Perspectives on film

These two articles by Zettl and Osgood are very helpful in thinking about the upcoming film project. Zettl’s most interesting point involves the symmetry of a screen frame and Osgood describes the continuity of a shot as extremely important.

Zettl’s argument about symmetry hinges on the idea that the sides of the screen play the role of magnets. If there is an object that takes up a good amount of the screen, both sides are magnets and this makes the image seem larger and more important. He also mentions, however, that if a smaller object is on one specific side, that screen will act as a magnet for that object and add importance. Especially in this image, the mask takes up a large portion of the poster, but it also in a corner, which draws more attention by the “magnets” of both sides.

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Zettl also makes a very similar point to that of Kress and VanLeeuwen in discussing the symmetry of a shot, specifically about where the most important information should be placed. Zettl noted that in general, people look at an image in the middle, move to the left, then look at the image on the right. Because of this, people don’t give an equal amount of attention to all images on the screen. This finding suggests that the important information should be on the right considering that it is the last place we look. Most newscasts and interviews, however, will have the most important information on the left with secondary information on the right. Zettl found that, in terms of communication, this works better as well. Because people are attracted to the high energy information source on the left, they have the option to only watch that information source or to look at more of a summary on the right. In interviews, even though the host is the constant, they are still primarily on the right side. This coverage is used because the interviewer is seen as the voice of the people asking the celebrities questions.

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Osgood focused his work mainly on how to successfully make movies, specifically how to edit them. One major focus was continuity. He began this section by describing two different types of continuity in film:

  • Physical: actual items in shot

  • Technical: tools needed to shoot

He then went on the talk about the importance of eye lines in film. Many audiences will be confused if there are two very different lines of sight. Even if there is a height difference between the two actors, audiences need to have an equal eye line in order to maintain balance in the shot.

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