Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Thoughts on filming technique

On the way home from King Kong, whose SFX I thought were wonderful, we were talking about special effects and filming conventions.

The original King Kong used stop-motion models which were state of the art at the time but required a certain involvement form the viewers; they had to translate the jerky scenes to ones that would frighten them. After seeing King Kong, Narnia, Serenity and other recent films with lots of CGI, I'm wondering if current SFX can get any better or more realistic without going 3D or VR.

I also noticed that the two actors very effectively put on the accepted 30s voice and intonation for their shipboard scene together which made me ask whether we have any strange affectations like that which people might be amused at in the future--apart from docospeak which reporters are presumably trained in. And yes, we have.

There's that irritating 'ramping' or sped-up bits of scenes. Boston Legal has adopted it for their new opening credits. Hey, I liked their stills with posterised outlines. Why follow a stupid trend? At least it's not part of the show. Yet.

The other new convention that annoys the hell out of me is the mock hand-held camera. Years ago when I first saw The Lion King, I thought it was clever to have simulated lens glare in a cartoon. It's only now that such artifice taken to extremes that I wonder why it struck me as added realism. We're supposed to be a disembodied viewer of what's on the screen, a fly on the wall, part of it. So why do series like BSG go to great trouble to constantly remind us of the camera lens as barrier? I could understand it if it were a mockumentary like The Office, but simulated focussing errors in CGI scenes of spaceships is not just irritating and distracting, it's saying, "This isn't real. This is something we filmed, and not very well at that," and this shoots down my belief in what I'm watching as something I can pretend is actually happening. I can't quite pretend to believe in a scene as real when I'm constantly made aware of deliberately flawed filming technique.

Does that have the same distancing effect on everyone else?

Tags: films, tv
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