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Monday, May 24, 2010

The perception filter

I've been thinking about a new technique for the moving image. It is based around using a point of view (POV) shot and the idea came out of a discussion with games designer Stephen Hardie.

A POV shot is normally used sparingly in TV and films. A notable exception being Peep Show, which used it exclusively.

Peep Show POV shot
Peep Show

In games, the first person view is much more prevalent. It adds to the excitement if you are placed in the hot seat. Plus, playing a game is much more akin to you 'playing acting' in the role of the central character rather than observing their actions. To successfully play act - you need to see what they see.

Mirrors Edge POV
Mirror's Edge

However, with all these examples, you see what the the character's eyes would see. You don't see what they would see, as a fully realised character.

What do I mean by that? An example of one scene that does show it is when Jimmy Stewart is hanging from the clock tower in Vertigo and looks down - then you see what he sees! His own sense of vertigo adds a filter to the scene, distorting reality.

Although not shot in a POV style, Shutter Island (itself a Hitchcock homage) plays with this idea also. We see the Island as the main character would.

Shutter Island viewpoint
Shutter Island

What I'm proposing as an interesting visual experiment is to combine this ideas and bring the 'perception filter' look to the fore.

Presenting the world as each character sees it, with all their quirks, neuroses and blindspots presented to us.

Whilst this seems like an idea best suited to animation I feel doing it live action is more eye catching and exciting - but does place a strain on the art direction and post-production budget.

I may try to follow this up. But what story would best suit the perception filter style?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Every child a scriptwriter

I've been asked to create a video on a scheme that is happening right now across England called "Every Child A Talker".

It is about ensuring that children have good communication skills by the time they go to primary schools - so it is aimed at 0-5 year olds. Obviously, it is actually aimed at the parents and the adults involved in working with this age group. The reason for setting up this large project is to cure a large problem. The problem that over 50% of children are behind in their communication skills when they start school - meaning that not much actual teaching can occur.

But what is interesting is the use of story telling and art direction in this scheme.

With storytelling - the nursery staff shouldn't read from books. They should tell the story themselves. Everytime it can be different and the children can change the direction of the story as they want - all very story 2.0!

With art direction - the key is to remove clutter from behind the storyteller (no posters, pictures etc) and to have a neutral wall (off-white, no colours) so that the focus is on the storyteller.

All very advanced stuff and good to see storytelling being put at the heart of everything, from the moment children are born.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Take the high road

Last week I had a wonderful journey back through Scotland. I'd finished my work on APB in Dundee and was heading back to Bournemouth. But why head straight back? I'm keen to always look around and explore. So should anyone involved in the creative arts. Dashing about should be for other people, not us. That's why I've always defended the red circle part of the Scriptwriter's Life diagram so vehemently, the part on growing your character.

All I can say is - art isn't about getting from A to B in the quickest time.