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Single Camera Techniques


Josh Newell

on 30 January 2013

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Transcript of Single Camera Techniques

Single Camera Techniques Josh Newell The Basics A single camera film is a film that, rather unsurprisingly, utilises one camera when filming. This method of production means that the director has a great degree of control over each shot, as each one can potentially require his full input. It can be easier to find footage as well,
due to the simplified nature of filming
and there being only one camera to sift
through to find various takes. You can also focus more on the content of the scenes, and can achieve certain visual effects more easily. A significant downside to a single-camera format is that it takes much longer to film a scene than if a multi-camera set up was employed. For example, if a set of shots are numbered 1-10, (odd and even numbers being different angles.) the shots would be filmed 1,3,5,7,9 and v.v. This can be quite inconvenient as it
requires that the lighting and the cameras
be shifted between sets of shots, which a multi-camera set up can avoid. A single camera setup is very popular in sitcoms that don't utilise a laugh track, or that aren't performed in front of a live audience. This is due simply to the fact that there is no reason to use more than one camera, as any effects that you'd wish to use can be achieved via positioning, which an audience can get around. The History of Single Camera Techniques Exiting The Factory: The first film made
used a single-camera set up, due to the limitations of that period (1895). The film itself has little to nothing by the way of modern standards in terms of plot however, it marked the first foray into film. Bubba Ho-tep: Not necessarily significant, but one of my favourites. It is a horror-comedy that plays heavily on a B-movie aesthetic, which requires a lot of effects based off of camera angles rather than a large budget, which is what single-camera production is ideal for. Noticeably, in this trailer, you can see notable changes in lighting between shots, and characters acting around scenery. A single camera set-up lends itself to a B-movie feel greatly. There is no real format,
as presumably there weren't any. Scrubs: Used a single-camera style similar to other laugh-track less comedies. In contrast with my other modern day example, the production values on this series are rather high, and it is obviously trying to achieve a polished look, in contrast to Bubba Ho-tep. Narrative Linear: The story is presented in a straight forward manner, all of the events are in chronological order. This is easy to understand and is quite common in films aimed at a younger audience, due to the ease with which one can understand the plot. Non-linear: Events are placed in non-chronological order, to present a story in a more complex manner, an early example is Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, in which the same story is told numerous times. Each iteration of the initial story is told by unreliable narrators, which serves to forward the main plot. One-Off Adaptation: A story is changed or updated/
backdated in order to put a fresh spin on it.
This is typically done to well-known books, although it is commonly considered that many are not as good as the source material. A one-off program is only intended to be released as a standalone product and is not part of a series. It can sometimes lead to spin-offs but this is very rare, as the stories generally are meant to be tied up in one program to leave as few plot holes as possible. Strictly, a lot of films also come under this classification. Doors Open is a recent example of a one-off comedy. It is an adaptation of a book by the same name, we know it is a one-off as it follows the tropes of being a one-off program; it is not part of a series and isn't intended to be one. A Short Stay In Switzerland is a one-off drama
starring Julie Walters, it featured very long, single shot scenes which were used for exceptionally long periods of exposition, this fits the single-camera set-up perfectly. Natural lighting is commonly employed throughout, which lends itself to this set-up as well. The Midnight Meat Train: Adapted from the 1984 book of the same name, this uses long tracking shots and longer than normal scenes to heighten tension, the long, drawn out scenes are typically used to make the scare coming up in the next scene more scary. David Lynch David Lynch is a surrealist filmmaker who has made films that use single-camera set ups, for example, Eraserhead was made using single-camera techniques, however you could argue that this was due to the budget limitations of a director making his first film. Other films of his that also follow this pattern are:
The Elephant Man
Blue Velvet
Wild at Heart
His TV series Twin Peaks was also filmed using a single-camera set up. The video for OK Go's 'Here it goes again' is entirely filmed in one take, which itself is an indicator of single-camera work. This single camera piece is a common theme in OK Go's videos, due to the fact that a single camera set up suits long videos with little actual content. Another OK Go video is a single take of a Rube Goldberg machine which goes on for almost four minutes. My Single Camera Film
Or at least 16.6% of it. What excites me about Single Camera techniques The potential for a comedic approach excites me the most,
I'd prefer if I could use the tracking aspect of the shots to create some sort of comedic effect when it comes my final film. Single Camera Advert: The Cog This advert was done in one take, and depicts an entire Rube Goldberg machine comprised only of car parts. While it could've been done in multi-cam, this doesn't end itself to long takes, and is much more impressive and aesthetically appealing when done using a single-camera set-up. I.e. main character walking through set area while
various pre-ordained events happen in the background, unbeknownst to him. I could use the closed nature of the shots to
heighten tension by creating an assailant/antagonist that the audience can't see or don't see moving. Thank You for Watching An Example of a
Single Camera Horror Film:
L'Entrepot (The Warehouse)
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