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Cinematography : Shooting Techniques

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Leon Ho

on 17 October 2013

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Transcript of Cinematography : Shooting Techniques

Cinematography : Shooting Techniques
Conceptual Tools of Cinematography
Conceptual tools for filmmaking is not the physical tools like dolly, camera, lights, crane. Conceptual tools is about visual storytelling by using these techniques, there are too many but roughly classify them into some general categories .
Categories of Conceptual Tools
Frame
Selecting the frame is the fundamental act of
filmmaking, as a filmmaker we must have to grap
the audience's attention, clearly to show out what
is happening in your film. Choosing the frame is a matter of conveying the story. By the set of different frame it might shown out different meaning, some examples of some move with very strong visual elements telling us by just the scene of it without saying anything, thats the language of the film.
The very first frame of this movie had make us think of this character is isolated, the right side of the frame they called it as negative space which will make the audience not only felt isolation and loneliness but it might lead to possibility something would happen.
Punch Drunk Love
Lens
Lens is a powerful tool of visual storytelling, the ability of optics to alter our perception of the physical world. There are many factors involved: contrast and sharpness.
This scene is the climactic ending of the film, with a extremely long lens to compresses the space and makes the transmission towers seem like they are right top of each other, the visual metaphor it establishes is a spider's web, a TRAP.
Se7en
Light and Color
Lighting and color is the most powerful tools in cinematographer arsenal. Without the light and color controlling, film might become worst. They have the ability to reach people at a gut, emotional level
Blade Runner
A man that trapped in high tech world, the stabbing shafts of light show that there is no escape.
Point-of-View (POV)
Camera as "Eye" of the audience; how the camera takes in the scene is how the audience will perceive it. POV shots tend to make the audience more involved in the story for the simple reasonthat what they see and what the character is experiencing it.
Enter the Void
Cinematic
Filmmaking is about what the audience "receive" from each of the scenes, not only the intellectually (such as the plot) but also emotionally. Perhaps just as important, at the end of each scene are they still asking themselves, "I wonder what happens next?" In other words, are they still interested in the story?
Cinema as a Language
How does cinema would become a language? As a filmmaker, we are just like a construction work, that how we construct this building or how we build it. We are making scenes one shot at a time, so we can consider that we are assembling the elements that will make the scene. If we think of a language of cinema, these shots are the "vocabulary", and how we edit them together would be the "syntax" of this language.
Building Blocks of a Scene
There are number shots that are basic build blocks of film grammar. In a by no means exhaustive list, they are:
Wide Shot/Long Shot
The wide shot is any frame that encompasses the entire scene. This makes it all relative to the subject. For example, if the script says "Wide shot - the Desert of Sahara" what we clearly know is a big panoramic scene down with a short focal length lens taking in all the eye can see. On the other hand, if description is "Wide shot - Kevin's room" this is clearly a much smaller shot but it still encompasses all or most of the room.
Cowboys and Alien
Character Shots
Most movie and short films are about people, so shots of people are one of the fundamental building blocks of cinema. The same applies to most commercials and even many music videos.
Captain America
Full Shot - Indicates that we see the character from head to toe. It can refer to objects as well: a full shot of a car includes all of the car.
Pulp Fiction
Two shot - Frame that includes two characters. The interaction between two characters in a scene is one of the most fundamental pieces of storytelling; thus the two shot is one you will use frequently.
Spiderman 3
Medium Shot - It like the wide shot, is relative to the subject. Obviously it is closer than a full shot. Medium shots might be people at a table in a restaurant, or someone buying a soda, shown from the waist up. By being closer into the action, we can see people's expressions, details of how they are dressed, and so on. We thus become more involved in what they are saying and doing, without focusing on one specific character or any particular detail.
The Dark Knight
Close-ups - Is one of the most important shots in the vocabulary. There are a number of variations: "a medium close-up" would generally be considered as something like from top of head to waist or something in that area
Mad Detective
Over-the-Shoulder (OTS) - A variation of the close-up is the Over-the-Shoulder(OTS), looking over the shoulder of one actor to a medium or CU of the other actor
Inserts Shots
Inserts shot be use when the object need to be shown clearly as Close-ups, it is similar to cutaway shots, but instead of distancing away from the scene, one moves in.

Shooting Methods
The most fundamental and frequently used for shooting a scene. The master scene method is by far the most frequently used method of shooting a scene, especially for dialog scenes. Actions sequences are an exception to this. It seldom makes sense to use the master scene method for these, as it depends entirely on repeating the action of the scene many times
Master Scene Method
By using the master scene method, first we shoot the entire scene as one shot from beginning to end, this is the - master. Once we have the master, we move on to the "Coverage". Except in rare cases, it is always best to shoot the master first, as all the rest of the shots must match what was done in the master, by not shooting the master scene first will frequently lead to continuity problems. For complex scenes, we sometimes break it into mini-masters within the scene, just use common sense to plan how to best get the scene covered.
Coverage
Coverage - is a method that to completed the scene scene, consists of Over-the -Shoulders, Medium shots and close-ups. Think of the master as a framework for the whole scene - coverage is the piece that fit into that framework to make it all work together. This is why we should always put the master shot as our first priority. It establishes the continuity fir the scene.

Some basic common sense principals apply when shooting with the master scene method:
Shoot the master first; if you try to shoot coverage first and the master later, it will likely cause problems in continuity.
Get the whole scene from beginning to end.
If characters enter, start with a clean frame and have them enter.
If characters leave, make sure they exit entirely, leaving a clean frame. Continue to shoot for a beat after that.
You might want to use transitional devices to get into or out of the scene.
Shoot all the shots on one side before moving to the other side of the scene. This is called shooting out that side.
Overlapping/ Triple-Take Method
Overlapping or Triple-Take Method is usually use for scene that hard to be take repeat, it not like Master scene method, that can be set up camera with different angle and repeat, because scene like a big explosion or something about the destroy scene that might cost up a big budget, to avoid the cost, this method is the best choice for it.
Overlapping method:
Let take an example, a lady open the kitchen door, and then she open up the fridge and he take out a carrot put it on table. Here how this overlapping work, first we get a wide shot of the lady open the kitchen door and take out the carrot and put it on the table. Then set up a different angle and ask the actress to back up few steps. Once you roll the camera, the actress open up the fridge (repeating the last part of her step). Then we shoot the action all the way she put the carrot on the table.
Again we halt to set up a different angle, and have the actress back to the fridge, and repeat the action of putting down the carrot on the table and then carry on until the end of the scene. All this overlapping will enable us to cut the action together smoothly with good continuity cuts, The most important principal to take from this is to always overlap all action, no matter what shooting method are using. Giving the editor some extra overlap at the beginning or end of any shot will prevent many potential problem when editing the scene.
In-One
In-one is the simplest method of shooting a scene but sometimes it always become the worst because of keep retaking the shot. In Malaysia we called it "One-Take".
This Method would be risky if the shot is took too slowly and also for the editing we don't have much choice about it. To play it safe - shoot some coverage and cutaways just in case.
The Shining
Bibliography
BOOKS
Brown, B. (2012)
Cinematography: Theory and Practice
. UK. Focal Press.
Mascelli, J.V. (1976)
The Five C's of Cinematography: Motion Picture Filming Techniques Simplified.
USA. Cine/Grafic publications.
Cook, P. (2007)
The Cinema Book : Third Edition
. London. British Film Institute.
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