Sunday, September 8, 2013

Camera Technique: Shaun of the Dead

Since I already wrote a post on The World's End, I thought I would take this week's interesting camera angle/shot from Wright & Pegg's first feature film, Shaun of the Dead. One of the more iconic scenes—which actually appears in some versions of the traileris the drunkenly sung/beatboxed version of Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines" performed by Shaun, Ed, and one of the zombies:

An example of shallow focus.
In the video below, we start out with a tracking shot that turns into shallow focus (the foreground is more distinct than the background) before shifting into rack focus (the filmmaker pulls the point of convergence to make the two planes of visibility blurry/not blurry one after the other). It is a bit difficult to see because of the low quality, but it was the only vid of this scene that I could find on short notice:

I apologize for the subtitles near the end, as well.

This technique of shallow focus is mirrored later in the film when a pair of zombies are discovered in Shaun's backyard.

Uh-oh. Better try the shed.
Altering the field of clear visibility like this allows the audience to shift their focus from one subject to another in rapid succession. This meshes nicely with Wright's other stylistic choices and allows the pacing of the movie to be both tight and progressive.

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  1. This movie was great! I like that you're seeing patterns in the use of camera angle, within this movie, and in these filmmakers' other works. Your blog is so amazing!

    1. I have so much affection for this franchise...obviously. >_< If you liked SotD, you would probably enjoy the comedy series that Wright & Pegg created in the late '90s/early '00s: Spaced. Very similar humour, and it is interesting to see the camera techniques evolve. Both seasons are on Netflix, so watch away the rest of your day!

      I am really enjoying blogging. I've even added "Film Critic Blogger" to my CV. Too much? Maybe? I don't care - too much fun.