Using the Camera The tool of the visual storyteller Moving with the Camera • Static Shots : Pan and Tilt Moving with the Camera • Walking and/or Truck the camera – Or moving the camera with a crane • Shooting from Vehicles – Or shooting into or out of vehicles Moving with the Camera • Dolly the Camera – Moving closer or away from the subject – Less compression of background – Different from Zooming Zooming the Camera Camera Framing Framing Subjects • Position of subject in the Frame – Headroom – Dividing the frame or the “Rule of Thirds” • Use a piece of acetate to develop a guide for a monitor – Aspect Ratio of the frame • 16mm and Television – 1.33:1 (4x3) • Widescreen – 1.85:1 • Anamorphic Cinemascope – 2.35:1 Framing Subjects – Picture Balance • Where do you want the audience/viewer to look – Dealing with Groups Following Moving Subjects • Passing out of the frame (exiting) – A way to allow viewers attention to “pass” on to a new subject. – Also a way to direct flow and focus of a scene • Widen the shot – ( either zoom or dolly/crane) • A note about “zooming”: it’s not considered a “professional” technique in narrative filmmaking as the camera is often thought of as the eye of the viewer. • Pan or Tilt – Useful in a Hall, stairs, ramps or as a subject moves about a room or space. • Dolly – Moving with the subject or object. Several more points: • Filmmaking is not about making beautiful pictures, rather its about making appropriate pictures. • As each shot or sequence appears on the screen the viewer is seeing it for the first time..which sounds obvious but the trick for the filmmaker is to view his or her film as if seeing IT for the first time…not such an easy task! • The Duration of a shot is important…not too fast or too slow…Pacing is critical to maintaining interest. Types of Shots: CloseUps • Conventions of Western Art favor a human face slightly off-center to avoid disturbing symmetrical compositions. It is customary to leave a little extra space on the side of the screen the subject is looking at and more space at the bottom of the frame than at the top. • Jean-Luc Goddard once said, “The most natural cut is the cut on the look. The powerful suggestiveness of this gesture helps explain film’s love affair with winks, glances, stares, tears, squints, glares, and the whole range of language that the eyes command. • A look can suggest something of interest, an object out of frame. • A close-up can bring the viewer into a more intimate relationship with the character on the screen. Not only can it reveal the intimate, it can make us feel as if we are intruding on moments of privacy or sharing a moment of vulnerability. The viewer can be made to feel detachment or an emotional bond with events and subjects on the screen largely through the manipulation of space with the lens of a camera. Types of Shots: Medium Shots • Early television emphasized the medium shot for a variety of reasons (most related to the smallish nature of the screen and budget/production restraints. • Like the full shot, the medium shot captures an actors gestures and body language, but it is still tight enough to include subtle variations in facial expression. • The medium shot is also the general range in which group shots are composed for dialogue scenes. Type of Shots: The Full Shot • Fallen into disuse in Hollywood in the last 20 or so years. It’s function is mostly that of the “establishing shot” when it is necessary to connect a character to a location. • Filmmakers seem to be reluctant to play a screen wide if a medium or closeup can be substituted. • Full shots often require dialogue scenes to be played in long takes. This is because the full shot frames all the characters in the scene making a pattern of cutting unnecessary. Line of Action – Triangle System • When a line of action convention is in use another convention, the triangle system of camera placement is a short-hand way of describing camera placement on one side of the line. • The system sets up a 180 degree spatial relationship between the camera and the subject(s). Line of Action • A new line of action can be established by a variety of techniques: – Movement of one of the actors to a new position. – Introduction of a new subject into the frame – Dolly movement of the camera. A typical device in filmmaking is to begin with the wide shot (establishing shot) , go to the medium shot (two shot), and tighten in for the close-up. As the camera moves in towards the subject the involvement of the audience with the characters increases Camera Angles • Low-Angle makes the subject appear dominant. • Extreme Low-Angle exaggerates and distorts. • High-Angles make the subject appear slightly diminished. Extreme High- Angles amplify the effect. • Three-Quarter Front MS provides for dynamic composition with perspective receding left or right. • Profile shots are used in formal compositions, especially in close-up. Violating the rules of composition • May create a jolting or uncomfortable effect on the audience. • Strive for balance in compositions, leaving room in the frame for the weight carried by the eyes in the direction the person is looking. • Avoid cutting limbs at the joints. • Avoid placing objects or people who are the point of interest at the center of the frame or against flat walls. • Occasionally it is valid to break the rules but to do so demands a valid reason or effect. Remember: Art is about breaking the rules….It’s always important to know the rule before you break it.