Chronicle (2012)- Hand Held inspiration

I’ve mentioned this film a lot when talking to the BBC and when considering hand held films inspiration and so I wanted to go into it in a bit more detail.

The trailer for Chronicle. (YouTube, 2016).

Chronicle is a 2012 American science fiction action film directed by Josh Trank and written by Max Landis based on a story by both. It follows three Seattle high school seniors, bullied Andrew (Dane DeHaan), his cousin Matt (Alex Russell) and more popular Steve (Michael B. Jordan), who form a bond after gaining telekinetic powers from an unknown object. They first use their abilities for mischief and personal gain until Andrew turns to darker purposes. (Wikipedia, 2016).

The movie itself was shot in an Arri Alexa video and Angenieux Optimo and Cook s4 lenses. The hand held look was added in post production but much of the filming was cleverly done to adjust for this. For example,  the Arri Alexa camera was mounted on a skateboard to simulate Andrew’s camera sliding across a floor.

It is based on a story by both Josh Trank and Max Landis, who both directed the film. They credited films such as Akira, Carrie and The Fury as inspiring the plot and overall look.

The Knowing (1978) trailer. (YouTube, 2016).

One of the things I loved especially about the film was the change of perspective in the cameras. All based on real life- they changed from Andrew’s hand held camera to CCTV footage. It is used seamlessly- the best example being the hospital scene.

The camera starts as one would expect- typical live action view- the camera an onlooker to the events and has no involvement.  We listen as Andrew’s father becomes angry, as his shouting is about to escalate it cuts to a CCTV camera in the hospital. Even without the sounds, we can feel the tension building. The scene then silently blows up, the camera showing a hospital room once and then not there.

After our first BBC presentation we wanted to incorporate this kind of cuts in our own- making them more obvious, we came up with a list of these to incorporate in our next previs;


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