Roger Ebert’s Expertise

John Forest's CPSC 106 Website

Roger Ebert’s Expertise

What Did I Learn?

Roger Ebert’s article titled “How to Read a Movie” gives excellent insight into the analysis of movies and videos. There are so many things that Elbert points out that I had never thought of before, I just considered it a standard part of the cinematic or visual experience. One example that the author points out is the difference between shifting someone or something to the left or right, and the changing significance. When I read this portion, it changed the way that I would watch movies in general:

In simplistic terms: Right is more positive, left more negative. Movement to the right seems more favorable; to the left, less so.

Roger Elbert

The Author is talking about the way things are portrayed, when looking forward in time, the right side will be favored subconsciously. Or when looking at something negative, like an antagonist, may be favorably left oriented.

The point he is trying to make with this quote is this: movie makers use subconscious signals and orientations to make an experience better for the viewer. Most of the time, people do not even notice these subtle differences, but if it were different, we might think differently about what we are watching at home or in theaters.

I think that the techniques Ebert suggests work incredibly well, backed by evidence from movies that use them. Many of them (at least in my opinion) are way better than those done using a different methodology.


Other Cinematic Techniques…

First, let me start off by saying that Kubrick’s one point perspective video was amazing. I watched it way too many times, and I kept finding something I missed the first time. The power and emotion that is brought on by Kubrick is intense and unbelievably effective in maintaining my attention. I found that the focus and placement of objects made me focus on a singular point, and the rapid replacement of images and scenes forced me to look at what was in the center, or the single point.

If you haven’t watched it, I HIGHLY recommend it.

The Match Cut video from A Space Odyssey was also interesting. It shows the movement of an object (not limited to what was being thrown) and its movement across multiple different camera angles. This is defiantly something used in older movies, as other techniques like CGI were experimental during the dawn of large movie productions. Overall, I think this way of shooting video is outdated, and has been replaced by using different camera angles and CGI technology.

The last one I took a look at was The Shining Zoom video. I found it weird how you don’t really notice the use of zooming in and out until you focus on it so intently. It can be used in a variety of different storytelling modes. It can set up a scene, show impending danger, suspense, anxiety, and so many more. Out of all three techniques that I looked at for this assignment, I would say using Zoom is the most diverse. Not only is it essential for cut scenes and to set a perspective up, but it is used in so many other ways that I could not hope to explain here.

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