Posts tagged film
Five Great Criterion Collection Films On Sale Now

I'm a firm believer in the ability of film to transport us somewhere new, whether that be to a new world or to a country we've never been before. One of the best ways to do that is through the Criterion Collection. Not only does the Criterion Collection highlight some of the most beautiful films ever made, it also brings directors and films from world cinema to your doorstep.

If you're looking to start a collection of films that you'll definitely not find on Netflix, like Godard's Breathless, Truffaut's The 400 Blows, or Ozu's Good Morning, then Criterion is the way to go. Complete with the most authentic cut of the film and brilliantly designed packaging, it's a piece of film history that you'll love to have displayed on your bookshelf. 

Barnes & Noble is having a 50% off sale on all Criterion Collection products until August 6. I've already grabbed a few of my favorites and here's a few more to consider for your classic film collection. 

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Day For Night

Truffaut's look at the world of filmmaking makes for a funny and very French classic. Winner of the 1973 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Day For NIght chronicles the production of the fictitious film "Meet Pamela" about the drama that ensues when a young Frenchman introduces his parents to his new British wife. 


Wings of Desire

Set against the backdrop of Berlin in the mid-1980's, Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire is a compelling look at what it means to be alive. Centering around two angels looking down (yes this is the original version of City of Angels with Nic Cage and Meg Ryan) the film uses black and white and color to convey emotion and life. It also features an excellent performance by Peter Falk as himself. 


Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa's epic Seven Samurai transports you to the time of honor and duty as the way of the samurai comes into conflict with the changing modern world. The part story of courage and morality, Seven Samurai looks at what it means to follow an old tradition in an ever-changing world. Oft-cited as inspiration from modern directors, Kurosawa's classic is a great intro to Asian cinema of the 1950's. 


8 1/2

Moving to the Italy, director Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 is considered to be his magnum opus. Part autobiography, and part fantasy, Fellini delivers a surreal look at what it means to create art. If you're a fan of surrealistic films and great 60's fashion, Fellini's 8 1/2 is a great choice. 


Night and Fog

Released 10 years after the end of World War II, Alain Resnais' Night and Fog is a sobering, heart-wrenching look at life in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. Filmed not too long after liberation, Night and Fog's almost monotone narration is in stark contrast to the brutality played out on screen. I first saw Night and Fog in college and its images have stuck with me ever since. 

5 Films To See Before You Visit Rome

The Eternal City is a sight to behold. Equal parts chaos, ancient beauty, and modern intrigue. Before you land at Ciampino airport for your Roman adventure, get a feel for the land with these five films.

1. Roman Holiday

When it comes to romantic films, there may not be any better than Roman Holiday. Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn dazzle in the story of a princess who wants to be ordinary for a day. The 1953 film highlights the beauty and magic of Rome like no other. 


2. The Talented Mr. Ripley

Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Phillip Seymour Hoffman headline this psychological thriller full of assumed identity and intrigue. If you're looking for a more nuanced look at Rome as a city of excess, The Talented Mr. Ripley is right for you. 


3. Spectre

Oddly enough, until Spectre, James Bond had never been to Rome. Director Sam Mendes sets some significant scenes in the Eternal City as Bond struggles to unravel the mystery behind a secret organization that keeps rearing its head in his life. It may not be the best of the Daniel Craig Bond films, but it doesn't skimp on the exotic locales. 


4. Angels & Demons

Ron Howard's Dan Brown novel adaptations may not be for everyone, but Angels & Demons is easily the best entry in the category so far. From the Vatican to a plethora of Roman churches, Angels & Demons is a thrill ride that pulls you along as it races against time to save the lives of four Cardinals kidnapped by the Illuminati. Far superior, and much shorter, than The Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer and Stellan Skarsgard deliver an exciting thriller in Rome. 


5. La Dolce Vita

No list of Roman films can be complete without La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini's 1960 masterpiece that follows a journalist played by Marcello Mastroianni as he covers the decadent life of elite Roman society. A visual feast for the eyes, La Dolce Vita, is a must-see for any Roman traveler. You'll never see the Trevi Fountain the same. 

How To Make A Travel Video: Focus

  The How To Make A Travel Video series looks at the different aspects of capturing travel memories on film. You'll see great examples to inspire and learn about the gear and techniques that help make great travel videos better. You can find the rest of the series here.

I recently traveled to Amsterdam by myself. It was my first bit of solo travel in a while and with my camera in hand, I didn't really know what to point it at. I had a Nikon D750 with a small Joby tripod that fit inside my backpack. The houses were there, people were everywhere and yet I had no inspiration. Every time I pointed the camera at something, I would get shy and not sure if that's what I wanted to shoot. In short, I had no focus. My regular travel companion had just flown to Pittsburgh from Paris and I was definitely short of inspiration.

So where do you find focus?  Lets take a look at a few different types of travel videos and then see what sets them apart.

Berlin and People

In this video by David Drills you get an up close and personal look at Berlin. By personal, I mean most frames are filled with a person. It's less a look at the city structurally than a gaze at its inhabitants. There's a personal feeling to the video that really captures the essence of Berlin more than other types of travel video. Drills focus was on the interactions and microcosm of Berliners. You still see shots of the city's transportation, skyline and even some street art, but they are a vehicle to break up the look at different people. If your focus is on new experiences, this a perfect type of video to create them. Why not try filming some local people on your next trip and see what adventures come out of it.

I also love that he shot the whole thing through a single 35mm lens. The wider angle caused him to have to get up close and personal with his subjects. What a great way to meet new people in a foreign city. With his focus on the people, Drills creates a stunning look at the modern city of Berlin.

Memories of Italy

If Drills looked at people, Gunther Machu went the other direction and focused completely on the beauty and aesthetic of Italy. Here you see stunning landscapes, timeless architecture and lots of sumptuous lens flare. There's no competing with the grandiose scenes of Venice and Florence. The focus is clearly on conveying beauty and the few people that show up are simply taking that beauty in. For people who are sightseers, this is a super effective way of capturing the heart and soul of the subjects history. The different sites draw you into the tourist's path and invite you to come along. These are the kind of videos that people search for before they go on a trip.

Now lets take a look at a totally different, and much more involved type of travel video.

Travel Where You Live

In this video, which was sponsored, concepted and probably scripted, we see Sebastian Linda create a compelling argument for traveling where you live. This is a much higher concept piece than the last two, but is easily repeatable with a little bit of time and brainstorming. The focus here, like with Berlin 35, is on people but the difference lies with what those people are doing. Not only is a narrator talking about a particular subject, the people in the shot are interacting with their surroundings. It's a marriage of the first two video concepts built around a specific purpose.

The narrative structure puts the experience in focus, with the people and the destination acting together. Berlin 35 shows the people. Memories of Italy shows the place. Travel Where You Live shows the people experiencing the place. The difference in focus is small but the resulting footage is vastly different.

Finding Your Focus

All three of these videos work. They have many similarities in style, execution and subject but it's their focus that sets them apart. When you're filming your travel, remember that the memories are what's important. If you're a people person, Berlin 35 probably speaks to you more than Memories of Italy. If you want to remember the stunning beauty of the destination, Memories of Italy will definitely be the type of focus you look for. If you want to show others the experiences they can have, the Travel Where You Live model makes the most sense for you. The important thing is to keep your focus in mind when you start. Don't close yourself off to a narrative structure change, but just be aware of what you want to capture. It'll make the experience more enjoyable and probably result in more professional footage.

What other types of narrative focus do you like to use in travel videos?