Project 2. Exercise: Visualisation

Find a quiet moment or two and try to imagine the situations described below. Place yourself in the scene; don’t think about what is there objectively but what you would see if you were there.

1. You are talking to someone in a shop
The person is facing you talking in an animated way, using their hands.
2. Knocking on a door.
You knock on the door. You wait. The door is opened. You may have conjured up some images of things you looked at while you were waiting.
3. You are having an illicit affair.
You are alone having a passionate conversation with your loved one. A sudden sound in the background causes you to glance round.

Once you have conjured up mental images for these scenarios go back to each and sketch out some basic impressions of what you see.  Make notes alongside your pictures detailing the elements that you have included. For each element consider why you have included it.
• What was left out at the edges?
• Note the things that you were aware of, but did not choose to ‘see’.
• Why did you leave them out?
• Will the viewer be aware that they are there?

1. You are talking to someone in a shop

FullSizeRender (12)

• What was left out at the edges?
The vast array of drinks, confectionery, tobacco and other products that are available at the Top Chap convenience store is left out.
• Note the things that you were aware of, but did not choose to ‘see’.
The drinks refrigerators, newspaper stands, other customers, shop doorway etc that are also part of the surrounding scenery are not in the frame.
• Why did you leave them out?
The requirement of the scene is to depict the animated shop keeper and focus subjectively on him. He is the object of the action and with that it is essential to close up on to his image.
• Will the viewer be aware that they are there?
By revealing enough of the background, ie, the cash register, samples of his stock, various advertising and posters, the viewer can gather information enough to see who he is and where we are. The remainder of the shop can easily be left to the viewer’s imagination given the information that can be gathered by what IS shown.

2. Knocking on a door.
You knock on the door.FullSizeRender (13)

• What was left out at the edges?
No need to show more than the fist knocking on the door and perhaps the house number and the door itself. We can gather from the shot of what action is being set.
• Note the things that you were aware of, but did not choose to ‘see’.
In my mind I assumed that the number of the house was relevant to the story. The image of the whole house itself.
• Why did you leave them out?
Whether or not the desired occupant is in will add to anticipation and perhaps will lead to suspense as to what exactly is about to happen.
• Will the viewer be aware that they are there?
This is the desired effect. Are they in or are they not, and what will happen.

You wait….
FullSizeRender (14)

• What was left out at the edges?
An opportunity to focus on the newspaper still not collected by the occupant. This can create tension as to whether there is anybody at home or if in fact whether they are able to collect.
• Note the things that you were aware of, but did not choose to ‘see’.
Chose not to see if the occupant is visible by any other means, focusing on the newspaper, dwelling in fact.
• Why did you leave them out?
There is a delay in the door being answered, by emphasizing the newspaper allows uncertainty to gestate.
• Will the viewer be aware that they are there?
As the viewer is being held in a moment of uncertainty, their knowledge of whether the house is empty or not will soon be revealed.

The door is opened.
FullSizeRender (15)

• What was left out at the edges?
Still shown subjectively, the frame shows the woman at home, nervously answering the door. I chose to tie in this exercise section with the following one, in that she is the lover of the illicit affair. Although we cannot see whether she is in the house alone, or whether the two characters are being watched.
• Note the things that you were aware of, but did not choose to ‘see’.
Perhaps this scene is being watched by a third party. By not revealing yet, we continue to strive further information.
• Why did you leave them out?
For the purpose of ambiguity. Focusing on the interplay between the two characters.
• Will the viewer be aware that they are there?
By her obvious uncomfortable demeanour, it appears likely.

3. You are having an illicit affair.
You are alone having a passionate conversation with your loved one.
FullSizeRender (16)

• What was left out at the edges?
The contents of the room. By filling the frame with her beautiful face and the window in the background, these are the most important pieces of information needed.
• Note the things that you were aware of, but did not choose to ‘see’.
Furniture and articles in the room, her belongings.
• Why did you leave them out?
Its her house and passion is growing. The scene requires focus on the tension, the contents of her room is not required.
• Will the viewer be aware that they are there?
Enough information is determined to allow the viewer to gather this is her house.

A sudden sound in the background causes you to glance round.
FullSizeRender (17)

• What was left out at the edges?
The remainder of the room. Enough is shown to explain the shattering of the glass and the bullet hole in the window.
• Note the things that you were aware of, but did not choose to ‘see’.
Her face.
• Why did you leave them out?
Further tension of how she feels…is it terror, expectation, anger…
• Will the viewer be aware that they are there?
The viewer is given a brief moment of uncertainty.

Conclusion:

Which sequences are the most effective and why?
I think the usage of the subjective POV is most effective in creating a tense atmosphere, especially highlighted in the wait for the girl to answer the door. A brief glance down at the unattended letterbox, and finally her opening the door with a nervous look, allowing her to access the fourth wall thus giving the viewer the illusion of them being the lover.

What makes a convincing subjective sequence?
Allowing the object character a chance to look straight at you ( the camera lens ) is convincing in that it specifically invites the viewer to engage in the action personally. Suspense is often increased by this type of sequence. Fine examples of this are The Prodigy’sSmack My Bitch Up” (1) , sequences in Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games( 1997 ) (2) and the recent cinema release,Hardcore Henry( dir. Ilya Naishuller, 2015 ) (3) the latter of which utilises this POV for its entirety,  filmed on  Go-Pro Hero 3 Black Edition cameras. Found -footage horror movies of the late nineties onwards are particularly effective using this, however the audience is aware that the POV is that of the “found” camera, notably “The Blair Witch Project” ( dir. Sanchez and Myrick, 1999 ) (4), “Cloverfield” ( dir. Matt Reeves, 2008 ) (5) and “[Rec]” ( dir. Balagueró and Plaza, 2007 ) (6) and not that of the viewer / protagonist.

What gives the sequence a sense of atmosphere or tension?
Using this POV often requires the action to be in real time, thus giving the impression that “anything could happen”..

REFERENCES:
(1). The promotional music video for “Smack My Bitch Up”, directed by Jonas Åkerlund
(UK 1997), winner of MTV Video Music Awards 1998 for Best Breakthrough Video and Best Dance Video.
https://web.archive.org/web/20030814010040/http://www.mtv.com/onair/controversialvideos/controvids.jhtml – accessed 20th April 2016
(2) Funny Games directed by Michael Hanneke (Germany, 1997).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119167/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2  – accessed April 20th 2016
(3)
Hardcore Henry directed by Ilya Naishuller (Russia/ USA, 2015)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3072482/?ref_=nv_sr_1 – accessed April 20th 2016
(4)
The Blair Witch Project directed by Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick (USA, 1999)
(4.1) Film Art- An Introduction Sixth Edition by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson University of Wisconsin Press 2001. p228. – accessed April 20th 2016
(4.2) http://www.blairwitch.com/ – accessed April 20th 2016
(5)
Cloverfield directed by Matt Reeves (USA, 2008)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1060277/?ref_=nv_sr_2 – accessed April 20th 2016
(6) 
Rec. directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza (Spain, 2007)  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1038988/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 – accessed April 20th 2016

 

 

 

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