Film School: David Fincher and Motivated Camera Movement

Film School: David Fincher and Motivated Camera Movement

How the director connects viewer to character and story.

One of the concepts it’s perhaps most difficult to grasp when first beginning to tell stories visually is exactly how camera movement works on the viewer. The first time you pick up a camera, you’re thinking more about what you’re pointing it at and less about how you’re pointing it.

Nerdwriter‘s video essay on the work of David Fincher is brief examination of a technical master, sure – but it’s also a lesson in how we watch, and the effect that certain ways of watching can have on your viewer.

The logical extension of motivated camera movements is of course motivated angles and edits – and Fincher’s work is full of them, as Every Frame A Painting demonstrates:

As Patrick H. Willems notes, Fincher’s earlier music videos are a master class, where not only camera movement, but also the action and editing, are motivated:

Further viewing

A rare opportunity and a unique case study of directing choices: David Fincher’s versus Niels Arden Oplev’s versions of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which we look at in more detail here:

More insight into Fincher’s choices, via his commentary of the deleted and alternate scenes in this featurette on the making of Seven (1995):

And here’s a whole bunch of guides to camera movement:

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