Keep it Down!

23 Oct

In any medium of storytelling, it becomes clear that the setup and how you establish your setting and characters are nothing short of important for story development. In a visual medium such as comic books or film, this is best done through choices made by the creator such as where you choose to position the camera or point-of-view, if that point-of-view is skewed, if the shot is up close or far away, etc. The technical term for these usages of image choice is intensity, a term that by definition “is a subjective business. For some people, a comic filled with nothing but panels of one person asleep in their bed. Shot from the same angle again and again, might be considered ‘intense’”, but many others like McCloud define it as “those visual techniques which add contrast, dynamism, graphic excitement or a sense of urgency to a panel” (45). On the other end of the spectrum is what is known as clarity, “the path that leads to the goal of understanding” that is accomplished through “the intensity of your presentation while the other relies on the content of the story itself” (53). While it is important to keep a balance between intensity and clarity to avoid a mess, I believe that it can be beneficial to have only a few shots of intensity and therefore have more clarity in your work.

The foremost reason being that if there are too many intense shots, you “ramp up those same elements too much and you get an incomprehensible jumble” that leaves readers feeling confused and the impact lost (49). With more establishing shots and controlled, calm angles that readers can have time to adjust to the settings and characters and their actions can be introduced. With a few intense shots here and there, the audience can be drawn in and surprised by the spontaneity of it. In other words, intensity should be used as a spice in the recipe that you are creating, NOT the main ingredient. Therefore, when you use intense shots and choices be sure to use it sparingly.

Works Cited

McCloud, John. P. 38-53.

One thought on “Keep it Down!

  1. Lady Gaga
    11:51 am - 2-26-2011

    I completely adore your blog, Its quite good to understand not every body is just posting a mess of trash nowadays!

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