were used within the filming of Snow White and developed them further due to the advancement in technology (animation films are now no longer drawn) The main reason for this is because it is far too time consuming and is easier to generate an animation on a computer.

Lady and the Tamp (1955)

The next development in the animation timeline that I discovered was found later in 1955. This showed another large development, due to the advancement of technology. The first computer came out in 1944 and around 10 years later, software had been developed enough to edit a drawn animation. This added much more color to the animation compared to a rather dull looking Snow White. It also gave editors a chance to cut out certain parts of footage they may not have needed. Or even gather the footage of the drawn animation and place them into a better order to generate a much more professional standard of motion.  

Present day animation

Moving into the 1980s a film called Tron was then made, this was significant because it was the first film with CGI (computer generated images) I feel that this was an important stage of the development of animation because if you think in this present day, many films actually contain hundreds of shots made with computer generated images. This development in animation probably would have had such a great impact on audiences in a similar way to the  magic lantern and when that was created. People seemed confused or scared how it worked.  So this would most definitely shocked audiences worldwide. 

In 1984 another film decided to use this method instead of the traditional way of making models and using those for certain scenes, this film was 'The Last Starfighter' In 1986, the well known computer graphics company Pixar was purchased by Steve Jobs, and then went on to make possibly one of the greatest impacts on the animation world which I shall explain in more detail later. Soon After this in 1988, a stage act named 'Willow' decided to use the form of morphing a character live in front of a audience. This also must have seemed shocking to see first hand because usually computer generated  images would have had to be edited in a long production, but for this to be shown live i my view is a greatly accomplished development in animation.

After this in 1993 the film Jurassic park used computer generated images in order to present realistic living creatures to an audience. I feel that this was another breakthrough in animation because CGI was used previously used in order to create a setting, and now CGI could be used in order to create people or creatures. Right after this, possibly the greatest breakthrough in animation history was the making of Toy Story. This was hugely significant within the animation world because it was the worlds first full length animated film. This film was created using 3D computer generated images which featured through the entire film.   

Rob's interview analysis

Interview with Rob Welland analysis 

Favorite question

Whilst interview Rob I felt that the questions about his holiday in Grand Canary was probably my favorite simply because it built up another string of questions leading onto things such as his hobby with snowboarding and why he enjoys it. Also what different types of snowboarding there are and who he usually goes snowboarding with, which then lead to a humorous answer about his mum being too scared to go down a mountain. Overall I feel that most of the questions received lengthy responses from Rob, which could suggest that the questions that were asked were in fact successful and good quality. However the structure of them could have been placed into a more professional order which I shall explain in the next paragraph.

Worst question

I don’t feel that there was such a bad question, however I feel that the structuring of the questions could have been done much more professionally when interviewing Rob. For example the interviewer greets him, but the interviewer then jumps straight into asking him questions which almost seems to throw Rob off guard. Also when asking the questions, the interviewer doesn’t sound very convincing on the facts that are given and an example of this would be when the interviewer says “You also umm enjoy your music” This doesn’t make the interview seem very professional and makes the interviewer look like he is running out of questions to ask Rob by placing a filler of ‘umm’ within the question.


Overall I feel that this interview most definitely could have gone much better in terms of making the interview much longer and in much more detail. It also could have had much more of  a professional structure to it. For example the beginning could have made Rob much more comfortable to answer the questions instead of jumping straight into the questions. However I do feel that the questions that were asked weren't just closed questions with yes and no answers, I feel that these were open ended questions that were given lengthy answers as I explained before. 

Even better if?

If I were to do this interview again, i would make sure that I research facts about Rob into much more detail in order to generate much more lengthy questions, to possibly gain an emotional response etc. I feel this is an important factor because this shall also help me tremendously with my next interview with the 'Van Susans' band guitarist. One last improvement that should be made is also the tone of voice within the interview, I feel that this needs to be much more enthusiastic and powerful. This could help me gain an enthusiastic answer back which could possibly make the person or people watching laugh or gain knowledge from.  

Interview questions

Van Susan's Possible Questions

Van Susan’s Possible Questions

When did the band start?

Our group feel that this question is fairly common within music interviews however we also feel that this is in fact an imperative question to almost set the scene of the interview and what the main body of the subject shall be about. We feel that we will gain a standard response such as 'In the year 2000..' We could also link this in with how he was appointed into the band.

What did you play in the band? And what do you find so interesting about what you play?

Again this question we have agreed is fairly commonly found within music interviews with one particular individual. However we also feel that these basic formats of questions will help set up the interview from thew start and again slightly set the scene for what the interview is going to be about and who it is about. We don't want to start the interview in a random order we want it to be structured (beginning, middle and an end)  We feel that this question will gain a fairly basic straight forward answer for the first part of the question. However the second section of it 'What he finds interesting' shall be more open ended and could gain a good insight as to why he likes the particular instrument .

What were the bands influences, also who or what are your influences to play your style of music?

