10 Types Of Movie Tricks Only Your Brain Will Notice
May 12, 2016 14:06
There is more than meets the eye in every performance, and it can be seen not just in movies or theatre, but in any life scenario. How you look, dress, smell, and the conditions you approach others, can all influence and contribute to that great story you have to tell.
These tricks, are contributors to a great story, and have a direct and incredible impact on how we rate a film. It might be the reason we become captivated, or interested, or even appalled. It stirs up emotion, and while you're only visually exposed, you're being stimulated on a deeper surface than that.
10. The low-angle / High-angle shot makes characters look powerful or vulnerable
The angle of a shot in a scene can make the difference in how we perceive a character. It can either make them look powerful or even menacing at a low angle, or vulnerable and weak at a high angle.
Low angles are used to make the audience aware of a character’s position in a scene, giving it an exaggerated and more powerful perspective. It’s also associated with how we view taller and bigger people in our lives as more domineering.
High angles on the other hand are shot slightly above eye level to make characters look afraid and fearful, and in need of help. Our brains pick up on these and pair these perspectives with the story being told.
The angles of the shots can be linked back to the science of body language, how we perceive power and non-power types, and how they make us associate and read the nonverbal cues as such. Who knew just a simple angling of a camera could do so much to tell a story?
9. Soundtrack plays with your emotions
Music can influence moods. Which is why it is of chief importance for pivotal scenes. In the case of movies, it can be used to invoke emotion. Major keys signal powerful, peace, and inspiring moments, while minor keys can make you feel like there’s a bunch of onions in the room.
Minor keys are usually used in a slow sound shift from silence to build scenes up. They don’t usually work as good if a scene starts immediately with minor key music in it. As scenes build up, the music gets louder, presumably to drown out the sound of you crying.
The play in keys can be linked to our musical memory and cultural conditioning of how we perceive happy and sad music pertaining to our musical catalog references. On top of that, the characteristics of minor chords communicates sadness in speech, which is how we relate to it.
What you can’t hear can’t possibly scare you, right? Except, while we can’t hear sounds playing at a frequency lower than 20hz, our brains can, and listening to it can cause extreme sorrow, dread, and shivers in humans.
According to research, infrasound is also known as “The Fear Frequency.” Scientists have shown in controlled experiments that it can make people feel anxiety, and the chills. It’s also part of natural phenomenons produced by winds, earthquakes, and other weather patterns.
Unlike any other sound wave, infrasounds vibrate and pressurized the air until that pressure hits an eardrum. For some people, infrasounds might cause headaches and nausea. Its effects can be quite intimidating!
It also explains why horror stories don't really require super good plots. They just need a movie-length infrasound track playing at pivotal scenes. So, sometimes, closing your eyes isn’t enough!
7. Slow-zoom builds drama, tension and suspense
The slower the camera pans into a character, the more drama and tension it creates. The slow zoom gives us a closeup of a scene, each time, getting closer. It turns a mid shot into a subsequently a full zoomed-in view of a character.
The technique works well and while somewhat overused, it helps bring our attention to a certain focus the scene is drawing to. This can be explained by a play on “The Focussing Effect” where it is used to convince or exaggerate the importance of a particular issue or scene.
It might also be a psychological play on how much tension confrontations make you feel. The feeling of getting closer to a scene of importance may be akin to the suspense of a real-life confrontation. All things dealing with fear tend to build up in suspense as we get closer to dealing with it.
6. The Kuleshov effect
Depending on how shots are edited, viewers will attach their own interpretation or emotion to it. Using the effects of juxtaposition, films use the same shots of a character and pair it with different subjects.
The result is having a different meaning in each edited scene. It meant that directors could make viewers bring their own emotional attachment to each sequence of images, while adding more depth to the cinematic experience.
It is a crucial assembly of film that takes advantage of our mental ability to give unique meanings to the same expressions and objects at different times. It also lets film editors control the tone and meaning found through a choice of they these shots are organized. It is perhaps, one of the biggest magic tricks in film.
5. 24 fps
With the ability to take videos at higher frames per second, film is still famously done at 24fps. The simple reason for it is because we are used to it, and it provides the right amount of motion blur making it feel natural. Anything higher would make scenes feel cheap or fake.
Due to the persistence of vision, your retina is able to retain the last image for a fraction of a second. When the next image is displayed, your eye perceives it as more fluid in motion, thus mimicking real life.
Though today, some films alternate between 24 and 48, predominantly to give you the feel of real and fantasy. Higher fps settings are also great for smooth slow-motion scenes, making action sequences smoother and more lifelike.
4. Aspect ratio
Noted as one of the most powerful tools for filmmakers, different aspect ratios can make you subconsciously associate an entire movie in many wonderful ways. It can contribute to a total immersion in a film, and different types manipulate the audience in different ways.
Larger ratios are reserved for epic scenes and adds a level of authenticity in a subtle way subconsciously getting us ready for it, while smaller ones are used to make film feel like it’s from an older time period. Each one can have a different emotional effect for the viewer
Nowadays, filmmakers employ using a mix of them, changing them up for particular scenes to reflect significance. You may not notice the change or use of different aspect ratios, but it can profoundly affect your movie watching experience in so many ways.
3. Low light and desaturation will make you feel things
Like a sense of mystery or intrigue, low light and desaturating the film will give characters or even a scene an ominous look. It’s not because the film ran out of budget for lighting. The effect results in heightened tension and drama.
Light affects us emotionally, and different intensities have different outcomes. A study done found that there is a link between emotion and ambient brightness. People put in bright conditions were happy and positive, while those in low light were linked to feeling gloom and full of tension.
It’s no surprise that the same effect somewhat plays on our brains in movies too. We tend to associate brighter films with comedy, while darker ones feel more intense and dangerous.
2. Eye-trace is used to make you pay attention to important information
Action scenes seem chaotic and confusing at times because too many things are happening at any one point. To help you keep track of the important stuff in a scene, directors use a technique called eye-trace.
Similar to how a magician gets you to focus on what he wants you to, the technique keeps the viewer’s eye where it wants it. Chaotic-looking films like Mad Max rely heavily on it to keep important visual information vital in the center of the frame, simply so that you don’t have to go hunting for it on your own.
Another reason this is used - to make it easily digestible for both your eyes and brain. It actually adds more depth to a film than you think.
1. Color will set scenes or a story apart
Color and emotion are linked. So it’s no surprise the clever use of it will help set a story apart giving them a distinctive feel. Different kinds of color treatment are done on purpose to convey the emotional feeling of a film.
Warmer colors tend to give off happier and fantasy like feels, whereas cooler colors can showcase the harshness of scenes. Our brains are, after all, wired to illicit a response when we see a color type. The best part is, color does all of this to us often without us being aware.
As film evolved over time, the richness and methods of playing with color additives expanded to more creative uses in storytelling. It is perhaps, like any one of these techniques here, an integral part of any film that cannot be ignored.
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