Friday, May 30, 2008

Camera Points of View

There is one thing with regard to filmmaking where I've long agreed and possibily fallen under the spell of Mamet's didacticism. It is the idea that the fundamental art of cinema is montage - that the story is best told in the cuts. Therefore Mamet abhors the Steadicam. For a long time I too rejected it. My first experience directing with one opened my mind to its possibilities as well as confirmed and alerted me to its limitations.
For a long time now I've put a lot of practice into keeping the camera stationary. The fixed camera performs a double underlining of what it sees, both through the choice of its field of view and through the way in which it allows the elements in the frame to speak as and for themselves. There is great power and mystery in that stillness. Still waters run deep as it were. I've attempted to create a language that structures the world on the screen, inviting a dialogue with the viewer by inviting them into an autonomous cognitive process. Moving the camera about to create eye candy and show the viewer everything encourages a passive experience, an entertainment which has its place but something which I don't aspire to author.
At the same time I recognize the incredible power in discovering the cinematic space and altering point of view through movement. To do so organically and artistically requires discipline and imagination. I explored it in Dangerous Writing and I've been practicing more mise en scene movement. It's challenging to choreograph something both interesting and motivated. It's also a challenge to obtain the necessary dollies and other means of moving the camera without a budget.
I'm beginning an in-depth exploration of the Steadicam. I'll keep you posted. (potential Steadicam humor noted)

With an open mind,
Signore Direttore

No comments: