Friday, November 04, 2005
Composition, part 1
That's where the design of the frame comes in. The placement of characters, props, lighting; things to move your eye and keep you interested. Below are some shots form the prologue of The Royal Tenenbaums that illustrate this idea very well. Not all of the shots are flat space of course, but to me, for some reason, the shots with diagonals and shapes that recede in perspective still seem to imply flat space, like a storybook. And that's a GOOD thing.
Title card; totally flat, as well as symmetrical, with the mouse added for interest (also a story point). Also of note is the use of color here. Pink against green. Who would've thought? (pink, green and brown are dominant throughout the film).
Flat again, with just a dab of asymmetry.
Although the buildings recede in perspective, this shot is still flat. The tops of the buildings form a straight line that cuts right through the middle of the frame. (notice the color on the flag; green and pink)
Deep space. I love the placement of the actor Gene Hackman here; taking full advantage of the 2:35 frame. There is a tiny swatch of warm orange in the doorway to emphasize him.
Awesome staging. Great use of the wide frame and interesting placement of characters. This is flat space again; there are only two (yup, two) diagonals in the shot; the molding on the wall behind Margot's head and the angle of the book she's reading. Both are angling towards Etheline (Anjelica Huston), the focus of the shot.
The book Margot is reading is cheated to the camera so we can see the title (Chekhov - she is smart and like plays). Chas' head is out of frame and he's standing in profile to the camera, creating flat space (supporting his rigid and analytical nature). Richie is wearing tennis gear and looking at a book of maps (when we first meet the adult Richie, he is traveling). There is so much information just in this one shot, all because of the way it's composed.
More to come next week.