Single Camera Features

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 Single Camera production uses one camera for all the camera shots and angles for a production e.g. a film or television series. This technique is more time consuming as each scene has to be reset a number of times in order to get all types of angles and shots but allows for more control over each shot as there is only one camera to focus on, this technique is also much cheaper as it only involves a single camera as opposed to having 3 or 4 cameras at a time. Using a single camera means that the camera has to shoot all of the coverage  for the whole scene for each actor, so when the show is being edited they can flip between each coverage of the actors.

Examples of single camera productions include TV shows such as Doctor Who, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, and  The Walking Dead. Serial dramas (soaps) are single camera productions such as Eastenders and Emmerdale as using single camera productions are much cheaper to make as it only involves one camera.

Serial dramas which are often referred to as ‘soaps’ such as Emmerdale and Eastenders where the drama is broadcast on television continuously throughout the year, and often make a Christmas special which carries an exiting plot arc using  double episodes.

Serial dramas are set usually in a town or a specific place where there are many different characters; often different families who all have some connection to the characters .It is broadcast weekly throughout the year which means that the episodes can carry a continuous plot line e.g. a murder, through multiple weeks of episodes while creating mini arcs e.g. new jobs for individual characters. This format also means that it does not have to stick to the average episode count of 12, so its plot lines can run for an unlimited amount of time. The shows such as Eastenders are long-term serial’s they can have re-occurring characters that come back every so often or events that happened 20 years ago can be referenced in the most recent episodes e.g. a car crash.

The Conjuring (Film)

The conjuring is a single camera linear close-ended , horror movie, and has realist narrative as the film is based of real life events that happened to a family surrounding the paranormal, and the movie attempts to show the viewers that these events were truthful.  The publishing platform is on DVD/blu-ray.

This movie is the first installment of the Conjuring films. Its format as a singular film means that it can have fewer story lines that only center around the main characters such as the paranormal investigators and the family that they are helping , compared to a serial drama where there are many interacting story lines of a large amount of characters. The film has to fit the story into its running time so it cannot have a dozen plot threads as that would be suited to a different format such as an episodic format, as it would take more time in order for the strands to be solved.  The film format works for the horror genre, as it means it can create suspense over the films course of 122 minutes without loosing its dramatic pay-off.

There are fewer plot arcs as the film has a limited amount of running time for the characters to be introduced (as it is the first installment) , and for the film to have a beginning, middle and end whilst tying up the plot strands to close the movies plot to make it close-ended. The film has a realist narrative which means it is set in the real world  during the 70’s in America to give a sense of realism to the viewers.

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This tracking shot slowly moves upwards to give the sense that something is in the room  to create a creepy atmosphere , as if the camera is pointing to something in the center of the frame. The lighting is also telling the audience that there is a bad energy coming from this room, as the source of warm , yellow light is coming from the bathroom at the back of the shot; where it is the safest. Whereas the bedroom itself is very dark and cold making the viewers on-edge.

The sound at this point in the music is silent, which allows the viewer to focus on the shot e.g. to see if they can spot anything and to further create a suspenseful atmosphere.


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This is also a tracking shot, but does it slowly as it tracks the wardrobe and then shows the ghost on top of the wardrobe, and then the camera focuses on the ghost for a few seconds  which causes the audience to have a delayed reaction as it takes a moment in order to process what is on the screen at this point.

The camera pans upwards and stays silent for a few seconds while focuses on the spirit on the wardrobe until the music gives the cue for the characters and audience to realise what is on their wardrobe, which creates a jump scare for the audience. The lighting in this scene is placed effectively as the darkest points of the scene are above the wardrobe where the ghost is, to show how it is a dark entity.

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The previous shot of the woman is using a over-the-shoulder shot, this is used to show the facial expression of the character but in this case it is used as the spirits POV as the camera is behind his left shoulder where coincidentally the feet are dangling from.   The editing of this scene uses her close up before you see the feet in order to jump-scare the audience. A medium close up behind-the-shoulder camera angle is used for the reveal of the feet,while still seeing the oblivious expression on the male characters face.

The sound in this scene is quiet as the voice over says ‘something awful happened here’ and then when the feet are revealed a high pitched ‘screech’ sound can be heard which is very unpleasant to hear which in turn is often used in the horror genre to create tension.

