Movie ReviewReview

VISUAL LITERACY: CAMERA TONE

VISUAL LITERACY: CAMERA TONE

Camera Tone plays a large role in how an audience engages with a film. The choice between Sticks and Non Stick (tripod and no tripod) in creating the visual immersion into the story is a big part of the viewing experience.

For non sticks, there is Documentary style and Steadicam style.

The movies Joy(2018) directed by Sudabeh Mortezai, and the EbonyLife Studios Oloture(2019) directed by Kenneth Gyang have similar subject matter and near-similar styles but the outcome is distinct.

Joy(2018) has a documentary approach which gives the film a feel that it’s not fiction but real life unfolding and you’re a voyeur getting a front seat play by play. Minimal use of sticks.

Oloture(2019), also not on sticks but is stylistic in approach and does not give a non-fiction vibe (though based on real events), there is a visual flair, particularly in the unbroken tone of the opening scene.

The Director of each film was intentional in their visual approach of interpreting the life of a street walker. Their choices in how the camera moved and the images were captured create two distinct worlds and experiences for audiences who have seen both films.

Camera tone is not simply a matter of shooting in the way that’s most convenient for the moment or the quickest way to shoot on a location. It HAS to work with the needs of the overall story and the needs of individual scenes.

Whether you choose to shoot on sticks or not. Steadicam, Hand held, or Gimbal. Knowing when to mix and match i.e. shoot majorly on sticks, then for specific scenes to change the pace emotionally, switch to handheld or steadicam.

A good time to switch is when things go from calm to chaotic for a character. From having control to losing control. All choices should be in service to the needs of the story, scene, emotional trajectory of the character and engagement with the audience and the world you intend to create.

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Olu Yomi Ososanya

Olu Yomi Ososanya is a film culturist, screenwriter, filmmaker and video essayist. He has written on TV shows, The Station, Edge of Paradise, The Johnsons, Inspector K, Bad Guys and Africa Magic’s prime time shows, Battleground and Ajoche - reviews for the Durban International Film Festival(DIFF) and contributed essays to The Guardian,Awotele Shadow & Act The Spark,Praxis, TNS and The Native Mag. A Talents Durban Alumni, His short films have been selected for: Africa International Film Festival(AFRIFF), BFI Blackstar's Beyond Nollywood, Cambridge African Film Festival (CAFF) and the Cannes Short Film corner. In 2018 he was a Guest Speaker and Lecturer at the University of Limpopo.

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