Ocean’s 12 – Expectations and Editing, Cliches and Conventions

The way Ocean’s 12 reverses your typical Gather The Team montage, and specifically Ocean’s 11‘s version, by having Andy Garcia track down all our original scallywags to threaten and extort them into the movie’s heists. None of this is ‘new’ or ‘fresh,’ it’s a setup we’ve seen a hundred times. We’re watching to see how … Continue reading

How Moving Shots Reveal Story, Create Tension (and so much more)

From The Bold Type to I May Destroy You to Supergirl, a recent trend in television is to keep the camera moving. Network procedurals, prestige cable dramas, limited run series, even talk shows (hello, Patriot Act) often ply this technique, sometimes as a cheap way to up production value. . Advantages and Drawbacks When used … Continue reading

Blocking, Orientation, and Editing in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS and WATCHMEN

Technology has enabled several trends in this Golden Age of Television: more helicopter shots! (IE cheaper because drones), longer tracking shots! special effects and stunts once strictly seen in movies! etc. Different genres lean into certain trends harder than others. A big thing in action/adventure/superhero movies is to keep the camera in perpetual motion; establishing … Continue reading

Stumptown pilot and the Economy of Storytelling

I’ve written before about the myriad of things which would go into Perfect TV Pilot Bingo, including shows like Glitch and The Night Of which set up mysteries, shows such as Doctor Who which have mini-pilots every few seasons, even TV shows which shoot a mid-season episode first to sell the show but still need to make … Continue reading

How Editing Mimics Memory in Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell”

The Farewell is absolutely one of my favourite films of the year, and one of the few which made me cry (twice, if we’re counting) yet want to rewatch immediately. Awkwafina is a star. I look forward to her career of interesting choices and varied projects. I hope she ends up getting offered all the … Continue reading

Shooting, Editing, and Crossing the Line on HBO’s “Succession”

Succession has all the hallmarks of HBO Prestige Television: big names, stunning production design, Shakespeare out the wazoo. It crosses the line as much in its shooting as its characters cross it morally, and just as often for kicks; see Episode 1.04 “Sad Sack Wasp Trap” (video for educational purposes): I did a more detailed … Continue reading

Better Call Saul: Art of the Montage

Like Breaking Bad before it (but better in almost every way – fight me), Better Call Saul loves an out-of-context cold open, a seemingly inconsequential detail or character beat which will come around in a few episodes or seasons, and a long montage. In fact, like this groundbreaker before it, Better Call Saul brings us … Continue reading

Colour in DRIVE and IL CONFORMISTA

Drive and Il Conformista ‘s use of colours make for great comparison and contrast symbolically, emotionally, and technically. First: Refn is colourblind, which impacts his work in a preference for heavy colour saturation. Second: because of its time, Il Conformista required everything from on-set lighting to colour timing to be planned far more thoroughly in … Continue reading

The X-Files: Preserving One of TV’s Biggest Procedurals

Recently The X-Files has been remastered in HD and with the potential of 4k, which involved ingesting and preserving hundreds of hours of footage, changing aspect ratios, and more. A fascinating peek into the technical aspects is here, but I want to focus on why The X-Files of all the network procedurals. Sure, genre classification … Continue reading

Doctor Who “Resolution” Shot Study – Crossing the Line

A month ago I was on a feature film shoot, ready to go into a take. The 1AD had called turnover, everything was slated, and the DOP jumped up, startling everyone, waving his arms. “Wait! Is this a line cross!?” They don’t always wait until quite so last-second, but a line cross is a DOP … Continue reading