Style and the Camera (Discussion)
Depth of field
- Explain what depth of field is -- using the textbook illustrations.
- What is the difference between deep focus and deep space (as in mise-en-scene) -- using the textbook illustrations?
- Explain what focal length is -- using the textbook illustrations.
- How does a zoom in/out look different from a track in/out?
- How does the Vertigo effect illustrate the impact of focal length on the illusion of depth in an image? View clip (starting at 35 seconds)
- Explain what aspect ratio is -- using the textbook illustrations.
- Also explain letterbox, pillarbox and pan-and-scan.
Framing, height, and movement
- Explain the significance of camera framing, height, and movement -- using the textbook illustrations.
- When might movement be used that does not follow a character?
- How is a Steadicam shot different from a handheld shot?
If you were a DP reshooting the Stranger Things and New Girl shots (below), how might you change these cinematographic aspects?
- Describe a cinematographic element's use in these two screenshots. I.e., start by describing the frame's depth of field (Group 3), focal length (Group 5), aspect ratio (Groups 6 & 1), and framing/height (Groups 2 & 4).
- Imagine changing that element's use in this frame.
- Groups 6 & 1: these screenshots use different aspect ratios: 2x1 and 16x9 (1.78x1). Which is which? What if the DP choose to shoot these shows in 2.35x1 (anamorphic) or 1.33x1? How would that change the impact of the shot?
- Group 5: how might a zoom lens (a variable focal-length lens) be used in this shot?
- How would such a change affect the scene's impact or the viewer's understanding of it?
Frame capture from Stranger Things. View clip (starting at 14 seconds).
Frame capture from The New Girl. View clip.
- Butler, Jeremy G. Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture. New York: Routledge, 2018.