Below are all of the shots used in Eli, I have described why I have chosen to use each shot and the desired effect I want to achieve through using them. Some of the shots have since been cut from the final film.
The initial shot we have for our film is a black screen; all that can be heard is footsteps and ambient sound; such as sea waves and wind. After this we wanted to have our first shot a close up of Eli; instantly introducing the character. The extreme close-up creates suspense for the audience, who is this man and why is he significant?
Our next shot is an establishing shot of the cliff edge; introducing the location.
This extreme close-up is used to create suspense; before introducing dialogue we wanted to emphasise that the character is on the brink of making a life-changing decision. We decided to achieve this through extreme close-ups and diegetic sound of the character running his hair through his hands etc, to convey distress.
This mid-shot of Eli zipping his jacket up is to introduce the character as a whole – we are considering cutting this shot down as it’s not very significant, it doesn’t add anything to the film, and it might add suspense if we elongate the amount of time it takes to introduce the character – other than close-ups.
This is another establishing shot to emphasise how high up the character is on the top of the cliff – putting things into perspective for the audience.
Here our character Eli is introduced as a whole (rather than extreme close-ups) – I don’t think we need to introduce him before in the fourth shot. It’s necessary to introduce him here as his phone is about to ring.
This mid-shot is used to emphasise Eli’s closeness to the edge. The empty space either side of him is to suggest his loneliness. I wanted to achieve a variety of angles of Eli receiving his phone call, to express his distress with who’s calling him. The first shot of his phone call is of him reaching for his phone as it rings in his back pocket.
This mid-shot of Eli looking at his phone is to emphasise his reaction at who’s calling him; the audience are left to ponder who is calling him.
This close-up reveals that his family are trying to contact him; giving the audience an insight into his troubles, strongly suggesting he has fallen out with his family from the way he has reacted to this phone call. We want to use an abrupt ring-tone to contrast the eerie silence around him; a piercing ring to suggest that his family are a severe annoyance to him, he cannot achieve peace when they are in his life, hence his reasoning for coming to this location to escape.
We chose to include another extreme close-up here to highlight Eli’s distress at receiving a call from home. Without any dialogue yet we wanted to convey his emotions regarding his home situation through emotive close-up shots of Eli.
This is a significant shot in our film, as it really emphasises Eli’s state of mind; most people wouldn’t throw their phone off a cliff if they were receiving a call they didn’t want to answer, they would simply reject the call. The fact that Eli is so distressed and angry that he feels the need to throw his phone off the cliff, implies that he has been pushed to the edge of life itself. His only relief is the satisfaction he gets out of throwing his phone off the cliff – as if he is throwing away his ties with his family, disowning them.
Again this extreme close-up is to emphasise his distress with the situation, the fact he is constantly looking out onto the horizon implies he wants to be somewhere else, far away.
We are going to move this shot towards the end when Eli sits down, as we decided it didn’t look right here as the shot before is of Eli looking out onto the horizon, not him looking down over the edge of the cliff. In terms of continuity it will fit better when he is closer to the edge of the cliff; to give the audience perspective from the POV of Eli as he looks down the cliff edge.
This long shot of Eli is used to, again, emphasise his loneliness. We can see that he is not yet at the edge of the cliff, but the fact he is standing so close suggests he is going to move closer at some point. This is a very foreboding shot, we wanted to convey to the audience that he is on the brink of committing suicide.
This is another establishing shot of the location, it’s going to be moved towards the beginning of the film. The motion of the slider edging towards the end of the cliff suggests that our character Eli is contemplating suicide, or at least moving towards the edge of the cliff.
This mid-shot is used, again, for the purpose of conveying Eli’s current state of mind.
Here we have the character of Imelda appear next to Eli on the edge of the cliff. We previously had a variety of three shots of Imelda approaching Eli, however, we decided that seeing as the film ends on an ambiguous note, we thought that it would make sense to start with Imelda’s character appearing ambiguously.
This reverse shot highlights the distance between Eli and Imelda. It gives the audience a sense of surveillance, they are positioned behind the two characters, as if listening in on their private conversation. It gives the audience the perspective of the two characters, we can see what they are looking out onto as they speak.
This low-angle shot is used to create suspense and emphasise to the audience that the two characters are close to the edge of the cliff. It’s foreboding as Eli looks down onto the crashing waves below, suggesting his intention to jump. The empty space, so often captured in our film is done so to portray the idea that the two characters are standing at the edge of life itself, with nothing else relevant in their lives. It also highlights the colour contrast between the characters clothing, Imelda’s bright purple jacket is an unusual thing for someone contemplating suicide to wear.
This cutaway of the waves is positioned after the low-angle shot, to again, show the audience Eli’s POV and demonstrate that he’s always looking out onto the waves, tempted to jump and end his distress.
We wanted to use a variety of extreme close-ups to convey Eli’s distress. The combination of extreme close-ups and cutaways of the sea are used in juxtaposition, to combine the theme of tranquility and peacefulness often associated with the sea, with the clear distress and anxiety conveyed through Eli’s emotion. I wanted to depict the imagery of the sea being both destructive and tranquil, the tranquility being shown through the calm shots of the sea waves, and the destruction being shown through Eli’s evident distress.
This low-angle shot was used to create the illusion that the two characters were standing on the edge of the cliff. I asked them to both gaze out onto the distance, contemplating life.
This high-angle shot from the top of the cliff is juxtaposed with the low-angle shot of Eli and Imelda standing at the edge of the cliff to create some perspective, and to emphasise the height at which they are standing. Due to the fact we weren’t able to actually shoot at the edge of the cliff because of health and safety precautions, therefore we chose to position certain shots next to each other to convey the illusion that the characters were closer to the edge than they actually were.
