Monday, 30 July 2012

An alcoholic - objective shots - changes

I made the changes which I mentioned. I changed the camera angle when the actor is looking on the bottle, I filmed new detail of the bottle where I focused on lower depth of field and new shot with unscrewing the bottle to replace the blink of eye from previous version. I noticed how the shots are different in brightness, contrast and saturation due to different light conditions yesterday and today. I had to corrected them to reach a similarity between the shots.  I think the sequence is enhanced now and I am much happy with it.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

An Alcoholic - objective shots

I made the short film according to storyboard today. I asked my brother in law to be an actor. I put here two videos. They differ only in last shot. In the first video I tried to make the dutch angle to support alcoholism when the actor is drinking out of the bottle but I think it did not work properly, I like the second one. The reason the dutch angle does not work is maybe because I made the shot from the left side of the actor instead all other shots are from right side. I do not know for this moment.

29.07.12 I think the angle when the actor is looking on the bottle should be lower than I have filmed it. I think it is not appropriate to see his profile, we know that he is looking to the left side but more appropriate would be shot where we see whole face from low angle as he looks on the bottle. I think the shots should be about one level closer to focus on his face. I also think that in the unscrew bottle shot there is a blink of his eyes which catch viewers attention too much and should be replace with better one. I try to make new shots tomorrow.

I prepared the sequence without the "connecting" shots as I mentioned in the comment before. It does not look so bad as I thought but of course there are jumps between the shots especially jump in zoom between the unscrew bottle and distraction. Even there is connecting thing that the actor is sniffing we feel it is not right (my opinion). That is the reason I put there the BCU of the nose in original. The jump between the distraction and drinking is a jump in time but is not so disturbing as the jump before. I remember a book which I read many years before which explains it. There is a notion: think asymmetry! The connection between the unscrewing bottle and distracting moment is in match there is the sniffing moment of an actor. On the other hand the last shot is not in match with the distraction moment and thus is more acceptable for viewer even we have feeling there is problem with time. The book which I can recommend to fellow students is The eye is quicker by Richard D. Pepperman, there are examples of cuttings from many well-known films. 

"I never cut for matches, I cut for impact." - Sam O'Steen


An Alcoholic - objective shots - storyboard

For the first frame I used wide frame (long shot) to introduce the space where the story will take place. The second frame is CU of the bottle where eyes of an actor ended in the previous frame.

The MCU of the actor (on the right side) should reveals his necessity to drink an alcohol. Again a CU of bottle (on the left side to build a connection with the actor) and a hand which enter the frame and pick up the bottle. 

As the actor is unscrewing the bottle I thought it could be correct to use the low angle. The shot from low angle could make a feeling that the actor is weaker to resist. I put there a shot of a BCU of actor's nose as he is sniffing because I thought I needed a shot connection between the unscrewing shot and shot of distraction. I thought I could not make connection between MS/LA (frame 5) and the disruption shot (frame 7) it will make a non-logical  jump (I must try to connect those two shots).   

The distraction moment I framed in wide way. I thought the viewer should have see whole scene in one shot. The reaction of the actor and what it caused. The CU shot of the vacuum cleaner is another connection between the distraction moment and the last drinking of the bottle shot where I use again the low angle to support a weaknesses of the actor.

Last shot I let same as in objective exercise, I let the actor to drink of the bottle instead let him pour a drink.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Good examples of camera angles

The conversation: the low angle camera behind Gene helps here to show how big and maybe dangerous his client is. I think also the low angle is here to show Gene as very important character (an expert) but alone and vulnerable in this mysterious situations (the line of sidewalk or bridge). The next images show his aloneness, I like the shots especially that one where he hides his face when he witnesses probably a murder on balcony of his room. The status is obvious - fear, fright etc. and there is an expectation what happens next? They know that he is there? What he will do in that situation, we want to know it! The story is going on. The sequence is amazing and worth to study it. 

