Friday, November 2, 2012


Philip Noyce made "The quiet American" and later it was deferred to be released due to 9/11, but soon Miramax president Harvey Weinstein decided that the national mood was not ripe for a film pointing out that the United States is guilty of terrorist acts of its own. It was a mistake they soon found out, when the film premiered in Toronto Film festival and was got rave reviews, people loved that film.

More than showing Vietnam's degeneration towards war due to the direct mishandling of CIA operatives working inside the country to defame the Communist segment, it is a true testament how a country is shoved into violence by US and ultimately innocent citizens
always are at the receiving end. Based on Graham Greene's novel, this film takes a deeper look into the triangle love story brewing up between Brandan fraser (Alden Pyle who plays the quiet American), Micheal Caine (the British Reporter) and Do Hai Yen (Phuong, the young Caine's mistress).

Fowler tells us; his own face is a map of both. "I'm just a reporter," he says. "I offer no point of view, I take no action, I don't get involved." Indeed, he has scarcely filed a story in the past year for his paper, the Times of London; he is too absorbed in Phuong, and opium.

Pyle comes across initially like an idealist American, who wants to rescue Phoung out of the clutches of Fowler, the ageing gentlemen, who can never marry Phuong as his wife will never divorce him. But soon enough as the plot thickens, we start seeing the other shades of Pyle's character and Fowler and the viewers soon unearthed Pyle is a CIA operative and directly involved terrorist attacks on citizens. We quickly take sides and preempt the horrifying end for Pyle.

It would be unfortunate if people went to the movie, or stayed away, because of its political beliefs. There is no longer much controversy about the CIA's hand in stirring the Vietnam pot, and the movie is not an expose but another of Greene's stories about a worn-down, morally exhausted man clinging to shreds of hope in a world whose cynicism has long since rendered him obsolete. Both men "love" Phuong, but for Pyle she is less crucial. Fowler, on the other hand, admits: "I know I'm not essential to Phuong, but if I were to lose her, for me that would be the beginning of death." What Phuong herself thinks is not the point with either man, since they are both convinced her wants them?

The locations is beautiful, the music, mise-en-scene' all works together to create a strange kind of laid back attitude which is the hallmark of Fowler's character in the film. He is someone, who doesn't get involved, and watches the degeneration of the country from the sidelines. Only after he loses Phuong, he decides to take action and makes his contribution to the plot.

A good watch at the times we live in.

My Rating: 7/10

Story Plot:
It's 1952 Saigon, and British journalist Thomas Fowler (Michael Caine) is about to find his comfortable life upset by the arrival of a fresh-faced, self-effacing American medical aid worker. Alden Pyle (Brendan Fraser) at first seems to be nothing more than an idealistic young doctor, but his activities cause Thomas to wonder whether he has an alternate agenda. Meanwhile, Alden falls for Thomas' beautiful young Vietnamese mistress, Phuong (Do Thi Hai Yen). Because Alden is unattached, while Thomas is married to a woman in London who will not give him a divorce, Alden can offer Phuong one thing that Thomas cannot: a wedding ring.

Cast: Michael Caine, Brendan Fraser, Do Thi Hai Yen
Director: Phillip Noyce
Producers: Staffan Ahrenberg, William Horberg
Screenplay: Christopher Hampton and Robert Schenkkan, based on the novel by Graham Greene
Cinematography: Christopher Doyle
Music: Craig Armstrong

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Synergistic Storytelling

THE MATRIX is a series of comics from cult writers and artists, such as Bill Sienkiwicz (Elektra: Assasin, 1986-87), Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, 1989-96), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, 1986-87), Paul Chadwick (Concrete, 1987-98), Peter Bagge (Hate, 1990-92). THE MATRIX is also two game - ENTER THE MATRIX produced by David Perry's Shiny Entertainment, and a massively multiplayer gamer set in the world of THE MATRIX, scripted in part by Paul Chadwick.

The Wachowskis wanted to wind the story of THE MATRIX across all of these media and have it all add up to one compelling whole.

One Example: In the Matrix Reloaded, Niobe appears unexpectedly in the freeway chase just in time to rescue Morpheus and Trinity, but for people who play the game, getting Niobe to the rendezvous point is the key mission. We reencounter Niobe at the start of THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS where she was left off at the climax of the game ENTER THE MATRIX.

