This week, we have learnt about screen motion. Within this topic, we learnt the ways to control the direction of the action. The other thing we have learnt, was camera movement. There are many camera movements, the basic ones, like tilt, pan and track. There are other camera movements which will be explained in that post.
Screen Motion is very important to let the audience know what is happening on screen, if someone is moving or if someone is static. Screen motion is the ‘fluidity’ of movement with scenes. This can be when character moves from one scene to the next. For screen direction to be very effective, the cameraman/woman, when filming, has to stay on the same direction all the way through to keep that continuity going. Otherwise this could inevitably confuse the audience who are watching it, thinking that the person has gone the gone back to his orignal spot.
When you watch a film, there are different movement of things which you probably have seen but never really thought about it. There is movement of: Nature, Groups, Individuals, camera and cut.
Akira Kurosawa is a Japanese film maker and in the video below from one of his films. He was born in Tokyo, Japan, on the 23rd of March 1910. Before he went to the film industry, he was a training as a painter. He storyboarded his films as full scale-paintings. After that, he then entered the industry in 1936 as an assistant director. He eventually made his debut by making La légende de Judo (1943). L’ange Ivre ( Drunken Angel) which was made in 1948, was his first film made by him without studio interference and is also the first time when he collaborated with Toshiro Mifune. The 2 made 16 movies together in the next few decades. Mifune became closely associated with Kurosawa. After working in a variety of genres, Kurosawa made his first international breakthrough with the film Rashomon, made in 1950. The film itself made the top prize at the Venice Film Festival and for the first time, it revealed the richness of Japanese cinema. In the next number of years, he made many low-key films. After a declined period in the late 1960s and 70s, he tried to commit suicide. Luckily, he survived. He made small, low-budget picture such as Dodeskaden for example, which was made in 1970.Kurosawa’s films have always been more popular in the West than in his native Japan, where critics have viewed his adaptations of Western genres and authors with many suspicion – but he’s revered by American and European film-makers.
Akira Kurosawa – Composing Movement,(Every Frame a Painting, 2015)
In this video he first talks about Movement of Nature. These are the wind, fire,snow etc… These can have an emotional feeling depending on the situation. The next one is the movement of group. Having a bigger number of people feels very different to when there are only 5 to 10 people. Having a big crowd makes it more cinematic, it has a big emotional effect towards to the audience. The movement of individuals is different. When someone is nervous, they move left and right. If they are outraged, they stand straight up. If they are ashamed, they crouch down. The next one is movement of the camera. One of the highlights of Kurosawa’s style are his fluid camera moves that can go from close up to full shots in one take, without cutting anything when editing. In the video it tells us that every camera moves has a very clear beginning, middle and end. The last one is the movement of cut. Kurosawa, is one of the few directors who worked as his own editor. The reason why his movies simply flows is that he usually tends to cut on movement, meaning that often you pay so much to someone who is moving, that you see the edit. When he finishes the scene, he switches the rhythm by ending on something static.
Neutral Direction and Cutaway
Neutral Direction is when you film a character head on so that the character comes straight at the camera or from behind if you move away from the camera into the distance. The cutaway makes the audience forget the sense of direction in the last movement shown. The important thing is that direction has to be maintained throughout the scene. If for example someone walks on the left then turns right, the camera has to be positioned on the same side so that the audience does not think that the person is walking the opposite direction, otherwise the plot can confuse many.
Screen Motion Analysis
In class, we went through a scene to analyse the screen motion from a french Film. The clip is called ‘Les Flèches Bleues’. The translation of this is ‘The Blue Arrows’. The film is called Amelie.
In the first scene, you can see the blue arrows that lead to Amelie. To show the lead to the person, it does a Tilt shot to reveal the other arrows. The arrows also helps the audience to show where the character is going and to see if the girl he wants to find is there or not. This is focusing them on it straight away. Then there is a tracking shot to show the man as he walks up the stairs to follow him. Once it came to the statue part, the statue itself is used as an object for natural direction, to not confuse the audience.The shot of the statue starts from 1 side and pans round to the other revealing what it is pointed towards which is the telescope.The shot of the statue firstly starts from one side and then pans round to point to the next object which is the telescope.
There are many camera movements which are involved in every film made, but we never really think of it.
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Pan is a camera movement which involves moving the camera horizontally left or right by keeping it on the same axis. You would have to use a tripod for this to have a smooth effect.This shot is important to follow a subject or to show the distance between 2 objects. They also work really well for panoramic views. You always start on a still shot, begin to tilt then you finish on a still shot.
