Production Diary – 11/20:

**Due to being sick this past week and a half, I was unable to record the voiceover by today’s class. The session has been rescheduled for this weekend.

i. Music

ii. Additional titles

iii. Script revision


i. Music

Over the weekend, I purchased the soundtracks of both Psycho and Vertigo, and have been testing out different tracks with the footage. So far two tracks are definite. I might need to use one or two more, but there’s a chance that won’t be necessary. One thing is for sure, Bernard Hermann’s composition and arrangement of the Psycho soundtrack is beautifully haunting (specifically ‘Prelude,’ the opening credits track).

Speaking of credits….


ii. Additional titles:

One convention of most early-to-mid 20th-century films is the opening title sequence, which I briefly touched upon in my previous posts. Because my project is a Hitchcockian video essay, I decided to pay homage to the three analyzed films by creating the aesthetic title cards in the style of said movies’ opening credits–using Photoshop.

titlecard4cEditing


iii. LATEST SCRIPT REVISION – I’ve finally elaborated more on the opening narration:

Suspense can only be achieved by telling the audience as much as you can.

Cinematically, “telling” refers to showing, of course: utilizing different aspects that make up a film–Cinematography, editing, and, finally, sound—to convey and elicit one singular emotion.

Titlecard: CINEMATOGRAPHY

Vertigo

[OPENING ROOFTOP SCENE] In the 1958 film, Vertigo, camera work is the primary aesthetic for conveying fear to audiences. The movie’s signature shot, the dolly zoom, is a point-of-view look that depicts Jimmy Stewart’s dizzying fear of heights, and is the first film in cinema history to incorporate this technique. It creates a sense of disorientation and uneasiness because the camera, mounted to a dolly, pushes forward, and simultaneously, there is a backward zoom. Audiences are given this subjective perspective from the very opening scene, [CHURCH TOWER SCENE] so that later in the story, during a time of crisis, they can further empathize with Jimmy Stewart’s fear, which stands in the way of him saving the love of his life. [MINI DOLLY ZOOM SUPERCUT] This technique remains one of the most influential among subsequent filmmakers to date.

Titlecard: EDITING

[CLIP OF HITCHCOCK ON CUTTING]

Rear Window

In Rear Window, the exact principle is applied. Told from the perspective of a voyeuristic photographer bound to a wheelchair and confined to his apartment, the many sequences of Jimmy Stewart’s eye-line matches and reaction shots are what connect the audience to his character. He is humanized through the various things he watches. This becomes especially important during a sequence in which the conflict escalates.

Titlecard: AUDIO

Psycho

[SHOWER SCENE] During the shower scene of Psycho, diegetic and non-diegetic sound are used in combination with one another. The scene begins with only diegetic sound–the sliding of the curtain, the turning of the faucet, and, most importantly, the spraying of the water. The sound of the running shower is heard throughout the entire sequence, and it envelopes the audience into Janet Leigh’s unsuspecting point of view. The authorial shot of the silhouette approaching the curtain, as Janet Leigh showers, is the moment when the audience becomes informed that she is about to die. The sound of the water is the only filler between the moment we find out and the moment that Janet Leigh finds out. Cue the non-diegetic sound.

Bernard Hermann’s score further connects the audience to Marion, using violins and, eventually, cello. The stabbing motion of Mrs. Bates’ knife is accentuated with the tremolo effect on the violins and the sudden muting of their notes. Comprised of over 70 different shots, the shower sequence’s high-pitched, muted notes shriek along with Janet Leigh’s screams, the slashing of the knife, and the stabbing/cutting of her flesh. As her body collapses against the wall, a bass-y cello hiccups and draws out what are her final breaths. It underscores the conclusion of this terrifying moment, forcing the audience to accept what just happened.


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