AS Film Production
The Frame actively defines the image for us. Lumiere The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (1897) is an example of static framing influenced by photography. Note the positioning of the shot so that the train arrives on a diagonal and therefore more dramatically. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dgLEDdFddk Baby’s Meal (1895) – selected position to emphasize certain aspects of the event. Medium Shot (MS) Emphasising the family’s gestures and facial expressions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcKOdfpHJpM Framing can powerfully affect the image by means of: the size and shape of the frame The way the frame defines onscreen and off-screen space The way framing imposes the distance, angle and height of a vantage point onto the image The way framing can move in relation to the mise-en-scene
We are used to film framed in a rectangle 16: 9 Widescreen. This has a significant effect that emphasizes horizontal compositions. Originally it was introduced for spectacular genres, Westerns, Historical epics. Widescreen can also be used creatively. Subjects can be isolated within the space or placed off center. The space can also be filled with multiple points of interest as in a crowd scene. Filmmakers have also experimented with the shape of the frame by; attaching masks – where the frame dilates like the iris of an eye. Moving circular mask –
Multiple Frame Imagery – or split screen – Examples of this can be found in various films from the narrative to the experimental e.g. Timecode (Mike Figgis), Chesea Girl Andy Warhol
Onscreen and off-screen space
The frame limits what we can and can’t see. It offers us a slice of the world. Noel Burch has identified zones of off-screen space The space beyond each of the four edges of the frame The space behind the set The space behind the camera A character can direct looks into the space or sounds can eminate from it to continue the illusion of a complete world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IBof-Wmb50
Angle, Level, Height, and distance of Framing
Framing suggests the positioning from which the material in the image is viewed. Camera angle Camera level Camera height Camera distance ANGLE The straight on angle The High angle (looking down) The low angle (looking up) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3rVn0xaOJA LEVEL The level effects our sense of gravity within the frame Canted angles (camera positioned at a diagonal angle) E.g. Carol Reed’s The Third HEIGHT To give the sense of being stationed at a high or low angle. DISTANCE The framing of the image stations us not only at a certain angle and height and on a level plane or at a cant but also at a certain distance camera distance ELS figures invisible, often used to revel in landscapes or crowd scenes LS – figures more visible but background dominates MLS – figure and background balanced MS – gesture and expression become visible MCU CU just head hands and feet or object emphasizes facial expression, gestures ECU singles out a portion of the face isolating and magnifying.
FUNCTIONS OF FRAMING
Framing creates meaning - low angle up creates a powerful figure. High angle down dwarfs the figure. Canted- the world is out of kilter. However framing has no absolute meanings. Canted shots can be used to create dynamism Framing can stand out if used sparsely if for example most of the film is made up of ms and then there is a CU or ELS LS allow us to explore and revel in vistas as in Westerns Or give us time to explore the abstract within vast spaces There are no set rules in framing La Passion de Jeanne d’arc uses unusual and upside down framing.
The Mobile Frame
So far we have looked at framing in a photographic way. The unique aspect of framing within films is that they can move. Mobile framing – the framing can change angle, level height and distance. Types of mobile framing The Pan –(panorama) rotates the camera on a vertical axis. A camera scanning space turning its head left and right. Camera does not move position. The Tilt – movement rotates the camera on a horizontal axis- Unrolls a space from top to bottom. Camera does not move position Tracking or dolly shot. Now steadicam (gimbal balanced camera) Camera does move position. Traveling along the ground in any direction. Figures can stay in relation to the camera as they walk for example. Crane shot – camera moves above ground level. Rises or descends. E.g. Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg8MqjoFvy4
Camera movements have several arresting affects
They often increase information about the space of the image Objects become more vivid and sharper than stationary framings New objects or figures are usually revealed Tracking shots create changing stimulating environments. Objects appear more solid and three-dimensional when the camera arcs. Camera movement is a substitute for our own movement. Everything remains realistic and in relation. Motion Control Cameras are often now controlled by computers that plot their movements e.g. Star Wars Hand-held camera techniques developed out of the late 1950’s Cinema Verite or Direct cinema e.g the films of John Cassevettes, Julien Donkey Boy. Creates realism. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvGufG6Ujow These effects of movement can also be created in post production or on an optical printer panning and zooming/panning around the image in digital editing software. E.g. Tarnation or most documentaries (Ken Burns). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLDQL23nutw
FUNCTIONS OF FRAME MOBILITY
Following Shot – involves reframing in order to follow the action of a subject or event. The camera subordinates itself to following the subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWYe-Ef3u5M The camera can also choose not to follow subjects but to move off in other directions to show something significant to the plot. When looking at framing think how does the framing and camera movement affect our sense of place? How does it function to reveal or conceal off-screen space? Is the frame mobility dependent on figure movement or independent of it? What particular trajectory does the camera pursue?
THE MOBILE FRAME AND TIME
Our sense of duration and rhythm is affected by the mobile frame. A long camera movement takes up a lot of time and can slow down the film or build up suspense. The speed at which something pans and zooms can be like a quick change of attention. If it is quick it takes us by surprise or creates a faster rhythm. If it is slow it can build up suspense. Rhythm can be created through framing and movement e.g. Singin in the Rain. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmCpOKtN8ME PATTERNS OF MOBILE FRAMING The mobile frame can create its own specific motifs with a film. Forward movement in Psycho at the beginning and at the end. Delving further psychologically into the mind of Norman.
SHOTS AND DURATION
The Long take – early film relied on long durational shots as there was often only one shot in each film. 1895-1905. From 1905 - 1916 shots became shorter. Average shot length was about 5 secs. After the coming of sound it became 10 secs. The long take is an alternative to a series of shots e.g. Touch of Evil The long take is used selectively Rope is an example where the film is nearly all one long take (8 shots) Andy Warhol would often film until the reel ran out. Russian Ark is all one shot 90 min steadicam take. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3EO6DS6IRQ The long take is connected to mobile framing. It can use panning, zooming, tracking, craning, zooming etc.