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At this point one of the sisters gets thrown across the room from a poltergeist. The camera shot a this point in time is a shaky-cam, giving the appearance of a hand-held camera.

This is used to give a sense of disorientation and also in this point a POV shot of another person onlooking the scene. At the end of the trailer the edits speed up and show various shots of the characters in peril and the soundtrack speeds up using screams, and gun shots to create atmosphere and which also mimics  the viewers quickening heartbeat.


 Star Wars : The Force Awakens (Film)

Star Wars the Force Awakens is the next installment in the star wars saga. It is a non-realist sci-fi film with an open-ended ending which will be resumed in the next movie in the franchise. It uses the single camera technique throughout the movie, although it uses the dual camera technique for action sequences in order to capture more of the scene without resetting the scene.

The film is a continuation of the Star Wars franchise. This means that its saga format allows it to have occurring characters from the previous instalments, such as ‘Han Solo’ whilst introducing brand new characters such as ‘Rey’ and ‘Finn’ in this particular film. As this is a part of a franchise the film does not have to solve all its plot points as it can continue some of them in future films. This film has an open-ended ending which means the target audience are encouraged to watch the next instalment of the franchise, as it ends on a cliff-hanger. This film has a non – realist narrative as it is set in space with is achieved with the use of green screen and special effects, rather than it being set in a real-life situation.

Although, the narrative themes used throughout the film are realist such as destiny, fate, and finding who you are as a person; which is what the main character ‘Rey’ experiences throughout this movie. Having realist themes in the movie helps to make the characters experiences very real so the audience can identify with the characters.

 

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This is a panning shot which moves from right to left showing all the storm troopers to give the viewer a sense volume of soldiers that the main heroes of the film will be up against. This shot also gives a sense of status as the camera is on the ground along with the storm troopers, where as the general is higher up on the platform showing how he is superior to them.

The lighting in this shot is very pale and sinister looking as it lacks a lot of colour. The only colour in this shot is red which symbolises  danger. In a way the shot foreshadows and lets the audience know that these are evil forces. The music that is playing at this point in the trailer are solo piano notes which create tension, which gradually build up to make ‘Rey’s theme’ to create impact and also at this time the shots begin to speed up in time with the music.

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This camera movement tracks the spaceships while they are battling each other. The  camera is used in a way which gives a sense of realism to the scene as it mimics the movements of the spaceships weaving around while following them.

The lighting in this scene is light at the start of the fight  but turns darker when the spaceships go into a a wreck symbolising how the fight intensifies turning deadlier. The editing speeds up near the end of this fight mimicking the fights speed. The music in this scene uses a choir  with the sound effects of the spaceships which are iconic from the star wars films to attract the audiences attention, along with the voice over of ‘there are stories of what happened’ to create mystery without giving any of the plot away in the trailer alone.

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These shots are medium close ups of the two characters so the audience can focus on their facial expressions which slowly zoom in on their faces to further show the surprise on their faces, and the editing shows Rey and Finns expressions before they reveal Han Solo’s appearance which allows the trailer to create suspense as the viewer does not realise they are looking at Han Solo. They see their expressions before they as a viewer see Harrison Fords character.

The lighting in this scene is very mysterious due to the blue hues , but not threatening as there are warm sources of light in the scene which also lights up the majority of all of the characters faces which also show how they are heroic and have light within themselves.

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This is a wide shot, used for the purpose of showing the audience the surroundings in which the scene takes place. In this sense it shows the main character walking away from the camera showing how she is embarking on an adventure, leaving her home . The lighting creates a friendly atmosphere as it uses yellow and orange but is darker in the distance emphasising of the danger ahead.


 Southpaw (Film)

Southpaw is a drama/thriller movie. It is a realist, linear film as it focuses on the Boxer Billy Hope.

The film has a linear narrative, which means that it only focuses on the character of Billy as there are fewer plot lines due to its format as a one-off film, it means the viewers can focus on the main character of Billy Hope. The film is linear as it follows the character from the events which happen in chronological order without jumping back and forth between events. Having a linear structure means that the audience is able to follow along easily without getting lost in flashbacks or flash forwards which can make a plots structure quite confusing.

