“I value the ability to stage something well because when it’s done well its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be easy to master.” ~ Steven Soderbergh
Steven Soderbergh posted that yesterday along with the complete film of Raiders of the Lost Ark without sound and in black & white (which looks amazing by the way). Soderbergh watches it this way to learn more about staging and camera motion from the master himself, Steven Spielberg.
“This filmmaker (Spielberg) forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day.” – Steven Soderbergh
Soderbergh suggests watching the film in this way to deconstruct Spielberg’s thought process on how each shot is choreographed, through not only the staging of the actors but the movement of the camera in conjunction with it. He has more to say on the subject and you should absolutely check out his post and the video, I consider it essential learning for any filmmaker. In fact I had done this exercise myself after getting the film on bluray and remember being blown away by the amount of single takes in this film that feel like they were edited due to the staging and camera work. Going back and looking at other Spielberg films you realize how masterful he truly is at staging these long takes that don’t feel like a long take. In fact Tony Zhou made a few compilations of Spielberg films to illustrate this very point.
What exercises do you undertake to better learn directing skills such as this?