Reading movies

I think of myself as a movie nerd, in terms of knowing a lot about movies and different things that go with it.  I took a film class a couple of semesters ago so there was some familiarity when reading Roger Ebert’s “How to Read a Movie” and watching different youtube videos like Top 20 cinematic techniques, Camera Angles and Techniques, and Example of editing Techniques.

After reading Roger Ebert‘s article, I learned some new things about really trying to understand and and analyze movies.  One of the basic techniques he used is a shot by shot analysis which I learned about in my film class here at UMW.  You look at each shot very closely and watch them numerous times.  One of the things that is emphasized is that shots and scenes are not the same thing.  People often make that mistake.  I think that the shot by shot analysis is very effective because it gives you a chance to focus on what you are trying to find.  The downside of it is that you can easily get bored…trust me.  He started using the cameras that football teams use to study the other team.  He set it up in a classroom and had an audience of students.  They’d watch scenes then comment on them.  Anybody could stop them to discuss.  This is a very good technique because it gets people involved but it does seem like it could get kind of messy.  The audience would be related to the movie he says.  He also talked about camera placement, character placement and angles and how it relates to the emotions of the characters and film.  This is something I never really thought about before, even in my film class.

I watched some of the videos that had examples in movies of different types of “cuts”, transitions, and angles.  All of them were for the most part familiar, but some of them had all different types of names.  I had seen these angles and cuts before but did not know the name associated with them.  One that I had never heard of was the “Dutch angle” but I had seen it before.

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