As the plot is sequential the plot starts off where Billy has won in a boxing match which has a triumphant atmosphere and then it switches to where his wife has been shot and consequentially his daughter is taken away from him. This plot suits its format of a film as a one-off drama as it has real-life situations such as alcoholism which is dealt with during the film. The plot wouldn’t work as episodic format as I believe it would lack an emotional pay off as the story is a single-stranded narrative film, so the film suits the beginning, middle and end structure. It would suit the TV series format if there were multiple characters and thus a multi-stranded plot, in order to span the greater running time.

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This is a aerial wide shot of the city to show the audience where the film is set and what time of day the scene is set in , in this case in an american city in the evening. This shot was probably captured using a drone to get the high shot. This shot foreshadows the tradgedy that will happen as it is dark which alludes to the tension and atmosphere. This shot in particular is placed (in the trailer) after the fighting montage of billy winning the boxing fights that he fought in and showing his house and family giving the illusion of the ‘perfect life’.

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In these sequence of shots the views change from using a shaky-cam to capture the riot of the crowd, to a medium shot of Billy’s wife to see that she is in distress, which also tracks Billy from right to left as he enters frame. The gunshot is heard before you see that his wife has been shot, this is used to delay the reveal of his wife’s injury. At this point in the trailer the theme shifts from showing his life as a successful boxer with a happy family to virtually no status while he looses the custody of his daughter.

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This close up angle has shifted to get both characters in the same scene but has tilted to a left sided angle to show how Billy is almost falling out of frame. This angle shows how Billy has lost as he is dealing with the possible death of his wife. The lighting in this scene is used cleverly in the fact that there is limited light on Billy’s face which is positioned near the top of the frame close to his wife. His wife has more light on her which symbolises heaven and shows how she is the light in his life.


 Miranda (TV series )

 

Miranda is a situation comedy (sit-com) which was aired on television, and published on DVD platform. Miranda was a sit-com which meant it had a comedy genre which focused on a set of characters who Miranda knew such as friends and family. The TV sit-com format meant that it was filmed in front of a live audience in order to get a genuine laugh track which is a necessary characteristic of sit-com. The show had a narrative structure, so it had an episodic format which consisted of 6 episodes for each series.

Having an episodic format means there is more of a running time for plot development. Miranda was loosely based on Miranda Harts real life experiences such as getting mistaken for a man on a daily basis as she is tall. The format would not suit being a film as there are not enough comedic elements to cover it as well as it being of sit-com genre as it is filmed in front of a live-studio audience. The audience would prefer to watch a series of shorter comedic plots than a one-off 120 minute segment surrounding one particular sit-com. Having a 30 minute segment is just right as it revolves around a short comedic story which has a beginning, middle and end.

 

The show uses the single camera production to its advantage as Miranda (who is also the narrator of the show ) often turns and talks directly to the camera to engage the audiences attention and to create comic affect.

The shots that are most commonly used are close ups and medium shots to capture the expressions of the characters as it is a drama comedy. The lighting used in the show are natural lighting to simulate real life, and occasionally mood lighting which is also for comedic effect or to prolong a serious scene.


X-Men  : Days of Future Past (Film)

This is a close-ended  non-realist sci-fi film who’s publishing platform is DVD. This movie is also non-linear in the sense that Wolverine goes back in time to the 1970’s era to try and stop events happening that effects his future, this also uses flashbacks from the past and present x-men to show the danger each era is facing.

This X-Men film is part of a franchise spanning 8 movies. This is the 7th instalment. It’s a single drama as it is a one-off film even though it is part of a franchise because its storyline is solved at the end of the movie as it has a close-ended narrative. Its format as a feature film means that it works as this format as it has established characters which have developed through the previous 6 films, so this means it can use the non-linear structure without confusing the audience as they do not need to establish character backstory.

 

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This scene is a close-up two shot as it shows both characters in the same shot. In this case these are the same characters. The young version on the left and the older on the right. This shot is used to show how they are interacting and to show each expression on both of their faces. The lighting in this scene shows how the younger Xavier is more gloomy by the blue light on him, whereas the older Xavier is shown to be wiser by the yellow hues on his face. “Please, we need you to hope again” is the voice over from the older Xavier that is heard at this point as it shows Xavier’s inner monologue of what he is thinking to his younger self.

