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behind the scenes

building the cinematography

language and intention

When first discussing the approach of the film I wanted to define the boundaries in which the language would be sitting in. After the initial conversations with the director Alex, a word sprang to mind - observation. The duration of the film is (script wise as well) is quite short so I wanted a method that would allow me to give both the actors and surroundings ample time to simmer and play off each other, thus making some shots longer on average.


The key word for this film from the cinematographys perspective is observation: which can be taken in a number different routes such as, POV, a passage in time and examination and study. Focusing on the latter; the audience is allowed ample time to familiarise themselves within the scene and story. This is especially important for a period piece if we are achieve true belief.

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2Building The Cinematography Behind_ The Ballad of Olive Morris V2 (1).jpg

camera movement
& blocking

As we are on the coattails of the word observation - more specifically examination and study, the camera movement and blocking should reflect that. Allowing for a character and or action to be experienced by the audience in unbroken motion. This is something I mean to discuss with Alex, the director, on what shots can be held and or merged into one to ensure the audience has time to take it in. Some current examples planned are, slow pans covering a wide angle that can allow for a range of movement, combined with dolly ins that will allow the audience to get much more intimate with the character and observe their inner world.


The blocking of characters, actions and sequence will need to be equally strong so the environment has frequent moments in which it may exhibit itself and bring itself towards the audience or rather the audience towards it. One line of dogma that I would like to set is that the blocking should be bespoke as much as possible but not too arranged to be noticeable, essentially to serve the story (also an element of looking cool!)

lighting approach

The lighting approach towards the film is a naturalistic one. From earlier discussions with Alex we wanted to avoid romanticising this particular story within Olive’s life.


Lighting will still be used but only to enhance what is already there or to simulate the locations natural state.


I am looking to propose a certain surrealist approach for a particular shot in which Olive dons on the headset. As she gets lost in the world of music the lights in the booth should dim - but as it stands this yet to be discussed green lit

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5Building The Cinematography Behind_ The Ballad of Olive Morris V2 (1).jpg


Looking at lenses for the film initially I have looked at a spherical choice but through some conversations with Alex, the natural choice to shoot anamorphic made much more sense. Considering the period of the piece, shooting on glass from that era would do much to sell the vision.


Anamorphic glass tends to stretch out bokeh (blur), and smooth the highlights which lends itself to a beautiful patina and character that would certainly add a layers of dimension and texture to the film.


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