Shot by Shot

Today’s title comes from this weeks required reading, “How to Read a Movie” By Roger Ebert. It’s in reference to a style of movie analyzing in which the viewer takes the movie apart and studies each frame or shot.

In some ways it’s a lot like analyzing any form of media. Take a book report for example, You have to break it down into smaller parts. You discuss the author’s style of writing as well. Analyzing a film shot by shot is just like this.

Roger Ebert really got into the whole visual meaning behind the different movie techniques in his writing. Even the smallest detail can have a deeper implication. One of the most defined and discussed techniques was the position of people/items in relation to each other. Ebert spoke about how being on the right side is more positive versus left being more negative, how the Top of the shot has more of a dominance than the bottom, about foreground being stronger than the background and how a tilt can make for an uncomfortable/out of balance mood for the viewers.

The visual example given in the article was this scene from Citizen Kane

I have no idea who these people are.

Though I’ve never actually watched this movie, just from this scene I get a specific feeling from it. The guy in the shadows on the left basically gives off this terrifying aura while the one on the right seems much more heroic.

Continuing on, I also watched three videos dealing with cinematic techniques.

First up is Tarantino//From Below. In this piece the creator takes scenes from various films by Quentin Tarantino. What’s focused on in this collection of scenes is the way they’re shot looking up. It really puts focus on specific characters or actions.

From Tarantino's Kill Bill

From Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”

Second on the list is this little video called Examples of Editing Techniques. Just as the title suggest, it’s a list of editing techniques and examples. It seems to focus more towards transitions between scenes. Jumpcuts (scenes that go from one thing and jump to the other) and slow motion (basically slowly moving from one scene to another) are just some of the examples explored.

Just one of the great moments from the video

Just one of the great moments from the video

The last video I watched was Kurbrick//One Point Perspective. This one was a lot like Tarantino//From Below. In fact they were created by the same person (Check his other stuff out!). Unlike from below, this video focused on Stanley Kubrick one point perspective. One point perspective is when there’s only one vanishing point that everything seems to be coming from in the image/scene. It’s good for adding depth.

Moving on down the hallway in "The Shining"

Moving on down the hallway in “The Shining”

All together I feel like I gained a new respect for films and learned quite a bite. Like how a film can have a terrible storyline but be visually an amazing work of art or how a film can be broken down to explore the separate scenes more thoroughly.

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