Visual Storytelling Class #4, 2/16/2012

Waiting for the bus

The exercise: draw someone “waiting for the bus” from a variety of camera angles (above is one of my 5 panels). What information do you need in the shot to convey this idea efficiently? What are the essential pieces (bus stop sign, road, person waiting…) and how much detail do you need? Don’t make the audience decipher. Choice of camera angle affects the level of intensity/interest experienced by the viewer. Angled shots such as this one, looking down from above, create more intense visuals than those shots which are horizontal (how we typically experience a road, i.e…not from above and at an angle, as from a birds-eye, or when seen from an airplane).

To build intensity over a sequence of shots, the filmmaker can set up a rhythm of several horizontal shots, for example, then switch to a diagonal shot to increase the level of intensity at that moment. Think about the progression of eye movement over the course of a sequence — if the eye has to jump suddenly and look to the opposite side of the screen, this causes contrast and visual interest. Through making a “planned progression of shots”, the storyteller can establish patterns & expectations for the audience…when these expectations are dashed, there is a visual disturbance for the viewer resulting in a change in the intensity level (either up or down). It’s all very psychological. 😉

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