5. Film grammar
Introduction to film grammar
- Today, we'll be discussing grammar, the system and structure of language. English grammar includes different elements. - This is really boring. - Yeah, isn't this supposed to be about film grammar? - Yeah, let's see if we can do something about this. - We put these together to communicate ideas. - Excuse me, let's start again. Just like written grammar, film grammar is put together with different elements that help us to communicate. - And like written grammar, where we string a bunch of words together in a sentence to express an idea, in film grammar, we string a bunch of shots together in a sequence to tell a story. - We use these elements to convey meaning and emotion because film is an emotional medium. - I bet we could use film grammar to make this lesson connect more emotionally. - Let's do it. - Okay, we're gonna try something different. First, let's change the camera position and framing to convey the students' point of view. - [Robert] Then, let's stage the shots a little differently so the teacher interacts directly with the student. - And let's add motion so that the camera is responding to the teacher. - [Robert] Let's edit it and see how it cuts together. - Film grammar. So the grammar, these are the words that we use to tell the story. This is film grammar. Excuse me, got your attention now, eh? - Oh gee, film grammar. (laughing) - Wow, how'd you make it so much better? - Well, let me show ya. First we changed the framing, which part of the scene you see through the camera's lens and from what perspective. - [Robert] And we changed the staging, the positions of the characters in the classroom and where the action occurs. - [Rosana] In this case, staging increases the drama between the characters. We also changed the camera motion, how the camera moves in relation to the characters and the action. - [Robert] Then we edit. We string the shots together. We adjust the order, timing. We add music and sound effects. - Once you understand the elements of film grammar, you can use them to tell your own story. - Let's show 'em how we do it at Pixar. Even a classroom scene can feel totally different depending on the choices we make. - For instance, the framing of this scene from Inside Out starts at a high angle, which helps express how small and nervous Riley feels on her first day of school. - [Robert] And here in Wall-E, the staging of this class shows a world where the screen is more important than the teacher. - [Rosana] In Finding Nemo, we used camera motion to convey Nemo's point of view as he travels through his outdoor classroom. And, in The Incredibles, the classroom is presented as a scene within a scene. The editing here helps cast doubt on the teacher's state of mind. - [Robert] Right. Cutting to the shots of Helen and the principal really sell their confusion about the teacher's behavior. - Ooh, and there's this one from Monsters University. - Oh, Rosie, Rosie, I think we're gonna have to cut with all the examples, otherwise we'll never get to finish the film lesson. Are you okay? - Yeah, I just thought you'd look more authoritative in an upshot. - Nice, someone's been using their film grammar.