Videos

CAMERA MOVEMENT IN FILM

Ok. So lets talk about camera movement.

Camera movement is part of the visual language of cinema, and a key part in the screen grammar in the artist kit of a Director, used to tell a story. Unlike in non narrative music videos where movement doesn’t have to be motivated. In narrative story telling , 99.9% of the time, there should be a motivation for moving the camera.

Some motivations are

Subject movement motivated : the subject within the frame is moving and the camera moves along with them to keep them within the frame.

Subjective Camera: this is when the camera sees as the characters sees, and also moves accordingly. This is mostly in POV shots.

Reveal or Conceal : this is when the camera moves to reveal or hide a character or information. This is best employed to uncover critical narrative details or actions which till that time have been off screen.

Actual Camera Movements

Dolly Shot: this allows the camera to move closer or farther from an object(or subject) . Dolly in or Dolly out, are also know as a Push in or Push out.

Crane Shot : this raises the camera vertically up or down in relation to the subject.

Steadicam Shots: Steadicam is associated with free flowing dynamic camera movement. It allows the operator freedom of movement while maintaining a stable and clean shots (free of wobble & shaking)

Handheld: When shooting handheld, it MUST have a narrative purpose. It should just be done because a tripod wasn’t available, or getting the shot as quickly as possible when shooting guerrilla style. It can be used to give a documentary style feel. But if not done right, it can feel tonally out of place and pull out the viewer from the film. If shooting handheld, consider its place visually with the rest of the film, and the purpose of shooting that scene handheld. Are you creating a sense of urgency? Chasing a character? Following a character? Portraying a psychological or emotional state?

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WHAT’S IN THE FRAME – VIDEO ESSAY #2

OK, So i decided to do another video essay and this time it’s on FRAMING . Using examples of films by Nigerian Directors .
Check it out. If you like what you see and want to see more. Click on the subscribe button, leave comment and if you want to you can support the making of more videos( they take time to make) on Patreon

You can see it with some notes on my guest post here

#SPITTAKE – IT AINT EASY BEING BLACK…………IN HOLLYWOOD

Wow. Been becoming more aware of this condition ,and this video , takes it down, to the “ordinary” man. The guy or girl who may not want stardom, but just loves acting and wants to land great and challenging roles , playing fully dimensional characters. Gives credence to what Chris Rock said about Hollywood being a white man industry, and that is coming from an A-lister , so it must be much tougher for these guys.

Having grown up in a country that is more or less 99.9% black (doubt if other race make up to .1% of residents) i never really got the concerns, debates and why certain casting or lack of casting upset black folks in the US/UK etc.

This is probably a reason to appreciate that, at least in Nollywood, Black actors don’t have to struggle to be cast and while stereotype roles still exist, as writing,directing keeps evolving, maybe one day it can be a Mecca for Black Actors from all around the world.So lets appreciate what we have and take it to the next level. ‪#‎SpitTake‬

Creativity – The Sunday Times Icons

MAD RESPECT for the mind behind this and his team. Saying so much in so little time, and the fact it was done all in one unbroken take , is just brilliant. From the costume changes, to the cinematography, slick camera movement and lighting change, each matching the movie it paid homage to; Geekasm

Yeah, i know it’s been out for a while now, but i came across it again and was still blown away by it.

How many of the icons do YOU, recognize?

STICK-TO-IT-IVENESS

No matter how many times i watch this, im still blown away by this man’s talent. Not only is he an amazing singer/impersonator, but he does it all while performaing a ventroloquist act.

He had performed for over 20 years as an unknown, didn’t make it till his 40’s, but when he did? Boy did he make it. He eventually won that season of America’s Got Talent and also a 100million 5 year performing contract in Vegas.

Saw this video first in 08, still come back to watch it to remind me of perseverance and ofcourse listen to the amazing Terry Fator.

SCREENWRITING: CHARACTER INTRODUCTION

HUMAN TARGET is an action drama tv series based on a graphic novel from the DC comics stables , it ran for two seasons on Fox.

Christopher Chance is a unique private contractor, bodyguard and security expert hired to protect his clients. Rather than taking on the target’s identity himself (as in the comic book version), he protects his clients by completely integrating himself into their lives, to become a “human target”. Chance is accompanied by his business partner Winston (Chi McBride) and hired gun Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley).{Culled from Wikipedia)

This is a scene from Season 1 Episode 1 and has to be one of my favorite character introductions.

Before this scene, Chance suggests to his business partner Winston, that they bring on Guerroro to assist with the case. Winston is reluctant , but we dont know why, and then we see this scene.

This scene says all that needs to be said about Guerroro , who he is and what he’s capable of doing. Lesser writing would have had another character describing him and giving some sort of spook story. From a few words, we establish this is not a man to be trifiled with, he has formidable skills both intellectually and malevolently.

As they say, in screenwriting, SHOW is better than TELL. If you want to audience to know how dangerous a character is , dont use another character to describe it, that has minimal effect, create a scene (not contrived or show horned) where he is in his element and we actually see him in display.

