Hi my name is Tony and
this is Every Frame a Painting. Today I’m going to switch things up
and talk about problem-solving. One of the reasons I like filmmaking is
that sometimes you have to design a solution to a particular
stumbling block. For example, how do you show
a text message in a film? It’s an interesting conundrum.
Texting is kinda visual, so in theory, this shouldn’t be hard. And yet every time a filmmaker
cuts to an insert of a phone you can hear the audience yawning. Many
films make it so characters don’t text or they read the messages
out loud like idiots. Or worse, they invent some reason
for the phones not to work. –97% nationwide coverage and we
find ourselves in the three percent But in the last four or five years,
something’s happened. Filmmakers have started adopting a new formal convention
the onscreen text message. It has exploded in just a few years. I first noticed it on the
BBC version of Sherlock. But after consulting Twitter, we found
earlier examples in soap operas teen movies and in films from South Korea and Japan. Regardless of where you first saw it,
this is a great example of how film form is always evolving. So why are filmmakers adopting this? I think there’s 3 simple reasons. First off, it saves money. If you have
a story where texting is important, the director can save a ton of money
by not shooting 60 close-ups of phones. All you need is AfterEffects & this guy: –Andrew Kramer here
for Video Copilot.net Second, it’s artistically efficient.
Shot-reverse shot is slow because the phone has to be
onscreen long enough to read it. Sometimes in huge,
ridiculous grandma font. Onscreen texting solves a lot of this.
It allows us to combine action and reaction in the same frame.
Best of all, it gives us an uninterrupted view of the
actor’s performance which is always nice But there’s a third reason this has
been noticed: elegant design. And this is where Sherlock is definitive
This is beautiful, in and of itself. You’ll notice: there’s no bubble
around the text, because the bubble is the first thing
that becomes outdated. The font has stayed consistent for each
season of the show. The color is white instead of different colors for
different characters. We arent told who’s sending or receiving
which is great because now the audience has to infer based on the message, which
increases our involvement. The words appear next to the phone
but they float independently. Compare that to this film, where the
messages move as if they’re attached to the device.
Wait no, to the person. No, to the device.
Make up your mind. So who knows? Maybe this
will be a new convention, maybe it’s just a stepping stone.
–NO. But while Sherlock seems to have
solved how to do text messages, we have another issue. Many many people have tried,
but we still don’t have that one really good way of
depicting the internet. Some methods are not exactly cheap. Others are kinda inefficient. And others… well, you know. I am actually a big fan of one new
development: the desktop film where all of the action takes
place directly on the screen. –Let me show you. I can’t speak for anyone else,
but these films are actually pretty similar to how I receive information
on a daily basis. Some have emotional resonance. Some are mysterious. And some are wonderfully experimental. But if you want to explore the cutting
edge, there’s only one place to go –One ticket to Tokyo, please Where for the last 2 decades, animation
has been coming up with wild and crazy ways to show the world online, Whether they be Superflat and floating. Or message board posts as intertitles Or plugging into a separate
green online world And there’s a bunch of other
fascinating possibilities that may or may not work in other films but are really interesting
just to consider. Even live-action films from
Asian directors have tried this. Physical rooms where people chat. An animated world within the cell phone. All of these are experiments
and some are honestly failures. But that’s good,
because people are trying. And for once, this is a level playing
field. You and I have as much of a chance of figuring
out the solution as the next Hollywood film. For something
like this, lack of money is an advantage Remember: cheap, efficient, elegant. For all I know, the solution
is already out there. –A hacker Hell, Sherlock may have figured it out. But in the meantime I think it’s
nice to appreciate a small formal step in the right direction. This is proof
that film form is not set in stone. People don’t stop inventing this stuff.
And right now, at least, I see a big problem we haven’t solved
yet. And a very level playing field for anyone who wants to go for it. Subtitles by the Amara.org community