Look, Listen, Analyze

The scene I watched is from I Am Legend.  I have only ever seen it once, but from what I can remember it was a pretty good movie.  I thought that this scene would be good to watch for this assignment because there is plenty to pick apart in it.

Look

– All of the “cuts” in this scene from shot to shot are regular.  The camera switches views about 40 times-40 different cuts.  The last one is a fade out to simulate Will Smith’s character passing out. The lighting looks like it could be real but it was probably shot in a studio with artificial lighting.  The camera seems to be up close and personal for the most of the scene and “tracking” him.  The further out shots are just to establish where he is or who/what he is interacting with.

Listen

– The only real dialogue comes from Will Smith interacting with a mannequin called “Fred.”  The other is the barking of the dog.  There is mostly diegetic sound, and little hints of non-diegetic sound.  The diegetic sound – what everyone hears – is the dialogue, the dog barking, the sounds of the car, the gun, the taxi falling of the bridge, and the sounds of Will Smith getting whisked up into the air.  The non-diegetic sound is the music you briefly hear – which sounds like just the bang of a drum, when he sees the out of place mannequin.

Analyze

– The sound, and the actual scene go hand in hand together.  When you hear that one non-diegetic sound and actually see the mannequin where it shouldn’t be sends chills up your spine.  This is the case knowing that Will Smith is the only human there that we know of!

When you minimize your senses, you are able to focus on one element of the story being told at a time.  When you are not looking, you are able to hear everything.  When you are just watching and not listening, you are able to watch and get a sense of everything going on without basing it on sound.  This is almost like Ebert’s shot-by-shot analysis.  The camera angles that Ebert talked about do seem to show emotion.  The camera was often up close and personal, I believe that was to show how uneasy and frustrated Smith’s character was in that moment.  Also, there was a point where the camera angle was low and looking up at Will Smith.  I think this was to show that he was scared and had the feeling that he was being watched.

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