Monday, 11 April 2011

Top Gear

After looking at the Cowboy Bebop title sequence it reminded me of the Top Gear intro which uses a similar technique.

I really like the use of the multiscreen as you can use it for different things; you can show lots different video clips at the same time, or you can show the same scene but from a different angle or a close up version of it.

This style really excites me and is something i want to try and incorporate into my design

Cowboy Bebop (anime)

The anime itself is about a group of bounty hunters, the twist being that its set in space, however it retains that western feel to the animation with its story lines, morals and drawing style.

However what i find really inspiring about this anime is the title sequence. It uses like a comic book storyboard effect and it works really well. The images on the screen are broken up into multiscreen boxes like strips in a comic. The use of lines and borders help to really bring out the vast amount of images that pass on the screen.

To me the sequence is showing how the manga is coming to life, jumping of the page and becoming animated.

Jonah Hex

Priest (manga)

Linkin Park - Breaking The Habit

The video for Linkin park's song breaking the habit features an anime- stylisation to it. The video was supervised by Kazuto Nakazawa who had previously directed the animated segment of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol 1. The video was shot of the band performing the song and was later rotoscoped.

I really like the idea of having some kind of animated sequence along side a live action piece. I think it really brings an emphasis to a particular scene. I want to look more into anime and manga styles.

Kill Bill

The film is an epic- length revenge drama with homages to many genres of film including Spaghetti westerns.

There is one segment in the film that really caught my eye, its the scene where it switches to anime style drawings to tell the back story of one of the characters.

I really like the idea of mixing the live action film with this cut scene of an short animation piece. Because its drawn by hand you can emphasise something much easier like death scenes which are horrifically violent sequences that are very over the top. Because you have much more control, it can be much more stylised in the way you portray whats going on in the scene.

Mad Max Franchise

They are a series of films that tell the story of the breakdown of society, murder and vengeance. The films are set in a dystopian future of Australia where law and order has begun to break down.
all in leather- a modern take on the cowboy image maybe

The films have this post apocalyptic/ punk style which popularised the genre in film and fiction writing.

I think these films can be seen as a modern take on the Western genre. You have the lone ranger (aka Max) taking on the punks (bandits) that are causing chaos.

 The location can be seen as similar; hot dry places where the idea of order is not clear, much like westerns
Although normal weapons are used, in these films the cars. bike are used as weapon much more prominently 
 wearing masks creates a persona of which you can hide behind

The Punk image has been in popular use in post-apocalyptic films: leather clad and coloured hair

Westword (Film)

The story is set sometime in the future, in Delos, a high tech, highly realistic fictional adult amusement park featuring androids that are almost indistinguishable from human beings.

Yul Brynner plays a lifelike robot who starts attacking and perusing two guests when all the robots start to malfunction.

I like this idea of a traditional set western but with futuristic elements such as robots or something technical that could go wrong.

Developing idea

Watching the Muse video, its given me the inspiration to progress further with this Western idea but to include other elements from different genres to give it a refreshing look on the genre. i like this idea of mixing Sci-Fi and post apocalyptic ideas with westerns. I think they work as they all have common themes and when it comes down to the core story, there not much different from each other really.

Muse- Knights of Cydonia

The music video was filmed as a thematic Spaghetti western film with post apocalyptic influence, complete with beginning and end credits, livened with the occasional kung fu cowboy or metal clad maiden astride a unicorn.

Even though it can be seen as a western there are many other reference that can be seen in the video such as kung fu elements , the two style together actually seem to work really well.

The video has numerous surreal images such a woman riding a unicorn. Furthermore seeing a desolate statue of liberty gives the video its post apocalyptic feel.  The use of laser guns  gives us an idea that this is set in the future or another timeline.

All in all its a wacky music video with lots of ideas bubbling around, But thats why i love it, its entertaining, exciting and keeps your attention throughout the 6 minute song.

The Mojave Desert

Inspired by the u2 album i wanted to look into the Mojave desert to see what the landscape is like.

 I really like the landscape, a nice blend of trees, bushes, sand and rock. Its simple but effective, and i think it portrays the old west perfectly

located on the west side of America. near the border of Mexico

 When it comes to my animation, these will be the images i will refer to, such as when i need to draw a background for instance

The Joshua Tree (U2 album)

Another album i found musically and lyrically inspiring of the american west is U2's The Joshua Tree album.

The album has a cinematic quality to it and it evokes a sense of location in particular, the open spaces of America. The mental image of an American desert was inspiration to the group during the albums inception.

The desert, rain, dust and water appear as lyrical motifs throughout the record, the desert itself is used as a metaphor for spiritual drought. For the band the desert was seen as a blank canvas where you can easily add thing.

The Joshua Tree that is featured throughout the album artwork is located in the Mojave desert

Bruce Hornsby

He is an American singer, pianist, accordian player and songwriter. Hornsby draws frequently from classic, jazz, folk, motown, rock and blues music.

The Way It Is Album

I use to listen to this album when i was younger and it always reminded me of a hot, desert like location whenever i listened to it.

If you go to the right hand side of my blog there is a music player where i have put a couple of his tracks on so you can have a listen. Even the song title bring up vivid images of the old west.

The prominent use of piano drives most of the songs which is what i think help create this image of the west in my head and transport you to the American west when listening to it. Furthermore additional instruments like the harmonica helps more in creating a retro sound that could be heard back in the day.

