chapter  12
26 Pages

Composition styles

There are a range of film styles as distinct, for example, as Laurence Olivier’s ‘Henry V’ and Billy Wilder’s ‘Double Indemnity’, which were both made in the same year (1944). Olivier achieved a formalism based on sets designed with the colour and perspective of mediaeval illustrations, whilst Wilder’s visual style is often based on film noir’s low-key lighting and night shooting on wet, rain-streaked roads. Camerawork styles and visual imagery are not always influenced by contemporary fashion. The above two films, made in different countries, had two very distinct visual styles. To detail fully the variety of styles that have originated in the history of film and television would require a separate book. Below are just a few examples of different approaches to compositional styles. The dominant influence on the look of the film is usually the direc-

tor, although often the director of photography or production designer have a significant input. Styles of camerawork technique range from the standard storytelling coverage designed as an uncomplicated, undemanding entertainment that keeps faith with the expectations of most of its potential audience, to productions that completely reject conventional visual codes and favour an indirect and oblique presentation. This ‘alternative technique’ has been discussed in Chapter 2.