A first exercise towards the independent study

As we all know, the independent study for IB film is a monstrously complex beast of a summative assessment task. For those of you who have read some of my earlier posts, in particular my reviews of the 2013 examiners' report, the section devoted to the independent study made very strong recommendations that IB film teachers try to scaffold the learning of their students so that they don't have to tackle understanding the ins and outs of this task while ...

Steven Soderbergh and Geurrilla Film making

Steven Soderbergh is always an interesting commentator on contemporary trends in film making and has been instrumental in the growing legitimacy of digital video  through his early adoption of it and his advocacy of  the development of RED camera system. In his last few films before his self imposed retirement from film making Soderbergh seems to have explored some of the impact of DV for his films. The particular example which brings this to mind is a chase sequence at the ...

The studio system and film texts

By Saturday, January 25, 2014 , , , , 0

In the student blog This month I posted an entry which offers an introduction to the Hollywood studio system through the lens of the star system (most students seem to find this route palatable). I realised in writing this, and the significant degree of editing it required (which still ended up at 1200 words) that this topic is enormous and if taught with passion and organisation can be hugely engaging and relevant for most students. Allowing them to discover classics of ...

Stars in the Hollywood studio system

The following blog entry is an attempt to offer a perspective from which students might evaluate films made within the Hollywood studio system rather than just view the study of this as an historical topic. I should make a minor disclaimer here, in that the variables within the system were legion but understanding certain institutional determinants are crucial in any reading of a film from this period in the US, and one of these was the star system, both as ...

Genre evolution/history in the Holywood studio system

Genre offers a enormous range of approaches in critical studies, so much so that once one begins to study this area, one can begin to question whether genre itself is indeed relevant any longer. One thing is clear, audiences believe a films generic location is one of the key determining factors in whether they'll pay the admission price at the cinema or stream the movie to their equipment. Genre as a concept is certainly of historical importance, as film production in ...

Examination Report 2013 part 2 The oral presentation

By Sunday, November 24, 2013 , , , , 0

A colleague of mine when our team were to introduce our grade eleven students' first practice presentation produced a document he called 'How not to suck at the oral presentation', I guess his point in doing this is that it's all too easy for IB film students to suck at this. The point of his guide and this year's examination report for this component is that with some reasonable preparation they needn't. The main issues raised seem to be; The presentation ...

2013 Examiner’s report – production portfolio

This years examiner's report offers the usual recurring complaints of the failure of candidates to meet the formal requirements for each assessment component, which are frankly unforgivable mostly of the teachers in supervising these candidates, as the requirements are clearly stated in the IB film guide. However this report is a mostly positive and well-written document and offers useful guidance for success of IB Film candidates in the future and recommendations for the teaching of this subject to IB. I'd recommend ...

Its a TWO year course!

Hi all, At both Higher and Standard level, Diploma Programme courses are designed to run for two years. In fact (more or less) the first thing that the visual arts guide states is "The Diploma Programme is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed for students in the 16 to 19 age range. It is a broad-based two-year course that aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable and inquiring, but also caring and compassionate. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to ...

Google and Bunsen

Chances are you will have used google today .... and chances are you will have seen the traditional google logo replaced with a bunsen burner, kettle, test tubes and so on. Somehow (and I am still trying to figure out how to do this!) you can get the 'google bunsen logo' to turn into an animation, as the following youtube clip shows. yPJ3JUUwhA8 For more information on Robert Bunsen, click here to read the related wikipedia article on him.

Mars mix up and data quality

Do you trust the temperature reading on your thermometer? How important is it to us that equipment records the 'correct data'? You may remember a few years ago (six and a half) that NASA landed a couple of robots on Mars - Opportunity and Spirit. Image kindly reproduced according to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NASA_Mars_Rover.jpg The rovers were scheduled to last for a 90 day misson - well, amazingly, they are still working - although Spirit is stuck in sand and hopes are fading for ...