Queens of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf

Their album 'Songs for the Deaf' instantly makes me think  of a desert environment, hot dry and baron. The album is actually considered as a concept album taking the listener on a drive from Los angles to joshua tree while tuning into radio stations from towns on the way. This gives an atheistic feel to the record as its as if your taking a drive in the desert with this album as the soundtrack and the music fits perfectly with the environment with the riff- oriented style of music they play.

Music video for 'Go With The Flow'

The video provides an even better visual example. it rendered in black, white and red. It shows the band driving through a desert highway. The simplistic use of colour works really well and is really effective in portraying the stark landscape and the heat with the heavy use of the colour red.

Stop Motion Videos

Workshop 2: Stop Motion

In this workshop we were using stop frame photography to create an animated short. using toys that were laying around we used a program called i can animate to help us track our progress as we moved our toys around to give a sense of movement.

This is mine and Simons animation

When we were creating this animation we learnt of the restrictions the toys had, such as arm and leg movement, it was hard to try and create a fluid walking motion as the legs didn't move the way you wanted, plus trying to put the toys in a certain positioned left them unstable and meant they fell over.

Even though we had problems i really did enjoy stop motion, and i think i may look into it further and try and develop my skills. 

Workshop: Flipbook Animation

In this Workshop we were given the task to work in pair and come up with a animation piece made of hand drawn images.

 First we were asked to come up with a character, it could be anything. I ended up settling for a animated gun.

I then drew my gun from different angles so i had a good idea what it would look like from different positions

We were then asked to get in pairs and using both our characters come up with a story that include both of them. We created a quick key frame storyboard so we knew how the animation was going to look.

Frame still from the animation

Final animation movie, running at 12 fps

Me and sarah are both pleased with are animation and how it turned out, even though it took quite a bit of time, i'm glad we coloured it in as it just adds a bit of character to it

Ennio Morricone

He is an Italian composer and conductor. He is considered one of the most prolific and influential film composers of his era

Leone asked Morricone to create a new distinctive score for his film ' A Fistful of Dollars'. as budget strictures limited Morricones access to a full orchestra, he used gunshots, cracking whips, whistle, voices, guimbarde, trumpets and the new fender electric guitar, instead of orchestral arrangements of Westerns standards like John Ford's films.

Thou sonically bizarre for a movie score, Morricone's music was viscerally to Leone's vision. In future films, leone had a personal way of shooting scenes with Morricone's score ongoing.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Sergio Leone

He was an Italian film Director, producer and screenwriter most associated with the Spaghetti western genre.

The look of his first film 'A Fistful of Dollars was established by its Spanish locations, which presented a violent and morally complex vision of the american Old West. The film paid tribute to traditional American westerns movies, but significantly departed from them in storyline, plot, characterisation and mood. Leone gains credit for creating more realistic and complex characters, usually they were 'lone wolves' in their behaviour.  They rarely shaved, looked dirty and sweated alot and there a strong suggestion of criminal behaviour.

Leone had a very certain videoing style and some traits of his i picked up on

  • Great depth of field
  • Extreme close-ups (stages of duels)
  • Expended time: extended stages of duels, observations
  • Huge role of music
  • Violence showed to full opened manner

The Dollars Trilogy

Probably the best known Spaghetti westerns were 'the man with no name' trilogy or 'the dollars trilogy' directed by Sergio Leone and starred Clint Eastwood with musical scores of Ennio Morricone

A Fistful of Dollars can be thought as the first true Spaghetti western. It was something new and it has many of the features of the typical spaghetti western- the violence, the cynical, mercenary antihero and the stunning mix of long shots and extreme close-ups.

Spaghetti Westerns

Spaghetti westerns is the nickname for a broad sub-genre of western film that emerged in the mid 1960's, so named because most were produced and directed by Italians.

They were filmed in regions of italy but also Spain- this links in with the concept that my song  has a spanish feel to it, so incorporating the western aspect and Spanish sound could actually really work

Typical themes in Spaghetti Westerns include the mexican revolution, a focus on revenge and the myth of the hunter/bounty killer. So even though its a different culture producing the films, they still cover the same ideas of revenge, justice, honour and also the lone figure idea. It just hows the western has universal appeal.

One of the most famous spaghetti Westerns was the Dollars Trilogy.


So after that bit of research i noted down some of the location where they would film the old westerns, so i thought it would be a good idea to look at them so i can visual inspiration for my project.


 The first thing i noticed is that it is quite a green landscape, lots of trees, plants grass and vegetation. The mountains give it this grand feeling. However when listening to my piece of music i visualise something hotter, a place more stark baron and dry.


The Texas landscape is a slight improvement. Its definitely seems a hotter place, there are also warmer colours within the landscape like the oranges and yellows which help create the sense of it being hot.

New Mexico

 Again i like this landscape. The colours are rich and you get that hot dry feeling from the pictures. However looking at these pictures i'm not to sure of the large patches of long grass. Its just something i didn't imagine this landscape in my head to have.


This is much more like it. This kind of landscape is pretty much exactly how i pictured it in my head. It has the perfect balance of a desert look, but still have planet features which adds a bit of detail to the landscape. plus the mountains also give the sense of vastness.


Utah is famous for its monument valley which is very awe- inspiring and would create a interesting backdrop to view. Also this landscape has a much deeper red colour to it, which gives the effects that its much hotter than the other location, a true wilderness setting