Friday, September 16, 2011
I watched Double Indemnity and Orson Welles's The Stranger today, both great films. I'm warming up for some new storyboards so I started doodling around in Sketchbook Pro to find striking framing devices. I paid attention to the way both Wilder and Welles built their compositions. The two films are on opposite ends of the film noir visual spectrum. Double Indemnity is high-key, filmed largely in gray washes. The high tones are soft and Wilder often allows his leads' faces to fall into dim shadow. It's a film about moral ambiguity and the cinematography never pushes the audiences' emotion too far one way or the other. The Stranger plays on the extreme edge of light and dark. There is no ambiguity about the personality of Welles's Nazi war criminal, and the low-key lighting leaves almost no room for middle tones. The backgrounds of each film follow suit, Welles's film favors abstract patterns of shadow, while Wilder populates his shots with set dressing.
The top two panels are right out of The Stranger. The bottom ones are just me messing around, searching for interesting scenarios in single shots. I'll be posting more as I continue my warm ups!