TECHNIQUES OF ETHNOGRAPHIC FILM MAKING
BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment Jan 2022
Q 1 Discuss briefly the dimensions of sociological film making.
ANS: Dimensions may be in accordance with spatial connection, temporal connection, graphic connection and the rhythmic connection. Every movie you’ve ever seen first started with an idea in someone’s brain.
Although things change as a project goes on, the story you come up with in the beginning will serve as the foundation on which everything else will be built.
Start thinking about the kind of story you want your film to tell and all the important story elements involved: plot, characters, conflict, etc.
The script is where you’ll put down the story, setting, and dialogue in linear form. This important tool will be used by the rest of the team to know what’s going to happen in the film. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
You’ll also be using your own script as reference throughout the process as well since you may need to refresh yourself on certain actions, dialogue lines, and more.
A storyboard is a sequence of drawings that represent the shots you plan to film. We highly recommend this process because it helps you visualize each scene and decide on things like camera angles, shot sizes, etc.
You’ll discover your storyboard’s true value when it helps communicate what you’re trying to go for to other people on the set. Assembling your team can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.
We recommend you take as much time as needed to find the right people for your film. For crew members, be sure to consider their past work and experience, and request showreels or any examples if available.
You should also hold auditions to find the best actors and actresses for your roles. You may need to construct sets for a setting you’d like to have.
But for scenes where an actual location will do, you’ll need to do some scouting to find the best spots. Take a camera with you and do as much traveling as possible, snapping shots of places you think will serve as the perfect setting for particular scenes.
It all comes down to this. To prepare, be sure to have a shoot script ready along with an organized schedule of what will be filmed when.
Give yourself plenty of time to shoot scenes so that you’re never rushed and can accommodate for changes or problems. It’s common for a scene that will last one minute in the final cut to require more than five hours to film.
If you thought filming took time, you were wrong. Post-production is when you edit all your footage to create a rough cut of the film. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
Once done with the rough cut, you’ll begin adding things like sound effects, music, visual effects, and color correction. This process will require the use of editing software — if you’re not confident, feel free to find/hire an experienced editor.
Q 2. Explain the various mode of film making.
Ans. Bill Nichols identifies six modes of filmmaking. These are in order of their emergence and progress as follows:
i) Poetic documentary
ii) Expository documentary
iii) Observational documentary
iv) Participatory documentary
v) Reflexive documentary
vi) Performative mode
First seen in the 1920s, poetic documentaries are very much what they sound like. They focus on experiences, images, and showing the audience the world through a different set of eyes.
Abstract and loose with narrative, the poetic sub-genre can be very unconventional and experimental in form and content. The ultimate goal is to create a feeling rather than a truth.
For filmmakers, this approach offers a valuable lesson in experimenting with all the elements of documentary filmmaking by finding creative compositions, challenging juxtapositions, and different forms of cinematic storytelling
Some examples of poetic documentaries include:
Coal Face (1935) — Dir. Alberto Cavalcanti
Fata Morgana (1971) — Dir. Werner Herzog
Tongues Untied (1989) — Dir. Marlon Riggs
Welt Spiegel Kino (2005) — Dir. Gustav Deutsch
Expository Documentaries Expository documentaries are probably closest to what most people consider “documentaries.” BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
In sharp contrast to poetic, expository documentaries aim to inform and/or persuade – often through omnipresent “Voice of God” narration that’s devoid of ambiguous or poetic rhetoric.
This mode includes the familiar Ken Burns and television (A&E, History Channel, etc.) styles.
Those looking for the most direct form of documentary storytelling should explore the straightforward expository style. It’s is one of the best ways to share a message or information.
Some examples of expository documentaries include:
The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936) — Dir. Pare Lorentz
City of Gold (1957) — Dir. Colin Low and Wolf Koenig
Waiting for Fidel (1974) — Dir. Michael Rubbo
March of the Penguins (2005) — Dir. Luc Jacquet
Observational Documentaries Observational documentaries are exactly what they sound like — they aim to simply observe the world around them.
Originating in the 1960s alongside advances in portable film equipment, the Cinéma Vérité-style is much less pointed than the expository approach.
Observational documentaries attempt to give voice to all sides of an issue by offering audiences firsthand access to some of the subject’s most important (and often private) moments.
The observational style has been very influential over the years, and you can often find filmmakers using it in other film genres to create a sense of realness and truth.
Some examples of observational documentaries include:
Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963) — Dir. Robert Drew
Salesman (1969) — Dir. Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin
Hoop Dreams (1994) — Dir. Steve James
The Monastery: Mr Vig and the Nun (2006) — Dir. Pernille Rose Grønkjær
Participatory documentaries include the filmmaker within the narrative.
This inclusion can be as minor as a filmmaker using their voice to prod their subjects with questions or cues from behind the camera — or as major as a filmmaker directly influencing the actions of the narrative.
