Project 11 Screen space : Exercise – Two people communicating

For this exercise you’ll produce a short sequence in which two people communicate across an off-screen space. Don’t use a wide shot – create the impression of the off-screen space through the composition of the shots containing the individual subjects. Read the script on the next page. Carefully plan a series of shots (each containing only one of the two characters). Sketch out each frame. Think about how the size of the frame you choose and the space you place around the characters affects the perception of the off-screen space. Record your sequence using actors or models. You can add an atmos. soundtrack if you wish. Upload your sequence and invite comments. Compare sequences, look at other students’ sequences and leave comments describing what you understand from them. Read the comments other students have left for you. Did they understand what you had hoped they would? Look again at your own sequences, those of other students and any other films. Think about the meanings that the framing and composition in each shot can imply.

Try to identify examples of the spatial composition contributing to:
• the mood or atmosphere of a shot
• your perception of the relationship between the characters
• your understanding of what is happening or what is going to happen
• your perception of how you as a viewer relate to the characters or action.

Script for screen space production exercise.

Fill in the gaps to complete this script before carefully planning what shots you will require. Try to use the minimum number of shots possible. For each shot carefully consider how the size of the frame, and the space around the character, will influence the perception of the wider space outside the frame. Also consider what the frame will suggest about the characters’ emotions and the atmosphere of the shot.

-SARAH is seated alone. She is holding something (a book, mobile, or other item) that has her attention. She seems distracted, absorbed by what she holds.
-DAN is standing [insert some distance] off across the [insert the location that separates them]. He notices Sarah but looks away.
-SARAH looks up for a moment and notices Dan. She reacts with [insert emotion / reaction].
-SARAH continues to look at Dan.
-DAN becomes aware that Sarah is looking at him. He looks up at her.
-SARAH smiles at Dan.
-DAN begins to walk towards Sarah.

“Sorry”

With this exercise I chose to avoid non-diegetic sound and just use the sound of the sea as the main aspect of atmosphere. The characters have clearly fallen out.
Storyboard Frame 1 – Sarah is sitting upon a groin on the beach as the sea in the background is heading towards high tide. As the exercise prohibits wide-shots, I chose a mid-shot, to still allow some of the background info to be apparent but to make sure Sarah is noted as sitting alone, perhaps not in the best of moods. She has her mobile phone with her. ( She is situated to the left of the frame )
Frame 2 -Dan is further across the beach sitting on the next groin along. He has noticed that Sarah is holding her phone, so he takes the opportunity to make peace by texting her. We can tell that from the two shots, that they are not sitting next to each other but a distance of beach is between them. ( By placing him to the right of the shot, it is possible to show distance between them. )
Frame 3 – Sarah, in the meantime has placed her phone next to her, responds to the notification that a text has arrived. She picks it up.
Frame 4 – Close up on her phone. Dan’s text: I’m sorry forgive me?
Frame 5 – Sarah reads and cannot hold back a smile.
Frame 6 – Sarah’s POV shot as she sees Dan set off from the distance to meet her. She heads to join him.

Try to identify examples of the spatial composition contributing to:
• the mood or atmosphere of a shot
The calm sea dictates the scene. Distance is presence by the empty beach that they are situated in.
• your perception of the relationship between the characters
Hopefully its clear by Sarah’s expression that she isn’t particularly happy. She seems pensive at least. By showing her sitting alone, and sitting upon a beach groin, she is contemplating something that is not present.
• your understanding of what is happening or what is going to happen
Once Dan is in the frame, and especially that he is texting his apologies, it is clear that there is a tension between the two characters.
• your perception of how you as a viewer relate to the characters or action.
Dan has clearly upset Sarah. But not so much that they cannot make amends. Who can really be mad at another when next to the calming nature of the sea?

 

sorry-storyboard

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