Site Header
Top Divider Bar
Spacer Tom A. Wright's Home Page
  Books by Tom A. Wright
  Tom A. Wright's Thoughts
  Games Created by Tom A. Wright
  About Tom A. Wright

Tom's Blog Articles

Most Recent Post

Past Posts

George Lucas Ruined
My Childhood and
Other Such Non-sense

Death of the PC?
Not Likely

Enough With the
Damned Cliffhangers

Whose Bright Idea
Was It To Group
Science Fiction With



Nauseating Cinematography

My Thoughts by Tom A. Wright

Say no to Documentary Style Cinematography

For decades now, a form of Cinematography has infected TV series and Movies like a plague. It's called Documentary Style Cinematography. Basically, the people who impose this jerky, nauseating camera work on the public believed making the camera move around randomly and flow in and out of focus made viewers feel they were watching out-in-the-field camera work from rushed news journalists, therefore making the viewers feel the show was more real. This, however, was a completely wrong assumption. Most people have just gotten used to this amateurish style and learned to ignore it. Unfortunately, I'm one of the minority of people who this cinemagraphic style literally makes sick. I remember watching World Trade Center in the theater and had to spend most of the movie with my eyes off the screen. Since then, if I see previews that portray a lot of jerky camera work, I will not go see that movie. The remake of the Battlestar Galactica TV series came very close to losing me as a loyal viewer during its first season because they employed this awful style. Lucky for me, I endured it for the first year and the producers toned it down after.

I've had this discussion with people who took offense at my position, saying the equivalent of "I loved that movie/TV show. Why should I have had to suffer because of your issue with nausea." It is a complete fallacy.that the cinemagrapic style made the TV show or movie good. The reality is that over the years, there have been outstanding movies and series that were hugely adored and made tons of money that didn't use documentary style. The camera movement did not make any of these shows good. The story, acting and directing made them good. If any of the productions these people vigorously defend were, instead, originally made without the jerky camera work, none of those defenders would have liked it less. In fact, I believe they would have liked it even more, without realizing it.

As a writer, I was taught that anything that pulls a reader out of the story is author's intrusion and it negatively affects the reader's enjoyment. I know this is true, having read many, many books, and have experienced this myself. Sometimes it was so bad that I was actually jerked out of the story hard enough that I found myself angry at the author. The same principle applies to TV and Movies. If a percentage of your viewers are looking away from the screen, then you have pulled them out of the story.

Luckily, I'm seeing less and less of the documentary style cinematography on the big and small screens. However, there are still those in the industry who continue to hold firm, and keep trying to make people like me sick, driving us away from their products. I can only hope that the trend away from nauseating cinematography keeps going until it is only a bad memory.

December, 2012

Tom A. Wright
Copyright © 2012 Tom A. Wright