Cinematography For Directors [Ep 6 – F*ing With Physics]

Cinematography For Directors [Ep 6 – F*ing With Physics]

Cinematography For Directors is series of short videos dissecting the shot selection and framing used in nine specific scenes in the movie Drinking Games. HUGE thanks to Cinematographer Andrew “Tank” Rivara at and AC Chris Falkowski for making it all possible!

My hope is that the ideas expressed in the videos help your decision-making process on your next film. Remember, these are just ideas, a jumping off point, a way to start thinking about picking and framing shots. Hope it’s helpful!

***Ep 6 – F’ing With Physics***
I discuss how and why we created shots that revealed the “hand of god” in the film Drinking Games, and some ways you can apply these specific techniques to your own projects! Full text below.

***About me***
I’m an independent producer/director with award-winning features distributed in theaters, online and internationally. When I have a new project, I do a lot of Q&A’s and with my new feature Drinking Games, I took a lot of questions about the cinematography and shot selection. I thought this type of breakdown would be helpful to other directors like you, so I put in video form. You can check out my films below, they’re all available on Hulu, iTunes and Amazon.

Drinking Games

Turtle Hill, Brooklyn

The Graduates

***Full Video Text***
Two different moves happening simultaneously here: the slow dolly into Shawn and Richard’s slow spin out of context.

I’m going to be a little bit literal here for a second. The slow Dolly into Shawn is to highlight his increasing understanding of who his friend really is. And, the slow spin on Richard where he slides out of traditional context is meant to suggest that he is growing out of college, out of his youth, and out of his relationship to Shawn.

The side-spin camera move takes place in Melanie’s room because her maturity and presence is the catalyst for his change. Once he leaves this room he is in a new world, it’s a portal in a way.

The scene ends with Shawn leaving his room as well- and the lighting shifts significantly- from a deep red to a sickly green. Things aren’t fun in there anymore, they aren’t light and simple. So when Shawn returns later, he’s returning to a different world.

The change in lighting is also meant to make the room Erin’s for the time being. It’s time for her to have her own experiences, which is why we end on the green lighting of Erin, and not a closeup of Shawn for instance.

The dolly shot is relatively straight forward, but just a quick note about how we did the side-spin or flop-pan or whatever you want to call it of Richard.

Sometimes a tripod head can just fall forward, if the weight on the front of the camera is significant. So we placed our camera sideways on the tripod, moved it toward the front of the tripod head (putting more weight toward the front) and loosened the tripod head just the tiniest bit. The front-weight of the camera caused the head to tip froward, and tilt, and tilt… and the camera ended up perfectly on its side.

Hope this was helpful!

Post any questions in the comments or email me at
ryan at believeltd dot com