*Stranded at a desolate Nevada motel during a nasty rainstorm, ten strangers become acquainted with each other when they realize that they’re being killed off one by one.* – IMDB
I’ve chosen to watch this film as it was one of the films mentioned in our seminar about mental health, and as one of my ideas is based on a true story of mental health I thought this would be a good film to watch and see how it is shot, looking at angles, focal lengths/pulls and the general shots and feel to the film.
At the beginning there are no establishing shots and a focus pull is used within the first 4 minutes to shift our focus from the telephone ringing to who then picks it up. All of the focal lengths and shots are quite close up and I think this makes it more intense as you are drawn to the personalities and recognise them as actual characters, so when things do start happening to them there is more of an element of shock, almost as if you knew that person. There are lots more elements used within this film to make it that more realistic for the audience , for example, there are a lot of pan and tracking shots when in the hotel rooms, making it feel as if you are there trapped and all you can do is look around to what is there, it captures the audiences attention and doesn’t let go. The angles of the shots also make you feel apart of the story as there are no birds eye view shots and definitely no over the head shots when the characters are stood up, most of the shots are level with the characters to create the feel that you are equal to them and put in in the same position. The other shots are from below looking up at an angle towards the characters, and as we don’t yet know who the murder is it makes us too, feel like we are victims of all this violence. The only long shots there is, is for place establishment for example when the cars are on the road you can see that they are in the middle of nowhere, and again with the motel establishing shot showing that it is isolated, and therefore making the audience feel even more trapped. The lighting is very intense with shadows on the face and at points with only light in the background or foreground forcing everything else to be cast in shadow or darkness, creating a real creepy and eerie atmosphere.
When planning shooting my film I will have to think very precisely about lighting as I will wan to it to be quite dark as it is a dark and deep story, I will also have to think about the close ups and focus pulls of objects and faces for more intensity, but not only this as I will have to consider the angles I want to use and why, to keep continuity through out the film, or could my film possibly be disjointed like the mind of someone who is mentally unwell? This film has given me a lot to think about in terms of planning and shooting my own film which is good as my ideas may/will change more than once to find a style that fits.
We have now entered our third year and with that comes a step up in equipment. Today we had a skills session for the Canon 5D mark II’s which was exciting as they give a very high quality looking image at 21.1 megapixels. Having used a 7D whilst in Madrid I got to see the quality difference from other canon DSLR’s I have used, the quality is of course very good but having filmed my short on a 7D I know that the sound quality isn’t brilliant, however, we only used the sound for background and ambience as we had a voice over.
Knowing this I was curious to see what the 5D’s had to offer, and as we allowed to go off and have a play with it I found that it was not too dissimilar from the 7D I had used previously, with the buttons and functions pretty much in the same place and it’s ability to shoot video, so finding your way around the settings and generally setting up the camera wasn’t too hard.
The 5D is a beautifully crafted camera, any photographer’s dream with its full frame and large sensor 36mm x 24mm for maximum control over depth of field, and an ISO specifically good for low light shots meaning you can get great dark meaningful images and profiles, however, this isn’t so good for the enthusiastic film maker. There are plenty of pro’s and con’s when it comes to the 5D, brilliant for photography and video if it’s short, silent, and in most cases low in light.
The white balance on this camera only has one custom setting meaning if you are filming in lots of different locations it’s going to be a pain as you will have to reset the white balance each time as opposed to having an A and B custom white balance already set for your locations.
Although it records sound it isn’t the best quality and once your levels are set you can not adjust them when recording. There is of course a hotshoe to hold a microphone that’s connected externally to the 3.5mm jack, but even then there is no headphone jack which means you can’t listen to what you are recording.
There is no built in neutral density (ND) filter these have to be bought separately, which means that if you are filming in bright conditions and your aperture is at it’s smallest you are going to have an image that is overexposed (not shown by zebra lines as with other video cameras) and greater depth of field. Even though we have a fabulously large sensor that allows us to look more professional with a shallower depth of field, the quality is downsampled into HD resolution which can mean that when shooting video detailed images may become fixed with lines as the original image is undersampled.
The 5D mark II is water and dust resistant but works best in temperatures 0-40°C with 85% or less humidity and may become overheated and noisy if used at a higher temperature. If used in cold conditions you compromise the battery life as that decreases from 850 at room temperature to 750 at 0 °C, however, if capturing video in 16 x 9 (1920 x 1080) you will only film for 12 minutes before having to change the memory card, meaning you waste more time and battery!
The Canon 5D mark II is without a doubt an improvement in many ways but from my research you can see that there just as many downfalls which is a disappointment for a camera that was hyped up so much, the best features of this camera is its size, weight, image quality and water resistance, though I wouldn’t recommend taking a grand’s worth piece of equipment into disastrous weather conditions. Though it’s larger sensor is a bit of a downfall it can be amazing for cinematography and I can see me using this for the dark and cinematic parts of my fmp short film.
Take a look at these videos I found;
There’s also a 4 page review on one of my favourite sites for camera and programme reviews and tips popphoto.com