In class this Wednesday we were visited by Professor Diaz, a film professor at CSI. She gave a lecture about cinematography which briefly covered a broad spectrum of things related to film making. Her lecture and powerpoint were chock full of a lot of information that was new to me. I’ve never really studied the mechanics behind film making, and I have to say, it’s incredible how much careful thought and hard work go into a film. Its hard to believe that nearly every decision involved in the movie making process all lands on the director. Seems like a very stressful job.
Some things I found interesting about film making included the screen ratio in which the movie is filmed, for instance Manhattan is filmed in a wide format, to help accentuate and bring the long New York skyline to life. Camera angles and distance is also very important. They both help to shape the scene by changing the way we perceive what is on screen. If a director shoots a character looking up to them, the audience may see that character as a mighty, powerful being who towers over them. The lighting is essential to any film, as it can change the emotions felt by the audience entirely, at certain times. It may also symbolize underlying feelings, problems, or anything that is not directly stated. In Manhattan, we see Isaac’s very dark apartment with Tracy sitting on the couch with the only source of light on her. This can symbolize how she is the only beacon of love, happiness, and light in Isaac’s life. This was just one of the clever insights pointed out to us by Professor Diaz. She also made us aware of all the objects in the background of the movie that “separate” Isaac from people like his ex-wife and Mary as their relationship quickly crumbles. The professor gave me some interesting new tools to use when watching movies to more deeply immerse myself in the story, and possibly discover what the director wanted the audience to notice.