Film Talk

Posted on by

Use of Silhouette and Long Shots/ Visual Consultant (1 reply)

1 week ago
Ants12 1 week ago

Hello, Mr Deakins,


I first want to send my congrats to your second Oscar win for 1917. I watched the movie a couple of times and was still blown away by it. The story, the performances, the cinematography, everything. I also enjoyed your earlier movies like Prisoners, Sicario, The Shawshank Redemption, and many of your movies. As I watched the movies I saw you usually use a wide shot (first picture). Just out of curiosity, I've always wonder why this is effective. Is it to symbolize something or is it to visually appeal the audience?


Also, I've seen a lot of the silhouette shots you've used like in Sicario where the troops are moving out. What makes this scene standout at this point of the movie? Is it to bring tension to the story? Or is there more to it?


Now, I just noticed you were a visual consultant for the How to Train Your Dragon movies. Was there a direction visually you went for? How were they able to effectively pull those off? 


I'm a junior at Wisconsin Lutheran College, studying for a film major and minor in business. I've always looked up to your work. Being behind the camera, I always look for the best possible shots, but also give some meaning behind the shots. I'm excited to learn more about the importance of the shots and what the future holds for you.

Congrats once again!



Roger Deakins
1 week ago
Roger Deakins 1 week ago

I am not one to analyze what I do and why I do it. That top shot from 'Fargo' is interesting as we had about 150 cars waiting to be place in shot but we never used them. The shot just felt so right with only the one lonely car and its tire tracks. That silhouette shot in 'Sicario' just seemed right.

As for the 'How to Train Your Dragon' series, the idea was for those films to look more like live action, to use live action style cutting and to incorporate more light and shade. I remember on the first film having long 'discussions' about how dark we could go with candle lit scenes. The results are there to see.

Back to Film Talk...