Part way through the pilot of Gotham, the need to write was too strong to ignore. Five minutes in and I was back in film school. Sure, there was a plot, good acting and such but I was too busy watching the staging and the cinematic choices to give those parts of the equation their due.
Back in the day -- and it was awhile ago -- all of us in "group" found that our visions of film had changed. It was all about choices -- lighting, setting, camera angles, the actions in the background -- you get the idea. Our focus was not actually on the film but on the making of the film.
I found myself returning to that mode tonight on so many levels it was quite amazing. Gotham is not really my type of show. A little too gritty, a little too harsh -- I typically prefer escapism or at least philosophical renditions of life. It is unlikely it will remain in my favorites list, but it definitely grabbed me from a cinematographer's viewpoint.
So much smarter now than back in those filming days, I would like the chance for a do-over. That won't be happening; I will have to be content with "if I would have done ..." ideas. As machinimatographers we can learn from our real world counterparts. It is all part of the same process; simply a different venue.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was the set design. I felt like I was back in the forties; film noir aspects were prevalent but it was almost like being there. Later, I caught a shot with a 70s van in the background and wondered, "did they blow that?" A few minutes further along a comment was made about a cell phone being out of juice.
OK. Got it. Took me awhile; happens some time.
I honestly haven't seen any television filmed this well since -- well Carnivale comes to mind but that might be because it is sitting in my Amazon streaming queue.
We don't have a huge number of present day works we can learn from. This is one of them. So take a look -- with a director's eye of course -- and see how the choices made effected the whole. I think you might learn something. I certainly did.