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‘Cutaway Inserts of Nature’

From the research I did into the style of Terrence Malick, I found that he frequently includes shots of nature and people interacting with nature in a romantic way. To get a sense of how he does it, I watched a few videos that feature this style of work.

This video seems to be a compilation of the cutaway inserts of nature shown in his films. All of these shots portray mans relationship with nature, and surprisingly a lot of these shots are moving in a way that seems only creatable by a handheld camera. I initially though that they were all just still images of the wind blowing through plants, but this is really seemingly a minor feature. When I come to film my ‘cutaway inserts of nature’ I will try and include some moving shots, even if they are filmed using the Steadicam just to make them a little more stable. I will practice this style of work to see whether or not I can recreate it in a way that looks effective so that I don’t waste time on my day of filming.

I also came across this video which was created in the style of Malick:

This video has a lot in common with the first in the style of shots used, as some are moving and some shots filmed in the ‘magic hour’ giving it a really romantic and beautiful look.

From my research, I also found that Malick features close ups of hands occasionally throughout his films. This would work well with the cutaway inserts of nature as I could show hands running through leaves etc, combining the two Malick styles.

There is also something to be said about the music that accompanies both of these videos. They both seem to be quite classic scores with a distinct style, that without any knowledge in music I struggle do describe. The music seems to build up into something almost monumental towards the end of the video, creating a sense of the power of nature and the beauty in it. I will definitely include a score like this as it seems to be typical to Malick films and I really like its effect when accompanied with the theme of nature. I think a piece of music like this at the start of my film will create a sense of happiness and joy that I really want to portray in the first part of my film, especially the opening sequence which will show close ups of leaves blowing in the wind and other shots of nature.

This is my attempt at a Malick style piece of filming:

Surprisingly, this piece lasts quite a long time which may conveniently help the fact that my script read aloud is a minute short of the set time. I really like the effect of this and will definitely include something like this in my short film. With the music choice, I believe this captures the work of Terrence Malick quite well.

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Shooting in ‘The Magic Hour’

In order to successful pull off filming in the magic hour, I need to fully research into how to make my shooting most effective and therefore making my film as cinematically beautiful as I can. I intend to film the first half of my film in the magic hour as my film will start off very merry and friendly, and therefore I can manipulate lighting to suit the mood of the film.

The ‘magic hour’ is particularly special since the lighting is soft, t is travelling through more of the earths atmosphere due to the low sun. Since the light is softer, the actors can be positioned facing the sun without it being too bright that they are squinting. The soft light is very flattering, thus helping the start of my film to look beautifully made.

The colour temperature of the light is much warmer. More of the blue wavelengths of light are scattered which leaves the red/yellow wavelengths to reflect off the actors, making the overall effect much warmer even without post production effects.

Since the light is lower, it is more dimensional and creates longer shapes from shadows which are also softer; helping to make the shot look more interesting and dynamic.

In general, the further one is from the equator, the longer the magic hour is. However, this can all depend on the state of the weather and what season we’re in. My biggest concern about shooting in the magic hour is that in the winter it gets dark quickly and its always usually very dull, meaning that the effects of the magic hour won’t be the same as I’ll be shooting in the October half term holidays. Luckily, the golden hour happens twice a day, so if I plan out the shooting schedule carefully we can film the magic hour shots at sunrise, and then have an entire day of filming before the sun sets again where the magic hour will come back once more. Clouds may also shorten the golden hour greatly as they sit closer to the horizon, so I may only get a few shots of this. However, I think I could make this work by utilising the light to shoot cutaways of nature in the style of Terrence Malick rather than setting my entire film in this time frame.

To shoot in the magic hour, I will place the camera in the way of the sun and have the action facing towards it. Or I could have the sun backlighting the action which creates a warm glow to the scene, but I will need to be cautious of glare from the sunlight.

There is a technique called rim lighting which happens when the sun is just faintly shining over the horizon. The actors would be positioned with a dark background behind them with the suns light only just above it, which creates a glow around the actors which basically separates them from the surroundings and draws attention towards them. An addition from rim lighting is called flare which happens when the light directly hits the lens and fractures the light, creating a series of interesting colours.