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Emotional Impact of OTS (5 replies and 11 comments)

OMA
2 weeks ago
OMA 2 weeks ago

Hello Roger and fellow forum members,

I was wondering if any of you would mind sharing your thoughts regarding how an OTS or single MS differ in terms of their impact on an audience?

I have been rewatching the gas station scene in "No Country for Old Men" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4Wek1VIfjA» - and I've been trying to figure out how my response to the scene would change if the OTS were not OTS, and if the singles were not singles, but I haven't really been able to put my finger on it.

My thoughts so far have been that an OTS has a tendency to put the audience closer to what the character. whose shoulder we are looking over, is experiencing, but I have also had moments where I felt as though an OTS gave me more of an objective feeling - as though I was listening in on a conversation I was not supposed to hear.

I also think the distance from the eye line also plays into how subjective or objective a single or OTS feels.

In either case, I was mostly wondering if you, Roger, or anyone else, would share their thoughts on this matter.

Thank you for your time and for this wonderful forum.

Best

Roger Deakins
1 week ago
Roger Deakins 1 week ago

Yes, I was talking about the shots, the composition and how flat they felt. Beautiful but emotionally dead.

OMA
1 week ago

Out of curiosity, what made it dead? Was it the story itself, or did the compositions, though beautiful, fail to pull you in as an audience member?

Vanniyan
1 week ago

Master roger if you don't mine may i ask which movie we are talking about?

Roger Deakins
1 week ago
Roger Deakins 1 week ago

The wider connected with the subject far more. The other trailer looked quite dead in comparison. It was beautifully composed and beautifully lit but quite dead. I am not a fan of ultra wide lenses, not in the least, but neither do I like the 'removed' feeling that a long lens can give. Of course, every lens has a use.

Vanniyan
1 week ago

Quit dead means shot construction? I assume you have talked about shot constructions only

David W
1 week ago

Couldnt agree more, I just watch the terrence malick trailer, "A Hidden Life." It looks to be shot with ultra wide and I feel more engaged.

Roger Deakins
2 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 2 weeks ago

In Fink the Coen's wanted to be 'inside' conversations, to isolate the characters and put the audience in direct contact with them. OTS tend to put an audience in the place of an observer. Not that I think audiences are really so aware of such things. I was at the cinema and so I watched a couple of trailers yesterday for upcoming films. One was shot with longer lenses and with some overs whilst the other was shot on wider lenses and far closer to the characters. I know which one drew me in the most, not that the film looked any good otherwise.

Mike
1 week ago

In the sequence you watched, which one drew you in, long or the wider lens?

Vanniyan
2 weeks ago
Vanniyan 2 weeks ago

Dear master roger the same doubt I have had whilst watched "Barton fink" there is a first time meet Barton and charlie on mansion. You have done There is a mid shot for Barton, and close shot of charlie for most of the conversation. Is that also purely create for character intensity. Here by i have attached both images from that scene.

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Screenshot_2019-08-04-23-00-12.jpg
simon m
2 weeks ago
simon m 2 weeks ago

Not Roger here - I think OTS lends itself to a more observational feeling in a scene. But then when we cut from an OTS to a single, it ratchets up the intensity. But I think it's about how a scene feels to you, the director/editor.

OMA
2 weeks ago

Yeah, the cut from OTS to single definitely feels like an increase in tension

David W
2 weeks ago

I agree with Simon, a characters words or actions will have more impact with a single rather than ots, an ots puts the audience in the position of an observer. Here's a forum post that discusses this very topic.

https://www.rogerdeakins.com/composition/ots-versus-singles

OMA
2 weeks ago

Thanks for the link David!
And yes, I agree with that too. I guess I've been trying to figure out if OTS can be substituted with singles and vice versa and still accomplish a similar narrative goal.

simon m
2 weeks ago

An interesting thing about this particular scene is we go back and forth between ots and single and back to ots a few times. Usually, there's a progression from master to ots to single. The rhythm of the editing here increases, then decreases then increases the intensity and feeling of imminent danger in this scene which I find brilliant.

David W
2 weeks ago

I think moving from ots shots to a closeup can be a very powerful technique, I think you should use Singles and closeups sparingly only in moments that are narratively important. Try analyzing this scene without any sound so you can zone in on the visual language, I do this with all my favorite scenes. Check out some of David Finchers films(Mindhunter is on Netflix) and do this, his uses of a closeup are used sparingly and when it is used the impact is that much stronger.

OMA
2 weeks ago

I also realized the use of the OTS as a setup to then cut to the single for the increased emotional impact. The same thing is used when the editor cuts from a MS single to a CU single, but I guess it might be Roger's preference to use an OTS compared to a MS single.

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