Film Talk

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Around the character 1917 (3 replies and 2 comments)

Jouniu
4 weeks ago
Jouniu 4 weeks ago

Hey Roger

I saw 1917 today. Outstanding film and camera work. So many outstanding scenes. Camera work was so seamless. 

I had only two moments when I felt that there is camera in story. First time when Blake and Schofield talked about medals. When Schofield goes forward and Blake stays still. Camera moves from his side to the front. I felt camera in the story. 

Second time when Schofield is in house with French woman. Camera goes 360 around the Schofield. I started to think about camera. Because it takes role in scene. But this time emotional feeling was stronger. It's a beautiful scene.

To me this type of camera movements are often most jarring. I always wondering the meaning of them. 

I would like to know. What was your motivation for these camera movements? Did you have some thought or reason behind those camera movements?

You have always said best cinematography is that what you don't see. To me cinematography in 1917 is outstanding expect this two moments.

Great job Roger. You amaze with every film.

Roger Deakins
4 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 4 weeks ago

I know what you mean about both those moments and I could add a number of others.

You ask if there was a reason for those moves and, of course, there was a reason for every move. Every move was very carefully thought out. When you don't have an option to cut you have to think how to show the audience the things you want them to see in the most elegant way. In the first instance we wanted to see Blake's reaction to Scofield's pain and then to see him follow his friend toward the orchard. We never wanted to just pan back and forth as we wanted a continuous feeling of forward momentum. So we used a circular motion to cross Blake's eye-line, rather than a move back and forth on the same axis. That is pretty much the same reason behind the second move you mention, only in the basement it felt the disorientation created by the move was also a better reflection of Scofield's physical and emotional state.

Jouniu
4 weeks ago

Thank you very much for your answer Roger. It makes perfect sense to keep it continuous feeling in ways you mention it. 360 degrees around Scofield gave the feeling of his physical and emotional state.

Do you have always in your mind how camera movements serve the story and emotions of the characters?

I talked last year with one DOP after the special screening. He said he just move the camera because he felt to do it. He couldn't say why he did so.

Roger Deakins
3 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 3 weeks ago

Well, he probably meant that he worked 'instinctively' and that is what I do. But it is an 'instinctive' reaction to the script rather than shooting a bunch of pretty shots. The story and the emotions of the characters is always uppermost!

Vanniyan
3 weeks ago

Once you have told crossing eye line create kind of unease feeling. Same concept applied here?

Roger Deakins
3 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 3 weeks ago

Not really. When you do it on a cut there is a disorientation of position and that doesn't happen when the camera leads you across the eye line.

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