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Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Preliminary Film - Evaluation

Our preliminary film - working title: The Encounter - can be seen here.

"A character opens a door, walks into a room, sits down opposite another character and they share a few lines of dialogue"

Our brief was to film the above scenario, making sure to utilize at least one match cut, an example of shot/reverse shot, and to show understanding of the 180 degree rule.

To plan our preliminary film, we created an 'animatic' storyboard using jelly babies (that can be seen here), taking photos of different possible shots we would re-create in the actual film. However, our original idea ended up being too complicated (many unnecessary characters, plus we didn't pay attention to the actual brief...) thus, when it came to film we thought on our feet and changed the story to fit the brief. So let's get down to some evaluating...

Example of match cut

A match cut is the editing of two shots together where the actions in the shots link together, creating a continuous flow between the shots. Initially we actually didn't include a match cut, however, we finished shooting early so we went back to take some additional shots. We easily filmed a close up of my hand opening the door which was added to the original take. Match cut: check!

Example of shot/reverse shot
Brilliant filming by yours truly...
A shot/reverse shot is a technique in which the camera position of the shots give a sense of conversation between two characters. This can be observed in the example to the right from the 1992 film Light Sleeper. So what about in our preliminary film? Well... we did opt for a great point-of view shot, in which either I'm tilting my head or the so-called common room was built on a slant... (see photo above). Shot/reverse shot: unsuccessful.

The 180 degree rule is a simple guideline when filming: the subjects in the same scene should always retain the the same left/right positioning to each other. At first it can be quite difficult to understand, but when filming, you must imagine an invisible line that connects the subjects. The camera must always remain on one side. If it crosses this imaginary line, it will disorient the viewer as the subjects have suddenly switched positions. However, you can actually cross this line if necessary, as long as you show the camera movement doing this. So in our preliminary film we had to show our understanding of the 180 degree rule simply by not breaking it! Simple enough, right? Well, 'on set', it was a different matter, because even with the 180 degree rule lingering on my mind, we still broke it unawarely. It was only until we got to editing that I realized our mistake. 180 degree rule: unsuccessful.

Visualization of the 180 degree rule

So basically our preliminary film was pretty crap. But! – and I'll speak for myself here – by making these mistakes it has allowed me to gain greater understanding of the shot/reverse shot and 180 degree rule. It's one thing being told about it in class, and another to go out and actually do it. I think this preliminary exercise has proved useful and will hopefully enable us to not make the same mistakes in our final film!

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