Friday, March 31, 2006


More screengrab action...this time from the Hitchcock film "Lifeboat".

Values - the arrangement of black, white and grey - are an esssential part of making a successful drawing (or frame of a movie). Values can be helpful in giving form to shapes so that they have depth. Values can help to organize the elements in your frame so that everything can read. They can be used to pull similar objects together or to seperate objects from each other.

Usually the things closest to the camera have the most contrast, and things further away have less contrast, due to atmospheric perspective - all the dust and/or water in the air gets between you and the thing you're looking at. So it's usually best to make the things in the foreground the darkest and have the values decrease on things furhter away from the camera.

If you really want to learn about values, looking at black and white movies can be very informative. I picked these for their great compositions as well.


Dan said...

Wow. Amazing compositions. I will have to watch that movie now!

mark kennedy said...

Yeah, it's an interesting movie, but definitely not one of Hitchcock's best. It's got a very weird message. It was made during WWII and seems to have been made just to say that Nazis are unredeemable.

Cholki said...

Nazis Suck Mark c'mon man unredeemable? Never. Its a propaganda film but I like it. Since Hitchcock storyboarded his movies I think he would feel quite at home in the temple. Next to all these animals you keep sacraficing.

warren said...

Incredible stuff.

Glen MacWilliams is one of my favourite cinematographers. He also did nice work in 'Shock' (1946) w/Vincent Price, and 'The Spider' (1945, I think). Check them films. The wonders of the studio system also had him knocking out Laurel & Hardy movies...

I find screen grabs of older films are the fastest way to pick up on what's really happening in a sequence. Everything's so clearly shot.

Great post, Sir!

Brian McD said...

Thanks for this blog! I'm going to put a link to it on my blog. I think they will complement one another. I hope so anyway.

I dig Lifeboat, and think it's an underrated Hitchcock film. I think he's great, but he almost never made films about anything, and he didn't care to. He did not care what his films were about; he says it in a ton of interviews. He only cared how they were made. But I like Lifeboat because it is about something. And I think the film is more universal than most people realize. I think it would work if were about a made up war. I think Steinbeck and Thornton Wilder were the two best writers he ever worked with. And I think they both wrote things that were universal. I think of Lifeboat more like Animal Farm – This is how people behave. The politics of the day don’t matter very much, but the ongoing politics of humanity matter a great deal.

Anyway, this is not what your blog was about. Sorry. Great blog, man. Really. Thanks for doing it.

mark kennedy said...

Yeah, I haven't read anything about it, but I think Lifeboat is a microcosm of WW2: A bunch of nice multi-nationals are thrown togehter in a lifeboat (the world) and end up stuck with a Nazi. They help the nazi, try to treat him like a human, and appease him, just like the world did with Hitler. Then finally the Nazi becomes so reprehensible that they all band together and kill him. And the movie ends with what seems to be Tallulah Bankhead telling the world that Nazis are monsters, unfit to live with the rest of us.

At least that was my interpretation.

damien said...

I just saw the movie.
And I'm agree with your interpretation.
My favorite plan is when the shadow of the sail slips on the Nazi's face until is completely in the half-light.
sorry for my english.
Very good blog.

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