2150: Movie magic

(This is my eleventh blog entry for my fall semester J2150 class.)

Everybody knows that a lot goes on behind the scenes of a film – often, when what goes on is revealed, it can take away some of the magical atmosphere that you felt watching the film. Maybe it’s because those stunts don’t seem quite as daring when you find out it’s just a stunt double in front of a green screen jumping onto a thick green pad. However, sometimes a behind-the-scenes look can be fascinating and give the viewer great appreciation for all of the work that went into the film.

The latter was the case as I watched the making of “Shattered” in lecture on Monday. “Shattered” is a short film about an ice climber that is as ethereal as it is barren and somber. The climber, in a voiceover, tells his story, one of loneliness and of risking life and limb for that thrill of accomplishment, as footage is shown of him on the side of a mountain and scaling a vast and treacherous ice wall. The video is enchanting and the views awe-inspiring.

Not much of that changed for me as I watched the “making of” videos that went along with the short film. Yes, the climber was a real climber, and he did write his voiceover, but it was a bit more art piece than autobiography. The filmmakers contributed to it and had to coax a dramatic speaking voice out of the climber, who was unused to performance. And it was especially when the lengths the camera people had to go to to get shots were revealed that I had incredible appreciation for the process. In order to get the death-defying angles and clear close-ups that gave the film such a dire feeling, a cameraman had to dangle from the side of an ice wall as the climber climbed. In another instance, a camera was strapped to a drone and attempted to fly above the scene to capture footage, but after just a few seconds ended up lodged in a bed of evergreen limbs.

None of those details really affected the awe that the film provided me. In my opinion, seeing how a film is actually created and produced and captured adds to the magic of it all.

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