How we introduce a character makes a great impact on how the audience reacts to him and perceives him for the rest of the show/movie. A bad or weak introduction , and even if he turns out great, the impact may have been minimized already.

No small parts, just small actors – part 2

BEVERLY HILLS COP is a classic. It was one of the first real and successful Action Comedies, a Bruckhiemer production, it catapulted a young Eddie Murphy to stardom and a very successful career in the 80s. His character of Axel Foley is one of the most memorable movie cops, right along John McLane,Martin Riggs and Dirty Harry. But we’re not here to talk about Eddie Murphy.

In this scene, after Axel Foley goes to see childhood friend Jenny Summers, when he comes across Serge, played by Bronson Pinochot(Perfect Strangers). This scene stands out in an already hilarious movie, its not possible to watch this film and forget this scene.

Now, the director hired Bronson, to play the role , but was not prepared for what was about to happen. Camera rolls, Bronson walks into the scene and starts to do that accent. The director bursts out laughing, they blew so many takes because it was so unexpected. Bronson made that choice as an actor, for a role that last less than 3 minutes, and he is forever remembered by those that love this film. The character was so memorable he returned in the less stellar sequel .

What choices are you making as an actor, to give your character more life, more distinction rather than just coming on set , thinking, “this is a tiny role, let me just do it and leave and get paid”.

Oh yeah, did i mention that on the strength of this one scene, that is less than 2 minutes,and that crazy accent,Bronson got his own television series ,Perfect Strangers, which ran from 1986-1993?

PERFECT STRANGERS

No small parts, just small small actors- part one

THE INCREDIBLES(2004) by Pixar, is one of my favorite animated movies of all times. It has adventure, comedy, suspense, drama and intrigue. It’s script is strong enough to be made as a live action and appeals both to adults and kids.

One of the most memorable characters in the movie is Edna Mode , the pint sized aristocratic fashion designer, who has a way of intimidating even the Supers. Voiced by the director Brad Bird, she is one screen for less then 15 minute of the movie’s 115 min running time. But you can’t watch the movie without remembering her. If you’ve ever heard anyone scream “No Capes!!” , that’s her line.

Often times some young actors get discouraged when they keep getting supporting roles, and long for a lead role. While that’s a good aspiration, you can still shine in that supporting or minor role.

In an incredible number of films, a character actor that has just a few minutes on screen is more memorable than even the lead or other major characters. So whatever the role, while not showboating and trying to steal the scene. See that part as a role which may be the one your favorite producer or director may see and decide to cast you in their next project. It has happened to many people, you could be next.

Directing: Dont ask me about my business Kay- The Godfather

This is another favorite scene of mine from The Godfather, certainly one that blows me away the most from a directing perspective.

In this scene, Michael’s sister has come to yell at Michael for having her husband Carlos killed, as he blamed him for the hit on Sonny by Barzini. Kay, being taken aback asks him about it, he denies it and she leaves, going to get something for him. As she does, through an inner door, Michael is joined by Clemenza and some of the other capos that come to pay respect. As Kay looks on they acknowledge him for the first time as Godfather,and the door is shut for a private meeting.

That single act of closing the door has so many layered meanings it’s unbelievable.

As Michael gains a new family and position in the family, and is welcomed into the business that his father once kept him out of, Kay who was once his confidant and the closest person to him is shut out literally and metaphorically.

Dunno if FFC had this intention or all the meaning i have read into it, but WOW, i dunno of any 5 seconds of film make me just think GENIUS!!!!!!!! THAT,is what great cinema does and why The Godfather for the foreseeable future will be regarded as one of the best films ever made.

Screenwriting: It’s not personal, it’s strictly business- The Godfather

I tell people this is the pivotal scence, and the most powerful in the movie, but some disagree .

THIS, is the scene where Michael evolves from distant observer to the active member of the family and emerging Don. This is the turning point in Michael’s character, where he makes a decision that will not only affect him, but all the other characters and the entire story. The incitng incident was the attempt on his father’s life at the hospital, there he showed he was street wise in how he pretended he and the baker were armed and not naive or the school boy that he was seen as earlier in the film.

In this , it is revealed that Michael is more like his father than Sonny. The contrast seen between the two of them and their approach to the situation is very clear. It also shows why Sonny was easily lured and killed. While he’s all hot headed and quick to jump, Michael is calm and strategic, despite having being assaulted by the man he’s planning against. The difference in the kind of men they are and their leadership style is finalized here. THIS scene, is where he unofficially became the next Don.

Characters need to have identifiable moments like this, where they wake up and decide to do something.

Although, this was one of many moments with Michael, but as he monologues on how to take out Sollozo and McKluskey, and then use the news papers to soften the blowback for the killing, you can almost see him transforming before your eyes; and when he says, “it’s not personal, it’s strictly business”. You can tell that , the Michael in the army uniform in the opening scene that seperated himself from his family, has disappeared and a formidable force has taken over.