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Filming Dream Scenes


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#1 Simon

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 11:22 AM

I?m going filming Dream scenes for my graduation film and was wondering if anybody had some good ideas on how to do it. The scenes will be at night and day and there not nightmares, there happy dreams.

My first impression ideas would be using a pro mist filter with some eerie music plus some disorientation with the camera work, anyway these techniques seem a bit clichéd, so I thought if anyone used a technique before and it worked, let me know

Shooting on DV with HD100

Thankyou
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#2 Paul Bruening

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 12:11 PM

Dream scenes are a well skin't cat. You can do the filter thing, smoke pots, dreamy-weird music, sound effects like rumbling or sustained sounds, cut from the character sleeping (ripple the image for extra cheesiness), radical changes in lighting, very wide angle or other extreme lensing, peculiar actor performances, odd staging, "With this riiiing, I the weeeeeeeeeed!"
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 01:21 PM

There's almost nothing you can't do for a dream sequence, and you can do nothing too! Sometimes it's important that the audience not know they are watching a dream. Just depends.

Also depends on how nightmarish you want the dream to be. I like the use of desaturation for a dream, for example, since I don't recalls colors as well from a dream that I've had.

I also like the surreal use of space in a dream (such as in Michel Gondry's movies) where the space keeps changing and you keep jumping around in space. Suddenly there is a door in a wall that wasn't there just before, suddenly you're at at one end of the room instead of the other, suddenly you're outside.

Unrelated, I was just listening on NPR to a writer talking about how he was taught never to use the word "suddenly" to create surprise in writing. His favorite example of bad writing:

"I picked up the gun, pointed it at her, and pulled the trigger. Suddenly, shots rang out."
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#4 Paul Bruening

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 01:50 PM

Did you just flame yourself?
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 01:53 PM

Did you just flame yourself?


Sure, why not?
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#6 Paul Bruening

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 01:57 PM

No prob with me. I howled when I read it. You're a funny guy in a dry, understated kinda' way that I like.
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#7 Brian Baker

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 03:41 PM

No prob with me. I howled when I read it. You're a funny guy in a dry, understated kinda' way that I like.


When I first read that, I thought Paul said "in a dry, un-desaturated kinda' way" ... which would have also been very punny =D
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#8 Matthew Buick

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 06:57 PM

I don't recalls colors as well from a dream that I've had.


Really?! All my dreams are flooded with colour, like Double 8 Kodachrome.

Talking of dreams I had a funny one last week, I was a BAD cinematographer, CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!!!!!
Me, Matthew Buick, a BAD cinematographer!!! The day that happens is the day Kodachrome starts raining from the sky, HA!

NEWSFLASH : Kodachrome is now raining from the sky all over the world, Super 8 buffs are said to be ecstatic.

-Matthew Buick, BAD cinematographer. :(

Edited by Matthew Buick, 23 December 2006 - 07:00 PM.

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#9 Igor Trajkovski

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 08:09 PM

Among the other things, try longer shutter speed,
for pronounced motion blur.

BTW, as we are at cinematography related dreams,
i once (or twice) dreamt Storaro.

He was in the yard of the nearby elementary school,
doing some set and explaining to somebody/me
(weird those dreams) something.

Is that insightfull or what? :)


Regards

Igor
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#10 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 03:05 AM

I?m going filming Dream scenes for my graduation film and was wondering if anybody had some good ideas on how to do it. The scenes will be at night and day and there not nightmares, there happy dreams.

My first impression ideas would be using a pro mist filter with some eerie music plus some disorientation with the camera work, anyway these techniques seem a bit clichéd, so I thought if anyone used a technique before and it worked, let me know

Thankyou

Well, this is probably obvious, but the most important thing is that the scenes are original and imaginatively written. Then the "how to shoot it" aspect will suggest itself, without having to resort to cliches. Check out Akira Kurosawa's "Dreams", which is essentially a series of short films based on the director's dreams and fantasies. He's got one where he dreams that he's Van Gogh - if I remember correctly, he wanders into one of his paintings, and the painting becomes animated.

It occurs to me that the "disturbing dream sequence" is lot more cliche than a happy one - maybe there's your jumping off point to something original. As David says, you can do anything in a dream sequence; you can do anything in cinema as well. Godard's "Alphaville" feels more like a dream to me than most "dream sequences" in mainstream Hollywood films.
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#11 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 03:35 PM

Really?! All my dreams are flooded with colour, like Double 8 Kodachrome.

Talking of dreams I had a funny one last week, I was a BAD cinematographer, CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!!!!!
Me, Matthew Buick, a BAD cinematographer!!! The day that happens is the day Kodachrome starts raining from the sky, HA!


Then woke up screaming because he couldn't get it processed!
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#12 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 04:02 PM

Check out Akira Kurosawa's "Dreams", which is essentially a series of short films based on the director's dreams and fantasies.

Some of the dreams are written and directed by Kurosawa's close friend Ishiro Honda of Godzilla fame.
The van Gogh isn't one though.
Both of their careers were on the decline when Kurosawa suggested they start making films together.

Godard's "Alphaville" feels more like a dream to me than most "dream sequences" in mainstream Hollywood films.

