Jump to content


Photo

Switching from documentary to Hollywood style on the climax of some scenes--lame?


  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 Glen Miller

Glen Miller

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Other

Posted 04 August 2007 - 01:11 AM

First, this is theoretical in that I'm not writing a shot list and planning to film a movie. I'm writing a screenplay that may become a movie after I've bought some equipment and finished a documentary film (in other words, if I decide to go into filmmaking). It's more about the principle of visual design.

I think that simplicity and consistency are the two most important rules when it comes to doing anything visual. I had this idea today, though, that, while documentary film style conveys realism (authority), it could also serve as the setup for mind-blowing Hollywood stuff, like the tricky camera work you see in a big budget action movie or an opening credits sequence. Everything is going along in a documentary style--and I don't mean "cinéma vérité" intentionally crappy camera work, but solid camera work done under real world documentary film conditions--until the big climax of the scene when all of a sudden the handheld camera becomes an amazing steadycam shot--or it's attached to a crane. People will say, "What's going on here? I thought this was a documentary. Where'd they get a crane?"

The question is whether that's a horrible mishmash or awesome.

I think it's awesome, but I'd have to see it to know for sure. I thought maybe someone here would have seen it already and could just tell me.
  • 0

#2 Glen Miller

Glen Miller

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Other

Posted 04 August 2007 - 01:31 AM

From a practical/money point of view, this also makes sense to me. You could film 90% of the movie with improvisation and minimal equipment. Then you'd have a few scenes (or parts of scenes) where you go full-on Hollywood and really choreograph everything (and bring in the heavy equipment). So you have three or four "money" scenes where you can get your feet wet in doing that type of movie.

This is probably obvious to everyone reading this. All movies have a few money shots placed at the climax of certain scenes. I'm thinking of something more exaggerated than that, though--more like transitioning from Fighting Black Kings to The Matrix.
  • 0

#3 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 04 August 2007 - 03:56 PM

You just have to find that point where your "gimmick" starts to upstage or distract from the point you're trying to make with it. Art is always a judgement call of "how much is enough" vs. "how much is too much," when applying a certain technique.

There's no right or wrong way to do it, but the more heavy-handed and jarring your effect, the more you run the risk of taking people out of the moment. It can be a fine line sometimes, and not the same for every viewer.
  • 0

#4 Rory Hanrahan

Rory Hanrahan
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 175 posts
  • 1st Assistant Camera
  • NYC

Posted 05 August 2007 - 08:48 PM

This seems like something of a one-note trick to me, but not necessarily in a bad way. I can definitely see this style following the arc of a short film, ending on the "Hollywood" style, but wouldn't want to revisit the doc style after the change. At that point, i think, the gag would become expected and bland, unless you find a clever way to play it out (for instance, in a dialogue between two people, one is represented by the doc style and one by the H'wood style, which fight for dominancy).

Most important: does your story warrant the style change, or is it forced on the film?

And just because its my personal crusade to differentiate doc style and verité from "crappy camerawork", please take a look at the work of the Maysles, DA Pennebaker and Fred Wiseman (among countless others). All doc, and some of the best camerawork I've ever seen.
  • 0


Metropolis Post

Technodolly

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

The Slider

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Opal

Glidecam

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

The Slider

Visual Products

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Abel Cine

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

CineLab

Metropolis Post

Wooden Camera

Opal

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC