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Theory analysis of 5 steadicam shots from Director Paul Thomas Anderson

BFI video essay tribute

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#1 Chris Poynton

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 07:05 AM

Ten minute video essay "Steadicam progress – the career of Paul Thomas Anderson in five shots".

Includes 5 key steadicam shots with animated floor plans and film theory analysis by Kevin B. Lee.

Films:

Hard Eight .. +... Boogie Nights (Op: Andy Shuttleworth) ...
Magnolia (Op: Guy Norman Bee) ...
Punch Drunk Love (Op: David Crone) ...
There Will Be Blood (Op: Colin Anderson)

Video originally posted with detailed blog entry British Film Institute website.

Re-posted by third party on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GGI5mVH6pg
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#2 Kyle Wullschleger

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 08:43 AM

Thanks for sharing that -
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#3 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:05 PM

love PTAs work, great shots, annoying narration...spell check!
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#4 Matteo Cosorich

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:46 PM

Are those last shots from "Punch drunk love" and "There will be blood" made with the steadicam?
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#5 Orlando Duguay

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:48 PM

Are those last shots from "Punch drunk love" and "There will be blood" made with the steadicam?


I was going to ask the same thing...
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#6 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:28 PM

Punch Drunk and their will be blood are not steadicam shots. Also if this guy is going to be doing a "Video Essay" on Steadicam he should at least spell it correctly.

That's actually not a very good analysis.
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#7 Steve Acheson

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:22 PM

Punch Drunk and their will be blood are not steadicam shots. Also if this guy is going to be doing a "Video Essay" on Steadicam he should at least spell it correctly.

That's actually not a very good analysis.


Agreed...
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#8 Chris Poynton

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 09:45 AM

At 8:09 in the "non-Steadicam shot" from There will Be Blood there is a fascinating CG overlay which shows the scientific mapping of the "gaze locations" of a sample audience within the frame ... showing how the aesthetic tension is built and released in the shot.

This is a fairly interesting contribution in the essay, which is a nice cross-over between dry film theory and the practical guts of camera operating that most are concerned with here.

This would be a fascinating software tool to see applied to sample Steadicam shots, so that the finesse of the Steadicam masters could be laid out for the learners to see.

e.g. how the attention can be pushed rythmically back and forward across the frame .. how the rule of thirds is used/subverted ... and how wide-screen is a whole other game.

Just one nice example of pushing the audience attention "back and forward" that sticks in my mind was Charles Papert's "Scene of the Crime" shot from In The Valley of Elah ... see his description at: http://www.steadisho....cfm?shotID=289

Most of the time, I think ops and directors are subconsciously chasing images that sit comfortably in the "Rule of Thirds" catalog (because they work!!!) ... but I am wondering if there are maybe some favourite oddball Steadicam sequences out there that smash the rules of comfortable framing?????

Maybe apart from the whacky and inexplicable dutch tilt from McConkey in Raising Cain (see 2:30)

Attached Files


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#9 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:52 PM

Might want to watch some dexters from season 2 and season 7 we don't go for comfortable framing Dexter 701 defiantly went there
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#10 Chris Poynton

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:42 AM

This thread is getting more "theoretical" ! ... A bit like Alice down the rabbit hole.

I have had correspondence with the scientific researcher who developed the "gaze tracking" software featured in the above video essay .. Dr Tim J Smith, Lecturer in the Department of Psychological Sciences, University of London.

He has a blog called "CONTINUITY BOY: Empirical Investigation of Film Perception" which, among other things, refers to a scientific study carried out on audience attention/perception of long sequences in Russian Ark and Children of Men and edited version thereof. Amazing to know people are doing such research. Can you measure the "good brain massage" of a Steadicam shot on an EEG?

Dr Smith reckons there is scope for this gaze tracking software to be used by the film industry to enhance its current "archaic test-screening model of audience analysis". Also, with the creative frontier of 48 fps 3D, I think there has got to be some clever applications of this technology lurking out there with the Jim Camerons and Peter Jacksons of this world.

If we could prove scientifically to the movie moguls of this world that audiences love good long Steadicam shots (at a cellular level!) maybe we could see a box-office renaissance ... away from the staccato editing scourge of modern times ... and instead see armies of long-take Steadicam artists sent forth anew into the world to ply their art. ....... Am I dreamin????

Edited by Chris Poynton, 12 December 2012 - 08:49 AM.

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#11 Mark Baluk

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 10:53 AM

What is going on with the OP? lol, Eric tells us to watch season seven and all of a sudden that meant "we were going theoretical"!

weird ... was this topic posted by a bot or something?

Edited by Mark Baluk, 12 December 2012 - 10:54 AM.

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#12 Norbert von der Heidt

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:15 AM

I got very annoyed with the narrator as he quickly started sounding like all those wanky wine snobs describing a latest pinot noir, "it has a hint of light hearted smokiness ... it's amusing without be presumptuous". Huh ....? So not wanting to sound like a cretin, I just smile and nod my head in thoughtful appreciation.

I'm sorry but most of the time I'm asking, what the hell is he talking about? I must be missing something here and maybe shouldn't be in the biz because I don't see all that subtext stuff that he's analysing and giving such importance to!!!

Somebody please explain it to me!
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#13 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:37 AM

Norbert the word you are looking for is "Ponce" That "Analysis" was comical at best.

The best explanition is that this was a Phd "Paper" and he employing the technique know as BTWBS or "Baffle them with bullshit". even he didn't have a clue what he was talking about
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#14 Osvaldo Silvera SOC

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:48 AM

BTWBS is usually only used sparingly with cute extras on set. Well maybe not that sparingly.
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#15 paul magee

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:17 PM

This was a quick read about film theory that might be relevant to where this tread is going.

http://articles.lati...tm-filmschool28


Paul Magee, soc
Philadelpha, PA
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