“Cinematography: The Visuals & the Story” by Block

  • ©Bruce A. Block



Entry Number: 14


    Cinematography: The Visuals & the Story

Course Organizer(s):




    Intended Audience
    All attendees.    

    A writer is concerned with story structure. A musician is concerned with musical structure. A  picture maker must be concerned with visual structure. If you create pictures for video games,  feature films, animation, television shows, advertisements, or Imax movies, there is only one  language available to you. The language is called “visual structure”.

    Anyone creating visuals always confronts the same basic questions: How can you create, control  and sequence your visuals so they tell a story? How can you link the visuals to the story so they  support each other? How can you make your visuals unique and use them to communicate with  the audience?

    The answer to all of these questions is based on understanding the key building blocks to all  types of visual structure. These visual building blocks are: space, line, shape, color, tone,  movement, and rhythm. It is through the control of these basic visual building blocks that every  picture maker stirs an audience’s emotions, creates unique visual styles and controls the critical  relationship between story and visual structure.

    A definition of these visual building blocks can be found in any design class but the more  important concept is how to use visual structure in relation to a story narrative. How do the two  separate worlds of visuals and story fit together? If they remain separate, you end up with  pictures that can work against the story, overwhelm the story or distract your audience from the  story. When the visual structure and story structure are linked together, their final product can  transform a production into a unique, entertaining and emotional experience for the audience.

    This class is an overview about connecting visual structure and story structure together; not just  in a theoretical way but also in a practical way that works in the direct production of both live  action and animated projects. The principles discussed can be applied to productions of any  length from commercials, to feature films, to open-ended Internet game environments. In any  media platform, visual problems can be solved by understanding visual structure and its critical  relationship to story structure.    

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