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Question about the scene in Skyfall (2 replies and 4 comments)

Nan Li
4 months ago
Nan Li 4 months ago

In this scene, there were 14 different camera positions. How did you discuss those with director? Did you well plan all of them before shooting?I assume you had 3 cameras on set but it is still impossible to ask actors and actresses to acting the same thing 4 or 5 or 6 times perfectly. How did you organize those different camera positions? Can you talk about that? Thank you so much

 

 

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Roger Deakins
4 months ago
Roger Deakins 4 months ago

Everything you post was shot using a single camera and repeating the action. Sam and I would block the action with the actors and then discuss the shots we wanted to cover the scene. We would make a list and that is what we would shoot, sometimes 'discovering' another angle as we did.

Nan Li
4 months ago

Thank you for the reply Mr. Deakins. I still want to ask some questions about this scene.
1,Why not use multi cameras on set? Any specific reason?
2,So you and director didnt plan in advance but "discover" the position list after the blocking on set, right? Is it a common way in the industry? Will it cause lighting issue cuz you never know where the camera is supposed to be before blocking?
3, In the images, there are some regular OTS or Single and also some unique angle. How did those angles come into your minds? Any position has specific purpose? Like for the Javier's shots, There is a Medium CU and a Medium shot. The difference is subtle. Why?

Thank you so much.

Nan Li

Roger Deakins
3 months ago
Roger Deakins 3 months ago

Why not use multiple cameras? Some directors like to work with 3 or 4 cameras constantly running. We did shoot some of the action scenes in 'Skyfall' with two or even three cameras but seldom the dramatic scenes. Every time you shoot with more than one camera you face compromising one or each of the angles in terms of lens length, composition and lighting.

I don't find a need to know camera positions before blocking. You may have storyboarded a scene but the blocking may well vary from what you and the director envisioned. The actors will always bring something new to a scene and the fact of standing on a real set will influence what were ideas formulated on a piece of paper in an office room. Will that cause lighting 'issues'. It is the cinematographer's job to be able to deal with such 'issues'.

As for the camera angles in the scene you refer to I would question whether you think the angles were effective or not. If you think the former then your previous question is answered.

Nan Li
3 months ago

Thank you so much. It helps me a lot to re-consider how to be a Cinematographer and that 2 angles were effective indeed.

rlandry1
3 months ago

Do you try to light the scene in such a way keeping in mind your other (possible) angles?

I personally like to think that you not only keep an open mind as far as "discovering" a certain framing/composition, but you also keep an open mind in your APPROACH.

In other words when you're setting up one shot, you're not necessarily thinking about how this will connect with the next shot (other than continuity), but perhaps more accurately, you are thinking of the overall visual concept you and the director have agreed upon, and you take each shot and try to fit it into the mold.

I mean, this is how I'd like to think it works. Obviously, nothing is really that cut-and-dry nor that easily explained.

rlandry1
3 months ago

Can I add that this scene is reminiscent of the Hannibal's cage from 'Silence of the Lambs.' Is that a coincidence? I love the idea that in cinema, the motif of the "caged villain's" PRISON symbolically reflects the character's personality (or lack there of).

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