For today’s reflection, I decided to start off the week by reading the late and great, Roger Ebert’s article on how to read a movie. Ebert begins his article with a look into how he first become interested in movies and how movies bring along people who are able to answer questions that one may have in regards to culture or knowledge of an item. He then goes on to talk about “intrinsic weighing” where the amount of space in a shot can create a certain emotion or aesthetic. It is similar to that of the rule of third that photographers and painters use when producing art.
For example, he says the right side produces a more positive character or emotion whereas the left conveys negative emotions. If one were to look from a high angle make characters seem meek or insignificant whereas low angles do the exact opposite and give that character a sense of power. Shots that are tilted create unbalance and symmetrical shots are easy to the eye.
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For an example on low angle shots; here’s a Quinten Tarantino complication! (Personally, I absolutely loved “Death Proof” and “Kill Bill.”) Roger Ebert claims that shooting from low angles gives the character a sense of power or the appearance of a God. I think for the most part that is correct and evident through this compilation. There are many characters who are in the process of killing or threatening a character…through a car trunk and they have a sense of power and authority over the shot. Now, if you watch the clip, there are some examples that don’t quite make that mark, but for the most part I can definitely see where Ebert is coming from.
Another example I felt was helpful was this incredible video (the special effects are superb, I swear). The video talks about creating an illusion of movement and special effects through camera tricks. One thing I found incredibly interesting is what they called “The Folly” method where the characters or car may appear to be standing still while the background starts gradually becoming closer giving the illusion of movement. It’s not necessary an illusion, but the movement is so gradual due to the speed of the dolly and the zoom on a camera that it almost appears as an optical illusion.
And finally, one of my favorite film techniques…the one-point perspective. There is something so aesthetic and comforting about these that also makes it feel as though you’re in the movie as well. You travel along in a straight forward fashion and it creates an atmosphere unlike any other.
And as a bonus; here’s my personal favorite director and my personal favorite film technique. Symmetry gives me a sense of aesthetic and eases whatever mother freakin’ anxiety I have. I don’t know why nor how, but this is so common in Wes Anderson films and they are beautifully done especially in “Moonrise Kingdom” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
Alright, I’m done fangirling over movies now. What are your favorite film techniques?