1. Freewrite for 5 minutes: How is Vertov’s writing reflected in his filmmaking?

2. Look back at the academic paragraph you worked on last week: http://readingfilm.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/2010/11/17/dziga-vertov-ii/. Revise the sentences of your paragraph to use the film clip as evidence. If you use evidence, you should also have  . . . what?

3. Having read William Zinsser’s essay “Simplicity,” identify three places in the text where he might give concrete, practical advice for editing your writing. Post in the comments.

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45 Responses to “Vertov III”

  1.   Kevin Prunty Says:

    One thing I noticed from the start was that Vertov uses a lot of montage scenes he also describes this in his writing. Watching it at first I did not have any idea what he was trying to get across. I was really confused between the guy laying in front of the train and it just seemed like random shots that really didn’t make much sense together. Maybe watching it again would help make me understand? I don’t know but as the time went on I got the feeling that it was almost describing the beginning of a day in the city and comparing it with the beginning of a day for an individual. One thing I noticed that Vertov talks about in his writing was that he compares the camera and the woman’s eyes. The camera has trouble focusing on the flowers just like the woman has trouble focusing on the outside world when she wakes up in the morning. I think that this could probably be his argument in the film or at least part of it because I am sure I am missing out on a big part of the main idea. It just didn’t make much sense to me.

  2.   regiesh Says:

    Man with the Movie Camera seems to suggest that nothing is scripted and everything is how it is naturally. For the most part, Vertov stays true to his manifestos. This particular clip shows a russian village acting how they would most likely act every working day. Everything, well, for the most part is filmed as is. I keep in mind that Vertov seems to think that most film goers in society are stupid to put it bluntly. This is why I feel he thinks he can get away with editing and scripting which he obviously does include. My first issue with Vertov in this clip starts with the train. As the man lays his head down on the track as the train comes it seems unnatural and scripted. Vertov is lieing to the audience and his followers. By scripting scenes that he tells the audience are unscripted he is going against everything he supposedly believes. Also, close up scenes of a child brushing his teeth, or people doing work inside their home. Now that they are on camera and aware of the camera, will they act as naturally? Did Vertov tell them to position themselves a certain way? The audience may never know but it is obvious to be that certain aspects of this clip are unnatural.

    One argument that Vertov makes in this film clip is that people in there natural working state without acting can still tell a cinematic story if edited correctly.

  3.   John Malach Says:

    One way that Vertov’s writing is reflected in his movie making is the way that he gets things done very straight forward and without anything fancy in the way. He just goes out and shoots what he needs nothing more and nothing less. Like in his writings where he doesn’t as much bring up arguments, he us tells you directly what he thinks this movie was like that in how he doesn’t use fancy effects to skip around the points of an everyday life in Russia he just flat out shows you ordinary people working their ordinary jobs as well as waking up in the morning with the woman who is putting on clothes and cleaning herself with the small tub of water and a cloth. As with his writing he does use some technical features with the showing of the lenses up close to show how you get focus and showing the shutter of a camera on the flowers.

    One argument that Vertov makes in this film clip is how much effort is put into a film.

  4.   Zarraf Choudhury Says:

    Vertov’s writing reflected in this film inmany ways. One was how there was not really much “cinematogrophy” involved- that is, it didn’t rely heavily on the camera to get its point across. Instead, his film relied on his subjects to do whatever they felt like it. This goes to another part of Vertov’s writing- showing real things happening in real ways. He provided information instead of just flashy effects. And although there was no true plot in this specific film, it still had moments of being in a chronological order- another part of Vertov’s writing. The shots may seem random, but Vertov uses this “montage” of scenes to convey his point.

    One argument that Vertov makes through his film is how easily he can bring about and convey his message without doing much with the camera.

  5.   Jenny Lu Says:

    Vertov’s writing is reflected in his film making. One of Vertov’s main arguments in his writing was that film should come from the point of view of the camera and not the human eye. He boldly states that the human eye is weak and unable to perceive everything, however the camera can be perfected and used to capture what the eyes can’t. In his video we follow a young man with a camera as he travels from one part of the town to another. Everything in this film is from the point of view of the camera. The camera captures what is on the surface and does minimal work. The camera rarely moves, for most of the movie we watch the camera stay still and we see everything unravel on the surface of the film. We the spectators follow the camera and what it’s showing us and this is one of Vertov’s main focuses to film making.

    One argument that Vertov makes in this film is that people are unable to see what is going on around them because they are stuck in their own world that they fail to realize what lives beyond.

