Friday, October 09, 2009

A letter to the filmographers on House

Dear Sir or Madam,

This letter is to inform you of my intense, all-consuming, ferocious disappointment with the new format for your television program House, specifically the altered camera styles.

I have no idea who your filmographer is, or if I have my terminology mixed up and it's technically a film director. Or a producer. Or a director. Giving me a vocabulary lesson is not the point here.

I also don't know if there has been a change in staffing. I don't know if the House filmographer is trying to "move with the times," and adopt a new style of filming, or if someone new is using the show as a guinea pig (however, if it is someone new trying out a new style for the show, then I must say I think that is a big mistake, but that is neither here nor there).

It does not matter to me who is doing the filming, and I don't care who makes the decision about what type of camera style the show has. What I care about is what I see on the screen, and that should be important to you.

I am your audience. I hope I am giving a voice to the other viewers who are experiencing the same problems; I know it is not just me.

The "new style," as I say, is one that I liken to Law and Order, and therefore refer to it as Law and Order style. It's a technique I have noticed in which the camera spends a lot of time focused tightly on a person's face, but their face is not centered in the viewing area. Only part of the person's face is in the shot. Sometimes as much as half of their face is off-screen.

Worse yet, the partial-person in the screen is most likely speaking to someone, but the viewer is unable to see to whom the character is speaking.

Another fly in the ointment: frequently the angle is skewed as well, so there isn't just a problem of the face only partially making it in the shot, but something odd is actually what is centered on screen. A chair, a door jamb, someone's arm . . . the list continues endlessly.

In addition to the weird camera angles, the other aspect of Law and Order style is what I simply call shakey camera. This style is used a lot in movies with battle scenes; it gives the audience a sense of the confusion that the characters in the movie must also be feeling in the fight. I get it, I put up with it in movies, and yet . . .

I hate it.

I hate the quick cuts from one camera to another. I hate the "walking camera." I hate the joggling "home movie" style of filming. I hate feeling seasick. I hate sitting down to watch a television program, and feeling ill when it is over.

I am finding that I am distracted by this Law and Order style of filmography, and relieved when a commercial comes. How sad for House that I am losing interest in what I used to think was a pretty decent way to spend my precious evening hours. What a shame that I am considering removing the House season pass from our Tivo.

I hate that due to this sub-par style of filming, I am missing vital elements to the story, so I have to rewind and watch portions of the show twice. I hate that I feel just as ill when I have to watch the same scene for a second time.

A formerly avid fan
Now just a mediocre fan, on the border of not being a fan at all

1 comment:

T! said...

After they figure out that it doesn't fit with the show's mood and they change it back it will forever be referred to as "the shaky camera season".

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