View Full Version : technical-ish Question for cineaste/filmist

23-01-2005, 10:56 PM
you know when sometimes you get moments in films or more so in TV where the story pauses for a moment and you get like a brief vignette of scenes and a little burst of music, often a panning shot of local scenery, or a shot of people who you can't hear over the tune

i'm thinking of US cop shows as a perfect example, between two scenes, maybe to denote passage of time, you get a panning shot of some tenements, then a shot of street people hustling, along with a quick drumroll and a little geetar lick from the theme music

know what i mean at all??

so what's that technique called by film writers/prooducers???
i like it, it's very subliminal
(i'd like to see them strung together without plot maybe)

25-01-2005, 12:05 AM
according to my sources it's called an establishing shot:

he reckons you're 'referring to the establishing shot [although [the] description veers towards describing a montage or musical montage]...These are especially used in long running drama or comedy shows that are largely studio-based. A fine example is Seinfeld, which is all studio based and has exterior establishing shots of the variuous key locations shot from the street...These shots never have the main stars in because they are sehot sperate from the main shoot, ususally by a "second unit". The same shots will be used in episode after episode. Their role, as well as helping the passage of time, is to give geogrpahy and space to an otherwise interior-based show.'

Is that what you were on about?

26-01-2005, 11:53 AM
establishing shot = Shot of the outside of the house to "establish" that the next scene is in the house.

montage = set of images cut to music; the bit at the start Singing In The Rain where Gene Kelly tells the stotry of their rise to fame over the quick wordless scenes is a good example.

But you're talking about Transitions, I think, which are the stock montages between acts in US shows - Friends always has a shot of the skyline, a yellow cab, etc. Angel used these ultrafast blipvert transitions which have been ripped off widely.

Diggedy Derek
26-01-2005, 01:16 PM
Yeah, tricky to say where an establishing shot ends and a montage begins. If the shot of people hustling on the street in the middle of a US cop show is intended to be the same neighbourhood, or representative of the general area, then it is of some use in "establishing" the plot, situating the narrative. Therefore it's more or less an establishing shot. Certainly the shots in Seinfeld are establishing shots. However, on a technical level, if there's more than one shot in the montage, then it's establishing shots (plural). You could almost say it's a montage of establishing shots, really.

There are lots of different techniques though really, and you can only judge what they are by what they DO. If they help situate the action, they're establishing shots of some sort. Ozu likes to dwell on empty rooms a lot, though, so his establishing shots are also kind of a meditation on the absence of people, a meditative montage.