28 March 2014

The Dark Knight

Here is my last paper... it's an analysis essay on the use of computer graphics imagery (CGI) in The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight
            From talkies to Technicolor, change has been part of the film industry.  However, it is now dealing with something like never before: computer animation.  For years companies such as Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal have tried to outdo each other in making the best use of computer animation in their movies.  Although computer graphics can be useful, Hollywood has been known to overuse them.  Many times famous moviemakers think computer graphics are the leading way to capture the viewers.  They also seem to believe that their audience cannot tell the difference between computer graphics animation and raw filming.  Nevertheless, when computer graphic animation is overused, the end result is an unsatisfied audience.  Although computer graphics have created spectacular movies, they are also able to put a sense of unreality into the film.  In Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight computer graphic animation as well as green screen software could have been an ideal option.  However, Nolan chose to use real footage whenever possible. 
            Nolan’s preferences in the film industry have made him one of the greatest producers of all time.  When Jeffrey Ressner interviewed him Nolan stated:
I believe in an absolute difference between animation and photography… If you put a lot of time and effort into matching your original film elements [to the CGI, you] can really trick the eye.  The problem for me is if you don’t [base the shot with camera footage] the visual effect is going to stick out if the film you’re making… I prefer films that feel more like real life, so any CGI has to be very carefully handled to fit into that.
Nolan’s films are set apart from most action adventure movies because of his realistic view.  It is surprising that in The Dark Knight Nolan still only used CGI as a last option.  In fact, in one scene (when The Joker is chasing Dent and Batman comes and crashes into a garbage truck) he used large-scale miniatures of the garbage truck and the bat mobile, instead of using CGI.  That is proof of his whole-hearted dedication to style.       
            Since green-screen software and CGI are barely used in The Dark Knight, there is a clearer, more realistic picture that is present.  However, there were a couple occasions where Nolan was forced to use CGI in his film.  Renee Dunlop gives an example of this in her article titled The Dark Knight, “the Jokers’ henchmen ensnare the police helicopter as it pursues the Joker’s semi-truck… ‘though Chicago was very happy to let us do all sorts of crazy things in the street, they weren’t that keen on us crashing a helicopter into a building.’”  Instead, Nolan morphed footage of the helicopter with the CGI helicopter crashing into a building, which was part of a green screen background.  Nolan was able to make an amazing scene by merging his standard techniques with that of CGI.               
            During the making of The Dark Knight, Nolan decided that in order to have a convincing Two-Face, he needed to use CGI.  This was a smart decision considering that his other options (either makeup or a mask) could have made the movie flop.  By using CGI, Nolan was able to create a realistic version of DC comic’s surreal character, Two-Face.  
            The Dark Knight had a noticeably large effect on its audience.  Nolan decidedly used everything in his power to make the film as realistic as he could.  By using very little CGI and green screen, he created an effect that is almost bewildering.  An image of a childhood comic brought to life.  This life helps to define the battle that takes place between good versus evil as well as the characters inner struggles.  By incorporating different lighting as well as background, Nolan was able to enhance the sacrifice Batman made to shift Gotham’s hatred from its White Knight to The Dark Knight. 

Works Cited
Brown, Scott. "Dark Knight Director Shuns Digital Effects For the Real Thing." Wired.com.
           Conde Nast Digital, 23 June 2008. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
Dunlop, Renee. "The Dark Knight." The CGSociety. The CGSociety, n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.
Miller, Gerri. "Inside 'The Dark Knight'" HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, Inc., 16 July 2008.
           Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
Ressner, Jeffrey. "The Traditionalist - DGA Interview with Christopher Nolan." The

Traditionalist - DGA Interview with Christopher Nolan. The Director's Guild of America, Spring 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.

22 March 2014

Paper: Choice vs. Life

Here we go!  Another school paper :)  This time though, its a persuasive essay.  Enjoy!

