My method of working – part 11 (still shot- long take trial)

Here we are, nearing the end of the semester. Robin suggested I try a still long take and see the effect. I filmed a most basic shot and added the same eerie/ominous soundtracks I had put for one of the tracking shot takes. So that the entire shot wasn’t completely stagnant, Daniel and I filmed me against the backdrop of a transparent window with swaying trees behind me. Visually, this really lifted the take because it gave it a subtle dynamic that otherwise wouldn’t be there.

Certainly, the girl’s stare is more central and foregrounded since the viewer is not distracted by camera movement or changes in framing and composition. However, I feel there lacks a great deal of intensity that was present in the tracking shot. This still shot is quite confrontational as the girl simply stares at the camera. The viewer is brought into perhaps a more immediate, personal relationship with the girl as opposed to having that develop over the progress of the tracking shot.  What I also love that enhanced the eeriness of this shot is the heavy breathing apparent. Because of the lack of movement elsewhere, the heaviness of the girl’s breathing is accentuated. This is an advantageous aspect of the still shot: the viewer has the capacity to notice and be much more affected by the subtle elements within the frame.

The focus pull works well here to create a depth in the frame. Because of the stillness of the entire shot, there is a risk for a kind of blandness without a deeper field. This is why we chose to have me in focus and the trees in the background. There are in fact three levels of depth here: myself and the chair, the space between the chair and window, and the space between the window and trees. Perhaps, for future suggestion, I could play around with focus changes that coincide with the movement of the trees.

Ultimately however, I think this worked much less effectively because there was such little movement in the frame that the stare on it’s own didn’t seem to make up for the lack of motion. I do believe however, in a different location with a more creative character, this still shot has potential to be much more intensified (Say in a hospital ward etc)…




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