Camera Movement is something we interpret without thinking about it. The purposes of common camera movements are listed below:
1. A crane shot is often used by composers of films to signify the end of a film or scene. The effect is achieved by the camera being put on a crane that can move upwards.
2. A tracking shot and a dolly shot have the same effect. A tracking shot moves on tracks and a dolly shot is mounted on a trolley to achieve the effect in the example above. This camera movement is used in a number of ways but is most commonly used to explore a room such as a restaurant. By using a tracking shot or a dolly shot the composer of a film gives the viewer a detailed tour of a situation. It can also be used to follow a character.
3. Panning is used to giving the viewer a panoramic view of a set or setting. This can be used to establish a scene.
It is important that you do not confuse the camera angles and camera shots. Camera angles are used to position the viewer so that they can understand the relationships between the characters. They are more deliberately technique-y.
1. A bird’s eye angle is an angle that looks directly down upon a scene. This angle is often used as an establishing angle, along with an extreme long shot, to establish a setting.
2. A high angle is a camera angle that looks down upon a subject. A character shot with a high angle will look vulnerable or small. These angles are often used to demonstrate to the audience a perspective of a particular character.
3. An eye-level angle puts the audience on an equal footing with the characters. This is the most commonly used angle in most films as it allows the viewers to feel comfortable with the characters.
4. A low angle is a camera angle that looks up at a character. This is the opposite of a high angle and makes a character look more powerful. This can make the audience feel vulnerable and small by looking up at the character. This can help the responder feel empathy if they are viewing the frame from another character’s point of view.
5. A Dutch angle is used to demonstrate the confusion of a character or the strangeness of a place. A Dutch angle should disorient you.
When shooting is finished there will be hours and hours of footage – most of which will never be seen or used. It is the editor’s role to ensure continuity (that the film flows from one scene to another and that plot and character development make sense throughout the film). There are many editing techniques and rules and we will cover the basics:
A cutaway in a film occurs when a scene is interrupted by another piece of footage. For example, a character driving a car down the street may have been filmed all in one shot, but half-way down the street a piece of footage of the character spying on the driver has been edited in.
This occurs when one scene slowly fades into another. This is often done to show the link between two scenes or the passing of time.
There are a variety of wipes. Wipes are used as transitional techniques between scenes. The following are examples of wipes. Pay close attention to how these wipes link scenes and therefore help to shape meaning.
• A clock wipe is used to connote time passing between two scenes. (the old scene disappears a quadrant at a time and is replaced with the new scene, like clock hands turning around)
• A matrix wipe can consist of a variety of patterns that form the transition between scenes. It will be up to you to decide why a composer has used a particular matrix wipe.
Sound and Lighting:
Lighting is a very important aspect of shaping meaning in films. What kind of atmosphere is created in a room lit by candles? A room that is brightly lit by neon lights might seem sterile or a shadowy room might be eerie or scary.
The sound, soundtrack and music in a film are very important to the impact of films and play a major role in shaping meaning in the text. The difference between sound, soundtrack and music is as follows:
• Sound is generally referred to as diegetic sounds.
• Soundtracks are any songs used during the film.
• Music is the incidental mood music known as the film score.
The use of Soundtracks and Music are more likely to be significant techniques, but there are exceptions, especially in the absence of other music, the noise of footsteps, for example, might be very important.