I just wanted to take a break from making Christmas dinner (Cornish Game Hens, roasted red potatoes, and buttery-fantastical string beans) to give an update on some altered plans for the week. I know, I know, you’re saying “already altering plans? FAIL.”
But no. I’m making provisions to make sure I know what I’m doing.
Earlier this week I dropped a lot of money at our local big-box book store that is in the process of cutting off all of their inventory to shut the store down. Honestly, I’m surprised they lasted longer than they did. Anyway, they had a ton of stuff at 40% off, so I bought my husband’s Christmas gift and about five books for myself — some that I know I’ll need for future classes and my career, and others I’ve just wanted to get. One of which was Get the Picture: The Movie Lover’s Guide to Watching Films by Jim Piper. While I’m supposed to be evaluating these TV shows, films, and shorts, I figure I should know what I’m talking about. I’ve only read the first 2 chapters, but it has me thinking about shots in a more conscious way — color, angle, depth of shot, movement and framing.
Yesterday, on my way home from work on the bus, I watched a book mentioned in chapter 3 of my Film history book, Rescued by Rover by Cecil Hepworth. This was one of the first films to show sequence with several cuts and implied movement throughout the story. We see a baby get abducted while her nanny’s back is turned away, and * bam* the next cut is the nanny bursting in to the house, to tell the parents what happened. We don’t see her going on and flirting with that dude; we don’t see her turning around and not seeing the baby, and turning over leaves in the park to look for him. It’s implied that all of it happened, so we cut straight to the drama. Furthermore, we see the dog running across town looking for the baby. When he finds him sitting with the gypsy that stole him, the dog runs back using the same sequence of setting. He then gets his owner to follow him, in the same sequence of shots, and then they rescue the baby. Good times. It’s short, and simple, but a clear step forward in filmmaking…prior to this, cameras were pretty darn stagnant, and basically no cuts. Take that, Air Buddies!