Shots in movies can be huge motivators of emotional impact in people. Shots can not only convey orientation, information, and important detail but have a way of grasping the attention of the audience. They have a way of provoking joy, tears, or fear in the emotions of the people. Shots are key to making an awarding winning film – strictly based on the power of shots. Shots have the power to make or break a film. Shots are critical to emotion.
In Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg is a master mind in creating shots that capture the attention and emotions of the audience. In the beginning scene from “Saving Private Ryan,” Spielberg uses a long shot, low angle shots, close up shots, and medium close-up shots to support the emotional appeal in his story.
Spielberg uses a long shot in the very beginning combined with a high angle shot to give the retired captain a powerless, hopeless feel. The captain is walking in an Arlington National Cemetery and the camera pans to him walking by himself surrounded by gravestone crosses. This camera shot adds an emotional appeal. It proves the captain is feeling hopeless surrounded with painful memories. The high angle gives him a feeling of less power.
Spielberg also uses close up shots to give important detail to what the viewer needs to know. The viewer needs to know that the soldiers are scared and shaking. Spielberg uses a close up shot to show that their hands are shaking with fear as the solider opens his water canteen. This gives the audience a more shocking and chilling reaction to the film.
He also uses medium close ups to portray the emotion that the characters feel. These shots conform the emotions of the characters. They go from general to specific. They convey relationship shots with the other soldiers. One of the shots is that the camera dollys from one to solider to the other showing their relationships with one another and the emotions they are battling with in terms of the future battle they are about to partake upon. Thus showing the intensity and fear in all of their faces. Another shot Spielberg used was a medium close of the captain in the cemetery to convey the sadness in his face and show the misunderstanding of his family members in the background. This shot exemplified relationship information.
This key examples prove that shots HAVE POWER. Shots are the essence of a quality film. Shots can direct emotions to fear, joy, or sorrow. They have the power to overcome one’s emotions and take one on a 2 hour journey. Shots – have power.