There’s some debate in the documentary community as to just how much filmmaker participation it takes to earn a documentary the label of “participatory.”
In fact, some argue that, due to their very nature, all documentaries are participatory. Regardless, this style might be one of the most natural for those just starting off.
Some examples of participatory documentaries include:
Chronicle of a Summer (1961) – Dir. Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch
Sherman’s March (1985) — Dir. Ross McElwee
Paris Is Burning (1990) — Dir. Jennie Livingston
The Danube Exodus (1998) — Dir. Péter Forgács
Reflexive Documentaries BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
Reflexive documentaries are similar to participatory docs in that they often include the filmmaker within the film.
However, unlike participatory, most creators of reflexive documentaries make no attempt to explore an outside subject. Rather, they focus solely on themselves and the act of making the film.
The best example of this style is the 1929 silent documentary Man with a Movie Camera by Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov.
It’s a classic showcase of the creative — and quite challenging – images a true reflexive documentary can create
Other examples of reflexive documentaries include:
…No Lies (1973) Dir. Mitchell Block
Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) Dir. T. Minh-ha Trinh
Biggie & Tupac (2002) Dir. Nick Broomfield
Performative documentaries are an experimental combination of styles used to stress subject experience and share an emotional response with the world.
They often connect and juxtapose personal accounts with larger political or historical issues. This has sometimes been called the “Michael Moore-style,”
as he often uses his own personal stories as a way to construct social truths (without having to argue the validity of their experiences).
–Some examples of Performative Documentaries include:
Drifters (1929) — Dir. John Grierson Night and Fog (1956) — Dir. Alain Resnais The Thin Blue Line (1988) — Dir. Errol Morris
Bowling for Columbine (2002) — Dir. Michael Moore
Q 3 Distinguish between participatory and reflexive documentary.
Ans:Reflexive Mode and Participatory Mode in Documentary filmmaking have a lot of similarities, and even more differences. The main difference I have come to identify is the role of the viewer. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
In most documentary modes, the viewer tends to take a passive role, where he or she sits back, puts aside their own lives for a second, and puts their attention into the events on the screen.
As Nichols writes in our book, “… The Documentary, in general, depends on the viewer’s neglect of his or her actual situation, in front of a movie screen, interpreting a film, in favor of imaginary access to the events shown on the screen as if it is only those events that require interpretation, not the film.”
In contrast, when we watch Reflexive films, we, as viewers, are expected to take an active role in participating with the film.
We are constantly reminded that we are watching a film of events, that were made with a camera, and that we are not directly watching reality.
The medium constantly plays with the tropes, common perceptions and styles of documentaries to not only comment on the subjects of their films, but on the Documentary Medium as a form of media itself.
In a participatory documentary, relationship between filmmaker and subject becomes much more complex and personal.
Nichols explains it very well in saying that a viewer can sense that the images they are seeing are “not just an indexical representation of some part of the historical world but also an indexical record of the actual encounter between filmmaker and subject” (157).
In this mode, the filmmaker is entering into the social actor’s world and does so through conversation, interview, provocation, etc.
On the other hand, the reflexive mode, the most self-conscious and self-questioning mode, “calls attention to assumptions and conventions that govern documentary filmmaking” (Nichols 31). BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
This mode is known to increase our awareness of the way a film is constructed to represent reality in some way. Man with a Movie Camera and Stranger with a Camera are perfect examples of this mode.
Q 4. What is the similarity between production of a text and a film?
Ans:Traditionally, sociology and anthropology have relied on the written word to tell us about societies and social life. Sociology and anthropology follow certain techniques in order to investigate societies.
These techniques are varied and include techniques like observation-participant and nonparticipant, focus group discussions etc.
When we gather data it is in a rough format and is often referred to field notes, the collection of data is dependent on our interest and the research problem at hand.
The researcher may spend a few months or a year writing down observations in a notebook.
The ethnographer may also record interviews using an audio device. The researcher then goes the field notes and transcribes the interviews.
Once that is done then the researcher analyses the data and starts to put it in a structured format depending on the research problem.
There is a lot of writing and rewriting of the data. Each time the researcher writes she will refer to her field notes and write and rewrite the data. The rough notes get translated into sentences and paragraphs. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
The researcher has to work with the data that she has. The only way that she can get new data revisiting the field and gathers fresh data. What we finally read i.e. what is available to the public is the final edited version in the form of a book or an article.
What we read is a smooth finished narrative which is not patchy but finished product.. The written texts like the Nuer by E. E. Evans Pritchard (Pritchard, 1940) tell us about the Nuers of Southern Sudan or the Argonauts of the Western Pacific by B. Malinowski (Malinowski, 1922) about the Trobriand Islanders of the Western Pacific Ocean are ethnographies that have been written in the above manner.
