The Language of Visual Storytelling
Angles, Cameras, Perspective & Dynamic Creativity
L Dynamic and expressive visual storytelling comes with the application of the tools of story that can provide support and upliftment to your proposed creative and imaginative end goals.
Elements of continuity and movement are all included in the creation of bringing a script to life.
Having knowledge is where your empowerment comes in and applying said knowledge is where your successful stories can be expressed and enjoyed by yourself and others.
The position and height of your camera affects the psychological and emotional conveyance of the frames upon which you denote to your audience.
The emotions, actions, psychological impact and overall effect of your visual stories are intrinsic to your application of the tools you have at your disposal.
Having your toolkit in any area of study is a supreme thrive for your expansion, development and continued success.
In visual narratives there are multiple reasons for varying the viewing angle. A changed angle may occur to follow a subject, reveal or withhold story intel, change a point of view, provide graphic variety, develop a mood or establish a location.
Taking a consideration of photography, you can have your characters to be the main storytelling imagery with the location the equivalent of the stage scenery, appropriate for ESTABLISHING SHOTS. The subject is a combined entity to the location in which they are existing in a narrative and/or pictorial sense. The subject of the shot is often the subject AND the location taken together, each creatively inseparable and proving to inform one another.
Together they establish a mood and atmosphere, shape the elements of drama and psychological impact and interact to produce new meaning in any shot.
It is these spatial relationships of the subject and its environment that is determined by the angle of the camera.
Camera angles are strongly dependent on the narrative as well as other staging and graphic strategies of establishing rhythm and movement.
It is my belief that every storyboard artist and production designer have a solid and comprehensive grasp on the principles of perspective.
To have this arsenal of knowledge and implement these principles to use them frequently and dynamically to visualize the sets and camera angles.
A foundational knowledge of perspective enables a freedom of creative expression to the story artist to imagine different viewpoints in a real or imaginatively creatively location.
The drawing system of LINEAR PERSPECTIVE is just one of many of the ways in whcih we can emulate the interpretation of space in the world. Linear
perspective has been the predominant way of creating the illusion of space as you will see and denote in the drawings since the Renaissance.
ONE POINT PERSPECTIVE: A one-point perspective drawing means that the drawing has a single vanishing point, usually (though not necessarily) directly opposite the viewer’s eye and usually (though not necessarily) on the horizon line. All lines parallel with the viewer’s line of sight recede to the horizon towards this vanishing point.
TWO-POINT PERSPECTIVE: Linear perspective in which parallel lines along the width and depth of an object are represented as meeting at two separate points on the horizon that are 90 degrees apart as measured from the common intersection of the lines of projection.
THREE-POINT PERSPECTIVE: Linear perspective in which parallel lines along the width of an object meet at two separate points on the horizon and vertical lines on the object meet at a point on the perpendicular bisector of the horizon line
HIGH-ANGLE: A high angle shot is when the camera looks down on the character or subject from an elevated perspective. This is usually achieved by placing the camera higher than the subject and then angling it down on them. This can range from a shallow angle just above eye level all the way to directly above the subject.
LOW-ANGLE: A low-angle shot is a shot in which the camera angle is positioned below the eye line of the subject, pointing upward. An extreme low-angle shot is positioned below the subject’s feet, offering a sharper contrast in the shot.
The Nature of Life is Expansion and Creativity.
Having a solid base of basic shot referrals in your toolkit of visual storytelling acumen lends itself to infinite potentials of how you can implement and engage dynamic shot choices in your story art applications.
SPECIALIZED AND MOVING CAMERA SHOTS
The motion of the camera and the movement you acknowledge in visual storytelling is the entirety of the viewed image moving in relation to the frame.
The term PARALLAX is used to refer to the movement in a travelling camera of objects moving relative to one another.
Everything in life, and in visual storytelling is based on RELATIONSHIP.
Understanding your own relationship to your tools and techniques as a creative and effective visual storyteller is where the rubber meets the road in terms of your applicable thrive to your end creative goals.
Below is a handy reference to the tools and tricks to equip yourself with for a sweet feel in your storytelling throw downs.
TRACKING SHOT (DOLLY SHOT): This can also be dubbed CRABBING, TRUCKING or TRACKING LEFT/RIGHT describes a moving camera shot. (INSERT BALL ROUND STORY)) where the camera is place on tracks, either straight or curved, and rolled through the scene. Dollies refer to the horizontal motions of the camera. StudioBinder is a great resource for film and television creatives and engaging this video here is a sweet feel.
STEADY CAM SHOT: is a shot that is achieved by mounting the camera to the cameraman so (s)he may follow the action throughout the scene. It is a point of view acting as the camera walking through the action of the shot. This kind of shot implemented into your visual stories can create and extended moving camera shot with multiple setups in a variety of compositions within the shot. You can raise or lower the camera so that you can implement the HIGH or LOW ANGEL SHOTS options. A Steadicam shot uses a Steadicam, which is a camera stabilizer that combines the stability of a tripod, flexibility of a handheld camera, and the movement capability of a dolly. Steadicams absorb shake by mechanically isolating the operator’s movement as to always produce smooth tracking shots. Check out this link here.
PUSH IN/PUSH OUT or TRUCK IN/TRUCK OUT: A push-in moves the camera closer to a subject typically with a dolly camera movement or Steadicam. Push-ins can draw the audience’s attention toward a specific detail. Filmmakers also push-in toward characters to try and infer what is occurring internally.Like the dolly movement, trucking involves moving a camera along a fixed point, often on a stabilized track, but to the left or right instead of forward or backward. Performing a truck lets the camera stay with a moving subject in the shot.
BOOM: A pedestal (AKA Boom up/down or Jib up/down) involves moving the camera upwards or downwards in relation to a subject. It’s different from tilting in that the entire camera ascends or descends, rather than just the angle of the camera.The term “boom” refers to the vertical up and down movement of the camera. See a further detailed look at understanding the BOOM shot here.
CRANE SHOT: Crane shots are often used to capture emotional or suspenseful scenes, or as a way to zoom out from the set or characters to signify the end of a film. In fact, the first crane shot was created in 1916 by US director Allan Dwan for DW Griffiths’ Intolerance. Since then crane shots have become ubiquitous in films, to the point where you don’t even realise what you’re seeing.
The above references are a good feel for your visual storytelling toolkit.
Being able to create while having an expansive literacy of the language of visual storytelling is setting yourself up for success!