Restrictions

This blog post stems from when I watched this video by ‘Any Frame a Painting’ on YouTube and I’d like any filmmaker to also take a look:

The bit I find most fascinating is at 4.57 when they mention that Chuck Jones had disciplines which he set himself, in order to made his work more creative. I.e. The example where he has a character with no mouth which means that he has to express the character’s thoughts without any words. He didn’t have to do this, but by doing so, he created very unique and interesting characters which engaged and humoured the audience.

This got me thinking. How can I set myself disciplines and restrictions in order to make myself think more creatively.

One of the pieces of equipment many filmmakers have access to is a range of lenses. Wide lenses, long lenses, prime lenses etc. and depending on what they’re going to film, they will pick the most suitable lens. For example, many wildlife filmmakers will have long lenses because most of the filming they do is far from their subject. I thought that a good way to challenge myself  was to take this luxury away and film solely with a GoPro (a very wide lens). So that’s what I’ve done. Over the past few months I have restricted myself to only taking a GoPro away on holiday with me. (Not only does this cut down on suitcase space), but it has also had me thinking in ways that I may not have done, had I of taken my other camera with me.

With a wide-angled lens, you have to be very close to your subject to be able to get a good shot of it and sometimes with my GoPro, it has actually surprised me how close. For example I took this photo of a ferris wheel at the Berlin Christmas markets and was stood approximately 3 metres from the ticket box you can see. When I switched my GoPro on and turned it upwards, I was shocked that it could fit the entire wheel in.

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I was expecting to be able to capture up to the middle of the wheel, however when I saw that it had fit the entire wheel in and even included some of the surrounding buildings, I was genuinely impressed.

This brings me to another characteristic I’ve found with using a wide angle. When you take a photo, you usually have in your head a basic idea of what it will look like through the lens. However with a GoPro, it never fails to include other objects in, which I hadn’t noticed with my eye. Here’s an example:

On the left is what I imagined the photo to look like. From where I was sat, the boats were right below us and I loved the view we had of the hustle and bustle going on, on the pier. On the right is the photo I took with the GoPro. It had managed to include the top of roof of the restaurant below where I was sat, and the roof of the restaurant I was in. These two roofs almost frame the picture. Although what I wanted a picture of was the pier and the boats, and in the GoPro picture the pier is barely visible, I actually preferred it. I thought that it added so much more depth and texture to the photo. After this I started looking out for other scenarios where I could frame the picture with my very close surroundings.

Here are a few more of my favourite GoPro photos:

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I have learned a lot by limiting myself to just a GoPro and have enjoyed the challenge of finding other ways to capture my images. I have had to think about things that I could usually dismiss by zooming in with my lens or knocking out of focus with my aperture. Aspects of photography like the lighting, angles and composition have all been more prevalent in my mind when taking a picture.

I am going to continue to use my GoPro on trips as well as my other camera, as I have learned to love how it interprets the scenery in a way that sometimes I can’t imagine. I am also going to continue setting disciplines for myself with the films that I produce. For example, instead of showing the passing of time with a timelapse, or panning across a landscape to set the scene, I will try to think more creatively in order to showcase the same sequence to the audience, but in a way that they wouldn’t expect.

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