Pan Camera Movement, (Laura Kendall, 2013)
This extremely short scene, comes from the film, Band Of Outsiders. As you can see, the camera stays on a fixed position, only the camera rotates to follow the car as it tries to turn around and drive to the distance. There was no need to follow the car as it was going too fast at the end. Also by just rotating the camera instead of tracking it, the audience can admire the view behind the car. It could give a sense of relaxation as we see the car moving away from the camera and into the unknown.
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You move the camera up and down without moving its position. The importance of it is exactly the same as panning, you follow the subject or you show the top or bottom of a stationary object. With a tilt however, you can show how high something is. For example you can show a giant tree to show its enormity. The rule for this is, that you always start on a still shot, you begin the tilt, then you finish on a still shot. Just like the panning.
Camera Movement – Tilt Up – By Eduardo Velez, (EAVZ Films, 2014)
In this particular example. This tilt shot does not shot the grandness for how big something is, but instead it can show something dark which is approaching. With the sombre background effect, it can give a feel that something dangerous is approaching. When I watched it the first time, this was the first feeling I had, that danger is approaching and with the dark background behind, this shot worked effectively.
Tracking shot is when you move the camera physically from left to right or the opposite or up and down, while maintaining its perpendicular axis. This is different to dollying. They would use this when following someone who is for example being chased to add a more intense effect towards the audience. You might truck left to stay with a pedestrian as she walks down a street.
Camera Movement -Tracking shot, ( Chris Briant, 2016)
This 2 second clip comes from The Woman In Black with actor Daniel Radcliffe. AS you can see very clearly, it shows the camera tracking from top to bottom to follow Daniel Radcliffe’s head as he is looking at what is below. When we look at this shot, we would have a feel of tension.
Dolly shot is when the camera is set on tracks or wheels and it is moved towards or back from a subject. A wheelchair, because it has large wheels, rolls smoothly, and has a seat for a videographer, works well as a dolly but the alternatives to this are using a rolling cart or even a skateboard. The importance of a dolly shot is to follow an object or person smoothly to get a unique perspective. In some movies, some directors would combine the dolly and zoom shot for a real sense of doom. To be able to do this, the lens of the camera, zooms into the subject at the same time as the camera physically ‘dollies’ back. The person in the shot remains the same size, but the background is as if it was moving. It is difficult to master it smoothly but when it is done right, the shot conveys a real sense of tension and the vertigo feeling.
Breaking BAD – Motivated Camera Movement, (Vashi Nedomansky,2014)
In this scene of Breaking Bad, towards the last 30 seconds, we can see the dolly shot where the camera approaches towards the girl who is sitting alone next to her table. By watching this, it gives us a sense of feeling sorry for her. The audience would probably feel lonely as well in their mind while watching it.
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This camera movement works and looks similar to a construction crane which you see everywhere. It is used for high sweeping shots or to follow the action of your subject. The reason to use this is to go give a bird’s-eye view. It looks as if the camera is swooping down from above. Movie directors use this for street scenes so they can shoot from above the crowd and the traffic, then move down to eye level.
Camera Boom Shots, (JoshOnJackson, 2013 )
In this video, you can see how effective the boom is used. It is very effective for bird’s eye view to have a splendid view of the street. It is also really good when used at low level, we get the see the cars drive passed it
Using a glidecam (steadycam)
Video Maker, No Date
There are 2 basic modes of Steadicam operating:
- High Mode: The camera sits on the top of the sled, typically at a height between the operator’s torso and face.This is the most common way of how a steadycam is used.
- Low Mode – The camera sits below the sled at a height between the operator’s knees and the ground. Often used for close-to-the-ground shots ( tracking someone’s shoes as they walk)
High and low modes aren’t necessary positions, but they are the most basic ways to mount a camera on the arm.
There are 2 basic positions of Steadicam operating:
- Missionary – The camera points forward while the operator is also facing forward.
- Don Juan – The camera points behind the operator while the operator faces forward.
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A camera slider is an equipment where the camera is placed onto the slider so that your tracking shots for example can become more fluid. This smooths the shot when following someone for example.
The reason to use this is for several reasons:
- Highlights wide landscapes – Using a slider will give a better sense of scales and the sliding shot will also help the viewer’s mind to represent the landscape in 3 dimensions as the different layers would move at different speeds. This would be true for the Grand Canyon for example if you were filming there.
- Make a revelation – You could prepare a surprise by finding an object to hide the view then you slide from it. This will create an expectation from the viewer and the emotion will be more intense.
- Adds drama – When you apply a path that is linear, it is most likely that the viewer will continue the movement in its mind.
- Zoom In and Zoom Out – When using a slider, you have the ability to actually move forward and backward that is what makes all the difference, allowing the viewer to feel like he is actually walking there.
