Response to Ebert Techniques

When beginning this week, I was familiar with the basics of videos, movies, editing, etc. But, only the basics. After reading and rereading Roger Ebert’s How to Read a Movie, I was much more aware of the strategy and intention behind each scene and shot.

Mentioned in the post was a book called Understanding Movies by Louis D. Giannetti, who is a professor and author. He said that “shots have intrinsic weighting” and should cause emotion. Without it, what is the point of making that film?

There were some more points brought up by him as well that I didn’t realize played a part in planning a shot:

  • Color, lighting, and shadows play a huge part in what a scene’s feeling is.
  • The person to the right of the shot is “positive” and in the future and that the left of a shot is “negative” and in the past.
  • The foreground is more dominant than the background.
  • Movement is one of the most important factors of building scenes and shots.

The major point that I took away from his article was, “pause the film and think about what you see”. It is such a simple thing do do, but unpacking what you’re seeing takes a lot of time and knowledge. After reading the article, the three filmmaking videos that I watched afterwards were easier to digest an pick apart because of what I learned from the Ebert article.

The Shining – Zooms

The Shining video focused on all of the zooms in the movie. From what I noticed, there were two different types of zooms: in and out. The zoom in made the actor’s facial expression the most important part while the zoom out makes the viewer more aware of what’s going on around the actor.

The zoom helps to create more or less focus on the subject of the shot.

Editing Examples

This video focused on the different transitions and video editing techniques. This video helped me with my 60 Second Day Assignment because it had some clever transition tips. Here are just a few of the ones that I liked the best:

  • Jump cut – between different views in the same scene
  • Still/thaw theme – a still frame into the motion frame
  • Form cut – follows a moving object
  • Fast motion/time compression – time lapse
  • Freeze frame – image stops

Camera Angles and Techniques

This article was very interesting because it gave examples of the different types of shots in a practical and easy-to-imitate way. Here are some of my favorite shots they mentioned:

  • Close up on face – shows the emotion (which is the most important part!)
  • Medium/mid shot – is good for movement and showing body language
  • POV shot – is showing what the character in the movie/show is seeing
  • Dutch angle/tilt – off kilter shot that makes motion key to the shot
  • Pan and Tilt/tracking/dolley/crane – are all shots that follow the action
  • 360 degree – shows the character in a large area (shows location)

The Ebert article as well as the three technique videos that I watched were very helpful and informative to creating my work for this week.

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