Cinematography For Directors [Ep 7 – Enhancing Conflict]

Cinematography For Directors [Ep 7 – Enhancing Conflict]

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 TankLightsYouUp.com 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 7 – Enhancing Conflict***
I discuss how and why we used a spinning camera at a uniform speed to enhance the conflict in certain scenes 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
Hulu:
iTunes:

Turtle Hill, Brooklyn
Hulu:
iTunes:

The Graduates
Hulu:
iTunes:

***Full Video Text***
Okay, so if you’ve watched a bunch of these, you’ll notice that this is the second spinning shot in the film where the spin has been the primary master shot of the scene. And again, we filmed from three different distances- wide, medium and close.

The effect is fairly obvious, it makes it look like the two actors are chasing each other around the party. But, I really love it because the consistency of the spin FORCES the actors to chase, or to adjust their pacing if they fall behind. In that way, the camera is like the rotation of the earth, or the waves in the sea, or some other force of nature- it can’t be stopped.

The unrelenting spin of the camera suggests these two could chase and chase, but they’ll never be able to close the gulf between them, because the gulf between them is inevitable and unrelenting.

It’s a subtle difference but I do think it matters, especially in a film where we intentionally use the camera to push the story and to provide different emotional moments in the same locations.

Another added benefit is that it adds to the energy of the party. Once we establish the 7 or 8 friends in the room, in order to film anything else we need to clear out the room, more or less. Remember, we filmed in a real dorm, with tiny room and low ceilings. So the movement of the camera hopefully distracts us from how sparse the tiny room actually is, allowing the audience to just focus on the actors.

Hope this was helpful!

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