Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cinema Interruptus

Photo: promo shot from Notorious

Roger Ebert describes his "Shot at a Time" technique for watching movies. This is a method of stopping a movie at a random point and analyzing the frame in order to determine what the placement of objects or people, as well as the lighting, signifies and what effect this is meant to have on the viewer. About the above still from 'Notorious' he says:

Bergman on strong axis. Grant at left. Bergman lighter, Grant shadowed. Grant above, Bergman below. Movement toward lower right. The attention and pressure is on her.

In more general terms Ebert describes what the different parts of the frame means here:

Now what do I mean by "positive" or "negative?" I mean that these are tendencies within the composition. They are not absolutes. But in general terms, in a two-shot, the person on the right will "seem" dominant over the person on the left. Does this apply even to films from cultures that read right to left or top to bottom? From my treks through many Asian films, yes, it seems to.

A cool idea that I never thought of trying. I'm looking forward to trying this out with a DVD.

No comments:

Blog Archive