For this week’s activity, Reading Movies, I looked at the Ebert’s perspecitve on on “How to Read a Movie.“. Ebert’s methods aligned with several concepts that I was aware of consciously and unconsciously. A few of them actually contradicted ideas that were presented in the other videos, not to mention insights recently shared with me by some female friends.
First, on the idea that movement from left to right represented positive direction and the future, we read from left to right (with the exception of Japanese) so it make sense that we might associate movement to the right with the future. Subconsiously, we’ve almost literally hang on each word, in a right-ward direction. In terms of Ebert’s methods that highlighted in my unconscious awareness was the concept that diagonal equated to being “out of balance.” Moreover, the idea that diagonal to the right implied a perilous fall into the future. Its interesting concept and brought back memories of Ice Tunnel ride at Universal Studios where the background was rotating in such a way that it made me feel like the cart was tilting. I recall leaning over to stay upright, only to realize we hadn’t tilted at all.
After watching several of the videos, I found that the Kubrick, One-point perspective, provided interesting insight to the use of symmetry and actually contradicted Ebert’s point that Symmetry implied being at rest. In he Kubrick montage, the different scenes seemed to suggest everything else but rest and added a layer of uneasy feeling because it was not as easy to anticpate, to Ebert’s earlier point, if the scene was moving to the future or to the past, in a positive direction, or in a negative direction. I definitely think that there is power in symmetry, in choosng that one point of perspective because it positions the audience into a suspensful state, waiting, anticipating a transition.
Another Ebert method that stood out for me was the the interplay between foreground and background. Watching the video on Camera Angles and Techniques, I was fascinated by the “Zolly” technique because it was something that always struck me in movies and added so much impact to characters’ “ah ha!” moments. The video reminded of the fact that video is a two-dimensional portrayal of a three dimensional space, which I found compelling. The use of camera angles provide a reminder that the space is indeed three dimensional. Morever, the effects that Ebert desribes with the different angle positions impacts the viewer experience, depending on the dominant angle. Something to keep in mind as in my video work.
UPDATE: First Attempt at executing the Zolly technique