  6.   Brad Bujan Says:

    There is a steady subject line throughout the film. Things are consistent in the way they are viewed, everything very natural and uninhibited. Everyday norms carried out, a relentless flow from one thing to the next. Quick edits such as people carrying out activities then to the train which is consistent throughout. Camera lens picks up each emotion and only has one close up. Vertov’s idea of picking up each emotion, significant views are expressed in this short reel.
    One argument Vertov makes in this film clip is everyday norms can be shown as film.

  7.   Mathias Kranacher Says:

    Vertov’z film Man with a Movie Camera shows us how simplistic shots can better the overall quality of the film. His film was acted out as if it was everyday life. Vertov used very still shots when directing. His camera flow was smooth and, most of the time, did not move at all. It was as if he placed the camera down and let the movie happen around it which is a simplistic as it can get. The audience gets a feel as if none of this is staged and the film is just rolling on.
    One argument Vertov makes in this film clip is that less visual distractions improve the quality of the film.

  8.   Stephanie Shiwram Says:

    In the beginning of the film, the clips are running smoothly with the only edits being a cut from scene to scene and the background music. The only problem was that I didn’t know the plot of the entire film. However, through his filmmaking, Vertov, proved less is always more. In the middle of the clip the camera starts shaking along with the train passing by. Vertov was trying to get his point across that ‘man’ is more clumsy than a machine. In order for the audience to get the full grasp of a film, it is important for the film to not go over the top with graphics. “The day of visual impression has past.” Films like Cloverfield stressed over the CGI and created some sort of subplots to the movie and branched off from the original story. Visuals can distract the audience and make them lose interest. Less is always more.

  9.   IJ Says:

    In Vertov’s writing he mentions how the movement of machines are more interesting than those of humans. This is definitely evident in the clip. He also says that the advantage of the camera is that we can see things from different viewpoints and in the clip we see everyday occurrences from many different angles. I’m not sure about an argument he’s trying to make but it seems like he wants to show the relationship between man and machine in everyday life.

  10.   Carlene Faith Says:

    I think that Vertov’s film although visually stimulating in my opinion was not what I expected out of a Vertovian film. I do think that he used a good deal of editing with the cutting from scene to scene, but as Vertov mentioned its good if it’s helping to get the point across. I think the editing was affective in creating connections between one scene and another. He stayed true to his writing in that aspect and also in the aspect that it was visually stimulating and focused very heavily on the idea of a camera’s eye and the human eye. I think that Vertov’s readings focused on that heavily as well and the shots of the camera lens and the eye in the lens really showed that this was a main focus not only intellectually through the reading but also through the film making it a major focus. Although the thing that stuck out to me as shocking and not what I expected to be a Vertov film, was that the point and the theme, to me, didn’t jump out at me and I was kind of confused what he was trying to get across exactly with the girl getting dressed and the women cleaning her windows and the factories it was arguable but I didn’t think that the main idea stuck out at all.

    One argument that Vertov makes in this film clip is… that people doing their day to day activities can be interesting. I may be wrong I was confused.

  11.   Beatrice Pana Says:

    Vertov’s writing is reflected in his filmmaking through the shooting of everyday life. Every shot you see is of people performing their daily activities. Vertov says that filmmaking shouldn’t be (for the lack of a better word) “fluffed.” He carries this out through his filmmaking by, as mentioned above, filming only the daily “raw” activities of people, unedited or altered. This can easily be scene in the shot where the woman is just waking up from a long night’s sleep. This is the definition of people in their natural environment. Vertov also mentions in his manifesto the power of the camera over the human eye. This can be seen in the scene I mentioned above as well, how many of us actually take time to look at the small things in life, such as waking up in the morning?

    One argument Vertov makes in his filmmaking is that filmmaking should be unedited or altered.

  12.   Sinyee Cindy Leung Says:

    Verto’s film is like showing how people live their society, so it could be anything in their world that they have become numb. All the working machines, all the people working around and all the transportation gives me a sense of “live”. In his essay, Verto said there would not be any dramatic plot and character in the film and I think he showed those two in his film since, for me, everyone in every scene is not the main thing we should focus on. He also said about montage and I think the scene with the lady’s eyes, gateway, camera and window is using montage. The whole film is short and I think it has something to do with a small scenario which Verto said about. He said it would more perfect if the scenario is small enough and I think he did that in his film that the main point of the film is to show the environment and …

  13.   maya1 Says:

    he didn’t use much flash at all. in his writing he said that a film doesnt need to be flashy and that exactly what he showed here. it was all common people doing things as if we were just following them around. he also repeated the same clips often and used cuts in ways where they didn’t feel weird or drastic to the viewer. like the clips with the car driving around, he cut them together smoothly in a way where whenever the car left the frame, the camera would pick right back up in the next frame as if it were following the car. it felt easy to watch in that sense and it felt like very smooth.
    one argument vertov makes in this film is that watch common people doing unflashy things is just as worthy of being a film.