This is another shot that we could potentially end with. I’m very keen on the idea of ending the film with a shot of the sea waves, for ambiguity. At the end of the film the audience aren’t supposed to know whether Imelda jumped, or whether she was a figment of Eli’s imagination/a ghost etc. I thought that ending with a shot of the sea waves would leave this down to the audiences interpretation and reading of the film.
I wanted to use this depth of field shot, where only Eli is in focus, to highlight the fact that Eli is the central character.
We chose to shift focus depending on which character was talking. As the film is predominantly static, I wanted to create variety through using depth of field and focus shifting.
I liked this low-angle shot with just open space visible in the background, again it reminds the audience that the two characters are standing on the edge of the cliff. The fact that Imelda is looking at Eli while he speaks, and he is looking down at the sea rather than at her, suggests that she isn’t going to be able to convince him to not jump. While he is engaging in a conversation with her, the fact he doesn’t look at her much conveys the message that he has already made his decision. It also implies that she isn’t actually there.
This depth of field shot was used to create a sense of perspective. I wanted to capture a shot of the horizon from ground level to emphasise how vast the ocean is.
Using reaction shots of the characters help the audience absorb the emotion being conveyed. Much of the time we were able to use reaction shots where certain takes weren’t as strong as others. We chose to have a few shots where Imelda is speaking and the camera is focused on Eli’s reaction rather than Imelda, this is done to imply that Imelda is merely a voice in his head rather than an an actual character.
This is one of my favourite shots, it was taken using a slider, there’s something really peaceful about it which I thought would work well towards the end of the film rather than here. I also thought it didn’t make sense to have it here as all of the previous shots have been from the top of the cliff, so it doesn’t working having a shot from the bottom of the cliff positioned here.
I wanted to use this reverse-shot, for the purpose of conveying the characters state of contemplation, looking out onto the beautiful horizon. The infinite horizon puts into perspective how small the characters are, which I think is a very powerful message to include in a film about the possibility of suicide.
Again, this low-angle long shot makes the characters look small and inferior compared to the sky around them. Creating the sense of the world being a very big place, and we sre minute in comparison to it.
I didn’t really like this cutaway, as I feel the soil ruins it aesthetically. You can see that the edge of the cliff isn’t actually the edge. – this will be cut.
Again, the juxtaposition of an extreme close-up of Eli, with the shot of the sea waves creates a sense of the characters deep contemplation. There’s something therapeutic and hypnotic about the sea waves, this is emphasised through the way in which Eli is intently staring out to sea throughout the entire film.
An extreme close-up of Eli’s eyes is used to present the emotion he is feeling. The fact that he seems so distracted and focuses on looking out onto the ocean highlights his distress.
This is one of my favourite shots from the film, as there is such ambiguity surrounding it. We chose to include this mid-shot of Eli standing alone on the cliff edge, to suggest that Imelda isn’t really there.
Juxtaposing the previous shot of Eli standing alone, with this reverse shot, where Imelda is standing next to him again, is used to confuse the audience. They aren’t sure whether she is really there or not.
We have chosen to include sufficiently more close-ups of Eli than Imelda. I also wanted to have much of Imelda’s dialogue to be heard over shots of Eli, to again suggest that Imelda is a figment of Eli’s imagination, rather than a real character.
I want to have the credits rolling on this shot of the sea waves lapping against the rocks. I have always stated that I want the credits to roll on a shot of the sea, as I feel it adds to the sense of ambiguity of the film, the audience are left to wonder what happened to Imelda, and whether Eli, himself, will jump.
This close-up of Eli’s feet as he walks towards the edge of the cliff is used to create tension. Close-up shots often create a strong tension, it’s clear to the audience that Eli is walking to the edge, but as only his feet are visible it’s left to the audience’s interpretation whether he is walking to the edge to jump or not.
This depth of field shot was initially used to display some variety in shots. I really liked the idea of Eli sitting and Imelda standing. The fact that Eli has moved closer to the cliff lead the audience to believe he is going to jump, which successfully builds tension.
I wanted to use this extreme close-up of Eli pulling at the edge of the cliff to emphasise his anxiety. When you’re feeling anxious or under pressure it’s natural to agitatedly play with something. The fact that Eli seems so distressed through his body language, conveys the message that he’s very close to the edge, both literally and metaphorically speaking.
Having another shot of Eli where Imelda isn’t visible, again suggests that she isn’t actually there.
I wanted to include this long-shot to exaggerate Eli’s closeness to the edge of the cliff. We found a part of the cliff where there was a ledge beneath him, so he was safe, but from behind it very much looked like he was actually dangling his legs over the edge. Which looks really dramatic.
This POV shot of empty space is used to show that Imelda is no longer there with Eli.
The use of a low-angle shot here, is to create suspense for the audience, they can see that Imelda isn’t in shot, but because its from a low-angle we can’t tell whether she has walked off into the distance etc.
This high-angle shot is used to show the audience for the first time, that Eli is in fact alone on the edge of the cliff. I chose to use a high-angle to emphasise Eli’s vulnerability.
These POV shots of the sea waves are used to express Eli frantically looking around to see where Imelda could have gone. Leaving the audience to make the decision whether they think she has jumped, or was actually a figment of Eli’s imagination.
I really like this shot, as the fact it’s quite foggy creates ambiguity. It suggests that Imelda may have been a ghost. I’m very keen on the idea of the audience being left to decide what happened to Imelda. I have always really enjoyed films where you’re left with questions at the end, and I feel like using ambiguous shots such as this one, will really help achieve this effect.