The Verdict: I like these low angle camera shots where we see Galvin, one time when drunk destroys his office, next time when he does his detective work for his case and last shot when he was not successful at lawsuit. My feeling from the low angle camera is that he lost hope in life (first shot), agonized because he could not find the main witness (second shot) and final shot where he is disappointed. In all shots I had feeling that he is desperate but I believed  that he will win the lawsuit. The low angle camera shots, same as in The Conversation, give to the character somehow a power to overcame the problems. Sorrow - it is the right word for the feeling. The expectation was about: will he win the court? He is good in his work, what he will discover in next sequences?

Witness: An Amish boy lost in world where he is for first time. The high angle of camera supports the feeling that the town is big and he can lost very easily in it. That shot (I think) represents the next sequence where the boy will see a murder. The high angle tells the world is so big, so dangerous and unpredictable. It supports the shots of a statue of an angel with dead body. On the other hand, there is low angle of car on horizon which represent oncoming danger. I know it is not shot of a person but it has great emotional charge: who is in the car, why the car stopped on the horizon, it looks very dangerous. 

Psycho: I chose the high angles from the Psycho. It looks that the high angle represents a danger, when we see the one when Bates in a woman disguise goes directly to a detective with a knife in hand we want to stop him or alert the detective somehow. The high angle in the bathroom where the murder took place we see the couple who snoopy there. The angle gave me feeling that there is something wrong and it is surely bigger than they can imagine. The third shot is when the woman (I not sure but it is sister of the murdered woman in the bathroom) goes to Bates house, this shot is great. We know that there is the key to whole situation, there is his mother. I had feeling that she is observing the oncoming woman. All it is about a danger, I think I hardly dare to enter that house. All shots have a great tension and suspense. 

Canted frame (Dutch angle): I found examples of Dutch angle in film Twelve Monkeys where Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis are discussing. The angle powers the fact that they are in sanatorium for mental patient. The feeling here is that something is not normal and is distorted. The second shot is from Pulp Fiction film. John Travolta and Samuel Jackson are taking guns from a car trunk and we looking on them from it. Again, what is going on here, why they are armed?  I not sure if the angle is the Dutch one, it is more low angle but it is diagonally distorted, but I had feeling that they are very strange persons and the angle helps us to be sure that somebody will have problems with them.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

Exercise: Shooting a short sequence

I made a sequence with only 4 shots. The first one was looking around the kitchen. I am not sure if the pan/tilt camera is good choice but the frame/shot introduce place where we are. I wanted some fast looking such as our eyes do (move - pause - move  - pause). The attraction about bottle is expressed by a move back and a zoom on table where the bottle is. So, four frames which I drew are within one shot. I do not like the moving of camera and maybe I should try to make new shots divided in few frames (perhaps) to see a difference. The shot is dark because I changed exposure in order to not having burnt spaces in windows. I made close-ups frames of two shots of unscrewing and drinking and it works good I think, we see what the hand are doing and the pour is understandable. The shot of attraction of sound I made by a try to copy move of a head. Just as we quickly move to direction of a sudden sound.

It was not easy as I thought. I noticed when I saw the film several times as I was cutting it that I miss a face of the person. It is not typical for a film storytelling that we see everything from POV (first person).

Here it is, all comments are welcome:


Saturday, 21 July 2012

A Storyboard of exercise Alcoholic

This time I did not want to bother how the storyboard looks. I drew very simple pictures.

Monday, 16 July 2012

The feel of a frame

Once Upon a Time in the West:
Alone against predominance. Tension. It is sure there will be a shooting. The stranger is holding the baggage and the man on the right has hand at the revolvers.  The wide shot is amazing. We do not see the faces of killers but we know they are aware of the stranger, I think their poses and positions say this fight surely will not be easy.

Blue Velvet:
Madness. Scary. Mystery. What is going there. A man whit opened mouth - standing man with blood on his head and mad man. The frame shows a lot of things. I thinkI should have uploaded a frame with an action of another Hopper's movement to see his angry mood.

