Filmmaking is a visual medium. And it’s magical.
The cinematic language is universally understood across continents. Without words, the images in films (and also on television) should tell us a story. We can see hope, fear, love, and excitement on a character’s face. The camera can move in a way that appeals to our inner emotions and reveals huge plot points by simply pointing or panning at something.
As we have said many times here, and as you have heard many times before, cinema is a visual language.
Filmmakers use visuals to convey the story to the audience and to move them through certain emotions. No matter what your role in filmmaking, your goal is to make sure the visuals convey all of the filmmakers’ intentions. That ranges from writing to producing to editing and acting – it contributes to a goal.
And that goal is to create magic.
Since the first cinema cameras were invented, people have been eager to learn, experiment, and shoot stories through the human experience. We analyzed these types of stories from all over the world. From rousing Bollywood epics to American independents and Nigerian New Wave. People all over the world use films as an empathy machine to share the magic with each other. Films open our eyes, add to our experience and help us understand complex issues.
So who does all this? And how did it get so magical?
Check out this lovely tour of discovery from The cinema cartography, and let’s talk afterwards.
What’s the magic behind visual storytelling?
As I said in our opening, visual storytelling is something special. It is something that actively participates in what makes us human. One of the saddest and most difficult aspects of life is that time goes only one way, so looking back nostalgically things get colorful or change the tone.
But filmmaking gives you some control. You can tell what’s going on in the story, and you can pause, rewind, and fast-forward the emotions. You will always be there. The visuals take you through a range of emotions. The emotions are those you feel for the characters in the story, that you feel about your own life and sometimes those that you relate to in your own work.
No other art form in the world can do that. Sure, they can try to give you a similar experience, but moving images are the only art form that represents things the way we see and hear them. It can be manipulated through editing, but it is a mirror of our seeing, hearing and thinking in a way that a still photo or painting cannot describe. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the 24 frames per second over a period of two hours require experience and not speaking.
The magic in the center is difficult to define precisely. It’s just a fancy word for the depth of connection we have. How seeing pictures and seeing life force us to align our feelings and belief systems with them. Even circumstances so far from ours require us to think about how we would deal with it and how our world would reel from what we saw.
Movies and visuals stay with you forever. You can always return to them like clear memories. There is always something new to learn, and we will create new things as long as humanity lives. There is an incomprehensible beauty in that, though glad I tried.
Let me know where you see the magic in the comments.