Research – Silent Movie/The Artist

Module 162 require us to create a script and make it a reality. It also lets each group member edit the movie independently, creating a range of final versions varying in many aspects. One of them is genre. Our group decided to film in a style of French New Wave, Indie Horror and Silent Movie, all separately. This will give us more freedom when editing to choose the genre we would like to go with.

I haven’t seen many black and white movie, especially silent movies which is why I watched The Artist. It’s a 2011, Michel Hazanavicius, silent film set in 1920-30s. It tells a story of a silent movie actor, George Valentin, who cannot accept the fact that silent movies will soon be a history when a revolutionary way of recording sound on set is introduced. It also shows a life of a young woman, Peppy, a “fangirl” of the main character and how her life is turned upside down when she meets him in person. She becomes the new star of the big screen while George attempts to make a silent movie, starring himself but fails and bankrupts.

Here are some notes I made while watching some black and white/silent movies:

The resolution is smaller, not necessarily the quality but the size of the screen. It seems to be 4:3 which is the old TV size. Nowadays 16:9 is the resolution used in most, modern TVs. I think resizing the footage to 4:3 will give the final edit a nice old feel and will allow the actors to fill the screen making it more personal and real. This also requires change of the way we shoot to compensate for the areas that need to be eliminated.

When I watched The Artist I thought that the characters in the film can’t hear either. It’s as if the world was on mute. Everyone was over gesticulated and it was easy to read lips and handwriting. There was almost no reactions to things that would make sound such us doors closing.

After watching The Artist I thought that Silent Movies don’t really use Close Ups because I couldn’t see many of them throughout the film however I changed my mind on that after seeing The Passion of Joan of Arc. The fact that CUs were used since 1903(The Sick Kitten – George Albert Smith) set my mind straight.

I’m considering using Silent Movie as a genre for this project simply to try it out and experience this kind of filming and editing.


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