Surprise, helplessness. It is the MCU which reveals the feeling in the face of the actor in the shot.

The Elephant man:
Surprise, sorrow, compassion, fright. The face says it and the close up frame is great for witnessing emotions.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Conversation

Questions from last exercise encouraged me to study some sequence from film The Conversation which I saw yesterday. I thought that there are more POV. Here is link to the sequence it starts from 6:00 min. I used here only final sequence.

Gene Hackman looks into bathroom on the toilette bowl and we think with him, what is wrong with it and after it there is the POV and the camera is a little bit shaking.

and after it we see Gene again and he moves into the bathroom and instead of POV we see the bowl and Gene's bottom part of body.

And there is a CU shot which is shaking also (maybe there was not room to install tripod) and surprisingly there is not POV but because we do not see upper part of Gene's body the shot is closely to be as POV but it is not.

Important shot where we see Gene's reaction and next shot where we see Gene's legs. Very impressive shot, we are a witness that something is wrong. 

Again a shot on Gene's reaction and very scary POV shot of bowl filled with overflowing blood accompanied by music.

and the sequence ends here. The conversation is great film and this sequence reminded me The Psycho and I have to see the bathroom sequence know.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


I have made this exercises in the iPad application:

1. Talking to someone in a shop

The first idea was that I am talking with a woman. So I just started to draw a woman and after I added the shelves  which represent the environment around us. I was focusing to draw only the details of the woman and everything around us was not important. It looks that we are alone there. I think I could add some other people there to express that we are on public place (the shop).

2. Knocking on a door

I saw a story in my head: I am knocking on the door, I see only a part of my hand and a door. There is a peephole with a name plate and a door hinge. The peephole is there because I imagined that someone is looking through and after unlocking the door (that is why there is the doorknob frame and that is the waiting time). At the end we see a woman. I tried here to keep the frames clean and clear, maybe the hinge of the door does not need to be there but somehow it says in which direction the door will open (I added the hinge as last element).

3. Having an illicit affair

The last exercise is about an illicit affair. I thought that good place could be in a park of town. I am talking to a love one and suddenly a sound of a car disturbed me because I think it could be my real wife spotted me but finally it is not (frame 3 a 4). For sure I added here another frame which looks on a way with a bench and tree. I wanted to support that I am looking also in other direction to be sure everything is OK. The main element (I thought) is the car. The first frame represent a car in distance. Is in the car my wife? The second frame is pretty close to the car and it represents a focus on who is in the car! After knowing it is not my wife just to look to another direction and back on my love.

1. Which sequences are the most effective and why?I do not know how to answer this question but I think the subjective viewpoint (POV) is extremely powerful tool to let viewer / audience be in a skin of an actor. The viewer can be immediate part of the story. It supports the fact he or she does not see reactions of the actor in this moment. Maybe the reactions are not important and we keep viewer focused on the important elements in frame. I must think about it more. Because in films there are combinations of subjective and objective shots.  I think their combinations are important for letting viewer thinks in two ways: subjective - let the viewer to make her or she opinion about situation and objective - observing how the character react within situation and give us another information of story. I hope it is clear.
2. What makes a convincing subjective sequence?The camera is not steady? There is a little bit of shaking? The camera does pan/tilt movement? It is convincing when we see the situation which is same as we see in the reality for example: a drive by car, we see scene through the window, we see hands control the steering wheel, we see or talk to our passengers but we do not see the driver! And certainly the camera shaking, movement help here a lot.
3. What gives the sequence a sense of atmosphere or tension?I think many things and when I remember Walter Murch's six rule, the first was emotions. And emotions are about music, light, depth of field, composition in the frame. Also length of shot, pace of cutting, rhythm, all those thing. What crossed my mind now is a balance within all those things.
4. What information is conveyed in each frame?If the question is about subjective or objective shot I think I answered it in question one.

Anyway this question encourage me to study some sequence from film the conversation which I saw yesterday.