The Rack Focus: How to Guide Viewers Eyes with a Shot List (Casino Royale) #rackfocus


How do you visually illustrate a character
processing information? How do you reveal something
that is already in the frame? Did you see that? It was a rack focus. A rack focus happens
when a filmmaker adjusts the focal plane to
show something that was, at first, indistinguishable. It should reveal some
crucial piece of information. Or signal a big
change in the scene. What do you gain from
using a rack focus? You have more focused
direction in your scene. You control the
eyes of the viewer. Layered images because you have subjects
at varying depths. Visual storytelling because you show reactions
to things on and off-screen. Economic filmmaking because you save time and
money with fewer shots. And an emotional connection because there is
always an opportunity to make your link from
A to B more profound. We’re going to use StudioBinder
shot listing features to label the shots
throughout today’s video. Understanding how directors
label their shots and plan setups will help you build
your own dynamic scenes. Make sure to subscribe below and click the bell icon
to stay in the loop. This is a scene from the
2006 film “Casino Royale” directed by Martin Campbelle. Watch closely. We follow a man up to his
office where he finds his safe, but it’s been opened. As he turns around,
we rack focus to reveal our hero. Bond. “She just prefer it if it
wasn’t selling secrets.” James Bond. [Music] This was a significant
moment for the 007 franchise. It was the first time the
world got to see the new Bond. Let`s show you how he did this
all throughout “Casino Royale” and why this cinematic technique is much like 007`s Walther PPK. Reliable. Elegant. Deadly. In this scene,
we see 007 take a sip of his signature drink. As soon as he realizes
something is wrong, we rack focus to the martini then back to his face. The audience was shown the drink
being poisoned only a moment before. But we know exactly when Bond realizes his
drink was poisoned. And we learned this
through a rack focus. Would a wide shot with no focus change
be as effective for this moment? Would you have the same control
over the eyes of the viewer? In our next scene, we see 007 arrived
back at his hotel room after he and Vesper killed
some assassins in a stairwell. Bond enters the room
searching for Vesper when we rack focus to
a broken wine glass. [Music] The rack focus in this scene
replaced what would normally be an insert shot. This maintains the established
momentum of the scene and saves time on set. We then cut to a close-up
of 007`s concerned face. As the scene continues, we are in a state of panic. We need to see where Vesper is, so when 007 opens
the bathroom door, we rack Focus to reveal
her sitting in the shower. Bond realizes that while
she is physically all right, she’s still
emotionally troubled, as suggested by the
broken wine glass. Here’s another scene. The next shot I want
to show you is very, how should I say, smooth. Pay close attention. In this shot, Le Chiffre starts in a
poorly lit wide shot, but he steps out of the
dark into a close-up. He is now well-lit in focus, and looking off-camera
at something. As Le Chiffre turns, we rack focus to a
henchman in a welded area. We now have an over
the shoulder wide shot that can also serve as
a complex master shot. [Music] So what was Le
Chiffre looking at? What are we supposed to
realize from the scene? Someone behind the curtain. Pulling the strings. “Tell them, I’ll get the money.” Let’s recap. With a rack focus you
gain focus direction, layered images, visual
storytelling, economic filmmaking and an emotional connection. You can use a rack focus
to reveal something or to show a realization
within a character. Now, you have a license to
thrill with the rack focus. All throughout this video, we used StudioBinder`s
production software. It also helps you create a
stunning production calendar, script breakdowns, shooting schedules, call sheets and more. Subscribe right here. Click the bell for new videos and follow us on Instagram
to stay in the loop. Remember, if you want
someone to really notice, consider using a rack focus. [Music]

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