Atmospherics refers to particulate matter in the air to aid the beauty and the cinematography of a shot. This might include rain, dust, smoke, fog, snow, fire distortion or other natural phenomena. These natural elements are great for adding an organic atmosphere to shots. This can be a great way to diffuse light or for creating volumetric light.
- One of the things I love adding to shots to improve them…is atmospherics.…Atmospherics is what I call organic elements…that are added to the shot to create a kind of ambiance.…In the shot of Korda'a at the campfire,…we shot through the fire and heat distortion…and it completely changes the character of this shot,…so that's kind of what I'm talking about…when I say atmospherics.…One of the big centerpieces in the whole film…was the massive fire pit in the center…of the common area scene.…Behind the scenes camera guy Steven Heller…worked tirelessly all day long to maintain that huge fire.…But in the case of this fire we don't ever…actually see the fire part,…but the smoke and the ashes in the air…for the preacher's shots create so much life and energy.…
In this shot of Jurassic Park there's an intense vibe…created by the smokiness that fills the frame.…As we pan over we see it's just this pot…with something burning in it.…What's that thing there for?…It's there because smoke looks awesome. (chuckling)…In the upcoming cinematography course we'll look…
Watch and learn how to shoot a script, using visual motifs, atmospherics, framing, and different types of shots to tell the film's story. Find out how to give direction to your crew and be a good leader, while staying on budget and on schedule. Plus, get tips to improve shots during retakes or in post, and to become a better director, storyteller, and communicator.
Note: Like the rest of the Creating a Short Film series, this course was shot during the production of The Assurance. It offers a unique window into the actual struggles and challenges filmmakers have to overcome to get films made. Find the rest of the courses in the series on Chad's author page.
- What a director does
- Interpreting the script
- Scouting locations
- Choosing the tone and theme of the film
- Using motifs
- Shaping the story through visuals
- Being a good leader on set
- Respecting budgets and schedules
- Planning shots
- Moving the camera: on a tripod or dolly or in handheld shots
- Using rolling takes
- Framing shots
- Adding atmospherics
- Directing in post-production
- Becoming a better director
Skill Level Appropriate for all
1. Preparing for Production
2. Themes and Tone
3. Shaping the Story
4. Running the Set
5. Planning Shots in a Scene
6. Getting the Shot
7. Improving the Shot
8. Directing in Post-Production
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