Exercise – An Objective POV

Look back at the sequence you produced in project 3. 

Now record the same scenario from an objective POV. Alternatively you can chose to record one of the other scenarios you imagined. 

The Visitor from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

I was going to be filming the alcoholic scene but unfortunately my model wasn’t well enough to film it. I planned the door scene for her but her health went so downhill she was unable to do that either so I roped in two other models and continued to film the door scene as I had created the storyboards and was excited to film it.

Think very carefully about what you wish to frame, you will then also need to consider where this is scene from and what camera angle would best suit your purpose. Also consider what other meanings and feelings will be implied by your choice of frame and angle 

It will help if you have an actor (Luckily I do)

What to do. 

  • Sketch out some basic storyboards. Ensure each new angle is justified.
  • Record the shots.
  • Edit them into a short sequence.
  • Upload the sequence to your blog
  • Look back at your finished sequence and reflect on it’s success. You can also compare it with other examples on the course discussion site. What works? What doesn’t? Why is this the case? Can you think how to improve the piece? Make notes in your learning log.

 

With that in mind I started my storyboards thinking hard about the angles I had just studied and how best to produce the short video.

As I’d been studying about the effects of different camera angles and how the low angle and high angle shot especially created feelings of vulnerability and empowerment I decided to create an ominous story of a man visiting a house. I needed to denote feelings of fear and darkness and a dramatic start to the sequence to introduce the character.

Here are the storyboards

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There is a dip in the pavement that always becomes a puddle in the rain but on the day of shooting, typically there wasn’t a drop to be seen. With a watering can we created our own puddle. I made it as deep as possible so a really dramatic splash would be generated.

Positioning the camera at a canted angle to create feelings of drama I sat back on the driveway and zoomed in not wanting to subject my camera to the water. I feel it worked very well and used the first take though I took several from multiple angles. I also introduced the music as the foot stamps into the water.

Shot two was when the stranger walked towards the house. I held it on the ground for a low angle to create feelings of fear, this man is not someone to be messed with. I held it just above the ground for the right composition but there’s a touch of camera shake so I will bear that in mind in future productions.

I sat back in the bathroom which is level with the corridor and kitchen and instructed my actor to ring the doorbell then panned across to show the owner of the house terrified inside. I felt this worked well and had connotations of the raptor kitchen scene in Jurassic Park with the two levels and different angles.

The camera flips to a subjective view as Anne peers around the door before ducking back to an objective shot.

A close up on the letter box with the man’s fingers coming through showed how this man was not going to give up.

I stood off a step ladder (and almost fell off when I hit my head on the ceiling) and used a high angle shot to show feelings of vulnerability and weakness. This is reinforced by her emotion and body language.

I flicked to a close up of the man with his eye through the letter box. This was quite a challenging shot as we couldn’t hold the letter box open at the same time as pushing the black draught proofing material away. Hence the piece sticking up.

Another high angle shot of poor Anne looking terrified.

Then the music changes and so does the camera angle. Suddenly the high angle is on the man which signifies that he is no longer the stronger party. Something is happening.

I added a tracking shot pulling backwards from the man.

I wanted to show how Anne is fed up of being treated like this and scared out of her own home and used an extreme close up on her eyes as they go from terrified to vengeful.

Then I panned down from her face and to her hands and the pan she is clenching. Originally in the storyboard I drew a weapon but decided to use a pan instead.

The music is gone and there’s just a hum of atmosphere as Anne walks slowly to the door with a tracking shot framing only her legs and the drying pan concealed behind her back. It’s a tense moment, what’s going to happen?

Then a shot of the man at the door over Anne’s shoulder, this is usually how conversations and such are filmed including part of the character especially programs like Vera.

A close up on the man’s face shows he is triumphant and gloating.

The drums come in, Anne throws the door open and whacks the man. The scene goes black and is left to the viewers imagination. For the sound of the pan hitting the man I experimented a bit before discovering that hitting the table with the pan (more or less gently) made a pretty realistic sound. I then added a cosmic effect to make the sound more dramatic. (note Anne didn’t actually hit the man though I was pleased how realistic it looks)

I thoroughly enjoyed this exercise and found using storyboards a very effective way to film something. My actors weren’t available much in the day but by ticking off every frame as I went I could shoot all the scenes with the man, then the woman and finally the two of them together. The shoot took about twenty minutes over all due to the planning and would have probably taken a reasonable amount more if the only plan had been in my head.

 

Different Angles

I am several days behind on this course due to the fact that my M.E fluctuated and I was rendered unable to do anything, just feeling really ill. Of course the course states that you don’t need to worry that you’re missing study because whatever you do in the day adds to the course. So my days sat on the couch feeling ill didn’t cause me to miss the course, instead they helped as I watched the entire StarWars prequel trilogy along with a James Bond or two. And as any budding cinematophrapher knows you can’t just watch a movie, your subconscious is automatically analysing the scenes, noticing the famous slide transitions, the camera angles, music, effects. 

