Kodak “Understanding”

Kodak “Understanding”

I believe that in order to truly learn the crafts of videography, one has to understand and study the work of others. But others who inspire you, and I strongly advise to look for inspiration outside the industry you are in. Each market segment, each genre, each style has so much to offer when understood correctly. By understanding I mean not only to recognize how the story develops and if the plot has great impact on you or not (impact is always great to have thou) but really to look at the choices being made by the director on how to sell the emotions from the screen to the audience. And for me personally, this is what cinema is about – it’s building a bridge, a connection between your own brain and the soul of the spectators.
And yes this is an advertisement, but oh boy I wish to only watch films like that.

Inspiration

Kodak “Understanding”

Director: Terry Rayment
Director of Photography: Kate Arizmendi
Editor: Scott Hanson

Why this film?

I believe that in order to truly learn the crafts of videography, one has to understand and study the work of others. But others who inspire you, and I strongly advise to look for inspiration outside the industry you are in. Each market segment, each genre, each style has so much to offer when understood correctly. By understanding I mean not only to recognize how the story develops and if the plot has great impact on you or not (impact is always great to have thou) but really to look at the choices being made by the director on how to sell the emotions from the screen to the audience. And for me personally, this is what cinema is about – it’s building a bridge, a connection between your own brain and the soul of the spectators.
And yes this is an advertisement, but oh boy I wish to only watch films like that.

The Plot

The story is about a teenager named Nolan (Jaz Goodreau) and his friend Dylan (Taylor Turner) who turns out to be his partner and loved one. Nolan’s coming out is unexpected and by far done by accident, when his little sisters discovers him kissing Dylan in his room. This becomes a turning point in the story which develops to be a father-son relation portrait of disapproval, let down and finally love and understanding. The creators managed to smuggle in the brand connection in a very subtle fashion, placing the camera and value of a photography being taken as acceptance motive in the film.

Cinematography

Ok, if you look at the crew of this film, its not a one man film or a shoot & run type of edit that you will most likely see the most on this page – but this is a real production with producers, casting, set design, gaffers and many, many other jobs being usually all in our hands. But as stated before in this article – you need to look at art being done outside of your industry to grow as a cinematographer.
I love everything about this short film/commercial. The story, the drama, the acting and all the details being placed in the film for a reason. In cinema as well as in a good book everything needs a reason, as from a gun hanging from the wall to be fired later on up to a glance between to people that implies love and affection that might turn into something more. This short directed by Terry Rayment has loads of that. Let’s have a look at some of the cinematic tools used here:

the setup

Where are we in the story in the opening sequence? We are thrown right into a baseball field with a shot of a strong figure (probably the coach) shouting at his teammates with directions.
What does this tell the viewer? Its a almost army like environment, when men are being valued upon their strength and fierceness. As a contrast in the next scenes we see a boy who seems not to fit in in this picture. A wide shot is used to show the way he runs, what certainly doesn’t look athletic.

the drama

The turning point of the film is the moment when Nolan’s little sister discovers him with Dylan kissing. I love the way this being played out from a tracking shot on the stairs up to the breath and stains of sweat on the the boy’s neck. The close up shot from a profile angle with Dylan in the background really owns the frame and makes the momentum stand out with all its emotional power.

the human

So a lot already happened in this short film but its the 40th second on the timeline when we really get to see the main characters face. Everything before then was moments in between of some motion hiding his face in frames and shadows or using only close up.
I believe the reason for this is to really put emphasis on Nolan and use his face to actually portrait his emotions, as a fragile boy lost between his own feelings and the disconnection to his family.
The choice to frame him so late in the film with a tracking shot was surely carefully planned to make an impact on the viewer to really feel the motives of the main character.

the stares

I love such little details in the edit, where the cuts follow the glance of the eyes. You don’t need any words or really motion in the shot to inform the viewer what psychological state are the characters in. All you need to transfer the emotions between Dylan, Nolan and his father can be found in a few shots and very little cuts.

punchline support

His father is in the wheelchair, kids are running around and an elderly couple (probably grandparents) at the table. All this is being set up for the big crescendo of the film – the forgiveness. But before we come to that, the supporting actors – kids and grandparents play a small but vital role here. When you think that a boy admits his sexuality, what in your opinion would be the reaction of his grandparents? Usually we associate elderly people with being conservative and more traditional, therefore placing them in the scene is really supporting the drama being played out. The moment when the cry really becomes a moment of understanding and love. Its a very strong and emotional punchline underlined with Kodak’s punchline “The moments that capture your love”

conclusion

For me this is cinema and for Kodak to have such bravery to stand behind this film really makes me want to run out and buy the role of film.


Excellent job.