Descriptive test 1

For this assignment you must describe a clip from Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). The clip is available in the Yuja course folder, with the title “Take Home Assignment 1 Clip”. [There are two versions of the clip in the folder, of different resolution quality. Try the higher resolution one first (HR). If you have a problem playing that, then use the lower resolution file (LR).] You must provide a detailed description of this clip, noting as many of the formal elements as you can, prioritizing those you think are most important. It is recommended that you organize your description shot by shot, rather than by formal category. For example, you can describe each shot in a singular paragraph. If you choose to write it in a continuous form be sure you clearly demarcate when a shot begins and when it ends. You should not write in note or point form, but organize the description in a linear flow, as if you were writing it to include in a term paper.

For your description you should focus your attention on camera movement, aspects of mise-en-scène (framing, angle, shot scale, setting, figure movement, lighting) and editing (type of transitions, temporal/spatial relations, continuity/discontinuity). You should also write something on sound, though you will not be expected to record every sound or line of dialogue. You will be graded according to the precision and accuracy in your description. And the use of proper film terminology (type of camera movement, direction, type of edit, style of lighting, etc.). Your test will be graded as a whole, for how well each of the formal elements are incorporated into a descriptive whole. Although you will not receive a separate grade for each formal category, you can use the following as an approximate for the relative importance of each formal category, out of 100%:

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1) Camera movement [50%]
2) Number of shots, number of edits and types of transitions [20%]
3) Mise en scene elements [25%]
4) Sound [5%]
Note that this description should not include any interpretation of meaning or evaluative statements. However, you can point out in your description any formal patterns, graphic matches, visual motifs, repetitions, etc., that you can see operating in the clip.

Although there is no specific minimum or maximum word count, a reasonably detailed description should run between 600-900 words. As an organizational function you may want to use bold or italics or colored fonts to identify certain formal elements (i.e. note camera movements in bold font, angles in italics, edits in red font, etc.).

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