Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay on subjective cinematography.
First thing’s first, let’s get the obvious out of the way: all cinematography is subjective. Calling something “subjective” just means that it is influenced by particular opinions and ideologies. And because people operate cameras, and those people are usually working in the service of someone else’s creative vision, to say that a camera can be truly, entirely objective is a bit of a stretch.
Indeed, cameras, by their very construction, capture a specific perspective. And the question we should be asking is not “is this cinematography subjective?” but rather “whose subjectivity is this cinematographer representing?” When we, the audience, look through the camera lens, whose eyes are we looking through? What are the subjective aspects of the cinematography trying to tell us about this story?
Some shots (most obviously point-of-view shots) literally capture a character’s perspective. This can also manifest more abstractly, as in Frida, where the camera resonates with the output and artistic fantasy-tinged worldview of its subject. These details can also be minute, like in Argo where differences in film perforation lent Tehran the grainy aura of a Western movie. Unpacking the depth of subjective cinematography is most rewarding when you’re talking specifics. So in that spirit, here’s cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, on his process with infusing his work with subjectivities:
Watch “What is Subjective Cinematography? DP Rodrigo Prieto on Working with Scorsese, Inarritu, & Ang Lee”:
Who made this?
This video about subjective cinematography was created by StudioBinder, a production management software creator that also happens to produce wildly informative video essays. They tend to focus on the mechanics of filmmaking itself, from staging to pitches and directorial techniques. You can check out their YouTube account here.
More videos like this
- For another taste of SudioBinder, here’s a video essay on the storytelling device known as deus ex machina.
- Here’s more of StudioBinder’s work: a video essay that clarifies the importance of a script breakdown with a look at Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
- Here’s their video on what makes the poker scene in Casino Royale so captivating even if you have no idea how poker works.
- Here’s their look at the narrative and emotional purpose of the point of view shot.
- Finally, here’s StudioBinder’s ultimate one-stop guide to how frame rate works.