About Rene Estes

I am Rene Estes, The Video Mentor. A filmmaker by trade. I have always had the desire to teach at the university. That desire is the inspiration behind The Video Mentor.

Why Film Theory Counts

Why Film Theory Counts? Have you read a critical review of your favorite movie and wondered why the critic didn't like you're your favorite movie? When you read a critical review of your favorite movie what is the critic looking at? They are examining how it was constructed, the development of the narrative arc, how the technical aspects such as lighting, camera movements, the match-on action, and what theories were utilized to tell other essential messages. Why should you know some of the crucial film theories, and who is the theorist? In this article, we are discussing the importance of knowing four theorist and their theories. We will explore Dziga Vertov's The Keno Eye, Lev Kuleshov's Kuleshov Effect, and The Montage by three theorists: Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevold Pudovkin, and André Bazin, and finally

Why Film Theory Counts2022-06-28T00:29:11+00:00

The Power of The Dog — A Film Criticism

The Power of the Dog, a Jane Campion film, 2021, is an adaptation of the novel by Thomas Savage. The film follows a mother and her son as they get involved with a wealthy pair of ranchers, set in Montana, 1925. Power of the Dog comes from Psalm 22 Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility Psalm 20:1 My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? 20:2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. 20:22 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. A film that explores masculine vulnerability, toxic masculinity, and the denial of self. Campions masterfully explore the subconscious and conscious through the lens of masculine vulnerabilities,

The Power of The Dog — A Film Criticism2022-02-28T18:36:13+00:00

Picture a Scientist

Picture A Scientist,  2021, Filmmakers Sharon Shattuck, Ian Cheney, chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, Chemist Raychelle Burks, and Geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experience in the sciences, ranging from brutal harassment to years of sublet slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we encounter scientific luminaries – including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists – who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.   Picture a Scientist explores sexual discrimination better than any other conversation about it. It is the sublet slights that are systemic in society. This film focuses on the scientific community. A world I know from working on my geology undergraduate degree and interning at the

Picture a Scientist2022-05-23T20:09:13+00:00

The Piano, A Film Criticism

A Jane Campion Film, 1993.  Campion as an auteur filmmaker holds to the female gaze, as in her 1993 film The Piano. A period piece, set in 1851, a mute Scottish woman, Ada McGrath (Holly Hunter), arrives in colonial New Zealand for an arranged marriage, with her precious young daughter Flora McGrath (Anna Paquin) and beloved piano in tow. Her new husband, Alisdair Stewart (Sam Neill), refuses to transport the piano to their home. George Baines (Harvey Keitel), his neighbor, offers a deal to take the piano off his hands. Baines agrees to move the piano in exchange for piano lessons. What does Ada have that the others want? At first, it seems like sensual desire, but it is more than that. It is a desire for intimacy that the men can only understand in sexual terms. Campion's choice

The Piano, A Film Criticism2022-01-27T17:21:04+00:00

The Heiress, 1949: A Film Criticism

  A William Wyler film, released in 1949. The central themes are women, money, power, and cultural progress. Faithful to the male fantasy of post-World War II, the role of men rescuer and the women are passive, naïve, and in need of rescue. Catherine Sloper is the protagonist, her father Mr. Sloper, Catherine’s suitor Morris Townsend, and Lavina Penniman, Dr. Sloper’s sister a childless widow at 33. The film opens with Catherine as an awkward young woman, of marrying age. In a confrontation with her father who questions her suitor, Morris Townsend’s, intentions. Dr. Sloper suspicious that Morris Townsend is only interested in Catherine because of her inheritance and not her love. Speaks to the oldest conflict among fathers and daughters, how to father will let go of his daughter and allow her to become a fully functioning adult. As

