This week's entry once again has photography yielding to wordsmith-ing. This last week I attended the Directing Motion seminar by Vincent Laforet as a representative of Video Gear, one of the local sponsors. It's an excellent seminar and well attended, as well as a real eye-opener on the vast knowledge I have yet to know exists. That's one thing about film making; you never know it all. It's a constant stimulating kick-your-butt challenge which means it's not for everyone. There's a reason those who seem to achieve mastery get paid so much.
This last year I concentrated on understanding more about lighting: the gear, techniques, terminology, intention...etc. Vincent's seminar is aimed at directors and talks about how to use a camera for storytelling, which involves movement, composition intent, and coverage. It's the DP's job to light the set, but often left to the director on how a scene is covered. As a budding DP I see increased value in my skills if I can provide guidance in how to cover a scene and help the director. I don't want to direct; or as I keep telling my director colleagues - I don't want to deal with actors!
One major difference I now see between amateur directors and experienced directors is the power of intention. Experienced directors move the camera because of known intent - they know that it will move the story forward and make you feel something about a character. Amateur directors move the camera because they think the shot will look cool since so-and-so did it in one of their favorite movies. I'm certainly not an experienced director by far, but I am going to make an effort to expand my skill set into the power of intention. Lighting-wise I'm reasonably familiar with intent. Not a Hollywood level DP, but familiar enough for the size of projects I do work on. Camera movement seems like a good growth opportunity for me.
A few of the things I learn that immediately come to mind are...
1. Dolly trucking shots often use vertical lines to increase the awareness of parallax.
2. When running out of time in a scene, consider a "one shot wonder" that starts wide/medium and goes in close.
3. Always consider the intent of the language of the script, as well as the immediate emotion when gathering coverage of a scene. It will help minimize the amount of camera moves.
4. A moving camera often follows a character like a magnet being attracted to steel.
If and when I get the money together I'd like to get the seminar DVD's just as a reference, that is if my director friends don't get them first. It seems to be difficult to find books and other media on cinematic language and camera movement.
HOW WE DID IT: Doc Style
2 years ago