By the standards of classical Hollywood storytelling, these gaps (such as the failure to explain where Niobe came from) or excesses in the film confuse the spectator. The old Hollywood system depended on redundancy to ensure that viewers could follow the plot all all times, even if they were distracted or went out to the lobby for a popcorn refill during a crucial scene. The new Hollywood demands that we keep our eyes on the road all times, and that we do research before we arrive at the theater.

A little too much asked from a film goer who is not so handy with other media's. Targeting thus only to a niche audiences, this is where the filmmakers did a little wrong as the excitement that THE MATRIX created didn't get reflected that much with the sequels, but it can still a glorified failure. Why? Read on...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Understanding HD - Scan Lines

What are Scan Lines?

What is ‘p’ and ‘i’ we often see when frame rates are mentioned like 25p or 60i, well, the answer lies with Scan Lines.


The video you see is created by a series of horizontal lines as they are scanned across the screen starting the top. When is image creations happen at one go all the way to the bottom, it’s called Progressive
Scanning (p).

With other types of video, the scan lines first draw the even-numbered lines until they get to the bottom and then again resume from top, this time around with the odd-numbered lines, it’s called Interlaced scanning (i).

Each time they pass through either the odd or even numbered lines is called a Field. So, Interlaced scanning has two fields. The order in which the fields are drawn can change, depending on how the video is recorded. So, a 25 fps interlaced video is updated 50 times, 2 frames each. Remember? Hence the term – 50 i
25 Frames per second = 50 Interlaced Fields per second

Which one is better?

Since interlaced video uses two fields, so when shooting anything in motion, interlaced fares better. But, with all household electronics or laptop or LCD monitors in the market – Progressive is definitely the way to go. Moreover, when you are converting your video in terms of frame rates and resizing, for Progressive as the conversion software doesn’t have to worry about fields. Progressive have no fields.

Watch this video tutorial explaining about Interlaced Vs Progressive – it will become clearer.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Understanding HD - Frame Rates


The most basic definition to begin with is: all digital formats with a resolution greater than standard definition (SD) video are considered HD. The definition gets more complicated as we consider HD as a set of digital video formats rather than just one.

When digital filmmakers talk about shooting in HD, they talk about following three subsets: 720, 1080 and digital cinema. Scanning lines, Frames always is a part of the discussion when we try to explain the three subsets as mentioned above, so let’s understand them first:


The Video track is actually made up of series of still images, and when they are played in sequence, they appear to be moving. Frames of video are similar to frames of a film, just that you can’t hold them in your hand and point towards a light and see them. It’s not cellulose after all, but it works in the same principle. Instead, you need a computer to decode the electronic information that constitutes each frame and display it on a monitor.

The number of still images, or frames per second is called as FRAME RATE. The standard frame rate before the advent of sound in film used to be 14 – 18 frames per second. In the mid- to late-1920s, the frame rate for silent films increased to about 20 to 26 FPS. (Wikipedia). This change happened because it needed to synched with sound. So, soon films were running at 24 frames per second (fps). So, when you watch any of the silent films now, they appear to run faster as more frames are running per second than what was originally shot. Watch this restored version of “Alice in the Wonderland (1903)”

When it comes to HD, there are different frame rates associated with it. It needed to be compatible with American Analog  broadcast video, European analog broadcast video, so, here the subsets of three potential sources of HD frame rates:

  1. 24p and 23.976p. Frame rates based on Film. You will probably shoot in 24p, if you eventually want your footage shot in Video to be transferred to Film eventually. To know more why or why not you should go for 24 frames per second, see this tutorial by Larry Jordan:
  2. 29.97p, 30p, 59.94i, 60i, 59.94p, and 60p. Frame rates based on American television
  3. 25p and 50i. Frame rates based on European television.

What is ‘p’ and ‘i’ means, we will explore in the next section on scan lines, in my next post. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Making a New Beginning at 2012 - Its strange to find your voice back. 
This time around - the voice will soon sound like a rebellious scream

IDEAminefield brings PHOTOSHOP Starters with two new video tutorials. This is inline with two new courses I am taking up this year - one for 1st Yrs Graphic Design Course (BA Media & Communications) & 1st Yrs Visual Expression (MA Media & Communications)

Check the links below: 

PHOTOSHOP STARTERS: 1. Introduction to Photoshop Interface


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