Sherlock: How To Film Thought

Sherlock: How To Film Thought

Detective fiction always turns on its revelations, on those moments when information suddenly transforms into cause and effect. No one is better at achieving those revelations than private detective Sherlock Holmes, and these days no one is better at visualizing them than the creators of Sherlock, the intoxicatingly inventive TV show that uses and imagines film editing as a function of its main characters mind. “You said your life turned on one word.” “Yes, the name of the person my father wanted to kill.” Today I want to look at how Sherlock gets from point a to point B, from problem to solution, mystery to clarity, in one of the show’s most extraordinary visual revelations. It’s a sequence that lasts three minutes and 42 seconds with a fresh weird idea in almost every beat. It’s a complete joy to watch unfold. “You said your life turned on one word.” ” Yes, The name of the person my father wanted to kill.” The background is this: the daughter of famous multi-millionaire Culverton Smith knows her father wants to kill someone, but doesn’t know who it is “I need to kill someone.” She was told the name once but under the influence of a drug that wiped her memory all she knows is that it’s one word. “That’s the impossible thing, just that, right there.” What’s impossible? “Names aren’t one word, there’re always at least two.” The added element here, one that’s going to spin this revelation into a whole other gear, is that Sherlock Holmes is on drugs. He’s been shooting cocaine, a reference to the original Conan Doyle stories, and it’s accelerating and twisting his mind. In fact it’s the pain of withdrawal from his drugs that puts the entire sequence in motion. “You’re not how I expected you.” “What? What am I?” “Nicer.” “And who?” “Anyone.” In a mystery, a revelation on the part of the detective or the audience only works when it arises from information already known. What’s new is the perspective, and that change in perspective is triggered usually by something that doesn’t mean to. I mean this kind of revelation is a cliche by now But what sherlock does differently is stage those perspective shifts in its camerawork and editing in. The first sub sequence we see sherlock from every possible angle even from one that’s Impossible, thanks to his drug-induced state, punctuated by subliminal negative shots of the confession paper that Faith was holding and a compliment “You’re not what I expected you. Nicer.” It’s not just that Sherlock recontextualizes old informations. The filmmakers take great pains to choreograph a relationship between old and new perspectives that is Conversational, like the present and the past are speaking to each other. In this part for example Sherlock stocks the location of an old episode, the previous one, but now verything is changed: instead of seeing the street from a different angle we see it from a totally different camera lens adding to that sense of attenuated drugged-up disorientation. And here the conversation with the past is even more literal It’s a present shot past Reverse shot. “There’s only one way that I can solve it.” You’ve already moved the camera and you’ve already changed the lens, why not transplant an entire set from earlier in the episode. “I need to kill someone.” “Who?” “Anyone.” “Anyone.” “Don’t think anyone else is going to save him because there isn’t anyone.” Even more impressive than how Sherlock arrives at his revelation is how the hero untangles what that means. What can only be called a leapfrog scene transition, maybe my favorite of all time. Sherlock awakes from his reverie. It goes like this. Sherlock realizes where he is, in the middle of a busy street. A man yells at him. Reverse shot: Sherlock. Reverse shot: that man is now his drug-dealing friend on the street Reverse shot Sherlock. Reverse shot: his drug-dealing friend is actually speaking to him from Baker Street. Reverse shot: Sherlock still outside Reverse shot drug dealer telling him that he’s actually at Baker Street too. Reverse shot: cue the best location transition ever. Now let’s watch that in real time. “Even know where you are? You drunk!” “What are you doing here?” “What are you doing in the middle of a bloody street?” “You should be at Baker Street.” “I am. So are you.” It’s hard to imagine a scenario where more could be accomplished with ten shots As Sherlock’s mind catches up with itself and he grapples with the thought of just how many serial killers might be hiding behind wealth and fame like Culverton Smith. The revelation, the drugs and the sequence reach their crescendo with the set itself Turning on its axis. It’s important I think to remember that what we’ve seen here has taken place in the span of only three minutes and 42 seconds I mean there are full movies with fewer original ideas. There is no cGI in the sequence. No digital fireworks this is just great filmmaking just the laws of editing embodied brilliantly as the workings of an extraordinary mind So the Nerdwriter crossed a million subscribers last week And that is the biggest professional Milestone in my life in 2017 I want to make a show that Lives up to the amount of people who are watching and I hope when you tell people about the show you say it’s something That you’ve never seen on Youtube or TV or anywhere That’s the vision I have in my head, and that’s what I’m always thinking about when I’m making new episodes So thank you for watching thank you for getting me to this place I don’t take it lightly like I said before thank you to squarespace for sponsoring This video if you don’t know squarespace has beautiful award-winning designer templates for websites for your business or brand if you’re a musician Or you’re starting [a] restaurant or anything? It’s a perfect all-in-one platform That has great customer service 24 hours a day. [it’s] got easy domain names. It’s flexible [it’s] just a great service if you want to build a website for your business And if you start a free trial today using the offer code nerdwriter you can get 10% off your first purchase That’s pretty cool. Thank you guys for watching and I’ll see everybody next Wednesday

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Yep, Sherlock is and will be the official tv show that I wanted to see forever. Now, I am not native to the UK, so probably half of what they were talking, slipped away. I’ll get Netflix and start watching Sherlock again with subtitles, let’s see if it helps…

  2. I cried for months when Sherlock’s brother said “Goodbye, brother mine”… it still makes me sad, don’t know why, I don’t have a brother nor a sister… did someone else experienced this?

