Team Deakins Podcast

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Maybe my English is not that good, so maybe I got it all wrong, but I will give it one more try, if that is ok. I wrote down as precise as I could, without altering what you talked about, from 37th minute to 40:17.
"The aspect ratio is one of the early choices you make, it is the feeling of the film, and again I do not know why , I could not write a paper on why, one aspect ratio works for one film and doesn't for another, I do not know..."
"we are expecting you to write a paper"
"If it is a western, wide open spaces we got to do it. You know, wide screen, cinemascope, whatever... You know, really, do you? I do not know really. The lighthouse had a lot of exteriors, probably not the best example, but you know, you do not have to go to a wide screen just because it is a western."
MATT talks about aspect ratio for social media 9:16, and the fact there are people who shoot anamorphic just because it is a trend...
You say you would try it (9:16), interesting, but not for an entire feature film. You also talked about your experience with photography, the academy ratio...
"I do not know why, but it is just... I mean, you could say you want to be careful that the frame, or the format, the hole style of the cinematography doesn't overpower story. You might have a very quiet, delicate story and then you shoot in wide screen with strong compositions, with people one the side of the frame, so the cuts are really dramatic when somebody is looking left or looking right or maybe you short sight them the wrong way. Now is that really wright necessary for the subject if it is a very quiet intense small piece, and it is really about the characters? I think that is destructive myself, I would like to see it work, but I haven't yet..."

I wonder If I got what you meant by saying that wide screen with strong compositions it`s destructive for intimate characters-based stories. and if you used that on Revolutionary Road.
The car scene I think is a good illustration of that. It seems the use of the wide screen is to set them apart. One on one side of the frame, the other on the opposite side. When it cuts on Leo 'character, he seems so far from his wife, and when he leans on his back, the distance increases. Once they are arguing beside the car, there are the electric pols separating them, the verticals in the background.
And the shot with them standing in the car, it`s an odd shot, with all that space to the left and up the frame. When they get back in the car they are filmed from the side, with the focus on the face in front and the other just blurred, but no more separation this time, no more distance between them, maybe because they share the same grief? Their heads nearly overlap... Having one character in the foreground and the other behind blurred heavily, it's something that it`s used later in the film, but you keep a distance between the two, when they have an argue, more than once this reoccurs.
When back to the house she is so far from the window, and there are all that verticals which block her, the frame of the door, the staircase, the frame of the window, the frames of the paintings. And yet again she is on the other side on the frame. She has the back blocked by the lamp; she is so trapped. The house is so present, on wide screen, the place she does not like, the place she would want to leave behind. When she takes the garbage outside once again, she is blocked to the right by some fence, and to the left in the background it is a street pole, as if a frame in a frame. With that street pole, the top of it it`s cut, I wonder if you choose to that in a way to avoid too much symmetry, perhaps with the top of the pole it would have had too much balance?
There is another frame, in front of the house, on the lone, sunset I guess, water sparkling, they have a hug, it all happens in a distance, and their shapes over lapse the shape of a tree in the background. The camera is quite frontal. There are no diagonals, no perspective, lines aren`t going anywhere, it`s quite a bidimensional representation. This is just after they decide they will go to Paris. Did you choose this framing to induce the fact that they won't go anywhere?
Franck`s first appearance to the office, he comes from the background, left side of the frame, he is small. We find out he does not like his job... The second time he appears to the office with his big news, he is still left of the frame, much closer this time, but he does not own the frame, he is not in the middle. He is enthusiastic, he pushes the camera, but it is not in the center, once again all that space the other side.
Was wide screen more convenient for this film to enhance the dramatic relationship between characters by putting more space between them, by trapping them inside the frame? The bigger the frame, the bigger the trap?
Thank you!

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