This week is all about moving away from audio and towards video, specifically towards how everything we have explored over the last couple of weeks comes together to make a scene. With that being said, the first assignment we were to complete this week was meant to really get me thinking about all of the details that go into film and video.
The week started off reading Roger Ebert’s How the Read a Movie. This reading I honestly thought was a little dense, but it did a really great job of introducing to the basics of film analysis. The main point that I took away from this reading is all of the little details that go into film making. Something as simple as the way an actor walks is intentional. Everything that we see in film or in a video serves a purpose and even if we don’t understand it immediately, we would immediately notice its absence.
After reading Ebert’s article, the next thing I did was watch a couple of episodes from Tony Zhou’s series, Every Frame a Painting in which he analyzes details of film making. In total, I probably watched about 8 videos that each highlighted a different detail in filmmaking, but these videos really served to once again highlight all the details that go into film making and how nothing is accidental.
Once I read the article and watched some videos, it was my turn to analyze a scene myself. I decided to do a video essay of the Interrogation scene in the second Batman movie between the Joker and Batman. I decided to analyze this scene because I had just watched the movie the night before and learning about all the little details that go into filmmaking really made me look at this scene differently. Overall, this scene was a perfect example of demonstrating the details that go into video, particularly how a film is shot, the setting of a film, and the lighting used.
This scene is an interrogation scene, so it takes place showing a conversation between two characters. The scene starts with Commissioner Gordon interrogating the joker. In this scene, we see the use of shot-reverse shot using a short lens. The lighting in the room is extremely dark which intensifies the conflict and tension in the scene. However, Gordon leaves and the lights quickly turn on to reveal a white room with only a table and two chairs. The scene then moves to an interrogation between the joker and the Batman. This scene again utilizes a shot-reverse shot with a longer lens.
As I learned from the reading, everything in this scene was very intentional. From the use of lighting, to the setting/props, to the way the scene was shot all has the purpose of invoking a response/psychological effect in us as the audience. The way a scene is shot can be used to not only convey a message, but it can also be used to convey meaning. This scenes use of lighting, shot-reverse shot, and setting all carries the meaning that we as the audience are supposed to feel (the tension and conflict).
As I said, I watched this scene the night before this assignment, but after reading and watching the videos on all the details that go into videos, I really looked at this scene differently. I am an avid movie watcher, and this assignment really made me realize the ways that all the details, small and large, in cinematography combine to make the movies and videos we watch every day. It’s really interesting to think how when we watch a video or movie, we often overlook the details that go into making the movie, but without said details, the movies that we love to watch might not look the same.