  14.   Stephanie Shiwram Says:

    one argument that Vertov makes in the film is that less is always more. There is no need to make so many edits to a film.

  15.   justin garcia Says:

    justin Garcia
    One arguemnt that Vertov makes is focus on the “micro scenario”, this film seemed to be a recording of everyday things that didn’t seem too extraordinary or important to catch on film. The natureThis makes me think that he wanted to show the importance of everyday things that are overlooked usually.

  16.   Adrian Lesaru Says:

    I just got in so I was not able to view the entire clip or clearly understand what it was about but towards the end I caught some text that said I believe “The voyage of soviet goods” or something similar which helped make sense of what I was watching. To be honest I dont really see his writing reflected that much in his movies. When Vertov writes he seems to express himself very dramatically, in this clip it didnt seem very dramatic or over the top. I mean maybe you can look at it in the perspective that it was a very long and detailed journey. You saw the goods at the factory, traveling threw tunnels, and its eventual entrance to the city. The trip itself seems to be a little dramatic as normal trade goods dont usually take such a route. One Argument that Vertov makes in his film could be that more simplistic shots are more interesting.

  17.   regiesh Says:

    Cinematography is acceptable if it refines and shows truth in cinema. A good example would be Dziga Vertov’s “Man with a Movie Camera”. In this film, Vertov uses cinematography only in montage, overhead view and panning. Otherwise, “Man with a Movie Camera” has no editing within each scene. The viewer is still able to put a story or idea together through the montage even without heavy editing. Because of this lack of heavy editing, the film is staying more true. Everything is seemingly filmed as it would exist naturally. Vertov’s use of cinematography is acceptable because it isn’t taking away from each scene but helping to move it along while still showing each person filmed in their truest form.

  18.   Carlene Faith Says:

    It is important to give the audience something visually stimulating and interesting to look at while at the same time it should not lose the audience in a cloud of special effects. In Dziga Vertov’s film, the quick flashy shots gave the audience something interesting to look at but the overly shaky feel of the film completely gets in the way of what Vertov is trying to prove or get across. While trying to prove his point, Vertov loses the audience in scenes where the camera is out of focus or moving too quickly to the point where the human eye cannot focus on what is trying to be conveyed. If Vertov had took a more simpler approach to the film, the viewer might have gotten a clearer point from it. If the viewer is lost, then the special effects got out of hand.

  19.   Kevin Prunty Says:

    Cinematography is acceptable if it refines and shows truth in cinema. I cannot support this statement using the short clip we watched today. In this clip I felt that the cutting was too much and it did not make it possible to show the truth behind it. Using evidence from this clip I would have to say that using cinematography that was used in this film would not be acceptable because it did not refine and show the truth behind the film. I felt that it made it harder for you to understand his point, at least from my point of view.

  20.   Brad Bujan Says:

    Vertov claims that frames put together must be organized thematically as a whole in order to show relevant truth. Throughout the film clip Vertov shows a continuous stream of short clip edits, each preceded by a train shot to show the film moving forward. By showing a continuous stream of shots, Vertov is able to place his idea in order and to show a consistent subject line, that if in fact done right everyday life can be seen as interesting. Such as the shot of the man walking with the camera into the crowd, the man is headed to shoot something when something he can shoot is all around him. A follow up shot of people going on about their business is suggesting that instead of searching for something to shoot, what could be done instead is to take a moment and capture all the natural emotions and effects of the world.

  21.   Mathias Kranacher Says:

    In order for the audience to get the full grasp of a film, it is important for the film to not go over the top with graphics. “The day of visual impression has past.” Vertov’s film Man with the Movie Camera shows us how simplistic shots can better the overall quality of the film. His film was acted out as if it was everyday life. Vertov used very still shots when directing. His camera flow was smooth and, most of the time, did not move at all. It was as if he placed the camera down and let the movie happen around it which is a simplistic as it can get. Today’s films like Cloverfield stress over the fast edits and quick camera shot which Vertov disagrees with. Visuals can distract the audience and make them lose interest. Less is always more.

