Throughout this week we were thinking about the nature and use of screen motion, and how and why it is important to keep continuity through screen motion. I completed a practical task to show what I have learnt through the week, and I will evaluate this task to show what I have learnt. I will also talk about any problems that I had this week. This will help me to develop my understanding of the Filming process as a whole, as well as help me to improve in my path as a creator.
The problem we had this week was a visual problem: how to keep continuity in a scene when thinking about camera direction and screen motion. Throughout this blog I will be analysing the solutions to this problem, and thinking about other problems I may face when making my final piece.
- not having a smooth flow throughout the film.
To create a smooth flow throughout a scene you need:
Moving the camera to different places can help to create a smoother flow in a frame. This also helps to convey emotion and different levels.
Examples of camera movement to help to create a smoother flow are the following:
The nature of screen motion
The first thing that we talked about this week was screen motion and camera direction. It was interesting to learn of what these things meant, as well as how to use them effectively.
Every Frame A Painting (2015) ‘Akira Kurosawa – Composing Movement’
We looked at some of the work of Director Akira Kurosawa. it was really informative and eyeopening to learn about the variety of different techniques Kurosawa uses to keep every scene interesting and appealing, keeping an audience captivated through every single shot.
- The movement of nature:
Movement of nature helps to give the shot a huge amount of visual interest, and can add another layer emotion and way of conveying information to an audience. Kurosawa used weather such as rain, wind, fire and snow a lot to convey emotion to the audience, as well as to keep the audience invested in the shot. For example, rain is often used to convey sadness or loss to an audience, whereas fire can often be used to represent anger and hatred.
- Movement of groups:
Kurosawa often uses large groups of people in shots. Thesis is because of a variety of different reasons. Firstly, when you put so many people in a shot you create a big reaction, causing a high level of emotion. It is often said that the more people that are in the scene, the bigger the emotion feels to the audience. Another reason is that you can crete incredible reaction shots using a large amount of people. This is because you can show the audience how a large group of people are reacting to the news that you are also hearing as an audience at the same time.
- Movement of individuals:
The Blocking Kurosawa uses is often unrealistic and exciting.
what the actor will do within the scene to make sure that they stay within the shot. Helping the camera and actor work together.
the way an individual moves can help the audience to quickly identify the character, and well as et an indication of how they are feeling in their current situation.
- Movement of the camera:
Each camera movement has a clear beginning middle and end of the shot. Eat shot itself creates a story. In Kurosawa Films, each shot often changes the direction of the previous one. Kurosawa can express characters emotion in a scene through camera movement.
- Movement of the cut:
his movies flow as they tend to cut on movement, usually finishing on something static. By switching up this rhythm he keeps the audience on their toes, as you don’t know where the cut will be.
How different types of camera movement is used:
- Continuous movement
Continuous movement can be recorded by only using segments 0f the action shot from different angles. If the camera was placed on the other side of the line of movement for one shot, the subject would suddenly be moving in the opposite directions across the screen.
Different types of scene directions you can use and the way that you can maintain that throughout your production
- Zero point perspective:
also known as mutual direction, when you walk towards a camera on the 180 degree line it means that you can cut either side. If you are using that mutual direction the director can make the choice of what side they want to cut on.
A cutaway is when you make a cut to a different area within the scene. It can often represent time passing, and makes the audience forget the sense of direction in the last movement shown.
- Graphic imbalance:
When someone is cut too close to the camera and is then seen far away in the next shot. To correct this cut when the character is the same size from shot to shot. If this is not completely then continuity is not being kept between shots.
Analysis of a scene on the use of screen direction:
I looked at a scene from Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jennet 2001) to try to further my knowledge of screen direction. I decided to watch through the scene and note down some of the most effective uses of screen direction and camera movement, explain what I like about them and why:
neo932rcl (2011) ‘Amélie Poulain – “Les Flèches blues”‘
Cutaway to an arrow:
at 0:53 there is a cutaway of an arrow on the floor, and the the next shot complimented this. I really like the way Jennet decided to use the environment to show where to character should be going. This cutaway shot was really effective because it also gives the audience a change from the previous shot.
