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#1 Jim Nelson

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 01:32 PM

Hi,

I know that camera movements can be used to convey emotions, but what emotion/feeling do static shots convey? When is it best to use them?


Thanks for your help :)
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 02:13 PM

You can move a camera through the world or the world through the camera. A static shot, depending on the shot, can convey everything a dynamic shot can, because what a shot conveys I feel is based on context and syntax. Context inasmuch as what has been happening in the film, and syntax inasmuch as how that has been shown. I think you need to step back from these hyper specific questions and come at film more as such:

How is this film making me feel? Not just happy sad etc, but how are those emotions being conveyed in a particular film. Once you look at one film and learn it's visual grammar, look at other films in that genre and begin to cross reference them and look at how certain films borrow notions and ideas in their construction from other forms-- easy one, Cloverfield, borrowing from Godzilla, You Tube, Blair Witch, etc...(i'm sure that list could be much more exhaustive).

The specifics of how one things functions is so very intertwined with the narrative being told, and while there are "rules," don't think of them as anything more than suggestions.. or perhaps the instructions on a lego box (have you built legos before?) If you follow the instructions you get what the box shows; but what's often "better," more "personal," and interesting, is how you then construct your own "thing," from these blocks.
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#3 Kieran Scannell

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 02:54 PM

or perhaps the instructions on a lego box (have you built legos before?) If you follow the instructions you get what the box shows; but what's often "better," more "personal," and interesting, is how you then construct your own "thing," from these blocks.


Wow! Adrian! Cinema language philosopher! That was beautifully put if I may say so. I see a future cinematography teacher in the making. I'm teaching a summer school at the moment and I would love to use your Lego analogy with your permission.
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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 02:56 PM

Flattery will get you everywhere ;)
I'd be delighted and honored, Kieran, if you used the analogy.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 03:28 PM

Motion is an added element to the composition, so you have to decide whether it is adding to the ability to "read" the intent of the shot -- or distracting from it. The main point of composition is to direct the eye to what's important while at the same time balancing various elements in the frame for a dramatic, thematic, and aesthetic effect. Sometimes motion helps that but sometimes is just confuses things.

The more you stare a static frame, the more the effect is like in still photography and painting, you have more time to analyze the elements in the frame -- which makes it even more important to have a strong composition. One of the best cinematographers for that is Gordon Willis. Take a look at "The Godfather" movies, for example, not a lot of movement, just carefully arranged elements within a frame to create dramatic tension or evoke a sense of place and time, or character.
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#6 Kieran Scannell

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 03:29 PM

Flattery will get you everywhere ;)
I'd be delighted and honored, Kieran, if you used the analogy.


This is my first excursion into teaching, nerve wracking and exhilarating. These kids are talented and challenging, they're very clued up on what's going on (but ultimately obsessed with technology, buy the right kit and you get the best image)
I had a real challenge convincing them that basic photographic knowledge will be a huge advantage in anything they do in the future
regardless of the camera system.

It was interesting to find out that although they're all huge film fans none of them think they will ever shoot film!
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#7 Kieran Scannell

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 03:38 PM

"Interiors" is another example of beautifully composed static shots from Gordon Willis .
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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 04:24 PM

I know what you mean Kieran, there is a problem, these days, of people being too obsessed with what's the "newest and best," which I blame entierly on marketing and videogames.
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