The Heiress, 1949: A Film Criticism2022-01-23T16:15:00+00:00

The Magnificent Ambersons: A Film Criticism

The Magnificent Ambersons, an Orson Wells film released in 1942, is relevant today, as it highlights living in excess and the impact technological advancement has on society. How technology impacted our environment, and a global pandemic halt of all activities gives the earth a chance to repair itself. Today in 2022, amid a pandemic that we have slowed down, we live with the lack of human touch and personal connections. Timestamp 40:00 at dinner is Major Amberson, Eugene Morgan, Isabel Amberson Minafer, Fanny Minafer, and George Amberson. The conversations moved to the new competition of automobile manufacturers in the countryside opening up and the streets widening. The automobile will become the primary mode of transportation and the impact that it will have on society. In a shot counter shot sequence, Major Amberson and Eugene Morgan contemplate the technological advancements

The Magnificent Ambersons: A Film Criticism2022-01-27T17:24:43+00:00

Persona: A Film Criticism

Ingmar Bergman, 1966 film, Persona is about self and emotional contagions.  The ease at which we can absorb others' experiences and identity.  Bergman films are minimalistic in form.  Bergman uses photographic language to advance the narrative.  Of course, Elisabet’s nurse has to be a nun. Bergman dresses the women similarly once they arrive at the beach.  In the cleaning of the mushrooms, both women are wearing plain tops, Elisabet a white turtleneck and Sister Alma a slightly darker button-down blouse.  They both are in straw hats, Elisabet’s lighter in color. They are humming quietly together. Elisabet takes Sister Alma’s hand to inspect it closely when Sister Alma warns of the harm of comparing hands. This is the first indication that Bergman is suggesting they are becoming one. Even though Sister Alma is the voice for both women, their experiences

Persona: A Film Criticism2022-01-27T17:26:23+00:00

Jane Campion Filmmaker, The Auteur and Female Gaze: A Film Criticism

Jane Campion, a New Zealand filmmaker, is exquisite. The experience of her films has a strong female gaze, as theorized by Jill Soloway at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. The female gaze is a subjective camera that intention is to capture the feeling of being seen. It attempts to get inside the protagonist's interiority, mainly when the protagonist is not a cismale, meaning a male person who identifies with his male biological body. Utilized the frame to share and evoke feelings of being in feeling rather than looking at the character. It attempts to bring the audience in synergy with the character's interiority and the director. Soloway will whisper in the ear of her cinematographer during a between takes. It helps her cinematographer embody his emotions, and his feelings take priority over the actions. The idea is to

Jane Campion Filmmaker, The Auteur and Female Gaze: A Film Criticism2022-01-27T17:23:32+00:00

When Editing a Film, It’s all About Emotion, Story and Rhythm

In the entrepreneurial world, amateur video making lacks post-production. Most entrepreneurs shoot and post. Even Facebook lives allow limited editing for videos over 5 minutes. Unfortunately, that is so limited that it doesn't allow for crafting a story through the sculpture of editing. Walter Murch, Academy Award-winning film editor, and sound design theorized how films should be edited to craft a compelling, engaging, and entertaining film, The Rule of Six. Post-production is essential because we will craft the shots into a story and the narrative arch comes to life. In this article, we will focus on his Rule of Six and how it guides us in deciding what to cut in film editing, and you will learn how to make the decisions on what to keep and what to left of the cutting room floor. So yes, some of

When Editing a Film, It’s all About Emotion, Story and Rhythm2021-08-12T16:26:55+00:00

The Top Five Myths When Making Videos

Myth 1: Use the equipment, don’t show it. To look professional, I have to show the equipment, so my audience will know. “I am professional.” I will look like a famous radio host. Radio hosts are on the radio, and sound is the only part broadcast. Radio has no image that accompanies the sound. Showing the equipment distracts you and your content. The main three pieces of equipment often seen within the frame are large microphones attached to a broadcast arm and large headsets and lighting stand. The solution is to position the microphone above or below the frame or to the side of the frame. A professional microphone has areas where it cancels out sound to record clear, focused sound from the source intended. A lavalier is another excellent choice for a microphone. For the headsets, I recommend

The Top Five Myths When Making Videos2021-09-07T17:41:46+00:00
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