    One argument Vertov makes in this film clip is that less visual distractions improve the quality of the film.

  22.   Beatrice Pana Says:

    Dziga Vertov encourages a revolution of film production towards improving the use of the camera to help capture things that can’t be seen with the naked eye. On page 83, Vertov states that, “We cannot make our eyes better than they have been made, but the movie camera we can perfect forever” (83). Vertov argues that the camera conquers the human eye. If the camera conquers the human eye, then we can easily infer that the human eye might miss a key factor that the camera can capture. One perfect example of this is the clip we just watched. Our human eye may skip over the part where the woman rises from her bed only because we are so used to seeing that as a part of everyday life, it has become insignificant to us. But, the camera on the other hand, is able to capture this moment and not see its simplicity, but rather its importance to the work as a whole.

  23.   justin garcia Says:

    Dziga Vertov believes that the camera should not be used as an extension of the human eye. He instead feels that the camera can be used to provide a different and possibly truer perspective on a scene if used correctly. After seeing his idea in action I disagree with him. The film turned out to be very confusing and I think this is because of the unnatural way the film was shot as opposed to more simple shots that allow us to process and interpret the information on screen. It is possible that vertov could adjust his technique and instead of using those shots in addition to many cuts, show longer clips instead.

  24.   John Malach Says:

    Cinematography is acceptable if it refines and shows truth in cinema. As shown in “Man with a Movie Camera” the cuts that Vertov made were all there to refine the truths that were coming from it as in the cuts from vehicles driving down the street to a woman sleeping, it all is happening in real time it just changes viewpoints. Vertov cuts the film to show off the everyday lives of people in Russia, not cuts and effects that have no point to the film and are there just for show. This means that Vertov makes cinematography truth to the film not a fake aspect. Cinematography is important to show off a films truth and any other use is unacceptable.

  25.   Sinyee Cindy Leung Says:

    In films if you want to achieve coherence and continuity before the editing process, during filming, it is vital to rely on the small or micro scenario because the smaller the scenario, the more accurate it is. In Verto’s film, everyone in every scene is not the main thing we should focus on and I think the reason he made this film is to show the environment that they live in and so it would be anything small and specific in their world, like the human arm and leg or we should call it as human movement and all the machine, transportation, etc. I think the way to achieve small scenario is to make all the human being less important in the film since fewer plot means less emotion and actions and so it would be accurate.

  26.   Jenny Lu Says:

    Dziga Vertov encourages a revolution of film production towards improving the use of the camera to help capture things that can’t be seen with the naked eye. On page 83, Vertov states that, “We cannot make our eyes better than they have been made, but the movie camera we can perfect forever.” The machine he repeatedly uses is the camera. The camera, Vertov says, has an eye of its own referred to as the “mechanical eye.” The average human eye is unable to perceive everything because of its limitations, however the camera can be used to capture what the naked eyed can’t. The camera Vertov believes should be separate from the control of humans. The action that the camera captures should be something that unfolds without much interference from sources outside the realms of the film such as sound and editing.
    In the Vertov’s film Cinematic Orchestra Man with the Movie Camera he uses this idea of what appears on the surface of film to unravel in front of the viewers. He doesn’t empower us with that are shown on the film, yet though the montage of images on film he tries to convey a deeper meaning. In this film, although Vertov uses music throughout his work the music doesn’t tamper with his message that he wants to get across to spectators. There are multiple scenes in this film such as when the camera is raised above the town and we simply see the towns’ people walk and vehicles pass us. There is minimal movement and editing to enhance the film, yet we the spectators are intrigued as our eyes follow the camera.

  27.   maya1 Says:

    In Vertov’s Cinematic Orchestra Man, we see common people living their lives without any unrealistic dramatization of them. In one specific scene in the film, there is an overhead shot of what looks like a downtown area where people are walking and doing their daily things and cars are driving around. The small scenario of just walking around really gave a real life sense of what these people do everyday and it felt more accurate than if Vertov had included someone flying in the sky around downtown because there is no way that would be an accurate depiction.

  28.   IJ Says:

    Vertov’s claims that frames put together must be organized thematically as a whole in order to show relevant truth. Vertov puts together shots of everyday life in the film “Man With the Moving Camera”.
    By doing this he establishes his theme of everyday life of men in their natural working environment .

