Yes, I’m alive.
Sorry for the delay in this last post, but I was having one of those craptastic weeks where you want to curl up in a ball, shut down your blog and feel like you suck at the very thing you’re trying to teach people about.
But I’m better now.
Much better. And I won’t be shutting down anything, thank you very much. : )
So back to business and Wall-E and all that fun stuff.
This is a bonus post to the long ass series ‘The Shot Tells the Story’ where I used the movie Wall-E as my lesson plan. You can find all the links to the breakdowns of the six shots I discussed in the introduction post.
For this post, I wanted to grab a short sequence and take it shot by shot, exactly how it is in the movie. That was easier said than done because even a short sequence could end up making a mega-long post.
So a few things to keep in mind.
First off, this doesn’t start at the beginning of the sequence. I started a little further in. So there are no really wide shots straight off the bat. There’s only one and it’s later on. You wouldn’t start a sequence like this without going wider sooner, OK?
And I only grabbed one frame for each scene. It would have been nice to see more, but it was getting way too long.
This means looking at the shots the way I have them, there appears to be some jump cuts and stuff. There really aren’t because in some of the shots, Wall-E ended up leaving the shot at the end. So it’s a kind of ‘condensed version’ of the sequence.
But that’s OK because this is really all about the shots and not the action or anything.
So let’s see a full sequence and what the shots are saying.
(And see if all of my previous posts made any sense or not.)
“Oh, there they are.” Here we have a Long Shot. This is in the middle of montage-type sequence so it stays on these for a while.
It’s showing Wall-E going through assorted objects in the junk pile. Lots of fun stuff going on here and nice little gags throughout.
“Oh, there they are.” This shot was good for these because it’s wide enough to see where he his and close enough to see Wall-E and his actions. The audience plays the observer. We’re hiding out in the junk pile watching him.
“You need to see this and only this.” Then, zoom! Right in for an Extreme Close-Up of the little box and the sparkling diamond ring. It’s a nice break from the wider shots and you need to get this close to see the tiny object.
“I’m gonna show you something.” Then it’s on to the Medium Shot. Why? It’s close enough so we still see the ring box and wide enough to see the upper body of Wall-E.
We need that room for when he tosses the ring and plays with the box. We don’t need to go any wider.
“Look at me.” It’s all relative, remember? So this is a Full Shot on the cooler. It gives enough space around it for us to see the objects being thrown into it.
Too close and our eyes wouldn’t catch them.
“Look at me.” These could have been jump shots (because they’re both Full Shots), but they work because they change the angle of the camera and the angle of the cooler. So it’s cool.
“I’m gonna show you something.” Now it gets a little closer for more tossing. Notice this ‘cooler bit’ is in three shots.
Three is the magic ‘funny number’. He’s been tossing many things into the cooler. The last one gets closer and drives it home. It makes it amusing.
“Look at me.” Now we have a Full Shot of Wall-E. It serves to make us watch how precisely he places his blocks of trash row by row. We need to see his full body and his ‘legs’ for this.
“Look at me.” Another Full Shot. It’s important we see what he’s holding, yet wide enough to get the action of the extinguisher going off. Works great.
“Oh, there they are.” This Long Shot on the trash pile and the cooler gives lots of ‘air’ to see the extinguisher come flying in and out of shot.
It shows us he had no intention of getting it in the cooler.
“Where are we?” Finally! Now we have our Extreme Wide Shot. Like I said, there was one of these much earlier on. I just couldn’t show it. It reminds us of ‘where we are’ like a good Extreme Wide Shot should.
“Oh, there they are.” We’ve seen Wall-E working all day and now he gets to this refrigerator. We need the space to get the whole thing in because it’s important.
“You need to see this and only this.” Nice and close with an Extreme Close Up from inside the fridge. Very ‘in our face’. Then the doors fall away to reveal the next shot.
“This is important.” Which is a Close-Up of Wall-E. We see his eyes adjust and him stare off-screen. We get the sense something is up.
“Oh, there they are.” Now we’re back wider. The timing of him staring and then approaching the fridge gets our curiosity up. What is in that fridge?
“This is important.” Another Close-Up of Wall-E staring. Yes, this certainly feels important.
“You need to see this and only this.” This shot changes from a Close-Up of Wall-E to an Extreme Close-Up of the plant. The change in focus makes it so, even though we still see him in the background.
We really need to see this plant.
“Look at me.” All relative again. Since nothing else enters the scene, I feel this is a Full Shot of the plant. Take it all in. We also need to be wide enough to see it’s growing in a pile of earth.
“This is important.” Another Close-Up. The plant is out of focus, so it’s all about Wall-E and him staring. So many close shots definitely make us feel all of this is important.
“This is important.” Wall-E scooping up the plant. At first we almost think he’s going to crush it. But no. He’s going to take it home, of course.
“I’m gonna show you something.” This shot was a toss up. It is close but because of the angle and Wall-E’s arms, to me it feels like more like a Medium Shot.
I guess “this is important” was getting redundant. But it still IS important. So yeah, it could be a Close-Up.
“This is important.” Definitely important. Definitely a Close-Up. The gentle touch he gives the plant tells us so much about the human-ness of Wall-E.
His instincts even tell him “this is important”.
So there you have it.
Better late than never, right?
I hope you enjoyed this Wall-E series as much as I did. I didn’t even get sick of him!
It was a great movie to break apart and take a closer look at. Especially that first half. It really proved what I believe as far as visual storytelling goes.
“The Shot Tells the Story.”
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