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How to Tell a Story With Camera Angles

How to Tell a Story With Camera Angles 6000 4000 Dani Lyman

The camera is a powerful tool that can influence people’s emotions, desires and perspectives. Using subtle techniques, like camera angles, you can reveal power, weakness and character traits all without saying a word.

In this post we’ll explore 3 classic films that used simple camera angles to create a few of Hollywood’s most iconic scenes. 

Low Angle Shot

Shooting from a low angle where the camera is lower than the subject can give the character a greater sense of importance and power on screen. We often see this technique used to demonstrate a hero conquering a villain or displaying a villain’s power and oppression over a victim. For a more humorous example, the Coen Brothers used the low angle shot to give a rule-abiding parking lot attendant power in Fargo. In contrast, you can clearly see Carl as powerless and weak in comparison. Due to extreme foul language we are too classy to share the video, but you can check it out here.

High Angle Shot

When a high angle shot is used it makes the subjects smaller, more vulnerable and insignificant, emphasizing the character’s weakness in the scene. In a more subtle example of  power vs. weakness is the death of Jesse James in the Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. In the scene below, although the action would suggest the man who has the importance and power in this scene is the man with the gun, the camera angle instead reveals Robert Ford as a weak person. The high angle shot reflected in the painting implies to the viewer that he is weak, unimportant and, in fact, a coward.

Bird’s Eye View

The Bird’s Eye View shot is consistently used to convey the most action to the viewer, give him a broad scope of the scene and reveal the characters in their weakest form. In this iconic scene Ethan Hunt’s cover is nearly blown when he plummets to the ground and dangles inches above the floor sensors. While the eye level shots increase our feelings of anxiety as if we are dangling with him, the famous Bird’s Eye View shot reveals Hunt in his most vulnerable state, at the mercy of his partner and a rope. This shot reveals the danger and magnitude of the situation while looking incredibly badass.

Whether you are demonstrating an inferior character, emphasizing a moment of danger, or revealing the complexities of human nature, you can use very simple camera techniques to educate and persuade your article. These famous scenes are just the beginning when it comes to telling your unique story through camera angles.

Is Game of Thrones the end of TV as we know it?

Is Game of Thrones the end of TV as we know it? 3456 2304 Dani Lyman

There is a little restaurant in Denver called Stoney’s where local patrons fill the bar on Sunday nights for a Game of Thrones watch party packed with themed competitions and GoT themed foods and drinks. While many viewers choose to watch the show in the dark and silence of their living rooms, uninterrupted, viewing parties like these are popping up across the country. Similar to what we see with sports fanantics, people want to be surrounded by like-minded individuals and root for their favorite player (in this case, character).

While we gather to see who is going to rule the Iron Throne, a larger question emerges. Will TV continue to be a social experience after GoT ends? What will we be watching next and how will we be watching it?

TV and the way we consume programming has changed drastically since Game of Thrones’ first episode aired in 2011. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime dominate with their original and award-winning content. TiVo is nearly a thing of the past now that we can stream from our cell phones whenever we want. The term “binge watching” is so popular it now has a place in the dictionary.

However, there is a social aspect to watching TV that gets lost when viewers binge-watch a series or stream on their own time. We bite back our enthusiasm about the latest episode because a co-worker isn’t “caught up” yet. We avoid social media to ensure spoilers aren’t revealed. We even stop talking to each other altogether when we realize we’re on different seasons.

What was once a social practice, an avenue to bringing friends and family together for a half an hour or an hour, is becoming an isolating experience. Game of Thrones is one show that still brings people out of their dark living rooms and gets them excited to share with others. Will there be shows in the future capable of doing the same?

More niche content is being created today. With more and more series being delivered through various platforms, the mainstream appeal of programs is diminishing. People are loading up on content they enjoy, but not something they can necessarily banter about with their friends.

And let’s not overlook how we are consuming content. We no longer just sit in front of our TV’s. We stream from our phones on the train to work. We watch from our laptops on our lunch break. We sit in a room full of people and stare at our iPads. Chief Marketing Officer of Factual, Brian Czarny, contributed an excellent article on fragmented viewership and what it means for the future of content. He writes, “Rest assured that, for the next hit show, the live viewing numbers will be smaller because consumer behavior is swiftly trending toward…mobile.”

As we move into in the final season of GoT, a series that has greatly influenced pop culture and has risen to become one of the most talked about shows in history, we have to wonder if this is the end of an era. Will there be another show that can bring us together the way Game of Thrones has? Or will we become a nation of binge-watchers, turning TV viewing into a solo sport?

Prep Your Video Business for the New Year

Prep Your Video Business for the New Year 3000 2000 Dani Lyman

Success in any field or endeavor in life usually starts in the same place; establishing goals. As your business heads into 2019,  it’s important to consider what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them. You may want to recruit new clients, branch out from corporate videos to commercials or increase your revenue. Wherever you’re looking to take to your business this new year, here are a few solid tips to help you get there.

Attend Conferences

If you want to be the top crew in your city, you’re going to need to spend time with experts. Video production conferences are an excellent way to receive one-on-one guidance, learn about new equipment, explore trends and mingle with other professionals. An invaluable experience (and often quite the party), here are a few top conferences to consider attending in 2019.

I highly recommend attending marketing conferences as well. There you can learn the ins and outs of marketing trends and how your company can be an asset to corporate and commercial video marketing in the coming year.  Also, be sure to attend hometown events and conferences for excellent networking opportunities.

Trends

For your company to be successful, you want to stay relevant. Maybe you’ve been doing the same type of work for 15 years and it’s been going well for you, but now a millennial-owned tech company wants to hire you to do some VR work for his new video game goggles and you barely even know what he’s talking about let alone how to execute his vision. Falling behind on trends is a quick way to fall behind in business.

Here are a few video production trends you are going want to stay on top of in 2019:

    • Virtual Reality
    • Aerial Video & Drones
    • 360-Degree Videos (Immersive video)
    • 4K Cameras
    • Cinemagraphs (a.k.a gifs).
    • Hyperlapse (Check out this badass video from Rob Whitworth that took hundred of hours to execute so perfectly)

 

Barcelona GO! from Rob Whitworth on Vimeo.

Live Streaming

Nothing has been blowing up in video production the way Live Streaming has the last few years. Everything from City Council meetings to pro sports games stream daily on a variety of platforms.  Understanding the technology behind live streaming is an excellent way to attract new clients in 2019. I highly recommend researching how to use three of the most popular live streaming platforms to bring your business to the next level:

  • Facebook Live Broadcasts
  • Twitter 
  • YouTube 
Social Media

While it’s important to understand social media trends for your clients, it is equally important to have a social media presence of your own.  A website is great, but these days clients also want to check out your BTS & time-lapse videos on Instagram, they want to read your reviews on Facebook and watch your videos on Vimeo and YouTube. The more outlets you are on, the more ways you can reach new clients. Also, social media is an excellent way to remind people that you’re out there producing stellar work on a daily basis. 

Establishing Goals

Goals are just daydreams unless we take action to achieve them. When you think about your vision for the New Year, take some time to write down what you plan to accomplish and challenge yourself to write a step by step process to follow through. It’s pretty simple: determine what you want, why you want it & how you’re going to get it. Don’t forget to:

  • Be Specific
  • Be Realistic
  • Be Proactive

 

 

Here’s to making dreams a reality in the New Year!