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Fine Art and Filmmaking

I'm tandem teaching an art class at Curtin Uni. Well, teaching probably isn't the right word. Experiencing might be better. Each mini lesson I get to do what the students are doing. It's
called Multimedia design 175 - Theory and Practice. A loosening up class designed for people who think they can't draw.

Each week we do a different, really cool thing. Like the objects above. I drew these by feeling what was in a brown paper bag without actually seeing. Which was the point. I was quite surprised at how the drawings came out. In retrospect, it kind of confused me. We can see things without using our eyes.

Filmmaking - The infamous and oft-ignored Axis of Action

I was ranting the other day - as usual. There was an old movie on Channel 31 which was really bugging me. The camera kept flipping around the room. One moment we were high angle POV (point of view) the next low. It was jarring.

But I noticed that it was still irritating even if the camera was only a few inches below eye-level - or just a few inches above. For one thing, the eyelines were totally stuffed on shot / reverse shots.

We have this thing in filmmaking called the axis of action. Not many people seem to know about it. If you're shooting a football team, then you expect the blue players and the red players to be heading screen right and screen left respectively. It gives us a sense of where the goal is. Shoot over the axis line and suddenly, reds are heading for an own goal.

Well, what I noticed with the 30s film is that the axis of action also works in 3D space. If you shoot 6 inches above your main character's eyeline and then alter the height of the tripod, you get the same jarring effect.

In other words, readers, getting your eyelines wrong could jerk your viewers out of your story.

"Yeah, yeah - but what if I want to jar people. I mean they used dutch tilts in East of Eden, didn't they? I'm a really cool filmmaker and I want to break every rule, Maan!"

All I can say to that argument is . . . Shut up and have alook at the Rorschach blots we did in class.
Gingerbread Men? Or should I say people.

Timid rabbits approaching each other?
Not sure . . . Plus 2 koala bears. Ahhh!


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