For this exercise you’ll produce a short sequence in which two people communicate across an off-screen space. Don’t use a wide shot – create the impression of the off-screen space through the composition of the shots containing the individual subjects.
Read the script on the next page. Carefully plan a series of shots (each containing only one of the two characters).
Sketch out each frame. Think about how the size of the frame you choose and the space you place around the characters affects the perception of the off-screen space.
Record your sequence using actors or models. You can add an atmos. soundtrack if you wish.
Compare sequences, look at other students’ sequences and leave comments describing what you understand from them. Read the comments other students have left for you. Did they understand what you had hoped they would?
Look again at your own sequences, those of other students and any other films. Think about the meanings that the framing and composition in each shot can imply. Try to identify examples of the spatial composition contributing to:
• the mood or atmosphere of a shot
• your perception of the relationship between the characters
• your understanding of what is happening or what is going to happen
• your perception of how you as a viewer relate to the characters or action.
Back to filming, I enjoy the research and reading but love to film.
I was given this script
SARAH is seated alone. She is holding some- thing (a book, mobile, or other item) that has her attention. She seems distracted, absorbed by what she holds.
DAN is standing [insert some distance] off across the [insert the location that separates them]. He notices Sarah but looks away.
SARAH looks up for a moment and notices Dan. She reacts with [insert emotion / reaction].
SARAH continues to look at Dan.
DAN becomes aware that Sarah is looking at him. He looks up at her.
SARAH smiles at Dan.
DAN begins to walk towards Sarah.
For this exercise I kept the drama down but did infuse a little mystery and creepiness into it. The story is of a girl who is in the garden on her phone when suddenly she gets a suspicious text “I know what you did”
I shot the scene at different parts of the garden though that wasn’t necessary I did so as the sound was marginally different on each side of the garden. On the side I was in, there was the sound of bird song and the fountain whereas on the other side were sounds of traffic. This created contrast between the two to highlight the distance between them.
I shot the scene with myself on a tripod and positioned myself so I was always looking to the right and my actor was looking to the left. This ensured the viewer didn’t get confused in the placing of each character and also showed they were looking directly at each other.
If I hadn’t been working off a script I would have included a shot before to show the man had sent the text or perhaps receive the text message in the third frame.
At the time I realised I should have changed the scene so the man didn’t continue texting after sending the text. It was picked up on by fellow student Ashley so I edited the shots. I feel it works much better now.
Other student work.
I am gathering together the videos from other students so will analyse that next.