  3. 0:17 / EHM! CORRECTION A "consulting" detective , the only one in the world. Because 'he' made it up 😉😂😂

    ~Any Sherlock fans??? ME! OMGS I LOVE SHERLOCK AND BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH SO DAM MUCH……..sorry got carried away there 😂

  4. Scenes like these are the reason I mostly watch The Lying Detective and not the other episodes from season 4. I also like that scene where Sherlock catches the tea cup in super slow motion


  6. Could you please make a video on Legion? The whole series is basically made like this sequence in sherlock (still not overdone tho). I think you'd love it.

  7. Eh, the show was kind of falling apart by this point. It's editing and camera choice, though interesting, had gotten extremely drawn out by this time, since there had been so many other sequences like it.

  8. When this episode came out I sighed in big relief because after the 1st bad episode of Series 4 the quality went up where it was before but the next episode(the last one) really let me down, I felt like I was watching Doctor Who with Sherlock's characters.
    Surprisingly, a lot of my friends loved the last episode the most in the last season.
    Also, it probably has to do with each new episode having a different director.

  9. I can literally say I've never seen anything like this anywhere on YouTube.
    You are killing the game right now.

  10. Brilliant video as always. I personally was so so disappointed with most of season four but this was nonetheless a very interesting dissection.

  11. The only thing I disliked about this video is the fact that CGI was treated like its the flashy thing you add when something is missing. CGI is a tool, it can be great if used correctly or shit if not

  12. I absolutely loved Sherlock and how it mapped out his thoughts…
    I also liked the Robert Downy Films for the same reason, but for the combat. How he would plan out his attack in slow motion before showing it in real time. In the second one, it used that magnificently to show how Moriarty was his equal by having them both planning their attacks on each other and countering them, and having that connect to their verbal chess match they had played.
    I believe something like that but with the reasoning thing that Sherlock has in the show, but I can't remember when

  13. This is BY FAR my favourite video by Nerdwriter1 ever. I always come back to this video when I need to get someone hooked onto this channel. The editing, script, and overall everything, is top notch here.

  14. I like how you're trying to act like this is something amazing and spectacular but it isn't. Like why are you trying to hype it up so much?

  15. Sherlock episodes are masterpieces. In the last episode I just kept thinking that it was art. Beautiful

  16. the thing about sherlock is that (not to brag) but i can usually tell pretty early on the outcome of a detective story, and sherlock has quite often the only mysteries that i cant solve.

  17. I love the take on cause and effect used in Sherlock, it’s so blatantly obvious but it’s like it’s hiding in plain sight and furthers the sequence in such an organic fashion

  18. You're all Sherlocked..

    This also reminded me a of a brilliant dialogue in Juan Rulfo's Pedro Páramo, where several years pass within the same dialogue.
    The Tilcuate, Pedro's henchman, come to see him several times after the Mexican Revolution starts, and it goes like this:

    "The Tilcuate kept coming:

    ―We’re now Carranza’s men.


    ―We’re now with Obregón.


    ―They made peace. We’re on our own.

    ―Wait. Don’t disarm your men just yet. This can’t last long.

    ―Father Rentería has taken up arms. Should we go with him or against him?

    ―That’s not even a question. Take side with the Government.

    ―But we’re irregulars. They think of us as rebels.

    ―So go take a break.

    ―But I am on a roll.

    ―Do whatever you like, then.

    ―I’m going to support the priest. I like how they shout, and salvation is granted.

    ―Do as you like.

    In this piece of dialogue, Rulfo goes from the start of the 2nd phase of the Mexican Revolution in 1914 to the start of the Cristero War in 1926, while showing how allegiances were so easily changed and how Pedro Páramo eventually stops caring about the political conflict, which marks the start of his decline.

  19. i know absolutely nothing about film, but I do know that sherlock is brilliant. it's a masterpiece. I really want to pursue something in the film industry in the future :'-)

  20. Lies. The impossible scene where the perspective is immediately below him is not practical efx. How they get the arm rail from that perspective? Looks David fincher cgi like.

  21. as a piece of film, quite interesting, however, as a story it doesn't feel like the true spirit of Sherlock to me. Jeremy Brett would have deduced that in a moment.

  22. I guess I would have to watch few episodes again cause I missed on this depth of thought
    Also they never showed any chemical outburst of drugs in his mind or blood stream which would then be so cliche..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *