Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review for Camera Exam- Cinematography Focus

The film starts with a blurred shot of straight lines of white light. Soon a woman, the main character, rises and her head is in an extreme close up -- note that the camera has remained static. The extreme close up allows us to see the emotion that the woman is feeling. She is out of breath and appears to be confused. As her head rises the film cuts to a medium shot of the woman to reveal that she is in a confined room; this room is very gray and dull just like a jail cell. The film then cuts to a medium shot of the woman and it seems that she is wearing a hospital patient's gown. There is some blood on it. The woman is very lit up which contrasts with her back ground as it is stark black. Perhaps this is done to draw the audience's eyes to the woman and away from unimportant details in the room so that they can see the blood on her gown. The scene then cuts to her rushing to a small mirror in the room. Several match action cuts are made that show the woman breaking the mirror then picking up a piece of the broken glass to see where the blood came from. The glass reveals that there is sort of a barcode on her neck. A reverse shot then shows this barcode more clearly and then another reverse shot gives a close up on the woman's face and shows the horror that she feels. The woman turns around and then looks at a wall behind her. A rack focus reveals writing on the wall.

Actually, it is not writing but rather engraved tally marks. As the woman turns away from the wall the rack focus blurs out the tally marks and again focuses on the woman's face.

She is still confused and unsure of what is happening. Then a long shot of the room reveals how small the room indeed is. This long shot however has been edited to appear like a security camera shot in which the image is black and white and there is a time indicator on the bottom left corner of the shot.

The scene continues and several varied shots show the woman exercising in her room. After all what else can she do? Eventually the woman starts to look for weaknesses in the room's architecture. She discovers a large gun that creates "portals". Visual effects bring these portals to life and a mirror like effect shows how the portals work -- you can go into one portal and you'll come out of the sister portal.

The woman utilizes these portals to escape security and she eventually goes outside. It appears that she is about to be free but as the camera pans around the city the city becomes 2 dimensional.

In all honesty, this is one of my favorite shots of all time. The camera panned around the woman in 3D space and because it was in 3D space it became apparent the background of the shot was indeed linear and just a wall. It turns out that she can not escape and is confined in whatever building she is in. There is no escape for her.


  1. Your commentary seems to be structured where you explain the plot at the same time that you look at the cinematography. I actually think that it would be easier if you look at individual shots that were prominent in the film and thoroughly analyze that. Analyzing the film this way can provide much broader commentary and demonstrates a better understanding of cinematography. Definitely explaining the shots along with the cinematography analysis adds fluff to the overall commentary. But what you do do well is showing your knowledge of various shot types and motions.

  2. i thought that your commentary was very well presented. i think that incorporating your own views as a viewer fairly reflects the overall view of the film. i thought you well desplayed the characters atitude through the scope of cinematography. one thing i do suggest though is focusing on how the shadows and falloff enhance the obliviousness of the film, particularly in the beginning of the film.

  3. I like how you commentate on the structure of the film and analyze the shots chronologically rather than from one shot to another. It is almost as if you are giving a plot overview and reviewing at the same time. I like how you touched on many aspects of cinematography including close ups and the rack focuses. I suggest you analyze more of what the cinematographer was trying to get across to the audience and why they chose to do the shots the way they did instead of just stating the shots and set ups used.

  4. oh goodness, i can already tell this comment will be strongly biased (since i am quite an avid fan of the portal franchise, however i will be rational and give my opinions.) Your review was well organized and you clearly captures the essence of the story and the techniques used in it as well. As stated before, maybe focusing less on the story and more on the techniques would enhance the content of your play. But in my opinion, I honestly that there was too much going on the story itself, so just focusing mainly on the shooting/filming techniques would not be helpful to someone who wasn't familiar with the story. FInding a way to incorporate both without being too detailed is quite and a task a i give props for you trying to include such in your review. The screenshots were all relevant, and the review was easy to understand and very opinionated but extremely entertaining to read. well done!