Saturday, January 12, 2013

Jeff vs. the World

I was playing around today and came up with this:

Since a lot of the people on this blog are also on the story team, I figured I'd post this and not only get the opinion of our fearless director but of those on the design and story teams as well.

After a bit of discussion, Wes has decided on 16:9 for the aspect ratio of the film. As much as I love scope (the format of the Gods, according to Mark Andrews) I think this makes sense and will work best considering it's the native ratio of most video games these days.

Part of the reason I've asked to be involved with the story team is to not necessarily storyboard on the film, but to help with the visual language of the film during the storyboarding phase. I'm hoping to bring some of the layout experience I have to the storyboarding process so that the visual flow and feel of the film from a cinematography perspective will be well-established before the layout team becomes involved. So, with that being said, let's talk about the cinematography of Pwned...

After the pitch, I started thinking about the kind of camera language that would benefit Pwned. I generally like a camera that moves, but in this case, I feel the movement should be limited to whip pans, push-ins and push-outs. And that made me think of Shaun of the Dead. Unfortunately, embedding is disabled for the following clip so you'll have to go to YouTube to watch it:

Cool, huh? Yes, it's in scope but the style of camera movement that I think would work for Pwned is there. After Wes informed me that he wanted to go 16:9 for the aspect ratio, I started thinking and again returned to the work of Edgar Wright in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World:

I think it might be fun to make things really dynamic on Jeff's side (hence the animated GIF above), and have Abby's side be a little more docile. It also might be fun to play with the framing and aspect ratio like Scott Pilgrim does, taking what the team on Estefan did to a whole new level. I'm also thinking that Jeff's side of the frame will generally be on the left, while Abby's side will be on the right. Then, at the end of the film, maybe we could switch Jeff to the right side to help emphasize his transformation.

I'm interested in your thoughts, so please be sure to share them in the comments below. Any and all opinions and/or other references are greatly appreciated, especially since storyboarding will be underway very soon.

By the way, it's kinda fun to watch the GIF above while listening to the following:



  1. I really, thoroughly enjoyed that post and those ideas. I'd only ever seen the intro to Scott Pilgrim, so seeing the trailer was a treat. I agree with the suggestions for camera movements etc. The cinematographic language would FULLY up the readability, appeal, and engaging nature of the film. Great suggestions!

    1. PS - I still think yours is my favorite iteration of Jeff so far!

    2. Thanks, Stephen. I really appreciate the kind words.

      The GIF is playing a little slower than I'd like... Wondering why that is...

      Anyway, I'm really digging the designs and paintings you've submitted thus far. Keep up the fantastic work, good sir!

  2. I like the idea... production wise, it could be difficult, but it would definitely help out the visual storytelling. i'm not sure if you've ever thought of this, but here's what i'm thinking.

    so, jeff and tommy get into a fight, and we enter the "game" mode, and they're representing themselves as fighters (perhaps with some cool fighting clothes), and fight. then jeff fights abby in a similar fashion. this could be an interpretive style showing the actual feelings of jeff as he plays the fighting game.

    i wish i could describe this better in english, but hey, it's my second language and i gotta work on it, ha. let me know what you think.

    1. jajaja! I like how English is your second language. Never thought about that like that before.

      John and I were just talking about it being potentially very Scot Pilgrim-like in that he lives, thinks and breathes in a video game format. Floating graphics would float in his world to express his feelings etc. I thing that that's pretty similar to what you're saying. . .