Learning to read film

Thoughts on “How to read a movie”;

Analyzing a film shot by shot can be really helpful. It gives you a better understanding of how the feelings that are created are constructed, and that can overall give you the ability to really understand the film as a whole by plugging these smaller parts together. Film is far more complicated to analyze compared to static images and audio because it has a lot more going on. I like where he mentioned that the way scenes are composed isn’t likely something that’s super planned out the way you prep the composition of a painting and that it comes more from an instinct on the directors part of what would look best and work best. While I’m sure plenty of directors do actually put a lot of thought into it and plan things out, it’s not every single frame that’s planned like that, and yet the whole thing has these elements to it. Honestly the best way to hone your instinct for this sort of thing is to consume and analyze other media and learn how they did what they did. I also like that he mentions that the ‘rules’ aren’t absolutes. It’s easy to get bogged down in trying to find a film that is technically ‘perfect’ because it follows all the rules when intentional inversions and exclusions can add so much to a film. If it were perfect it would probably be kind of boring.

Thoughts on Kubrick’s one point perspective/ zooms:

Honestly I haven’t watched a lot of Kubrick’s work, but I am fairly familiar with it. I had never really noticed this before, but it does make sense. The one point perspective draws your eye into the center of the frame by having all lines lead to there. It creates a lot of depth and it pulls the audience in. It puts the camera at about eye level so it makes us feel like we are their in this place watching this unfold. It can also give a claustrophobic feel because the walls are so tight and restrictive. It also gives a real feel of motion because of the diagonals, so things feel like they are moving faster. It’s a really great composition to use to engage your audience and I’m not surprised he used it so much.

The zooms also place the audience in the film so to speak because instead of being the point of view if one of the characters and following their gaze, the camera is its own separate point of view. The slow creep ins and outs make it feel voyeuristic like we have snuck in and are spying on these people. It adds to the creepy unsettling feeling, which is why it’s used so much in horror. It makes the audience into some uninvited intruder into these peoples lives just like the villain.

Thoughts on Tarantio’s from below:

The shot from below does two main thing, first it places the audience into the point of view of whom or what is being looked at, calling for us to kind of empathize with them. The second thing is that it makes the character doing the looking down seem more powerful and badass/intimidating. It gives them the power in the scene.

You can do a lot of cool things with cinematography and a lot of it the audience will pick up with out even realizing why, but it becomes a whole lot cooler when you know how the magic is made.

2 thoughts on “Learning to read film

  1. I love the analysis of the low angle Tarantino shots. You make a great point about not realizing what’s going on when you see it the first time. Another interesting thing from his article, specifically with shots from below “low angles make them gods,” and all of Tarantino’s characters are designed to be larger than life.

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