  29.   Zarraf Choudhury Says:

    Dziga Vertov has a problem with treating the camera as an extension of what we see. This is because the human eye is imperfect and can’t pick up everything. By providing the viewer with evidence outside of natural perception, it makes it easier to pick up the focus of the scene. An example of this is in one of Vertov’s films. In it, Vertov uses quick cuts and edits. However, his scenes reveal large settings that can be easily interprested as not really an extension of what we see through the camera, but what we can visualize even withthe limited scope of the camera.The camera in the entire film was either stationary on certain subjects, or moving within certain settings, which not only helped the viewers see what he wants us to see, but be able to create the scen outside the lens.

  30.   Stephanie Shiwram Says:

    Cinematography is acceptable if it refines and shows truth in cinema. Vertov’s filmmaking is good example of what cinematography should be about. Films that have edits, but doesn’t ruin the quality of the film. Vertov used many still shots and allowed the movement of everyday life.I personally found the film confusing at first because i didn’t know understand the plot, but i could see Vertov’s writing in the film.In the beginning of the film, the clips are running smoothly with the only edits being a cut from scene to scene and the background music. In order for the audience to get the full grasp of a film, it is important for the film to not go over the top with graphics.

  31.   regiesh Says:

    “The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.”

    “What am I trying to say? Have I said it?”

    “Clear thinking becomes clear writing”

  32.   Brad Bujan Says:

    Don’t include too much fluff, get to the point and don’t take a whole essay to discuss things which have nothing to do with the art work.
    Capture the reader with each sentence/paragraph.
    make sure each sentence flows into the other, each paragraph flows into the other.

  33.   Kevin Prunty Says:

    1. Avoid clutter. Do not use unnecessary words, pompous frills, and meaningless jargon
    2. Strip every sentence to its barest components. Do not make sentences long and unexciting to read
    3. Writers should ask themselves What am I trying to say?

  34.   IJ Says:

    1. “. . . the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components”.
    2. “Simplify, simplify”.
    3. “Clear thinking becomes clear writing”.

  35.   Jenny Lu Says:

    Three rules to writing a good essay according to William Zinsser are:
    1. To get rid of clutter
    2. He says the secret to “good writing” is to make each sentence as clear and straight to the point as possible. The use to unnecessary or complex words can sometimes hinder the overall work.
    3. The writer has to constantly keep in mind what they want to convey. They shouldn’t strain away from the topic.

  36.   justin garcia Says:

    dont use overly smart language
    write in a way that clearly and definitively gets your point across

  37.   Carlene Faith Says:

    1. Get rid of all unnecessary words that have no purpose in your writing. “Strip every sentence to its cleanest components”
    2. Make sure that what you are saying gets to the point and doesn’t lose the reader in the clutter. Be careful what you say and how you word it so it is concise. “If the reader is lost, it’s usually because the writer hasn’t been careful enough”
    3. “Writers must therefore constantly ask: What am I trying to say?” Make sure you constantly stay on point and know what you are trying to say.

  38.   Sinyee Cindy Leung Says:

    I think the concrete advice would be what he says about “clear thinking becomes clear writing”. He thinks that it is important to make every word and every sentence the most simplest. He suggests that we should revise the sentences we wrote several times because he thinks that good writing doesn’t come at the first time.

  39.   Beatrice Pana Says:

    1. “The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.” – Every sentence should be concise and to the point.
    2. “Clear thinking becomes clear writing.” – If your mind is cluttered with a bunch of ideas, your writing will be too. You have to brainstorm and organize how you will get your ideas across before you start writing.
    3. The main question you should ask yourself while writing is “What am I trying to say?” Make sure that every sentence you write reflects what you are trying to say.

  40.   Zarraf Choudhury Says:

    1- “But the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.”

    2- “Clear thinking becomes clear; one can’t exist without the other. It’s impossible for a muddy thinker to write good English.”

    3-

  41.   Mathias Kranacher Says:

    1.“. . . Clear the heads of clutter. Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without the other.”
    2.“The reader is someone with the attention span of about 60 seconds.”
    3.”Strip every sentence to the bare . . .”

  42.   maya1 Says:

    The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest component
    Provide links between sentences so the connection is clear
    Keep sentences uncluttered

  43.   Adrian Lesaru Says:

    Zinsser gives concrete examples when he compares the writing of a President of a University and Franklyn D Roosevelt. Also when he talkes about the reader and there competence

  44.   Stephanie Shiwram Says:

    3 rules
    1) Dont add useless details (clutter)
    2) What am i trying to say
    3) Get to the point

  45.   Reading Film » Assessing Kino-Pravdas Says:

    […] In the comments section of this post is the initial freewrite after watching Vertov’s […]

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