Camera movement around the statue:
to keep everything as a fluid movement and showing the audience a new line of action, the camera moves around the statue. This was a really effective way to show 180 degree rule whilst keeping the scene visually interesting for the audience. This happens at 1:18.
another really effective method to show direction was at 1:36. In this shot, the audience is shown this direction the man must go in as the statue is itself is directing him there. This is yet another really interesting way to show change in direction within a scene.
- The shots I am filming may look boring if they are just still shots.
For the solution to this problem I need to research more into camera movement:
a panning shot is one of the most common uses of camera movement. the term ‘pan’ comes from the word ‘panorama’ and simply means to turn the camera horizontally to sweep it through the scene.
A tracking shot is a shot whereby the camera is moving alongside the person or thing it is filming. Often the camera is mounted onto some sort of dolly or track so that the shot runs as smoothly as possible, creating the most effective scene for the audience.
A tilt is very similar to a panning shot. The difference between these two types of camera movement is that a panning shot is horizontal, and a tilt shot is vertical. Tilt shots are often used to add dramatic tension, or to show different levels.
Wilson, B. (2013) ‘shots and angles for a thriller/horror film’
Examples of equipment used to create effective camera movement:
you can mount your camera onto ‘Camera sliders’ to create a smooth and effective shot. They are often moveable carriages attached to a set of tracks. This allows you to widen the amount of different panning and angle options available to you as a creator
Hart, K. (2017) ‘Rhino Slider EVO – Motorized Camera Slider’
You can mount your camera to a glide cam to receive a much smoother shot. You can walk ad run with the glide cam, and your movement will be counteracted by the glide cam itself, helping you to receive a smoother, more affective shot.
Glidecam (no date) ‘Glidecam x-22 system’
Before we can create our videos to show camera movement and camera direction, we must learn how to storyboard effectively. Storyboards are often something that get overlooked, but they are in fact one of the most important steps of the overall production. Storyboards help you to visualise what your overall creation will end up looking like. Being able to visualise your production not only helps you understand what is achievable for your production, but it can also help you to spot any mistakes you may have made to do with continuity or camera movement and camera direction. There are a variety of different ways that you can storyboard. Each method can work just as effectively, but it depends on the individual as to what method helps them to work. I have decided to research a little more into this, as I am not sure which way will work best for me.
hunterp13 (2013) ‘Storyboarding and tradtional illustration’
A traditional storyboard is the most common type of storyboard. Each box shows perspective and any movement from the character. They are often extremely simple, and each box shows the next shot. Description and notes are often dotted around the outside to add any other pieces of needed information that describes the scene, type of shot or extra information that can be useful when filming the scene itself.
Chad McCOWN_2 (No Date) ‘black and white storyboard animatic’
Animatic storyboards are animated storyboards. Boards are taken into editing sites and cut together with the correct timing and cuts. Often basic sound effects are added.
Mr Edwards (no date) ‘storyboards and shot lists’
Another way you can show information is through a shot list. A shot list often will show:
- shot number
- shot type
- a description of the shot itself, noting any relevant information about the scene that will help when shooting the scene
This method is probably not the most effective for me, as I feel like I work well when I can visually see the shot, as I can then picture it well in my head.
My Story Board:
Because I have completed some more research about storyboards, I decided that doing a shot list was not the technique for me. Overall I have decided to stay with a traditional storyboard. The tradition storyboard allows me to show the shot setup in a more visual way, which helps me to picture and setup the scene when on set. I Also have added notes that are relevant and helpful to me when shooting the scene.
My Final Maintaining screen direction piece:
the Final problem and main problem that I have been thinking about this week has been screen direction and camera movement. for my final maintaining screen direction piece I have filmed a film of a character going to fill up their bottle.
overall, I am really happy with how this film showing screen direction turned out. I showed the ability to overcome problems by using reasonable and effective solutions.
