Immersive filmmaking for maximum impact
Updated: Mar 5
Clickbait central right? Ha ha, no. There's a reason why I'm asking this question and it is this; why does a piece of filmmaking resonate so strongly with you? Why can you recall the scene, the dialogue, the emotions when you think back to a favourite scene.
It's something I'm always fascinated by - especially in these heady times of what can often feel like content overload and merciless algorithms.
So firstly I believe that liking or loving a piece of art is inherently subjective - however when having this conversation a while ago, the same things kept cropping up: amazing acting, the emotive music, the overall feel of the scene, these elements always seemed to find a consensus when discussing particular films.
Immersiveness plays a strong part in helping us forge emotional connections to films and art in general - remember that scene with De Niro and Pacino in Heat? If you don't then be kind to yourself and rent Heat by Michael Mann. A lot of people recall the wonderful interplay of dialogue between two acting masters in the restaurant scene - it is a poignant moment and superbly acted but there's more to it than meets the eye. The ambient noise of the restaurant, the subtle change in music mid-conversation. The placing of De Niro's hands on the table as a contrast to Pacino's steady finger tap. The hesitant gaze of De Niro contrasting against Pacino's firm fixation with his subject. I could go on ...ok also the change in focal lengths of the lenses as the scene progresses - wide shots at the beginning and then more close-up shots after they're clear about each other's intentions. When it comes to immersiveness there's a great deal happening that is somewhat imperceptible to the viewer - especially on first viewing - nonetheless there seems to be a powerful cumulative process at play that creates a holistic emotional experience for the viewer.
The late Alfred Hitchcock believed that the peak of cinema was during the silent era of films. He argued that the introduction of language negated the superior visual storytelling so evident in silent films. Just think about it for a second - how do you propel a story with no dialogue? This is where the artistry of cinema comes in; the filmmaker has to somehow convey exposition using more creative vices such as lighting, props, composition, sound design, blocking (actors), editing, colour grading and we've not even started talking about lenses, focal lengths, or even camera movement. There's clearly a rich tapestry at play in transporting the viewer into the film dimension. Obviously being in a dark cinema with surround sound greatly facilitates this process for the viewer but that's an entirely different topic for another time.
The subtext to all of this is immersive storytelling - it's a question of craft at the end of the day and surely there's a good reason why Stanley Kubrick said 'It's easier to fall in love than find a good story'.
The team at Girafingo is fascinated by this quote - we don't think storytelling is easy but we like to roll our sleeves up and find a strong story to tell. With set design and props styling by Izzy Parker Studio and filming and directing by ... (drumroll please) me - we're passionate about film and we hope you are too.