Today though I am back to the practical work.

Try to find good examples of camera angles used to create atmosphere or alter the meaning of a scene or shot. As you watch consider whether the angle effects 

Viewpoint – does it indicate a special POV?

Relationship – does it changes your relationship with the characters on screen?

Status – does it indicate the status of the character on screen?

Suspense – does it create suspense, tension or expectation? How?

Mood – does it create a particular feeling or mood?

Make notes and if possible upload clips or stills to your blog to illustrate this.

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Low angle shot. This is achieved by shooting upwards at the subject, it can convey, dominance, fear and power. Darth Vader is often shown like this in StarWars. It shows the viewer he is a force to be feared and I remember as a child certainly being scared of him. The black clothing reinforces this as well with psychological connotations of death. Also in his suit he towers over anyone at 2.03 metres tall.

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An example of the low angle shot can be seen in the song ‘Eyes Shut’ by Years and Years. The music video opens with band member Olly Alexander walking towards the camera. The whole of the movie is filmed  in one shot, a tracking or dolly shot. As the chorus starts though ‘Nothing’s going to hurt me with my eye’s shut’ the camera changes to a low angle (still in one shot) so Olly Alexander is towering over the camera. It gives the feeling of strength and empowerment and ties in the cinematography with the song lyrics.

The house in Psycho was also shot using a low angle to create a feeing of terror and to show the evil inside.

High Angle.

The High angle shot is used when the camera is looking down on the subject. It can be used to create feelings of weakness, submission or danger. Depending on context it can feel like there is someone watching the subject from afar causing the subject to seem vulnerable. It can also be used to show a taller person looking down at someone smaller.

In this frame below Thor and Captain America are staring up at the viewer, fear and uncertainty plastered on their faces, they’re clearly in the midst of battle and shooting down at them like this makes them seem small and vulnerable. The canted angle also serves to reinforce the drama and tenseness of the situation. This type of shot also connects with the viewer as they are staring directly at them.

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The same high angle shot is in action here in Jurassic World as the Indominus prepares to sink it’s teeth into the Gyrosphere and it’s helpless victims. The teeth of the I-Rex provide a natural frame, one of terror. I also like the structure of the Gyrosphere, a circular composition always draws the eye straight to it, it can be overpowering in some situations but is an ideal and extremely effective way to lead the viewers eye to where the cinematographer wants it. And as the viewer is always drawn to another person no matter how small the fact they are enclosed in it makes a very powerful composition. It flips from low angle shots to accentuate the power of the I-Rex. There are also subjective viewpoints as the boys stare up at the fearsome creature. Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 11.52.55.png

 

 

Canted Frame

Also known as Dutch Angle this shot is created when the camera is tilted, distorting perspective. It can be used to add impact or more drama to intense scenes. It can also confuse or disorientate the viewer and conveys a changing character. It can be incredibly tricky to get it just right The technique of getting it right is to populate one side of the frame more than the other and not have the subject at the centre of the frame.”

This technique is used excessively in Slumdog Millionaire. Almost too excessively judging by this video

J.J Abraham’s uses it to good effect in Star Wars – The Force Awakens

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Point of View 

As discussed in an earlier post, this is the subjective view, i.e shooting from the view point of the character. Usually from the main character but it can work extremely well shot from say the enemy’s POV, staring down at the protagonist. 520084695_640.jpg

This technique can also be used for when a character has passed out and it changes to a subjective shot as the blurred world comes into focus. Also they may wake up with several people staring over them. Or in this scene in Divergent when Tris is kicked in the face and stares up at Peter. The low angle shot makes him seem really powerful and scary. It makes the viewer feel like they have taken the brunt of the attack.

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Eye level shots

This is the most used in movies as it is a simple portrayal of the character, there is nothing dramatic, in fact they are rather neutral. A lot of romantic comedies use them.

That said if you look at the still below from Harry Potter, it is a very powerful shot, the intensity in his eyes, the fear, the colours and lighting all suggest something ominous. It is an engaging shot as it puts the subject on eye level with the viewer.

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Birds Eye View 

Similar to an extreme wide shot you can see the whole environment, used in scenes such as Lord of the Rings. In the CBBC series Worlds End the scene begins with a birds eye view following a car through the Northumberland countryside to the castle.

 

A mixture of high angle and low angle shots are used in Roald Dahl’s classic, Matilda. The low angles are used to show the power the Wormwoods have over Matilda, making them seem more powerful and threatening, perhaps to show the force Matilda has to fight against. In contrast when Matilda is shown it is often using a high shot to make her seem weak and vulnerable. Miss Honey is also shown in this way when being overpowered by the fearsome Trunchubull.