My vocabulary

We humans like to label everything, not only because it expresses the underlaying structure but because we can create higher level communication with other humans and put more information on the table with little effort. The fact that we all know what a sequence is means I can avoid explaining it every time I try to talk about anything related to them, making communication way more efficient.

But yes, there is a big drawback, we all have to agree on the meaning of these uber-blocks, if my understanding of what a sequence is differs from yours, then we are in trouble unless we spot the fact that we are talking about different things and yes, you should do the effort to evaluate from time to time what other people may understand when saying “sequence” (for example)

As an exercise I want to draw a line on what I do understand some key “uber-blocks” are so further discussions and ideas I throw to this blog make sense and I can explain things faster so let’s start with;

  • Scene: An scene is the place where a unit of action takes place.
  • Sequence: A sequence is a collection of related shots, related by the fact that they occur in the same space and time unit.
  • Shot: A shot is a registration of a unit of action as a continues series of pictures.
  • Frame: A frame is the registration of a non-selected unit of action in the minimal unit of time.

Now this needs a be of explanation of course, for me a unit of action is the real building block of storytelling, a movie is just one of such forms to tell a story and the idea is that each unit of action makes the story move forward.

When I say, and you may disagree but this is how I see it, a scene is a location while a sequence is just a collection of shots, indeed in the same location but I see a big different between a scene and a sequence, these are not synonymous.

Furthermore, when I say a shot is a registration of a unit of action is because there is only one point of view covered, the story may require 10 points of views so it can be told effectively but the building blocks are individual point of view that when arranged, unfold the event.

Now when I mention a frame is a non-selected unit of action is because we can’t choose what happens on each frame, we register what we register and if the actor started to move one millisecond later, then each frame will be completely different, this is in contrast with animation which we animators select.

Therefore the difference between animation and film in reality is that the footage is selected frame by frame by an intellectual process (hopefully) while in film is not.

This opens the discussion to other areas I am not interested in discussing now but by laying this blocks I believe further things will make sense later on.

So, the key here is the unit of action that happens to develop in a unit of space, registered from multiple points of view, then manipulated through an intellectual process (hopefully) by selecting and arranging shots these points of view -shots- to tell a story.

Are the frames important? in a film they are not important to me, only timing in the sequence is important, but on the animation they indeed are important to me as we play with timing on a different microscopic scale.

Hopefully now by using this concepts you could tackle some of the most common questions in how you structure your work, from the technical point of view of how to organize the workflow to the directory structure, etc…

Hope it makes sense,

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One Response to “My vocabulary”
  1. [...] make sure you read first My vocabulary so you can get a good reference on how and why I call these thing...

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