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Thread: How can one show 'imagination'?

  1. #1

    Default How can one show 'imagination'?

    Sorry. Another request for advice.

    In comics, there are those 'thought bubbles'. Are there are any such tricks in cinematography? As a child, I remember getting confused with films like 'Billy liar' and 'If'.

    'Dreaming/asleep' seems to be easier as the film can show a sleeping person and use some focusing transition and jingly jangly sleep music; and then enter the dream world.

    But 'daydreaming' seems to be more difficult to show. Inevitably, I can always use a thought bubble mask; but was wondering if anyone knew of any more interesting examples.

  2. #2

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    I thought about this when I was making Street Songs, I just decided to change the colouring to show the difference between real and dreaming. I would tend to go for a shot of the person looking thoughtful then just cut to what ever they are thinking about. You could perhaps go for a vignette on the thinking bits. If you feel it necessary to confirm to the viewer it was all a dream etc. you could cut back to reality were the person comes back with a jolt. Giving it some more thought, it really depends on the context of the movie how you show it. I've seen the thought bubble idea used and variations of that were a PiP is used with a fuzzy edge. Like a said without the context it's hard to know what to suggest.

  3. #3
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    What a great question!

    Whilst Midnight is correct that it is fairly simple to use different treatment on the footage (colour, focus or whatever) to distinguish between the real and imaginary world, the tricky part is giving the audience that cue. Once the cue has been given, subsequent switches to imagination need not be cued as the audience will associate the different treatment as being in the imaginary world.
    So, how to identify the cue.

    I can think of only three methods (aside from the thought bubble)
    1. The easiest - Voiceover. This is somewhat limited to a film where a voiceover is used for the character. Obviously you can't introduce a voiceover just to say "...and that got me thinking...." Think "Peep Show"
    2. The "thoughtful look" as described by Midnight above, where we get a pause on the character who is looking up and to the side (for some reason this does not work itf they are looking down and thoughtful). A variant of this is where the camera pans towards where the thoughtful actor's eyes are looking ad this is combined with a fade/dissolve during the pan.
    3. By closing in on the actors eye.

    In both these later cases it is essential that by the time we are cuing the thought, only the actor is visible in the screen - tis gives a feeling of intimacy.
    Tim

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    I would probably ad a POV shot with a nice composition to your list, becuase when you think, sometimes your just stairing blindly at things.

  5. #5

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    You can also make the actor do an "aside" all of a sudden. Depending on what the situation is I think it can put the video into a cool spin!

  6. #6

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    I was very grateful for all the responses.
    As the clip accompanies a song, I was unable to do a voiceover. Sadly, my lyrics and the scenes in the clip are not wholly connected.
    In the end, I chose TimS's point 2; with the character giving a thoughtful look.
    I had originally wanted to move in and out of the 'imaginary' world several times. After considering TimS' point about the cueing, I decided that I didn't have the skill to do it.
    As a result, I opted for a more surreal, trippy feel; where the distinctions between reality and imagination need not be so clear.

    Whilst that part of my little amateur project has been a failure, I shall reconsider all these points again when I plan my next miserable YouTube upload.

  7. #7

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    Do we get to see it ?

  8. #8

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    I have posted a link where the pimp's hang out

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimAndrews View Post
    As a result, I opted for a more surreal, trippy feel;
    Well, it seems you accomplished this. "Trippy" was a word I used in my comments on it - before I'd seen this response!
    I suspect if you'd originally asked "how do I show 'imagination' in an animation?" you'd have received a slightly different set of answers. It's probably better that you didn't as you clearly wanted a lifelike look rather than a cartoony effect.
    And - it certainly did look thoughtful to me. So you can claim that as as success.
    Last edited by TimStannard; 06-06-2011 at 10:12 PM.
    Tim

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