The monographs that we read are based on field notes of the researcher. Let us try and understand this through an example.
For instance, if the research problem was analysis of social interaction between individuals on the basis of the caste system in a village in India then how would we go about it.
The researcher would spend several months in the field observing social interactions and the impact of the caste system on these interactions.
All observations would be recorded in a notebook. As would be analysed from the perspective of caste based social interaction. If interviews have been recorded, they too would be transcribed.
The final written monograph that we produce will be based on observations carried out over a period of time.
The researcher collects data from the point of view of the research problem. However the most important data is data that is gathered from the fringes. This data is often gathered through research techniques that are not pre-established.
For example one could be relying on the memory of the researcher or the memories of the informant. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
Heider (Heider, 2006) refers to 1 it as the peripheral vision of the researcher. Writing cultures mean that ethnographers construct narratives. We select some material and leave out the rest.
Q 5 Explain the relationship between film makers and filmed.
Ans;Ethnographic filmmaking much like the written ethnographies has evolved from a colonial positivist perspective.
The period between 1913-1920 was a significant period in anthropology as it was moving from a positivist natural science framework to a more fieldwork based humanist science in the 20th century.
The time at which Malinowski was writing his monograph was also the time that Flaherty made the film on the Eskimos, Flaherty was very much in the tradition of ethnographers like Malinowski.
Just like Malinowski stayed with the Trobriand Islanders for his fieldwork, Flaherty stayed with the Inuit and made his film.
Malinowski thus established the fieldwork tradition in anthropology and Flaherty did the same for ethnographic films. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
The tradition of staying with the subject to establish a rapport and to be scientific became prevalent in traditional anthropologists and ethnographic filmmakers.
The filmmaker in order to be taken seriously by the anthropologists started following the norms of anthropology.
They developed an observational style of film making very much along the lines of the tradition of observational fieldwork. Just like the text is constructed according to certain principles of structural anthropology films too were constructed in a similar manner.
The dilemmas faced by anthropologists of that time were also faced by the filmmakers. It was like a Catch 22 situation.
If one is observing the social world out there then either one can portray it as seen by the native that is as if the anthropologist and the filmmaker are within that world.
As if they are participating in it. Clifford Geertz refers to it as ’emic’. If he is not in it then he is outside it i.e. ‘etic’. The dialectic between the emic and the etic was equally by filmmakers and anthropologist.
The struggle to be in yet be outside in the larger Western theoretical social framework. This style of filmmaking and writing was replaced by a more participatory and reflexive style.
The reader and the audience are made to understand that the reality as it is portrayed is just one version of the truth. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
The ethnographer-the filmmaker and the researcher are no longer articulating from a position of power. They also try to articulate the truth as is experienced by the subjects
Q 6. What are challenges of a sociological film maker.
Ans:1. The digital revolution has flooded the marketplace Fact: Cheaper digital production methods have helped create more product than buyers.
Strategy: Make certain your movie is genre specific. Genre is the only way that a film buyer and the marketing manager of a distribution company can quickly visualise the movie poster, trailer and marketing campaign. Never forget that distributors buy genre, not drama.
(2. Online distribution is becoming commonplace
Fact: On Valentine’s Day 2005 the co-founders of Youtube.com registered the name at www.whois.com. Youtube revolutionised film distribution and has changed the way consumers watch movies and television.
The impact of illegal online distribution has also had the same impact on the film industry as it has the music industry. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
Strategy: Develop a hybrid distribution strategy that encompasses traditional cinema/DVD/television releases with online distribution.
(3 Gaming industry
Fact: The gaming industry has influenced story telling techniques and filmmaking techniques. These new storytelling techniques dominate.
Strategy: Successful filmmakers are most likely artists who consider themselves visual storytellers using moving images to tell their stories. Incorporation of gaming techiques both in terms of storytelling and visualisation will make movies stronger.
And what of apps? Where a new video game can now cost $2om to develop and market, an app can be built for next to nothing.
(4. Cinema distribution is still healthy but it is different somehow.
Fact: Not only has image and sound capture been dramatised by advances in digital technology like DSLR, but cinema distribution has been affected too. Britain screens are now fully digitised. . A digital screen does not need expensive 35mm film prints.
Films can be emailed to a cinema screen’s hard drive and films can be scheduled easily with a click of a mouse. Cinema exhibition has also benefited from 3D technology.
Like it or not, screens will be demanding 3D product. In America it is estimated that there will be an astonishing 25 million homes equipped with 3D TV screens by 2018.
Television networks are struggling to find enough HD content for their HD channels, let alone their new 3D channels like Britain’s Sky 3D.
Add to the mix online platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime and you have an entirely new distribution outlet. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
Strategy: Successful filmmakers will learn how to communicate with television and cinema owners to deliver saleable content in the format which will deliver maximum revenue.
