In this assignment we are to analyze a movie scene in three ways; Without volume, without picture, then as normal. I chose the movie, Gladiator, not only because I LOVE this movie, but also since I remember it having some awesome cinematography and this would be my chance to break one of the scenes down.
The scene I chose is when the main character, Maximus, reveals his name to the emperor..
I first watched the video without sound and observed the following:
Not until you really pay attention to the camera movements (like in this exercise) do you realize how many “cuts” the camera makes. When the volume is off, those cuts become more obvious and sometimes even distracting! Here are some particular areas in the scene that captured my attention based off of the techniques of “how to read a movie” by Roger Ebert.
Foreground is more dominant: This occurs at :04 and :06 very blatantly, but also in a less obvious fashion at 2:03.
Right is more positive: I didn’t notice this technique of Ebert’s much at all in this scene except for the boy running at :27. In fact the the opposite happened several times at 2:59 and 3:05 when the emperors soldiers exited the screen to the left.
Rule of Thirds: You can notice this at :13 and 1:27 specifically as the people in the frame are off-centered.
Brighter areas are dominant: I noticed this at 2:26 with the emperor’s gold headband and again at 3:25 with the women in the crowd wearing white.
I thought one of the coolest angles was at 1:07 which adds substance to the animosity Maximus has towards the emperor.
I then watched the scene with just sound. I noted several things including the usage of an orchestra playing the background almost the entire scene – it set the mood and rose in pitch when to signify compelling points of dialogue. The violins also made the scene very dramatic as this scene is a huge climax in the movie and turning point in the story (the emperor finds out who the “Spaniard” is). I also noted the usage of foley sounds with the crowd and footsteps of those on the coliseum floor. The sound level of the crowd played an intricate part.
When I watched the scene as normal, with sound and picture, it’s almost as though both the sound and picture were enhanced! By that I mean I became more keen and observant, essentially getting more out of it and appreciating the scene more than if watching it for the first time. It was more obvious to me this time how the audio is synced to the picture and how subtle some audio effects are (like the footsteps or light crowd noise in the background) that make the scene come alive.