These types of questions that almost seem to have two sections could in fact be the most powerful in terms of receiving an answer. This is because the first section could appear to set up the question, gain a short answer and then gain a more personal in depth answer (especially with 'what are your influences to play your style of music') We feel that this will gain a detailed lengthened answer that almost tell a story as to how the Van Susans got their motivation from music. 

Can you possibly talk about what (made you split away from the band)?

This question will most likely gain the most responsive detailed answer out of all the questions we have created. This question should be placed possibly right in the middle of the interview to stick to the beginning, middle and end format. the beginning: setting the subject, middle: Reaching a powerful point, and the end: concluding the interview. This shall be our powerful question that could even have the ability tot gain an emotional answer or straight forward answer with personal detail, his own account for what he thinks the reason is.

Are you going to join another band?

This question shall be strategically placed after the question above, the reason for this is because it shall link extremely well. We feel that this question shall gain a fairly straight forward answer to itself, this is because we will have just asked a very detailed question that should hopefully gain a lengthy answer. We don't almost seem to tire him by seeming to force him to answer a detailed question.    

Do you play any other instruments other than a bass guitar?

Our group feel that this question should be placed after the second one we have created above. The reason for this is because it will link well with the instrument side of the interview, it seems like a good typical music element to add together one after another. This could receive a short answer depending if he doesn't have one. So, to prepare for this we could add onto this question 'and why?' this will almost make Tim give a more detailed answer instead of giving a yes or no answer (closed question)  

What are you currently doing now?

Emerging from around halfway during the interview this question should occur. Our group are possibly thinking of placing it just after the question below where we ask how good the pay was for being apart of the Van Susans group. We feel that this could link with the pay aspect such as what he could be doing now whether it involves being in a band or not for his income. Maybe this question could also add why he does it or does he enjoy it. This will be a good insight as to what he does as well as being in a band or not.  

What was it like to headline at Indigo2?

For this question, our group feel that it should be placed after the third question we have generated. The reason for this is because it wouldn't suit a well structured interview if it were to go from talking about how he split with the band and then ask how it was to headline with then at a certain venue (this is the same with the question below) We feel that this would be well linked and generate good detailed answers because by placing it with the third he may feel more inclined to talk about it, rather than asking this and the following question after we have said why he left the band. 

What was it like touring the UK?

(This question also relates to the question above)

Have you ever played with the Van Susan's outside the UK?

(This question relates to the one above)

What equipment are you using at the moment?

For this question in particular, it may seem quite a standard question found within a music interview, however it may be interesting to some viewers to find out what the musician uses as their choice of equipment. This could be interesting to hear also why he uses that particular equipment so our interviewer may add that into this question in order to gain more information and make it a larger open ended question. An example of an answer he may give us could be 'I use .... because it sounds the best, I have been using it since ...'

Did you ever get a good pay for being in the Van Susan's?

Our group feel that this could be placed  after right after we ask Tim about why he left the group. The reason being is because these kinds of music professions always have to have an element of money within them, so this would be a good insight to how much he was paid for doing a gig etc. This could even have a humorous factor shown when he answer's the question, he may possibly joke about how terrible the pay was or a similar aspect.   

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Aardman Studios

Techniques and equipment that Aardman use

Unlike our group will be able to, Aardman use very professional standards of creating animation. They use a large number of highly technical equipment in order to get the best movements in between frames of characters etc. One of the most important pieces Aardman use are their lighting rigs, due to average natural light not being enough to show the expressions of characters faces. These lighting rigs are huge and would be placed all along the set to present the best amount of lighting for each shot taken. These rigs also can hold cameras in place to show different angles on set, which leads into my next point. 

For our animation our group shall only be able to use one character that will have to be moved around the set in order to show different angles. Aardman will use a multi camera technique, they have a number of cameras set in place to show a number of angles around the set taking shots at the same time. THe main reason why they can do this is because films such as Wallace and Gromit have a budget big enough to use these techniques and equipment. 

The last piece of equipment and slight technique they use within their animations is a program called photoshop. For example is a character had to be lifted up via string, the string would then have to be rubbed out in order for it to make it look as if the characters is flying, falling etc. This techniques is now used in a number of animations (stop-motion)

Development in animation

Development in animation

Before animation within film there was many different types of devices that the motion picture could be shown. Many of these devices that were made often to be shown to people, which would amaze them, entertain and even frighten people at points. This would scare many people at this time as there was nothing ever invented like the ‘magic lantern’ that showed moving images. The Magic Lantern was invented around 1650, it is an extremely early version of the first kinds of projectors. The Magic Lantern consisted of a transparent oil painting. It was placed in a darkened room and projected on a flat surface using a form of light. People often judged this device as demonic and frightening. People even were convinced this was a witnessing of the supernatural. The early known magic lanterns are credited towards Christiaan Huygens or Athansius Kricher.
File source: After the magic lantern there were many other dvices that were created by pioneers in the animation world. Such as William George Horner and his ‘Zoetrope’ device, it I similar to the Phenakistoscope device (which I shall explain later) The Zoetrope was created in 1834. This was a circular spinning device that had several frames of animated prints around the circumference of the circle. Next to each print had a small coin like slot on the material, which was placed there in order for the person using this device to be able to see the images through on the other side when it is spinning at a quick rate. The slits move in the opposite direction of the way the Zoetrope is spinning to create an optical illusion. The Phenakistioscope created before the Zoetrope in 1831 was almost identical to Zoetrope, so as you can see William Horners design was most defiantly influenced by Joseph Plateau’s Phenakistoscope.    

