Film Production CYCLE + Roles
Modes of Representation,
and Ethical Concerns / Recording Human Behavior
Film Production Cycle + Roles
Writes the story, adapts the story to a screenplay (includes character and scene descriptions, dialog, action and transitions). Sometimes it's also the director.
— Responsible for the overall creative vision of the film (what it communicates, how it looks and feels).
— Directs the actors and works closely with the DP & Editor
- Shot plan:
a checklist of shots to capture during film production. This list should include what is being shot and how it will be shot to help you prepare for the shoot
Visual boards take it one step further. They tell us what the action/dialog is and how to get from one shot to the next:
- The Type of Shot
- Camera Motion
- Responsible for all the logistics: budget, casting, location scouts,
equipment, scheduling, salaries, and all other production details
Cinematographer / Director of Photography:
The discipline of making lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images for the cinema. The cinematographic qualities of a film are not only what is filmed but how it is filmed.
Qualities of the "shot plan" include:
- (1) the photographic aspects of the shot (ie. lighting, depth of field, color)
- (2) the framing of the shot (for dramatic effect- everything is purposeful)
- (3) the duration of the shot (psychological effects of speed)
"camera angle / HEIGHTS":
- Whose POV is being expressed?
- Where is the camera?
- What is our relationship to the subject?
- High angle / "birds eye view" – belittling, leaving a scene, godlike perspective
- Direct – intimate, we're in the scene, in the conversation, in the action
- Low angle / "worms eye view" – empowering, frightening, cowarding
- OTS / "Over The Shoulder" - camera is positioned behind one subject's shoulder, usually during a conversation. Implies connection between the speakers as opposed to the single shot that suggests distance.
- POV ("Point of View")
"Inventory POV" Examples:
"Object POV" Examples:
"line of action":
- What distance are we from the subject, psychologically?
- Extreme Close Up (face takes up entire screen or closer)
- Close up (bust and up)
- Medium Shot (Waist & Up)
- Medium Full Shot (Knees & Up)
- Full Shot (Entire Body)
> Here are some screen shot examples of various shot types
- 180º degree rule:
Imaginary line running in front of camera to make sure that if
multiple angles are shot, they can be cut together without a confusing reversal
of left and right screen space.
- "MASTER" / "ESTABLISHING SHOT":
- Establishes the context for a scene by showing the relationship between its important figures and objects. It is generally a long or extreme long shot at the beginning of a scene indicating where, and sometimes when, the remainder of the scene takes place.
- "camera movement" / "DISCOVERY":
- Panning (camera remains stationary and follows subject matter)
- Example: Shawshank Redemption (at 1:23) by Frank Darabont
- Example: Blow Out by Brian DePalma
- Example of "Whip Pan": Hot Fuzz by Edgar Wright (Same as a pan but so fast the picture blurs beyond recognition, usually accompanied by a 'whoosh' sound.)
- Tracking / Dolly / Follow Shot (camera moves with subject)
- Tilt (lens moves up or down while keeping its horizontal axis constant. Nod your head up and down - this is tilting / Staring...).
- Zoom in, zoom out (fast or slow has different effects)
- Focus in, focus out (dream, loss of consciousness)
- Crane shot (most fluid, "god like")
- Handheld, "Shaky Cam" / following footage
- Vertigo / Dolly Zoom (Exaggerates perspective — dizziness, confusion, surprise, boredom, ecstasy)
- Example: Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock
- Example: Jaws by Steven Spielberg
- Spin Around / 360º Tracking Shot (A subject around whom the camera circles to provide a rotating view from all sides. Can give the impression the subject is spinning).
- Mirror Shot (shot of mirror reflection with no disruption when it reveals reality)
- Slow Motion (When time appears to be slowed down)
- Production Designer:
- In charge of visual design of the story
- Mise-en-scène: ("Mees on Sen" = French Pronunciation)
Literally means "putting in the scene"
- All of the elements placed in front of the camera to be photographed- the settings and props, lighting, costumes and makeup, figure behavior. The "Production Designer" is the term used in the film and TV industry to refer to the person who works directly with the director and producer to select the settings and style to visually tell the story.
During production or in post-production, the editor is responsible for piecing together image and sound to tell the story.
Modes of Representation
- Example: High School by Frederick Wiseman
- Example: Streetwise by Martin Bell
- Example: Salesman by the Maysles Brothers
- Example: Don't Look Back by D.A. Pennebaker
- Depiction of everyday life
- Stresses non-intervention of the filmmaker
- "Fly-on the wall" or "cinema verite" style of shooting
- Filmmaker records non-obtrusively what subjects do
- Subjects do not explicitly address the camera
- Editing enhances the impression of live or real time
- Success depends on filmmaker's ability to include representative
& revealing moments
- CON: Lacks historical context
- Example: Roger & Me by Michael Moore
- Example: Sherman's March by Ross McElwee
- Example: First Comes Love by Nina Davenport
- Example: Supersize Me by Morgan Spurlock
- Emulates the approach of the anthropologist: participant and observer
- Situations in the film are affected or altered by the filmmaker's presence
- Encounter between filmmaker & subject becomes critical element in the film
- CON: Narrow in POV, may reflect the creator more than the issues being addressed
- Example: The Man with a Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov
- Example: Driving Me Crazy by Nick Broomfield
- The most self-aware mode
- Its reflexivity makes audience aware of how other modes claim to construct "truth" through documentary practice
- Uses many devices to acknowledge the filmmaker's presence, perspective and
- Selectivity in constructing the film, narrative form is very apparent and transparent
- Dares the audience to question the intent of the filmmaker
- A documentary becomes more objective when it acknowledges its own biases & agenda
- In other words, a doc becomes more objective when it admits its own subjectivity
- CON: Too abstract, loses sight of actual issues
- Example: An Inconvenient Truth by Davis Guggenheim
- Example: Food, Inc. by Robert Kenner
- Addresses the viewer directly with titles or voices
- Voice of god commentary
- Advances an argument about the historical world
- Images illustrate commentary around a need for a solution
- CON: Overly didactic and authoritative
ETHICS / Recording Human Behavior
- A filmmaker is representative of the social, political and economic interests of others
- Should represent others with sensitivity to their own ideas of identity
- There should be informed consent, consider how much your subjects know about your project
- How much input and control do they have over their own representation
- What does it take to record human behavior in a way that most successfully reveals the truth?
- Prepare carefully, select the crew and the equipment that will do the best job
careful prep should lead you to a location where you have a high probability of shooting the behavior you're seeking
- Trust & credibility (with subjects & audience)
- The ability to discard preconceptions & plan for the unexpected
- An understanding of how what is being shot relates to the edited film that will be made
- The ability to be inconspicuous, non-interfering
- To allow people to act differently in different situations (this is more naturalistic, their behavior will remain consistent with their beliefs about themselves and their place in the world)
- Don't worry about behavior that happens off camera, shrug off a missed shot
- Be active in the process of selection and decision making
- What you point the camera at
- How you shoot the subject matter (angle, framing, lighting)
- When you turn the camera off and on