Choice vs. Life
For almost 200 years, America has been struggling under the weight of a difficult choice.  They wondered whether they should create laws to protects mothers, laws that could end up killing thousands of unborn children.  It was not until 1973, that their choice was made. The court ruled that there could be no restrictions on abortions during the first trimester.  They allowed states to pass certain regulations regarding abortion during the second trimester, but only to insure a women’s safety.  During the third trimester the court decided that the state could impose certain restrictions if it found it in its interest to protect the child; however the woman could still have access to an abortion for health reasons (About Abortion).  America is callously murdering thousands of children daily, not thinking twice about their actions.
            The debate surrounding abortion has gone far and wide.  Despite the enormous range of this topic, and the many varying views, abortion has two main standpoints.  The first, Pro-Life, pleads on behalf of the lives of unborn children; the second, Pro-Choice, focuses on the freedom of the mother’s choice.  The Pro-Life movement is headed by many organizations including Pro-Life Across America, National Right to Life, and the Pro-Life Action League.  These and other non-profit organizations fight to save the thousands of children being killed daily. 
This is where the first Pro-Choice argument comes in.  They believe that even the embryo cannot be classified as human.  However, there has been scientific evidence found which proves that the human embryo is indeed an actual live organism.  Rob Schwarzwalder, from the Family Research Council states, “‘Zygote’ is the name of the first cell formed at conception, the earliest developmental stage of the human embryo...[and] is composed of human DNA and other human molecules, so its nature is undeniably human and not some other species.”  Thus, the research of the Zygote has most definitely helps the Pro-Life side, and also proves that abortion is indeed murder. 
Most people on the Pro-Choice side believe that those who are Pro-Life just want to stifle women’s rights, as well as freedom of choice.  However, those who are Pro-Choice are more concerned with the health of the mother, as well as the moral side of the topic.  My standpoint on this comes from Psalm 127:3-5a which says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (ESV).  Even if a child is illegitimate, God loves him, and he has a plan for each and every one.  Also, he blesses children, and in Jeremiah 1:5 he states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (ESV).  He knows of each and every child being formed.  He cares for them, and wants them and their parents to know this. 
My second point comes from the physical aspect of abortion which contains psychological as well as emotional complications.  Texas Right to Life says it best:   
Immediately after an abortion, many women report a feeling of relief, but guilt and depression frequently follow.  A national poll found that at least 56% of women experience a sense of guilt over their decision…numerous studies reveal that women who have had an abortion have a high incidence of depression, stress, low self-esteem, [and] suicidal feelings.
Although most Pro-Choice advocates do not like to agree with these statistics, they still exist. Even though the poles do not show the experiences of every woman who has endured an abortion and its aftereffects, the number on the surveys still represents a large portion, and should be taken into consideration by those who are considering ending their child’s life.
Abortion has been considered as the fight between choice of the mother and choice of the people, but there is one more issue which is generally obscured by those who are Pro-Choice.  This matter of euthanasia described by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “The act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.”  Yes, some people think that this is a great alternative to a hard life, and furthermore, that letting a child live instead of aborting it is being cruel by bringing them into the world.  However, Christians know that they are not their own, and no matter what the suffering, God is there.  In Romans 5:3-5 the Apostle Paul stated,
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (ESV). 
We are not to take someone else’s life and excuse our actions by saying we saved them from a cruel world.  Only God can judge who is to die when and where.
Through all this, we see that although many support freedom of choice and women’s rights, they also promote abortions for personal reasons.  Many women abort their children after an unplanned pregnancy and say that it is the best choice for them and their child.  However, when they say this, are they really thinking about the child?  Do they consider that they are depriving their little boy or girl of all they have ever enjoyed?  Sadly many do not think about their child, and instead, despite the consequences, take “the easy way out.”  Abortion, no matter how the media glazes over the true facts, is a real and ugly fact.  America as a nation should take action against the depressing statistics, and change our nation into one of family and hope for the future. 

Works Cited
         "About Abortion." Q & A about Abortion. Pro-Life Action, 2011. Web. 09 Mar. 2014.
         "Euthanasia." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.
        The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Illinois: Crossway, 2007. Print.
         "Post-Abortion Syndrome ." Texas Right to Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
         Schwarzwalder, Rob. "The Best Pro-Life Arguments for Secular Audiences." Family Research Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2014.      
                     Here are a couple sites that I didn't use in my paper:
            Have a great day!

08 March 2014

Easter Coming 'Round

Easter (being around a month and a half away) got me thinking again of decorating blown eggs.
Although I have done this many different ways (including painting them, drawing on them, tissue papering them, smothering them in glitter and mod podge, and also covering them with little bits of paper) I remembered one type of egg decoration that I have not done; Pysanky.  It's an old Slavic type traditional egg decoration process, and is quite amazing.  at the beginning you are to draw with the wax over the areas you wish to remain white.  Next you dip the egg in the lightest of the dyes (usually yellow).  Once that is dried, you draw on the egg any part you want to remain yellow.  You continue this process with varying dyes, although generally you should only use up to five seperate colors.  There are various YouTube videos on Pysanky, and if you can, check them out for a tutorial.