Three Sequences of People Running

April 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

The strength of the next video test will balance in the cinematography above all.  Visual interest will be sustained by how well I create interest in the character and the act of running’s allegorical possibilities, but also quite simply how interesting I can make the act of running.

With this in mind, here are three very different sequences that shoot people running in interesting, or at least competent ways.


Forrest Gump:

Certainly an obvious choice, Spielberg’s treatment of Forest’s first run, while a little melodramatic, expertly applies slow-motion and camera movements to give a simple act of running austerity and dynamism.  Of particular interest is how Spielberg transitions into the slow motion, increasing the reverb of the girl’s screams and introducing music as a kind of soundbridge into the over-cranked sequence.  The camera work also shifts from quite static to using dolly shots and Point of View shots as well as tracking shots later in the sequence.  This involves the audience in the motion of running and, as Forest gets away from the bullies,  emphasises Forest’s speed – the camera can’t keep up with the character, and so multiple shots are edited together to keep Forest in frame.



While a brilliant opening sequence, this clip doesn’t exactly shoot the actors running in particularly new or exciting ways, but it certainly grabs interest in its use of music, voice overs, still-frames and camera work.  Firstly, the opening tranquil shot of street so quickly destroyed by fast music and a chase scene grabs attention.  Boyle shoots this first sequence only from behind or infront of the actors.  In doing so, the actors remain relatively static in frame as the rest of world flies by; the audience is placed in the action, not by its side watching on.  Also, only medium shots of the actor’s torso or legs are used, edited together enhance the speed at which the background moves past as the actors run.

To keep pace, there is also very few static shots.  Despite moderate editing speed, almost every shot involves fast camera movement.  This, combined with fast-tempo, rythmic music and an excited, fast voiceover, gives the sequence vitality and interest.  Unrelated, by worth mentioning is the brilliant visual matches between the Renton falling down at a Soccor match and Renton falling while having a smoke.  This is such a brilliant scene transition and begs to be compared; Renton’s lifestyle can be attributed to being knocked out – either in a good or bad way.



A much more frantic style of filmmaking, Bekmambetov uses few camera angles but constantly cuts between each to give a sense of urgency.  Similiarly, each shot is unsteady handheld work with exgensive use of medium and close up shots to involve the audience in the action.  Bekmambetov also ramps between over cranking and slightly undercranking to give Mr. X’s speed context; by starting the character’s run in slow motion we can appreciate the power of the action before speeding the footage to emphasise his speed.



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