Page 12, 15th June 1935

15th June 1935
Page 12
Page 12, 15th June 1935 — THE PRIVATE CINEMA By Edward Owen

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People: Edward Owen


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The Scenario

IT is impossible to overestimate the importance of the scenario in anteking films, though very few are impressed by this fact, until they have learned its value 'From bitter experience.

Those Wyllie spirite wlio set out to take a peewee without working script, thinking, rather, that they will deal with problems us they occur on the eet, and that, given good lighting and gout. luck, the camera wiii do the rest, are really setting emt, to learn the proper funetion of the scenario.

Many amateur cireematographers are like the caetare of a elle) who has the temerity tu set :eel without a rudder. 'I hey are bound to meet unforeseen difficulties that will cereeinly crop lip in the setting around their theme or story. When the time cranes to join up and edit the disconneeted pictures, their efforts, if not altogether fruitless, can never achieve lhat unity Whit% is the soul of a piettue.

If we analyse the eseential difference berween a s'Uocessfill HMI and one that , fails to "get ever " ee shall Iltid that the successful picture, whether it. be composed 01 a semple theme, or a diversity of subjects us, for instance, e. lour round a farm. owes its principal attraction le the tact that it is well ordered, and that all the ehots are directed to ene end.


In the case or :he farm the various departments would be field together Ily the frequent insertion of a. long shot tet the 'arm house anj the surrounding farm buildings, which tvould be_ cut to

. a medium view uf the granary, the e0Wsheds or pig-sties, or to whichever lee nen of the faria it is intended ts mate., the fellowing elose-up arid near:view studiee. If the coo-shed is the next objeetive, ,. ill the previous long siren of lhe farm ..1,iiildings you wuuld see the milk-maid eerie iii a bucket and walking towards the stied, the door tie which should be 1 learly seen. 'I hen, the camera having been moved up to withiii um. yards of the door for the close medium shot, i, seer a few turns to register the loca• ',lion. tI1e. maid should enter the picture Ireen left or right atcording to the artion Jit the bong slam After a pause, which ,,-would oecur ta 'vii hilst -he NVaS

, 4 nuluteltine the door, elle would enter the alied.

'The inleries of the :died would be introdined in a!-; long a shot, as the chit:muss-ire:es e ould permit., and the maid 'would he seeli vilriliiiiiing. her action, ,.elill '.111.0 i111-; tile hie het in the same , 'hand: ha\ ing just eirtered the door, she 'might pee, up ;1 eleol-and approach the .cowe.


TIIH. :Thonici LI,• out to a medium near. sem ei. a euw. taken from the tall end, lentid, if it es a good artist, the cow %tell ;Thrli Os heed round towards the 'camera. munching a mouthful of hay as the I11 ii enters and plants her tool beeide the cow. A eloee-up of the

maid, geeing at the same time a good view of the ruelk foaming in the bucket. eicruld complete tills sequence.

But by what method shall we pro ceed to Ine StableS without either breaking the continuity or losing touen with the general surroundings? A 'bridge' is required to carry us from one lo the ether, which George, the farin bov. Inula very \yell supply.

In action this m ()old work out as fellows. Tee. cerise-up of the milemaid J. eut tii another tnediuni lung shot of the interior of the shed, stilt :bowing the maid, and beyond tier the shed door, with the upper half open Through this opening a lanky youth's head appears. Ile is eerrying a ruse of straw. A close-up will introguee the lad, and register expression of calf-love as he looks towards the maxi and, after a pause, speaks coaxingly.

This should be cut to the same medium near view orate maid nritIong as used before, and as she looks up and heti' turns, the cow should also turn round. The maid immediately speaks litpriiringly to the cow, indicating the door with her thumb, and breaks into a hearty laugh. Thes slimed rut to a close-up of George, wtto grips and turns to go on his way.

Now we fellow George in a long shot of the farmyard and buildings. As be carries oil his shoulders a veritable stack (a straw, with anise.] he proreedS towards tie! stables, a team of horses enters the yard. The ploughman and ploughboy. %vim disinotee, leud the horses to a water-trough.


There are now two lines of action to be followed. We leave George tor the moment and we should have no WMeulty in obteeliting some good (gospel, studies of horses watermg, ante eventually, iii e. Medium long shot, Jr following them into thc stables, where George is rediscovered making up theer In reviewing these -two Short series of pictures it requires very little reflection to diseover the ',Wells that are awaittug the unwary photographer Who imagines that he will be able to improvise his autitm wahOut the belp of a ecenano.

Had you been "shooting" the cowshed casually, without having prepared a. "shouting :script," the chances are that you would not have foreseen your neea of George, and therefore would put have realized the importance of !hiving the lop half of the cowshed door left open, nor would you have leaved eoW lii a position so that you 'could include it, and the maid, and the open (611(31,7i:tr. admitting George's head in one

. Also by studying the scenario the night before you could have considerably improved the continuity of introducing George and Locating the stable in the previous long shot of the farmyard, when the maid was seen to be approaching the rowshed.

George could have come out of the stables with his rining on the way to fetch the straw, and would then have established a relationship with the maid by calling after her. This would have lent greater interest, to his reappearance

at the cowshed door, and given an added reality to his subsequent action iti the folluwing long ehot of the farmyard.

There is always a (tenger, too, of missing details or getting them wrong, which sometiniee I-lappet's tilt U profcssismal set.

For instance, the maid enters the cowshed carrying a bliCkCt in the lett hand, and ptieses through the door to the left; but by the lime ihe eamera has been moved, arid the lighthig and other details arranged, arid you have been fairly bcitubarded with useless and misleading suggestions hy all the lookers-on, it ls possible that the maid will spoil the continuity by moving in the wrong direction, or by carrying the bucket On her right arm.

These mistakes are frss fn

occur if gnu hare foreseen Mr entire action beforehand, and crtallized it in the scenario.


Whatever the subjeet you choose, whether it be a tragedy, eomedy, or a noisdramatic subject, it will require the same technical treatment.

It mill lie mate] that eix views have been used, which is tile. JeillijIjuIll filliiiber iii in averageeengat 111m, :Ind that each tine implies a certain distance. It, is not possible to specify an exact measurement, owing to the varying circu aisle nces uf the sett fug and requirements of the director, but their terminology is expressive of Vie idea in the evenario welter's mind. which the producer 'met assimilate and matte his own.

However, it is generally understood that the close-up of a person would be Or the head and shoulders; of a door or like objeet, the pieture should be close enough that it may be easily reeognizea.


.1 medium close-up of a character Nyould be equivalent to a three-quarter size; of an object, it would show something of the surroundings, to give an idea of the setting.

A medium view would show the whole individual, or au object well in the setting.

The medium long view would give the figure a margin for action on the set,

The long view would differ considerably from a general shot of a whole interior to a distanee viti1v of an exterior scen\

eor working purposes this supplies the elementary Information that is required to build up a seenarin. It is the first step in the making of a picture, and front beginning to the end a good picture most be made, not. merely "taken": and though cirrennstances niny often he rolepled In the end which you propese, they must never dictate, or you witi find by experienee. and to your cost, that "inspirations" and "brain-waves" that come to you on the set, and not in the scenario, rarely, If ever, rim 11P used to edvantege in the final pditingnr --nfilm.

Ro tvaste whatever time and money ynii may here tn spare on your Scenario, end. during the production of your picture let it be your mind.

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