Visual Storytelling: 5 Camera & Editing Tricks you Should Know

Camera and Editing Tricks for better Visual Storytelling. Learn how to increase your cinematography skill with 5 tips from this Tutorial.

Visual Storytelling

When making a movie you can’t go without visual storytelling. A movie is literally telling a story, but you can choose yourself how far you want to take it. Like we show you in this Creative Tuesday, there are many ways to make you storytelling more meaningful with these camera tips.

Jordy mentions ‘The Life of Pi’ in the video as an example for great storytelling and it really is. But personally my favorite storyteller is Stanley Kubrick. His more famous work is off course the shinning, 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange. All great examples of visual storytelling.

Storytelling techniques from Stanley Kubrick

Cinematography tricks for dialogues

A movie I really want to highlight is The Shinning. We all know the story about Jack Nicholson going crazy, swinging his ax at his family in a empty hotel in the mountains. But the way Stanley Kubrick show us the process of becoming insane is a thrilling roller-coaster ride.

As you know or do not know, the hotel is not a regular hotel. But in the story the hotel is actually a person, a character in the story. You can see this in multiple conversations that happen in the hotel. Where you first have medium shots and closeups of the people speaking, you suddenly switch to a long shot where the voices of the people sound in the distance. This represents the hotel, who is listening in on the conversations. This is done a few times and is a super clever way of showing that the hotel is an important aspect of the movie.

Another great example of storytelling in The Shinning is the conversation where Jack Nicholson’s wife irritates him. Through some clever editing and well chosen framing of the camera, Stanley Kubrick transforms a regular conversation in a visual storytelling of a man going crazy. Playing with the Shot-Counter-shot and closeups he shows us the conversation between the two. But with the shots of the woman he uses low angles to make her face look oversized and deformed. A clear sign of irritation and the start of jack Nicholson’s insanity.

The Shinning - Jack Nicholson Zoom In
Jack Nicholson Losing His Mind in The Shining (1980)

Camera Perspectives in Visual Storytelling

A last thing I want to mention is not from The Shining, but from A Clockwork Orange (another masterpiece of Stanley Kubrick). Geometrical shapes and perspective are also a very powerful tool in storytelling. And for A Clockwork Orange this shape was a triangle. Whoever is on top of the triangle has the power. And this doesn’t always need to be a real triangle, but with framing and the use of perspective you can create imaginary triangles. A great example for this is the cinema scene, where the doctors who have the power sit in top rows of the cinema and on top of the triangle. With the perspective of the seats Stanley Kubrick created an imaginary triangle.

A Clockwork Orange Cinema Scene
A triangle composition in A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Full Sail University

Full Sail University offers campus and online degree programs that are designed for the world of entertainment, media, arts, and technology. Offering associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, Full Sail’s approach is centered on real-world industry experience and creative problem solving.

2 thoughts on “Visual Storytelling: 5 Camera & Editing Tricks you Should Know”

  1. As always, GREAT content, thank you. Keep the hair. Let it get crazy long then donate it to one of the ‘Locks of Love’ type charities (there are a couple and of course there is a debate about which one helps people the best).

    …and please, for the love of all things holy, please, Please, PLEASE stop calling a wide shot a long shot. A long shot refers to placing your bet. A wide shot refers to a zoomed out shot.

    Reply

Leave a Comment