I was watching it again last night and thinking that 'Plan Nine...' feels more like a dream than 'Alphaville' does.
'Alphaville' feels more like an arrogant student movie.
But they would make a good double bill.

Edited by Leo Anthony Vale, 26 December 2006 - 04:04 PM.

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#13 K Borowski

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 04:18 PM

There's almost nothing you can't do for a dream sequence, and you can do nothing too! Sometimes it's important that the audience not know they are watching a dream. Just depends.


Again, I guess it is bad for me to post so many "Star Trek" examples, because I am ruining my future success with women and chances at getting a job when I get out of college, but my favorite dream sequence is from Star Trek: First Contact; Captain Picard is obviously dreaming in the beginning of back when he was a member of the Borg Collective. It looks as if they used a pale green (coral?) filter and maybe diffusion to accomplish this. They also had some unusual sound mixing to heighten the "dreaming" effect. Then he wakes up. He goes to the bathroom to wash his face in the sink, and then a borg assimilation device pops out of his face. Then he REALLY wakes up :lol: I honestly haven't seen any better than that. It's a dream sequence that is starts out as him obviously dreaming, and then is completely realistic, so you can do dream sequences both ways within the same movie even!

Regards,

~Karl Borowski
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#14 Saul Pincus

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 04:27 PM

Again, I guess it is bad for me to post so many "Star Trek" examples, because I am ruining my future success with women and chances at getting a job when I get out of college, but my favorite dream sequence is from Star Trek: First Contact; Captain Picard is obviously dreaming in the beginning of back when he was a member of the Borg Collective. It looks as if they used a pale green (coral?) filter and maybe diffusion to accomplish this. They also had some unusual sound mixing to heighten the "dreaming" effect. Then he wakes up. He goes to the bathroom to wash his face in the sink, and then a borg assimilation device pops out of his face. Then he REALLY wakes up :lol: I honestly haven't seen any better than that.


"An American Werewolf in London" (dir. John Landis) used the very same device quite successfully in 1981.

Saul
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#15 K Borowski

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 04:39 PM

"An American Werewolf in London" (dir. John Landis) used the very same device quite successfully in 1981.

Saul


Believe it or not, Saul, I've never seen it! This calls to mind the "Southpark" episode where Cartman is angry because everything he tries to do has been done on "The Simpsons" before ;-) So is "American Werewolf in London" the first example of this, or has it been done on an earlier movie, or as Chef said in that episode, "in 'The Twilight Zone'"?

~Karl
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 05:51 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if there was some Silent Era movie that did a double wake-up from a dream... but I can't think of any. Maybe some old silent Felix the Cat cartoon -- those were pretty wacked-out! Probably even Winsor McCay was doing something strange in his dream/nightmare cartoon strip "Dream of a Rarebit Fiend".

The first dream sequence though was probably in G.A.Smith's "Let Me Dream Again" (1900) which used a focus-rack to transition in and out of a dream. Within a year, people were using dissolves to signify a transition to a dream.

The first movie I saw when I was young where you were shocked because it turned out to be a dream was the hand grabbing Amy Irving at the end of "Carrie" but even then, there was probably some old Freddie Francis / Hammer horror film that did that...
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#17 Paul Bruening

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 04:11 PM

Nick Cage's Whicker Man used the dream-within-a-dream schtick. It didn't work in this example.
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#18 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 02:00 AM

I was watching it again last night and thinking that 'Plan Nine...' feels more like a dream than 'Alphaville' does.


I've never had a dream where an airplane cockpit looks like a square room! I laugh every time I see that.

Maybe I thought "Alphaville" was dream-like because I kept nodding off while watching it, only to be awakened every ten minutes by that French Stephen Hawking-with-a-headcold voice.
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#19 Jason Maeda

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 11:06 AM

i usually recognize that i'm in a nightmare when it happens and, with enough struggling, can wake myself up out of it. last night i was so worried about my girlfriend being in some kind of danger i shook her awake. she was not grateful.

anyhoo, my favorite signals (oneiric symbols, i think they are called) that the character is entering a dream sequence are the sublime ones. think the sweep of the sheet over the camera in fellini's "8 1/2". any kind of small visual clue, that could also be a normal piece of diagetic material, fits this bill. if you firmly establish a situation (like by showing a character set their engagement ring on the bed-side table) and then make a point of showing that what was true has changed (the character wakes, brushes her hair out of her face, the diamond ring is on her finger), you can use this as a signal to the audience that our reality has been altered.

if you refrain from using any kind of non-sync dialogue for an entire film, when you do bust it out it can be used as a symbol. this is true for lots of techniques. hand holding the camera, for instance. i've always been a fan of using a small shutter angle for dream sequences. not that i smoke pot, but if i had i would say it felt a lot like that. i think that ashton kutcher film "the butterfly effect" did a really good job with that. weirdly entertaining movie, btw.

good luck.

jk :ph34r:
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#20 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 28 December 2006 - 02:21 PM

Maybe I thought "Alphaville" was dream-like because I kept nodding off while watching it, only to be awakened every ten minutes by that French Stephen Hawking-with-a-headcold voice.


It's too self concious and deliberate, the total opposite of a dream. But so good looking.

'Plan Nine...' comes off as a rambling stream of conciousness narative.
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