Another Pioneer of animation named Emile Reynaud from France then deiced to create the ‘Praxinoscope’ in 1877. This device combined the circular design of the Zoetrope however mirrors were placed around the images that were drawn, this was done in order to show the drawn animated images in a clearer way than the Zoetrope did. Reynaud then decided to make an enlarged version of this device named the Theatre Optique which could projected onto a screen.


The next device that was then generated was named the            Zoopraxiscope which was created by Eadweard Muybridge in 1879. This device was ‘considered’ the first movie projector. This device consisted of rotating glass disks with hand painted images on them. These disks were moved in a rapid fashion in order to create an optical illusion of motion. The ‘Zoo’ part of the name was placed in as it showed mostly images of animals in motion like the picture below.
In 1888 the animation world started to change greatly, especially when Thomas Edison decided to generate another device named the Kinetoscope. This was a very early motion picture exhibition device. What this device allowed was for short animation films to be able to be viewed by an individual at one time. This was done by looking through a small window hole. This illusion worked by the movement of conveying a strip of perforated film holding sequential images over a light source with a high speed shutter. As you an see this is much more advanced than the other devices at this time, which made it a breakthrough in the world of animation.

There was another massive breakthrough in photography and film after this, the Lumiere brothers worked out how to project film onto a screen and also created the first motion picture camera in 1895. This quite literally would have been the most shocking and exciting moment in cinematography history as no one had ever thought something like this could be made (similar thoughts as when the Magic Lantern was created) You can see that from this point the cinematography and the animation world had developed up to such a high standard from all of the past inventions from the other pioneers

After the Lumiere brothers another man who changed the animation world was George Pal a Hungarian film producer. Pal was mostly well known for his creation of the animated films called ‘The Puppetoons’ these cartoons films were memorable in the sense of using the replacement animation technique or Stop Motion animation. This was also seen as a person who pioneered animation as during the 1930s it would have been unheard of to create animation films. However Walt Disney must’ve found some inspiration to create his first full-length feature animation film by watching these Puppetoons films, when he made his Snow White and the Seven Dwarves animation film.


Willis O’Brien was a pioneer in stop motion animation who was well known for the animation work that he generated within a film called ‘The Lost World’ (1925) and the very well known ‘King Kong’ (1933) Especially in 1933 there was no way near as much technology to generate such pictures as these and so this is why O’Brien became a pioneer as he was able to create these animated images that shocked audiences within the cinema world, it was most likely similar to the feelings that audiences got to the magic lantern as they had never seen things like this.

Another pioneer within this animation world was Ray Harruasuen who was another stop motion animation pioneer who was most famously known for his first color film ‘the 7th Voyage of Sinbad’ and Jason and the Argonuaghts which contained his famously created scene ‘the fight with the skeleton warriors’ this scene was extremely well known as it contained actual moving skeletons having a sword fight with the main character. This was seen as amazing to audiences world wide as they were full 3 dimensional stop motion characters the had facial expressions and body movements.

The next pioneer within animation I shall talk about is Jan Svankmajer. He was born in Prague and was fascinated by puppetry. Some of his greatest known work is his own film ‘The Last Trick’ (1964) Jan was a pioneer due to his technique in stop motion. He was able to generate very surreal and hilarious pictures. His work included funny exaggerated sounds. One of the most noticeable ones was during eating scenes within his productions. Jan’s work was usually only made using stop motion. He also used clay animation similar to how Aardman studios (Wallace and Gromit) make their films.

The last considered pioneer of the animation world is Tim Burton. Tim burton was most known for many of his films such as Corpse Bride and Nightmare Before Christmas these were hugely popular claymation films. He has produced 12 films and directed 16. I feel that this person would be a pioneer in the animation industry due to his own style of gothic animation/claymation. Corpse bride is a very good example of this style in a gothic nature. Not many animators were combining this kind of style within their animation and so this made Tim Burton have his own unique style of stop motion animation which has become largely popular around the world. 

Another piece of contemporary work would be the The Brothers Quay. They are two Polish brothers who work and reside in England as directors. Their style of animation often involves puppets or doll parts that are actually made out of organic materials. This shows a much more creative approach towards animation and also very original. Another strange aspect that is also looked at strongly from their work is the dialogue. Their productions often contain no meaningful spoken dialogue which again shows a much more different style of animation that people are used to. It is mainly multilingual spoken gibberish in the background of their pieces, with pre-recorded music placed over the top of it. This may seem rather strange to typical animation techniques, however for many of their films they have been nominated for awards for them.