Research: Dog, by Suzie Templeton

Updated: May 28, 2020

I am rendering my shots from the weekend while I watch and make notes of the use of short shots within Dog. My tissues are ready.

I will be writing as I watch and pausing to do so.

Simple title sequence over a close up pan, starting with the dog and ending with the boy. Audio is important at this point as it is used simply to set the mood and create atmosphere. Animation is minimal, dog snoring, boys arm moves, his chest breaths and his head turns. This shot starts off black for the titles and fades from black slowly. Its around 33s.

Audio of steps increasing, anticipation of someone walking closer to the boy.

Cuts to a shot of the father, low upwards angle like its from the boys perspective but not a pov. Minimal hand and arm movements. 3s

Cuts to a high angle of the boy lay in bed with the dog lay over his legs. Quick cut to a close up of the boys face.

Close up of dogs face.

The use of close up of the face is used to show reactions, both the build up and the response of the characters. They are quick and use simple animation.

Fade out to black is used to progress the film in time and location.

The sequence of shots of the boy calling to his father that theres something wrong with the dog are quick and effective. The use of camera angles and close ups intensify the anxiety of the father of having to step foot out of his back door along side the audio which brings a sense of dread to the viewer. It immedietly informs the viewer without them conciously realising that this is a difficult action for the father.

The shot of the father grabbing the dog by the scruff of the kneck is extended into the next by the continuos action of the father.

Again the use of fade to black is used to progress time and location.

(Its at this point I want to stop watching because I know whats about the happen to the dog...)

The shots of the boy going to bed are repeated angles from earlier in the short. This keeps the film consistentx which is something i need to think about implementing in my own.

The birds eye view of the boy fading into the father is interesting. It convays isolation, loneliness, sadness and an utter feel of helplessness. They are both in the fetal position, itentically overlapping in their body position.

Again the use of movement linking two shots is used as the dog draggs its hind legs to the father, and he pulls the dog to him. The close up of the father placing a pillow beneath the dogs head shows compassion and love for his pet.

Dear god, the close up of the dogs face as he is struggling to breath and open his eyes properly. I truly am taken away with how Templeton makes me feel in this one shot. Its upsetting and leaves me heartbroken for the poor animal.

While the conversation on the phone gives context to the fathers situation, the positioning of the father within the set is well selected. He is isolated, but its his silhouettes body language that conveys his emotions regarding the health of the dog. His concern.

Time for me to use the tissues.

The camera angle for the close up of the dog as he shakes is the same as the earlier one with the pillow.

The wide shot of the man and the dog brings them together on screen, ensuring that the audience is aware that what happens next is only between the father and the dog.

The cut away to the window which the father is looking towards brings a sense of seperation for the momentx before cutting back to the exact same shot and angle.

Again the angle of the camera is the same as previous for the dogs face.

It returns to the wide shot. The father is over the dog, using body language and positioning to visually show the power that he has over the dog. It is a great use of space within the shot. But i cant forget that hes suffocating a dog. I love dogs.

Again, a close up of the mans face is used to show his reaction to what he has just done, despite the little physical animation used. It is well done in showing his emotion.

The next sequence of shots are quick and concise, the audio finishes the sequence while showing the boys reaction. The quick shots are used because it is a quick event, the father is panicked and just reacts.

The close up of the boys face is a straight on shot, with him looking down and blinking tears as he jumps at each hit from the lamp.

The wide shot of the father laying next to the dog while the boy stads in the ajar doorway is a sad and lonely one. The use of lighting in the film reflects this throughout. It doesn't just seperate the father and son physically, but also with the positions. Throughout the short so far, the father has always been positions higher on screen than the boy, but in this shot, it is the complete opposite. The father is as low the the bottom of the screen as possible while the boy stands in the middle of the sreen above him. It convays an exchange of power not from the character between them, but the characters within themselves.

Another fade to black to show passage of time and place.

Now this is a cracking shot. The boy brushing his hair with rough movements. His head is blurred and the camera is focused on his reflection. I would love to be able to do a sequence similare to this in my film but im not able to with more materials and alot more time for testing.

A wide shot is used to seperate the father and son, horizontally they are as far as they can be in the set.

For the second time in the short, its a close up. But not of the characters. Now that I'm forcing myself to watch this in great detail I can see that there is many cleaning products, like bleach, which the father has used. He is wiping the table, but he is not the focus.

It is then a straight on shot through a window at both characters, they are seperated onto each side of the screen through a white divider in the window. The focus pulls from the boy to the father before the scene pulls out of the shot into a wide shot of the house and fades to black.

The intention from watching this was to get a better understanding of the the use of quick shots and different angles of camera use. I feel that going through Dog shot by shot has definitely given me a better understanding of the technical aspects of the short, opposed to watching it in its entirety. It's an emotive film, which is difficult for me to watch. However, pausing the short and analysing each shot independently gave me the objectivity I needed to get an understanding of the shot.

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