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Which camera angle?

I dunno why I even thought of this but when shooting a conversation between two people across from each other, what’s the difference in effect between a two shot and just cutting back and forth between closeups?

Also, I was watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and noticed that Nurse Ratchet’s first scene is very static like she opens a door, like there’s no cut to inserting the key or whatever. But when MacMurphy has his first scene the camera goes everywhere, like cutting to closeups, etc. I figured this was because this isolates the audience from the antagonist, Ratchet, and brings us closer to the protagonist, MacMurphy. This right?


i think that a two shot can be interspersed with closeups on each character. using only a closeup will make the conversation boring (it will also be hard having no cuts in between, so the whole conversation would be 1 take). also, only using closeups would probably create a feeling that the characters didn’t get along or feel comfortable with each other (think of Vincent and Mia in Pulp Fiction, i think that there are very few two shots in order to create a mood of seperation).

about the One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, i think that the close ups and different takes of MacMurphy are used to make him more human to the audience, while only using one angle on Nurse Ratchet makes the character seem much more distanced from the audience.

what i said is probably wrong, but it sounds right. ???

actually what most people do with dialogues, is, they invert the angle. that means, they flip the camera a 180 degrees and so if you had the one person viewed from the left shoulder of the other, you flip it around and film that person from the other person’s left shoulder. but there’s the exception: some people then just use the right shoulder, and thats where your artistic freedom comes into the game :wink:

I dunno if this will add anything but…

QT does a similar thing. For example, when Vincent and Jules are talking in the diner at the end of Pulp, they are having a laugh, making jokes and ‘getting along’. During all of this we can see both of them in the same shot. However, when the dialogue turns negative, when both of them have different opinions and start to argue, the camera only shows one of them at a time and moves between the two as they talk as to give the perception that they are in contrast with each other!!

As far as camera work for dialogue goes, I’d have to say that Woody Allen knows his stuff. Like in Manhattan Murder Mystery, there is this part where two people are trying to figure out how this chick died and the whole time the camera is slowly doing a circle around them, it looks really cool.

But Woody Allen always shows both of them in one shot during the whole conversation. I think that is the way to go. That way you can see both of their immediate reactions to whatever is said. And a lot of times close ups are gross, depending on who it is.

something else to think about is the camera’s . . , for lack of a better word, angle. By angle I mean whether the camera is shooting down onto the character or up into the characters face. During a face to face conversation this effect will have to be fairly subtle but you can still use it. When one character takes the upper hand or has the status in the conversation shoot them with the camera slightly below them, shooting up and do the opposite for the character that’s loosing the status. By shooting up at the character it makes them appear larger and more intimidating to the viewer, and if the camera is shooting down onto a character it makes the audience feel superior to the character and this will only enhance the scene. I know this sounds really basic but try it. If you watch movies now you’ll notice it now.

you should do the whole scene in one shot - wide angle

[quote=“FILM NUT”]
you should do the whole scene in one shot - wide angle

How many times will they have to reherse on that take

not much

:smiley: i love long shots, I AM CUBE, BOOGIE NIGHTS, and even THE POLAR EXPRESS, long shots steal the show and if you do a long moving shot with no continuous cuts I will respect you very highly, especially if you use real film where you’d have to rack focus every few seconds.

Sean of the Dead did it too, but it was beauitiful, it was just there as a long shot letting us know it was all hapening at once, time never stops or pauses or fastforwards.

Haha, I almost forget the scene in the House of Blue Leaves when the Bride walks to the bathroom.

De Palma also uses a lot of long shots in Scarface and The Untouchables to a mention a few

Is the showdown at the end of “the good, the bad and the ugly” a long shot? My knowledge of filmmaking is miniscule! Im learning the terms. I dont want to come off as stupid.

Is the showdown at the end of “the good, the bad and the ugly” a long shot? My knowledge of filmmaking is miniscule! Im learning the terms. I dont want to come off as stupid.

No it isn’t. I don’t know all the technical jargon, nor am I very familiar with filming, but a long shot is where the camera moves around (follows someone for example) which likes takes ages (2 minutes +) in which there are no cuts.

There is a long shot in the HOBL sequence in KB (camera following The Bride and Sophie), and the scene before the appartment interrogation in Pulp etc

Warning, the following are the opinions of a UNLV film student…

The difference between a two shot, and cutting between close ups and OTSs (over the shoulder) is a change in perspective and the emotion(s) achieved because of it. One of the major things student film makers do wrong (in my opinion), as I’ve seen in class, is filming there movies objectively. That is, everything is from a third person point of view (as if we are just other people watching people). Stage plays are objective because the audience sees everything objectively (from a non character point of view). The power of film is really being able to get in there and being subjective. By point of view, I don’t mean put the camera where the character’s eyes are, but put it next to his head or body. Putting the camera close to one person, and looking at the other, gives the audience a feel of being with them, possibly even being them. This is something that can not be achieved in the theatre, but can in film. Depending on your style, the kind of scene, and a billion other factors, you must make the choice. A two shot for the whole scene tends to be weaker, from an emotional perspective. (not always). Using a two shot for an establishing/master shot, then following up with Singles or opposing OTS will strengthen the scene by making it subjective. If there is a main character, give him the closer shots. Don’t give both characters closeups, if it’s not both their scene. If a main character is meeting with a minor character, give the main character the clsoeups, and the other a medium closeup, or a medium OTS. The OTS to keep the main character in the minds/emotions of the audience the whole time. If dialogue especially important to the story is spoken, give it focus by cutting to a closeup, or out of the current shot to emphasize it. You might even just dolly into what they are saying, to emphasize the important part. A closeup is like a “!” … If I TYPED LIKE THIS THE WHOLE TIME AND EVERYTHING I SAY IS REALLY LOUD AHHHHHHHH… my sentences would tend to become bland/boring/ because everything is emphasized, thus nothing is emphasized. If I typed like this and there is a guy just standing there and hes reading a book then oh there is a man and he is holding A KNIFE AND HE STABS IT INTO SOMEONE, then you might take notice if that important part.