This is the video I have made on Tuesday of this week. I had to make a 6-shot video by using the techniques I have learnt this week. I had to use Neutral Direction which is described above and some camera movements I have learnt like pan, tilt, track. I was also able to use some of the more complex ones like dolly, zolly and many more. Linking to the camera movements, I could use some of the equipments like the steady cam, the camera slider and others as these were accessible at college.
Screen Motion: The walk, ( LeFrenchBlog, 2017)
This video is about me, as the only actor in the video, who is walking from the outside to the inside, then I walk pass my bag, but then come back as it is my bag, I then pick it up and walk away to wherever I am going. It seems very basic, but the most important in this video is technique I use in this video to show that I have used some of the things I have learnt this week.
This is the storyboard I have done for my small video
Shot 1 – As I walk towards the door, I thought of choosing a tracking shot to follow my movement as I walk, specifically on the left side on me, which will then be kept throughout the video.
Shot 2 – I wanted to have a medium close up shot of me opening the door. it is always filmed on the left side, to keep that continuity flowing.
Shot 3 – This shot is a continuation of when I open the door, which is what you see in the video. As you can see, the camera films on the left side, and I am always on the right side. Meaning that the direction is constant, making sure that the audience do not get confused.
Shot 4/5 – These 2 shots are all in one. This shot is an extreme close up of me walking pass my bag, making an empty frame for 2-3 seconds, then coming back in reverse, to pick it up, then walking forward, making another empty frame to finish it off with.
Shot 6 – To end the video, I thought of doing a tilt shot, because it shows that I am going into the distance. The scene will then fade to the end credits.
The problems which I have encountered, is that there were 1 or 2 shots which I wanted to do, but couldn’t have done, because the first shot I wanted to do was a tracking shot where I walk next to the wall, then the door appear on the screen which is where I walk to. But because there was a road, for health and safety reasons, I did not want to risk the cameraman ( Kyle) to film on the road, as it could have been dangerous.So instead I thought of doing a tracking/dolly shot instead, where the scene starts with me walking towards the door. Another problem which I encountered was the risk of the camera shaking while Kyle was filming, so to help him stop the shake, we used a steady camera to solve this problem. The secondary problem linked to this was the trip hazard which Kyle faced as he is using a steady Cam, so he would not see where he is going. So to solve this problem, Kai went to help him, and warned him where the trip hazards are whilst he is filming.
Once I saw the finished product, I felt that even though there was a bit of a shake from the camera, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I was able to look at each scene without missing anything. I did notice that Kyle did watch out for the trip hazard, because otherwise, we would’ve seen the camera shake violently. The other problem that we encountered about the 1st shot which I wanted to do, was solved and in fact, it worked well at the beginning of the video. To make it better, I should plan earlier, by searching the right location where I am able to film without encountering any problems at all. Although I only had a few hours to plan, I did not have as much time to have a fully detailed plan.
I have learnt that, in the technical aspects of what I have learnt, firstly keeping the same direction of where you film is extremely important to not get the audience confused. I have also learnt that different camera movements has a different effect depending on how it is being used. I think that the camera movements which I have used in this video can hopefully make those watching, understand what is going on.
Acting Answers, No date, Available at: http://www.actinganswers.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/bhague-co-uk-cameraboom.jpg, Accessed on 11/07/2017
Breaking BAD – Motivated Camera Movement,(2014), Vashi Nedomansky, Available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlE8H6RaduI, Accessed on 12/01/2017
Chris Briant, (2016), Camera Movement – Tracking Shot,Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QodrvBYcY3s&feature=youtu.be, Accessed on 12/01/2017
Every Frame a Painting, (2015), Akira Kurosawa – Composing Movement, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doaQC-S8de8&feature=youtu.be, Accessed on 12/01/2017
IMDB, No date, Available at:http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000041/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm, Accessed on 10/01/2017
JoshOnJackson, (2013), Camera Boom Shots, Available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI9pI1epF2Y&feature=youtu.be, Accessed on 11/01/2017
Laura Kendall, (2013), Pan Camera Movement, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P5nPMXtz6w&feature=youtu.be, Accessed on 12/01/2017
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Video Maker,No date, Available at: https://www.videomaker.com/sites/videomaker.com/files/styles/magazine_article_primary/public/articles/15937/Steadicam-Scout-HD.jpg?itok=d1BZiaJy,Accessed on 10/01/2017
Video Maker, No Date, Available at: https://www.videomaker.com/article/c10/10775-the-9-classic-camera-moves, Accessed on 10/01/2017
Warwick, No date, Available at:http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/images/michaelwalford/2008/03/15/camera_tilt.jpg?maxWidth=500,Accessed on 10/01/2017