One of the problems that I noticed whilst editing my shots was that, in the very first shot, the tilt looked very rigid. By this I mean that the tilt seemed rather stiff, and I don’t feel like it flowed with the character. This is because I had trouble with the tripod that I was using. The tripod itself was slightly stiff, and so it was hard to get the camera to tilt smoothly. I thought that I had managed the solve this problem whilst shooting, as when reviewing my footage on set I felt as if the shot looked smooth and effective. Although, when I got back up to edit my shots together, I found that the shot still looked rigid. There are lots of solutions I will consider next time. For example, I could have changed the tripod I was using, even though I thought that on the camera screen the shot looked fine. Swapping the tripod would have ensured that my shot was much smoother, and would have improved the overall quality of my production. Another solution would have been coming up and using the computer to review my footage as well as looking at it on just the camera screen. This would have helped me to reduce the possibility of any shots not being how I wanted them. Unfortunately, because of time constraints, I did not have time to go back out and film another shot for this, so I used what the best shot that I had.
Another problem that I noticed whilst editing my shots together was that when the character is filling up the water bottle (starts a 0:31) the cut I had to make doesn’t match up. The original problem was that I didn’t keep the camera steady enough when my actor was filling up the bottle. Also the shot took too long, and filling up the water bottle would have taken too long in relation to the rest of the scene. The best solution I came up with, with the time restraint of not being able to reshoot, was to make a cut to when the water bottle was filled. This cut does not look very professional, and may slightly take the audience out from the film, as the two cut do not match very well together, although, I made the decision to do this as it looks better than using an unstable shot. Another solution to this would have been to use a tripod for every shot. This was the only shot I made the choice not to use tripod for, and I feel that the clip may have been more effective if I had used a tripod.
Overall though I am extremely happy with how my Film turned out. I used a tilt, two pan shots, and kept continuity to the best of my ability through the piece. Each shot is relevant and needed for the piece, and I have thought about where it would be needed to use different types of camera motion, such as a tilt or pan shot. It was really interesting to think on a higher level of detail about continuity, and I feel like I kept the continuity well throughout the piece, and I am happy with how the overall product turned out.
Integrated (No Date) ‘CONTINUITY’ Available at: http://www.tpub.com/photography1/ph209261.htm (Last Accessed: 11th January 2017)
studiomaven (2017) ‘the moving image’ Available at: http://studiomaven.org/Course__200c_f13_steinfeld_session_645744.html (Last Accessed: 11th January 2017)
Red Digital Cinema Professional (No Date) ‘Panning Best Practices’ Available at: http://www.red.com/learn/red-101/camera-panning-speed (Last Accessed: 11th January 2017)
WordPress ( No Date) ‘College film and media studies’ Available at:
(Last Accessed: 11Th January 2017)
Wilson, B. (2013) ‘shots and angles for a thriller/horror film’ Available at: http://www.slideshare.net/billiewilson_/camera-shots-and-angles-for-a-horror-and-thriller-film (Last Accessed: 11th January 2017)
Hart, K. (2017) ‘Rhino Slider EVO – Motorized Camera Slider’ Available at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rhinocg/rhino-slider-evo-rhino-motion (Last Accessed: 11th January 2017)
Glidecam (no date) ‘Glidecam x-22 system’ Available at: http://glidecam.com/product-x-22 (Last Accessed: 15th January 2017)
hunterp13 (2013) ‘Storyboarding and tradtional illustration’ Available at: https://hunterp13.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/storyboarding-and-traditional-illustration/ (Last Accessed: 15th January 2017)
Chad McCOWN_2 (No Date) ‘black and white storyboard animatic’ Available at: http://www.overallpicture.com/enlargment/3422 (Last Accessed: 15th January 2017)
Mr Edwards (no date) ‘storyboards and shot lists’ available at: https://sheldonschoolmredwards.wordpress.com/final-script/storyboards-and-shot-lists/ (Last Accessed: 15th January 2017)
Every Frame A Painting (2015) ‘Akira Kurosawa – Composing Movement’ Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doaQC-S8de8 (Last Accessed: 15th January 2017)
neo932rcl (2011) ‘Amélie Poulain – “Les Flèches blues”‘ Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTesvzr9TAc (Last Accessed: 15th January 2017)