Proceedings of the British Kinematograph Society (1931)

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i a. . would show a horizontal ship steaming on an ocean running uphill into the horizon. On the other hand, if the background were shot with the camera horizontal, and with the horizon below the centre, there would be no ocean in the finished picture. Every form of transportation is utilised in the changing scenes of motion picture stories, and for this reason there is a demand for moving backgrounds, such as landscapes from train windows, ’buses, aeroplanes, taxis, etc. The average length of such backgrounds should be at least 100 feet, or enough for about a minute of dialogue and action. Most sequences can be covered within this length. Angle.—The favourite form of shot used for running street scenes is the straight rearward receding shot. This permits shooting into the faces of the actors when doubling in the foreground action. Forward shots are preferable for thrills because they furnish the audience with a sense of impending danger. Shots taken at right angles to the line of travel are excellent for enhancing the illusion of speed. It must always be remembered that the angle of tilt of the background camera must be duplicated when doubling in the foreground action. When photographing a rearward receding background, one should not shoot diagonally across the car on the stage merely because the director wants to play his action in that fashion. If that is done, the car will appear to skid sideways throughout the whole length of the finished picture. Height.—It is very important that the height of the lens above the ground be taken into consideration. For example, in a taxi-cab shot it is not possible to use the background that has been taken from the top of a ’bus. A shot such as the latter would show the roofs of all the cars following, which naturally could not be seen from the rear window of a taxi. The best lens height for motorcar shots is six feet from the ground. The camera should be tilted slightly downwards so as to bring the interesting part of the background picture into the upper half where it will be seen through the rear window of the car. Having established the angle, height, and tilt, the background is photographed without panning or without making any other changes. Close-ups and medium shots of foreground action can be made with the same transparency. Steadiness.—-A camera used for photographing backgrounds should be driven by motor. The exposure fluctuations due to hand-cranking are very noticeable when doubled into a foreground action photographed with a motor-driven camera. Weave, caused by hand-cranking, loose free-heads, strained internal mechanism, and unsteady tripods spoil to a great extent the effectiveness of process shots. Camera mechanisms should be tested for steadiness, clamps should be used for freeheads, little jacks should be used for the front and back of the camera, and the tripod should be chained down if possible, for all stationary shots. In conclusion, I would like to acknowledge the fact that some portions of this paper are extracts from Carroll H. Dunning’s paper read before the S.M.P.E. at their Hollywood convention. I now propose to show you a reel of film demonstrating the uses of the Dunning process, The first scenes are actual process shots taken in American studios. Some of these, I would like to point out, are N.G. takes, as it is difficult to get prints from the good ones, but I think they will suffice to show the full advantages of the process. You will _ notice that about half way through the reel a portion of white spacing has been inserted. Following this spacing are shots which have been taken in English studios. Note.—The foregoing lecture was read by Mr. Eveleigh, in the absence of Mr.Terraneau, who had been called away to illness in his family half-an-hour before the opening of the meeting. Mr. Eveleigh volunteered to attempt to answer any questions raised out of his knowledge of the process gained from his conversations with Mr. Terraneau and Mr. Bob Martin in arranging the paper. DISCUSSION Mr. EvELEIGH: We are doubly unfortunate this evening, because I had arranged with Mr. Bob Martin, the R.K.O. Cinematographer, to come along and tell us some of his experiences in this country in the making of Dunning shots. Mr. Martin is still at the studio shooting and is likely to go on through most of the night. In several talks he has told me how the Dunning process was first used in this country. Mr. Martin is not a “‘ special process ’’ cinematographer, he is a studio man. The two are entirely different in the States. Whilst photographing a picture at Beaconsfield for A.R.Ps he was told some Dunning shots were to be included and the requirements of the process explained to him. He went ahead with some trial and error experiments and then the scenes were shot. Up to date he has made four sets of Dunning shots and, as ro)