THE 180° RULE & HD
Q I was recently at a small film festival, and during one of the showings, the person next to me whispered to a friend, "They crossed the line." At first I thought it might be something with the subject matter that they didn't like, but at the end of the movie, they were clapping with the rest of the audience. I'd prefer not to name the film because I don't know whether the audience member was stating an opinion or a fact.
Name withheld by request
A With the advent of inexpensive moviemaking tools, it's much easier for people to create compelling films without having formal training. (That's not to say it wasn't possible before, just that it's a lot easier now.) Going to film school or taking classes in filmmaking lets the student take advantage of years of filmmaking knowledge about the craft of making a movie.
When you mention the term "crossed the line," it could be related to something in the script (character development, voice or a number of other script problems), but I think what the person was talking about was camera placement.
While you're shooting a scene, you have the luxury of being able to see the whole space where the action takes place. You know where the walls are, where your actors are and where they will move as the scene progresses.
Your audience, on the other hand, only knows what the camera shows them. If the camera always presents an extreme wide shot and doesn't move, then the viewer can see what the director sees on set. But moviemaking is about showing the viewers what you want them to see, otherwise movies would be simple recordings of stage plays where the action takes place in the window of the proscenium arch and the camera sits out in the audience.
You have to be aware of the assumptions that you make because you're on set, but that the audience might not know—namely, where everything is in the scene. If an actor gets up from a table and moves to the right (as viewed on the screen) and leaves the scene, is there a door there or a window? The filmmaker has to show the door or maybe use sound effects to communicate it.
Letting the viewer know the layout of the scenic elements is just the first step; you also have to make sure that camera placement doesn't confuse the viewer. This is where crossing the line comes in.
Take the example of two people, Tom and Jerry, standing in a room having a conversation. A typical shooting scenario would be to frame a 2-shot as a master take and then shoot close-ups of each actor running through their lines again.
Video Assist: Crossing The Line
HD-SDI cable, and the 180° rule explained
By Michael Guncheon
Labels: Video Assist
Page 2 of 3