Friday, October 22, 2010


Last weekend I watched Batman Begins for the second time and I really enjoyed it. I've always wanted to go through a film and reverse-engineer it back into storyboards. I want to do it with No Country For Old Men, but I got the hankerin' tonight, and next thing you know I'm boarding Batman Begins.

As I work through, I've realized that the director/editor/D.O.P. team is making sure every shot asks a question. It's fantastic. If there's not a lot of direct suspense in the acting, the camera frame will open on something unclear, then move onto something. So you start the shot with a question - needing to keep watching, even just to understand what you're looking at in that single shot.

Bruce Wayne doesn't just climb down into the Batcave. Every shot looks dangerous. In the last shot I drew above, Wayne is sliding down a subterranean slope with rope. Right before the cut, you see him slip over a dark ledge. Even for that tiny moment, you're left in suspense, needing to see the next shot to see what he's fallen into.

I'm also learning a lot about directing actors by watching the film this way. You see what an actor needs to do in that one shot. If you look at each shot individually, you only see a tiny action - a glance, or the turn of a head. It's only when you piece it together that you start to believe and be taken in.

There's lots to learn about lighting, composition, and camera moves. And it's good sketching practice - lots of different body angles n' stuff.

This is a tonne of fun! A huge team of very experienced people came together to make this film. By doing this, I feel like I'm learning lessons from all of them.

Maybe I gotta start doing this for an hour a day or something.

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