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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old January 17 2013, 04:46 AM   #1
Flying Spaghetti Monster
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Camera movement and other driecting bits

I reserve this thread to talk about directing of shows and films, or other important aspects of filming Star Trek, not necessarily writing or production...

First I wanted to talk about Camera movement. I am currently watching Best of Both Worlds. Over twenty years on, this episode is still tense, exciting, and professionally filmed. I love how the director "stays out of the way", and lets the drama and action speak for itself. May of the shots on the bridge are done with a very still camera, one that only moves when a character moves, such as when Geordi enters the bridge to reroute engineering controls, or when Shelby moves to Data's station to select a course of action.

In the latest Star Trek film, Abrams refreshingly gives us camera movements, even on the bridge, that are fluid, free, and very stylistic. I liked the film a lot, and I feel that Star Trek can benefit from the modern sensibilities a good director can bring to it.

Yet Cliff Bole wasn't missing anything in his direction of Best of Both Worlds. By being relatively invisible, the story and the tension was built primarily from what we were seeing not how we were seeing it. And it helps that the episode had much more going on that resonates than many films do.

Thoughts?
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Old January 17 2013, 05:43 AM   #2
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

Not a fan of moving cameras or rapid editing for no purpose whatsoever. Lock the camera down and give us a medium shot. Reserve the fireworks for dramatic moments. Nor do I need over-the-shoulder close-ups every time someone speaks.
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Old January 17 2013, 05:46 AM   #3
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

jayrath wrote: View Post
Not a fan of moving cameras or rapid editing for no purpose whatsoever. Lock the camera down and give us a medium shot. Reserve the fireworks for dramatic moments. Nor do I need over-the-shoulder close-ups every time someone speaks.
I would tend to agree.

But one could say that after five series all done with a relatively sedate style, that the fluid movements of the latest film is welcome.

I see it, and I agree in some respects, but if the drama is compelling, you don't need fancy moves.
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Old January 17 2013, 04:55 PM   #4
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

I disliked Abrams' shakey-cam style, which made it difficult to determine what was happening in some scenes. This was even applied to CGI space scenes. For a person with vision problems like me (I can't see myself clearly in a mirror), it was extremely annoying.
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Old January 17 2013, 07:05 PM   #5
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

Yeah. I know what you mean. Some would say it adds energy to shots. I'm not sure.

One scene that has a bit of excessive movement is the scene where Pike and Kirk are chatting after the bar fight.
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Old January 17 2013, 07:24 PM   #6
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

^Well, it's the same verite shooting style that was so well-liked in Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, and is generally popular these days overall. The goal of the Trek reboot was to reinvent Trek in a more modern idiom, and that includes that shooting style.
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Old January 18 2013, 03:56 AM   #7
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

I would like to see a scifi flick shot as if with camcorders or phone cams or whatever we use in our personal lives to take movies now. Or even just in video. That would make it seem more real to me. No nice lighting setups or blocking. Though I'm sure it takes work to make things look natural!
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Old January 18 2013, 03:58 AM   #8
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

^ Cloverfield.
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Old January 20 2013, 02:00 AM   #9
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

Abrams needs to slow down his edits...they are far too quick. The viewer does not get to enjoy the entire moment and let it bloom. I mean, reality may move that fast, but this is not reality, this is storytelling and there needs to be a pacing to the movie.

A good movie is like good music, there is a rhythm and a flow to it, both pauses and crescendos.
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Old January 20 2013, 02:05 AM   #10
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

It is of corse possible to like both styles. And would the scene play out the same if shot differently
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Old January 20 2013, 02:22 AM   #11
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

What I find most praiseworthy about Star Trek 2009 is the drill scene, not just the fight, but the whole sequence from arriving at Vulcan ending with the black hole collapsing the planet. So much story happens, and, in addition, we are taking through the gamut of emotions, from facing a threat, to the mysteriousness of space (silent as they plunge through before deploying the chutes) to swashbuckling fights, to Spock rescuing his folks, to an exciting escape (though one can wonder why Hannity (the communications officer in blue) claims that they'll be sucked in if they don't leave immediately, yet they don't leave immediately, and the set-piece as a whole ends very quietly as Spock realizes what has happened.

Taken altogether, this whole area of the film a serious rush. It's pretty impressive film making.
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Old January 20 2013, 02:50 AM   #12
Dale Sams
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
I reserve this thread to talk about directing of shows and films, or other important aspects of filming Star Trek, not necessarily writing or production...

First I wanted to talk about Camera movement. I am currently watching Best of Both Worlds. Over twenty years on, this episode is still tense, exciting, and professionally filmed. I love how the director "stays out of the way", and lets the drama and action speak for itself. May of the shots on the bridge are done with a very still camera, one that only moves when a character moves, such as when Geordi enters the bridge to reroute engineering controls, or when Shelby moves to Data's station to select a course of action.

In the latest Star Trek film, Abrams refreshingly gives us camera movements, even on the bridge, that are fluid, free, and very stylistic. I liked the film a lot, and I feel that Star Trek can benefit from the modern sensibilities a good director can bring to it.

Yet Cliff Bole wasn't missing anything in his direction of Best of Both Worlds. By being relatively invisible, the story and the tension was built primarily from what we were seeing not how we were seeing it. And it helps that the episode had much more going on that resonates than many films do.

Thoughts?
It's interesting that you praise the direction on BOBW, when the first rescue scene is visually disconcerting with all four actors at a junction and we get all these disorienting shots. I'd have liked to see some kind of establishing shot before they went to the single ones. But I'm only criticizing that one shot.

Speaking of directing and Borg, I really liked the shot in their first appearance where the camera follows Worf's phaser fire that kills the first Borg that came aboard.
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Old January 20 2013, 04:01 AM   #13
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

Speaking of directing and Borg, I really liked the shot in their first appearance where the camera follows Worf's phaser fire that kills the first Borg that came aboard.
That's a fantastic shot. I noticed it when I did my Borg marathon the other day. I don't think I've ever seen that since either in Trek or Star Wars. The camera movement follows the beam!

Also, from that episode is the awesome shot of the Borg beaming into the engine room. It's very subtle. Even when he's fully materialized in the background, he almost looks transparent. Very eerie!
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Old January 20 2013, 04:07 AM   #14
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
I don't think I've ever seen that since either in Trek or Star Wars.
They did it in DS9's "Whispers".
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Old January 20 2013, 04:11 AM   #15
jayrath
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Re: Camera movement and other driecting bits

"Camera movement I loved -- and then I got awfully sick of it [ . . . ] There's too much movement. It makes some people dizzy -- it really does, and they become more conscious of the camera movement than what they are of what the hell you're photographing [ . . .] I used to get some wonderful odd angles -- shooting through people's navels -- so the idea was destroyed. Then I realized that the best thing was to make the picture the simplest way you could: if you wanted movement, or anything like that, use it where it really meant something, where it would help the picture." -- director William Wellman, speaking of Wings (1927), quoted in "The Parade's Passed By," by Kevin Browlnlow, 1968.
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