When I was younger, I remember looking at movies and just taking them for face value, you know, pretty pictures, funny lines, cute actors. But as I grew older I started to analyze what I saw. I started to look at the actual meaning of why the movie was made and what it was trying to portray. After reading Roger Ebert’s article How to Read a Movie, that helped me to think critically about why things are shot or recorded the way that they are and the effect it can have on the audience. Some of the things that stuck out to me from Ebert’s article was that:
- “The foreground is stronger than the background.”
- “Tilt shots put everything on a diagonal, implying the world is out of balance.”
The first quote from the article I actually disagree with. I think it depends on the effect used in the shot. For example, now a lot of people use filters when they take photos or record video. The filter can blur the foreground and highlight the background. Also sometimes if there is something very colorful in the background that is where my attention is drawn. Looking at the random photo below, I hope that you see what I mean. In the foreground, there are trees but my eyes are drawn to the city in the background of the photo.
The second quote from the article I agree with. I actually had to sit and think about this, but every tilt shot I can think of did imply some form of imbalance. For example here is a tilted shot from one of my favorite movies Kung Fu Panda (and yes I do know I am an adult lol). As you can see, this movie still shows Po riding on a cart. The chaos is shown by the expression on his face and the angle of the shot. I did not put those things together until I read this article.
The cinema techniques I learned did not stop at Ebert’s article. I picked up some tips from a few youtube videos. The first is titled “Examples f Editing Techniques”. I would have to say the my favorite is the fast motion/time compression. I love to watch nature shows and when I see those shots I always wondered how they did it. My next favorite is the freeze frame. I will most likely attempt to do that with one of my assignments. The other techniques discussed in this video were jump cuts, slow motion/montage, wipe transition (I absolutely hate this one), still/thaw frame, form cut, and much more.
The next youtube video I saw was called 2001 A SPace Odyssey-match cut. It was very short video. I got the just of what the technique was, but I wish that there were more examples because I do not know a lot about movies so it would have been nice to see more than just a 12 second clip. So I actually found a video that explains what it is and why its used. I hope this helps for people who are stuck like me!