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This upward tilt shot is used to create a disorientated feeling to the audience, as the glass is falling it is coming towards the camera. This scene is also in slow motion which creates a sense of unknowing as the lighting suggests what is above the room is dark and possibly sinister. The music at this point uses a melancholic tune to show how each reality (past and future are in danger, the low tune creates anticipation and suspense.

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This is a medium-close up shot of Magneto holding a gun, the camera angle is below him- to give a sense of superiority to the audience. The camera is positioned to the right leaving space on the left side of the shot to create a sense of distance which allows the shot to breathe (to avoid being to cramped if the shot was a close up ). The lighting in this scene is very dark to set the mood and build suspense, but has been used tactfully as there is light shining on part of his face suggesting that he is not entirely bad, there is good within him.

“On a different path…a darker path” the music tells us what the lighting is showing the audience. This movie flashbacks to earlier versions of the characters, all of which are different to where they are in the future.

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This is a low angle shot of the early version of Xavier wheelchair which was used in the early x-men movies. This shot is used in particular to get a close up of the ‘ x ‘ on the wheel which is symbolic of  the ‘x-men’. This suggests to the audience that they are preparing to fight again, but as the wheelchair is the early version it suggests it is the earlier version of the character using this, meaning it is a flashback.


Doctor Who (TV series)

Doctor Who is a single camera production sci-fi drama series. It has a non-realist story line as it features aliens and time travel and is a multi-stranded story as it has many plot arcs running through the series at the same time.

Doctor Who’s format is a television serial drama which is pre-written in which the viewer has to watch the 12 episodes in each series in order for the story to make sense. The serial format means that it can have a specific arc for each series, and then having a brand new arc for the following series. As its format of episodes, it means that the specific arcs for each series e.g. ‘the cracks in the universe’ in the 5th series is hinted at throughout series 5, which builds tension until the series finale which resolves the mystery of ‘the cracks in universe’.  Doctor who is a sci-fi drama which means that it can have bits of drama even though its setting is using time travel so it can give a sense of realism to the audience, by having realist themes running throughout the episodes like friendship and exploring.

Due to the sci-fi drama genre of the show, the episodic format means that it can switch its sub-genres from each episode e.g. some episodes like ‘Doomsday’ and ‘Blink’ have  an emotional pay off at the end, whereas there are more comedic episodes such as ‘Love and monsters’. The show follows The Doctor and his companions throughout time and space so the episodic format suits it well as the planet/time period changes each episode, rather than having a limited amount of time in a one off movie to explore various aliens and planets.

The publishing platform is DVD/blu ray. The series is a sci-drama so the camera angles used are mainly medium shots to long shots to high angled shots. This means the emotions and facial expressions are captured with also showing the audience the setting that the scene is based in. The high angled shots are sometimes used to create a sense of disorientation especially if it is used in a spaceship whilst traveling through time and space.

 

Sidekick (Film)

This is a 15 minute short film which tells the story about a father who tells his young son a bedtime story where the father is the hero in this film as well as the son who saves him from the villain. Its publishing platform is YouTube, and is a non-mainstream movie which has a linear story line.

This film has a single drama format as it is a one off installment of a short-film. It suits its publishing platform of YouTube as it means that the audience are more likely to watch a quick film on their mobile device, than  to watch a film that has a running time of 120 minutes on YouTube.

Throughout this story it uses the weather to tell the mood of the story  (pathetic fallacy), in this scene it shows the villain . At which point a lighting strike hits which shows his evil presence. Pathetic fallacy is also used to signify either a defeat or win as the storm begins as the hero appears to have lost.

 

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 Editing

In TV and films especially the way that it is edited can make or break a show, as the pace of the editing can effect the audience.. Editing is used primarily used to show the interactions between various characters and the setting they are placed in e.g. the conversation between two characters editing back and forth from various camera angles. Editing can also be used to create tension such as in horror movies, where they often prolong a camera shot of a creepy room to build tension, or if the the editing is fast paced it also creates an angry or tense atmosphere.

One shots

One shots are when the single camera captures the scene continuously without cutting. The camera often flips back and fourth between characters in order to capture their coverage. These shots are often used to create a point of view of the character for the audience as if they are in the scene, as well as creating tension and makes the audience more engaged as it is not just a standard scene filmed at various angles. Agents of shield is a single camera production which uses this continuous shot of a fight scene of’Skye’in order to create tension and a sense of realism to the audience.

