Directors coordinate all facets of production to create one cohesive form of art. Their main goal to to tell a story in a way that produces an emotional response. The can manipulate their use of sound, images, transitions, and light to produce various effects. Of course, there are various approaches to the creative process. These aesthetics can be grouped into three categories: realism, modernism, and postmodernism. The categories are determined by the function, form, and content. Function is the goal behind why something is expressed. Form is how that work of art expresses itself. Content refers to the message being communicated.
Realism values content over form. The camera shots are smooth, to give a realistic feel. There are no abrupt editing techniques to distract the audience so they become pulled into the story. Maintaining the illusion of reality is essential to realism. Continuity is important to maintain because it helps the story feel more realistic.
Modernism places form over function. The idea takes precedence over the function. This style is not constrained by the restrictions of maintaining a realistic flow. Many music videos are shot in the modernist style. There is no strict narrative to follow, which offers more creative freedom with edits, lighting, and sound. The audience does not expect modernist pieces to mimic reality, so they much suspend their disbelief to appreciate the form.
Postmodernism places the most emphasis on the audience’s involvement over the artist’s form and content. Viewers participate in open-ended works that encourage a response. The audience is not just a passive observer. Postmodernism requires an active audience. The characteristics of this aesthetic are left vague. Because postmodernism is constantly evolving and changing over time, it is difficult to define it’s characteristics.
Directors incorporate different types of shots to create their desired effect. Long shots orientate the viewer by placing the setting in context of a piece inside a whole. This shot is often used as an establishing shot, that the rest of the piece will build upon. The director can use this shot to anchor the audience to some firm place and time.
Medium shots feature a subject from the knees to their head. Two-shots include two subjects in the same medium shot frame. Close shots of close ups can be used to make emotional impact and to stress the significance of a shot. A close up draws attention to fine details and focus on creating an emotional response. They can be used for dramatic emphasis. If close ups are overused, they can draw attention to their overly dramatic staging and pull the viewer out of the experience.
Camera angles are also used to establish a vantage point. The point of view shot is another form of an establishing shot to place the audience in the perspective of a character. It is used to tell the story through the a particular point of view, allowing the audience to experience the story through the filter of that character. Usually, the character is shown looking in a particular direction, and then the shot transitions to show what the character would see.