Field Forces and the Screen

Films take an immense amount of planning from the script to the actors and the filming. After reading The Two Dimensional Field: Forces Within the Screen, I realized just how much planning every scene and each shot requires. Nothing can be overlooked. Small factors such as the tilt and orientation of the camera and position of the object play a huge role in relying the meaning of a particular scene as well as the film as a whole.

In this short trailer for The Amazing Spider Man, some of the following six field forces are evident: main directions, magnetism of the frame and attraction of mass, asymmetry of the frame, figure and ground, psychological closure, and vectors.

The clip oscillates between vertical and horizontal arrangements. The camera pans horizontally, giving a view of New York City’s skyscrapers. The camera switches to a vertical arrangement as Spiderman swings from the tops of skyscrapers. The movie experiments with twisting and turning the camera to create disorder as Spiderman swings from one building top to the next. This creates a dizzying sensation that jostles even the strongest stomachs of moviegoers.

Throughout the trailer, the camera zooms and focuses on the subject to distinguish it from the background. This directs the viewer’s eyes to the main subject and prevents losing it in a sea of chaos that occurs in action movies such as Spiderman.

The camera men were aware of the magnetism of the frame when shooting close up images of subjects faces. For instance, at 1:39 the camera shoots a close up of Peter Parker’s face. How would this image change if the entire face of the subject were shown? Blacking out portions of Peter’s face prevents the subject from overpowering the entire screen.

Can you identify any other field forces at play in the trailer? Do you see a connection between force fields and particular movie genres (ex: action vs romantic comedy)?


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