 

Narrative Elements

Linear/Single-stranded

Linear production storylines run from start to finish in chronological order such as Southpaw, without the use of flashbacks. These productions are usually single-stranded as they have a main plot line that continues throughout the film/series that focus on a central character.

Non-Linear/Multi-stranded

Non-linear productions have storylines that are not in a sequential order such as ‘X-Men Days of Future Past’ as they do not run from beginning to end in a chronological fashion, and may use a variety of flashbacks and flashforwards. A film may use a non-linear narrative to engage the audience’s attention if they started the film using a flashback/flashforward to foreshadow the ending of the film which may or may not change due to the events that lead up to the ending.

Realist

Realist narratives are plots that are believable to the audience as they appear as though they are real to the viewers without the use of CGI as that they are based on real life events such as getting a new job rather than battling a dragon. Soaps such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale use realist narratives.

Anti-realist

Anti-realist narratives are those that are not filmed using traditional techniques e.g. they use a lot of CGI and green screen or that its narrative is not realistic such as Doctor Who as its genre is Sci-Fi.

Closed endings

Closed ending narratives are used to solve the plot at the ending of the production to make sure all of the plot strands are resolved such as Arrow and The Conjuring where each story has a resolution by the end of the episode/film.

Open endings

Open endings is when the production leaves the ending of the story unresolved whether it’s on a cliff-hanger in order to keep the viewers guessing and to keep the dramatic atmosphere rising. Eastenders, Doctor Who, and Arrow do this frequently, especially during two-parters or Christmas specials.

 

Flashbacks

Flashbacks are used in film and TV to create more of a backstory of a character. Arrow uses flashbacks frequently to show what has happened in characters backstory,  often to create more of an emotional pay-off at the end of the series, if the flashbacks are leading to a point in the characters life hat has a significance in the present day in the characters journe

In Arrow for example, the show uses flashbacks each season to show more of the main characters backstory such as in season 1 the flashbacks revolve around the time the character of Oliver (the character who is shown in the attached clip ) spent on an isolated island learning to how to survive.

The shots used in this flashback lets the viewer know that it is a flashback as the editing ‘flashes’ and shows a white light for a second to literally to show a change in setting. The camera shows a long shot of an outside scene, which is different from where the scene starts in a hospital setting. The character also has a different hairstyle to make it apparent that the scene is taking place in a different time.

Camera Techniques

During my research I found that camera techniques used in films are used specifically depending on the scene. In a horror movie e.g. The Conjuring, the angles are usually ‘floating’ to give the sense of a creepy atmosphere, where as a franchise such as star wars uses angles that are parallel to previous films in the franchise.

In other forms of media such as News programs and documentaries they use different camera techniques to fit the type of program e.g news programs will tend to use the medium shot to get the presenter in frame and the info graphic in the background that gives information to the viewers. News programs will not use close ups of the presenters as it does not need to create atmosphere as it is not a drama or film. They may use close ups of footage shot about the particular news e.g. the effects of war .

Sci-fi genre productions including TV and Film often use high-angles and long-shots as it allows the whole scene to be captured as well as making sure the drama takes up all of the screen. The long shots are often used to show the setting e.g. an alien planet.

In my research,  each production such as Doctor Who or The Conjuring suit its format such as tv, film, or a franchise. The productions that are episodic e.g. Eastenders, Arrow, and Miranda have been made a TV production as it suits the particular genre and story that it has. Eastenders is a drama which focuses on multiple characters in a town. This means that its frequent air time of 4 times per week allows for the plot to change from each character each episode or allows for the story to span over a 2 week period for special occasions such as Christmas specials.Whereas the sit-com ‘Miranda’ can span a 7 episode run each series, as there is a substantially less amount of characters.

However having an episodic format means that each series can have its own individual arc and sub genres which can change each series. Having multiple series’ also allows for events that have happened a few seasons ago can be referenced e.g. In Arrow when the main character was stuck on an island in season 1 is still referenced in season 4. Episodic formats also mean that storylines can be hinted at throughout the particular season to builds up mystery until the season finale which usually centres on this mystery which isn’t possible in one-off movies such as Southpaw, but is possible franchise movies such as X-Men.

Refrences

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinematic_techniques

 

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