Wednesday, March 28, 2007

nature of the beast: learning the ropes in cinematography

Today's hour of power was spent brushing up on what, by now, ought to be a given/second nature for many of us, but it certainly can't hurt to reiterate the basics at this point in time.

The nature of the camera has a large impact on the way films are shot, as it has a direct correlation to the nature of the frame. These composition choices need to be clearly thought out from the very beginning, so that mise en scene can be taken care of accordingly.

We are lucky in that the cameras we are using have viewfinders. Apparently a feature was shot on someone's mobile phone last year - I can only imagine how much of a headache it's going to be to edit something of that quality, but hey, it's a world-first and the technology makes it possible in this day and age.

The aspect ratio of a frame should always be used to its full potential. We can opt to shoot in 16x9 as opposed to the native 4x3, if stylistically this will add specific meaning to the narrative. The key to always ask oneself is how much are your shots going to reveal? How flat do you want the frames to be? Remember, the frame is NOT reality, i.e. cheating is permissible.

Godard commented on the nature of watching (audiences), whilst watching a film. The idea is to make viewers forget that they are, in fact, being engaged - that is, to sublimate their senses without becoming overbearing. The sky may be the limit with character, but from a technical perspective, everything must serve a purpose. Once people remember that they are watching a film, it loses any lasting impact it could have had on them, making it moot.

There's one hell of a fine line between theory and practice - will any of dare to cross it this semester?

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