Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Bleronk, Super 16mm film frames.

I've been noticing that a lot of shots that won't make it into the final film, still have really cool moments. Shots(clips) that I'd otherwise overlook. Now that I'm looking through some just for interesting frames, I'm finding imagery I didn't really think much about when watching through the footage.

The difference between stills and motion pictures is really interesting in this way. With surf photography a photographer can get a cover shot out of a ride that might not make into a movie. With stills, you only need a fraction of a second. That's not really an advantage. It's just a difference. With motion pictures, a shot usually needs to be strong from beginning to end, many frames in succession where the composition is sometimes constantly changing. For a surf film, I think this is most difficult when filming in the water.

There are moments in modern history burned into our consciousness as a result of still photos. I don't think these moments would still be remembered so clearly generations later if only shot with motion pictures. A couple examples that come to mind:


With stills we remember the composition more clearly in part because we only see one frame. With motion pictures, especially when the camera is moving, or what's happening on screen is changing quickly, we don't remember as much visually.

Compare the two different Star Wars trilogies. The first trilogy is full of shots where the camera is not moving much, or maybe there is a simple pan. Such as shots showing the vastness of Tatooine. Those simple shots with strong compositions are burned into my mind forever. When I think about the second trilogy, I don't remember many shots...I remember more of a blur. The one shot that I really remember from the second trilogy was a shot that echoed the famous shot in the first Star Wars where Luke is standing outside his Uncle's house, staring at the double sunset.

I sometimes love shots where the camera is moving. It can work wonderfully. I like the contrast of cutting from a moving shot to a stationary shot, or vice versa. I feel like watching a lot of movies over the past fifteen years or so, that the camera is moving though, just because they can move it through space. And because of this, I feel like a lot of recent films have less shots that stick in our minds because with a moving shot we are likely not going to remember one singular composition from it. It's more of a blur.