- You can’t fund them like you used to
Fact: The Euro economic malaise has translated into public sector budget cuts, dampening the political appetite for using public money to fund films.
Strategy: Filmmaking should be commercially viable without the need for public funding, and film budgets need to stand the scrutiny of investors seeking cost-effective production, as well as a reasonable rate of return.
- Producers struggle to get development funding
Fact: Development funding is hard to get. Yet without proper development, movies will continue to suffer from weak storylines.
Strategy: Until the script is fully developed, a movie should not be made.
- Film producers don’t necessarily need to be involved with social media.
Fact: Social media is here to stay and a strong social media strategy is something that is becoming an essential part of a film’s package.
“Paranormal Activity may have cost a mere $15,000 to make. What Paramount bought was not the film, but the social media strategy that the filmmaker Orin Pelli develoned around his film BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
Strategy: The film industry will embrace any filmmaker, writer, director or producer who has a strong and clearly defined social media strategy.
Q 7. Elaborate the consent of ethnographic film making.
Ans: Production of ethnographic films for the public was started in 1920s. These films were educational films and of exotic people and were sometimes shot with the help of anthropologists.
For example, the Pathe brothers in 1920 with the help of the department of Anthropology in Harvard University produced Edward Curtis’In the Land of the Head Hunters (Curtis, 1914). Some of these films were also shot as per scripts.
One such film was Chang (Cooper, 1927) shot on the lives of people in Thailand, made by Cooper and Schoedsack.
The interest of the commercial players led to the production of films that were of the ‘natives’. These films were ethnographically considered to be ethnocentric.
These films were criticized by anthropologists as being ethnocentric and following a colonialist approach.
That means the films were shot just as earlier with the belief that the White man was superior to the natives. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
The film Gods Must Be Crazy (Uys, 1980) based on the Ju/ hoansi of the Kalahari by Jamie Uys was an international hit but was criticized for being ethnocentric and racist. These kind of films were considered to be naïve depictions of culture.
They were not considered to be serious ethnography. The development of technology and synchronised sound also meant that the films could be shot using long shots and entire bodies could be shot.
They believed that this footage shot with accompanying written material made the film anthropologically sound. Such films used the observational style of filming.
In this style the filmmaker adopts an approach in which there is a belief that the presence of the camera has no impact on the subjects.
Such an approach was also called the ‘fly on the wall approach. It was a ‘scientific’ objective approach. In which the truth was portrayed as it is in sharp contrast to earlier films like those made by Flaherty.
Q 8 Elaborate the dimensions of ethnographical film making.
Ans:An ethnographic film is a non-fiction film, often similar to a documentary film, historically shot by Western filmmakers and dealing with non-Western people, and sometimes associated with anthropology.
Discipline: features related to the discipline of anthropology (e.g. films made by anthropologists) Norms: features related to the norms and practices of ethnographic research (e.g. research ethics) BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
Subject: features related to the topics and peoples discussed in the 16/18 anthropological literature (e.g. films by or about nomadic peoples)
Genre: features related to the various styles associated with the genre of
ethnographic film (e.g. “reflexivity”)
Q 9. What do you understand by oral testimony in film making.
Ans: Oral testimony can be described as the oldest type of evidence. Around 20th century, the use of Oral Testimony became easier with the invention of the telephone and recording equipment.
Interviewing people had never been easier earlier to that. Their thoughts, beliefs, views and experiences could be recorded for future generations to come.
Oral testimony is very much useful to the historian of today. If oral testimonies are used carefully and treated it like any other kind of evidence, we can find out a lot about the past.
Orale testimony can tell us what life was like in the past, what people thought about various subjects and even how people talked about a particular event.
Q 10 Explain the features of a documentary
Ans: Documentary films are nonfiction motion pictures that describe some reallife issue or subject. They can be made both for broadcast on television and for showing in movie theaters. BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
Documentaries can provide an objective description of something or a polemic argument in favor of a particular viewpoint. Examples of documentary films include wild life documentaries and historical documentaries.
Narration : Narration is the verbal description of what is happening in a documentary film and is performed by a narrator. In historical documentaries, the narrator tells the story of the historical event or period that forms the subject of the documentary
Interviews : Interviews are used to provide context, eyewitness statements and expert knowledge to the documentary.
Location Shots : Location shots are used in documentary films when discussing a particular place. In historical documentaries, location shots may show the place where particular events took place.
Music and Sound : Music can be used to add drama and emotional tone to documentary films. In historical documentaries music from the relevant period is often used.
Graphics BSOS 184 Free Solved Assignment
Graphics : Graphics consist of anything that appears on the screen that was not actually filmed. They are widely used in documentary films.
Archive Footage : Archive or stock footage is film shot for purposes other than the particular documentary film in which it is shown.