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Camera Work for Beginners

This is a piece I threw together for my Media program. It goes over some pretty basic stuff. Thanks for listening.

Basic Camera Operation

There are various different shot types used in Television and Film to create moods and give the viewer information.

The wide shot or establishing shot tells the audience where the scene is taking place, it gives the audience a sense of belonging. It is usually used at the beginning of a scene in order to show the location of the action.

The various different types of medium shots allow a director to introduce their audience to the characters or where the action is going to specifically take place. Medium shots are excellent for showing both facial expression and body language.

The close up, headshot or shoulder shot tightly frame a person or object. This allows for a much more intimate feel. When introducing a main character, a close up shot is typically used to indicate their importance. They are also the typical shot types used for news broadcast and interview shots. Close up shots can be scene as a double edged sword. They are essential in creating intimate programs but if they are overused they can leave a viewer feeling uncertain about what they’re seeing.

Rule of Thirds

The Rule of thirds or Golden Ratios is a set of guidelines for beginnings in order to try to bring more substance to their camera work. If you Imagine a Tic Tac Toe Grid, or X’s and O’s grid in your mind. The goal is to place important elements of the shot or photo along these lines or at their intersections. It is generally accepted that this will create a more poignant and dynamic effect in the piece rather than simply placing an object in the center to create symmetry.

Lignatone – The Czech Guitar (A Brief History)

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure:

I chose to do my video blog on Lignatone guitars. I knew nothing about the brand name even though I have been playing one off-and-on for over a year. I found a lot of people in similar situations. They owned a Lignatone model, wanted to find out more about the company, but simply couldn’t find any solid information on the brand. After scouring countless forums and reading dozens of reviews I found very little on the company. However, what I did find was pretty damn interesting.

Lignatone guitars were made in Cremona Luby, Czechoslovakia anywhere between 1955 and 1989. The guitars had some presence on the “communist” market but were mainly used as export. Lignatone mainly made acoustic instruments of a fairly conservative design.  There were only 2 guitar companies in Czechoslovakia during communist rule, Drevokov in Blatna from 1955 to 1963 and then the big national CSHN in Krnov, Hradec  Karlove, Horovice and various other places from 1964 to 1989.  This means these guitars must have been made by one of these two establishments and branded as Lignatone guitars. Drevokov and CSHN made several very similar guitars under the names Resonet, Arco, Arioso, Grazioso, Neoton, Jolana, Tatra, Delicia and of course Lignatone.

I found this guitar in my friend’s basement, he owed me a couple bucks so he said, “Hey man why not just take this little guitar and well call it even.” Before I even picked it up I agreed. The guitar itself is in rough shape at best. The truss rod has been completely destroyed, so the action is so high it is unplayable without a slide. It looks like someone cranked the rod too far and cracked the wood surrounding it. This also means is inevitable going to cave in on itself from the constant tension of the strings. The machine heads are rusted and a real pain to tighten. The bridge moves around so it required tedious measurements and adjustments every time you re-string the guitar. Overall for ten bucks, the Lignatone was a steal. It doesn’t by any means have  great tone, sustain, or playability, but it’s a fun time to fiddle around on. I keep it tuned in open E or Em depending on how I’m feeling.

Bottom Line: This guitar is not the most playable and it sure is not the prettiest but its got something 98% of guitars don’t have. The guitar has history and charisma. With a little bit of love, time and money it could be fully restored to near its original condition.