What's the method behind the direction of VFX/Video Game cut scenes?

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  06 June 2013
What's the method behind the direction of VFX/Video Game cut scenes?

More specifically can someone explain the over use of these swimming silly cameras in a functional context? I ask because on the surface it seems like these things are only done because you CAN with a camera in a virtual environment (we could never do that tracking shot with a real camera!), but I'm wondering if those who've directed these shots can explain another reason for the extra-swimminess. It seems wildly inappropriate much of the time. The same problems bleed into scenes where a live action movie goes almost entirely CG, as it often seems the VFX directors don't even pretend to match the visual stylings of the movie's director. I'm not a big fan of Avatar but one thing that impressed me was Cameron's storytelling style remaining consistent through the whole thing.
 
  06 June 2013
Any shots in particular you were concerned about?

I think I know what you're talking about... but would need to see samples of what you were describing.
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  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan: Any shots in particular you were concerned about?

I think I know what you're talking about... but would need to see samples of what you were describing.


Someone in another thread mentioned the Quantum Break E3 trailer which is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E087GDdXYl4

Almost none of the direction in this scene makes any sense, and it's that swimmy hand held camera style that really is jarring b/c they use it even in areas where there's almost no onscreen movement and thus no need for the "frenetic" mood it creates.
 
  06 June 2013
I think the point in this is to sell a video game.

Definitely if they were going to do this from a "Story/Audience Experience" first objective.. the "real cinematography" would have been to start from black.. doors open and then you have a wide shot showing Zero State.... and there's the pay-off...

But it's not.. because the point was to show Quantic Break in-game detail in freeze frame.

So they show off the girl first.

The hand-held camera looks like it might be done algorithmically.. and I agree it seems to have no reason for being that way. That said, I didn't find it annoying... but it didn't do anything either. 00:39 camera movement in particular I probably wouldn't have used.. I mean.. the camera pans like 3 or 4 times.. you end up not looking at the actor..

Definitely too much up-and-down camera swinging at 00:43. Doesn't really detract.. I guess they wanted it to feel like the viewer was "walking with the lead character"... but again.. this looks like algorithmic or keyframed "camera shake".

The little "passcard/train station card whatever" gets way too much screen time and it's only significant because it shows the Zero State is wearing off.

The only reason I can think of why such camera style is popular is to "immerse viewer as third man in the room".

Would I use this style? Probably never. Because I believe in keeping the audience "outside" the experience to tell the story as listener (not participant - although remember for games players are participants).
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  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan: I think the point in this is to sell a video game.

Definitely if they were going to do this from a "Story/Audience Experience" first objective.. the "real cinematography" would have been to start from black.. doors open and then you have a wide shot showing Zero State.... and there's the pay-off...

But it's not.. because the point was to show Quantic Break in-game detail in freeze frame.

So they show off the girl first.

The hand-held camera looks like it might be done algorithmically.. and I agree it seems to have no reason for being that way. That said, I didn't find it annoying... but it didn't do anything either. 00:39 camera movement in particular I probably wouldn't have used.. I mean.. the camera pans like 3 or 4 times.. you end up not looking at the actor..

Definitely too much up-and-down camera swinging at 00:43. Doesn't really detract.. I guess they wanted it to feel like the viewer was "walking with the lead character"... but again.. this looks like algorithmic or keyframed "camera shake".

The little "passcard/train station card whatever" gets way too much screen time and it's only significant because it shows the Zero State is wearing off.

The only reason I can think of why such camera style is popular is to "immerse viewer as third man in the room".

Would I use this style? Probably never. Because I believe in keeping the audience "outside" the experience to tell the story as listener (not participant - although remember for games players are participants).


That last sentence is what loses me though and why I specified the cut scenes. In those cut scenes the gamers aren't really participants, they're observers, and the simple rules of storytelling should still apply. But the point about selling games probably answers it.
 
  06 June 2013
I think what you're referring to in terms of the discipline of storytelling visually is stronger in games like Uncharted or Terminator: Rise of the Machines video game...

In Naughty Dog games in particular the point is you're NOT any of the characters at all.. as the player.. you "sit there and just watch the story".

But many games resort to this default of "you run along with the other characters" because it will supposedly pull you into the action of what's happening.

In spite of how you feel about it.. the Quantic Break trailer did impress a lot of people. so it still worked for them.
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  06 June 2013
Yes I guess it was effective. Uncharted is my favorite series so maybe that's why, they actually know how to pull the camera back.
 
  06 June 2013
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