A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film

A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film


Hi my name is Tony and
this is Every Frame a Painting. Today I’m going to switch things up
and talk about problem-solving. One of the reasons I like filmmaking is
that sometimes you have to design a solution to a particular
stumbling block. For example, how do you show
a text message in a film? It’s an interesting conundrum.
Texting is kinda visual, so in theory, this shouldn’t be hard. And yet every time a filmmaker
cuts to an insert of a phone you can hear the audience yawning. Many
films make it so characters don’t text or they read the messages
out loud like idiots. Or worse, they invent some reason
for the phones not to work. –97% nationwide coverage and we
find ourselves in the three percent But in the last four or five years,
something’s happened. Filmmakers have started adopting a new formal convention
the onscreen text message. It has exploded in just a few years. I first noticed it on the
BBC version of Sherlock. But after consulting Twitter, we found
earlier examples in soap operas teen movies and in films from South Korea and Japan. Regardless of where you first saw it,
this is a great example of how film form is always evolving. So why are filmmakers adopting this? I think there’s 3 simple reasons. First off, it saves money. If you have
a story where texting is important, the director can save a ton of money
by not shooting 60 close-ups of phones. All you need is AfterEffects & this guy: –Andrew Kramer here
for Video Copilot.net Second, it’s artistically efficient.
Shot-reverse shot is slow because the phone has to be
onscreen long enough to read it. Sometimes in huge,
ridiculous grandma font. Onscreen texting solves a lot of this.
It allows us to combine action and reaction in the same frame.
Best of all, it gives us an uninterrupted view of the
actor’s performance which is always nice But there’s a third reason this has
been noticed: elegant design. And this is where Sherlock is definitive
This is beautiful, in and of itself. You’ll notice: there’s no bubble
around the text, because the bubble is the first thing
that becomes outdated. The font has stayed consistent for each
season of the show. The color is white instead of different colors for
different characters. We arent told who’s sending or receiving
which is great because now the audience has to infer based on the message, which
increases our involvement. The words appear next to the phone
but they float independently. Compare that to this film, where the
messages move as if they’re attached to the device.
Wait no, to the person. No, to the device.
Make up your mind. So who knows? Maybe this
will be a new convention, maybe it’s just a stepping stone.
–NO. But while Sherlock seems to have
solved how to do text messages, we have another issue. Many many people have tried,
but we still don’t have that one really good way of
depicting the internet. Some methods are not exactly cheap. Others are kinda inefficient. And others… well, you know. I am actually a big fan of one new
development: the desktop film where all of the action takes
place directly on the screen. –Let me show you. I can’t speak for anyone else,
but these films are actually pretty similar to how I receive information
on a daily basis. Some have emotional resonance. Some are mysterious. And some are wonderfully experimental. But if you want to explore the cutting
edge, there’s only one place to go –One ticket to Tokyo, please Where for the last 2 decades, animation
has been coming up with wild and crazy ways to show the world online, Whether they be Superflat and floating. Or message board posts as intertitles Or plugging into a separate
green online world And there’s a bunch of other
fascinating possibilities that may or may not work in other films but are really interesting
just to consider. Even live-action films from
Asian directors have tried this. Physical rooms where people chat. An animated world within the cell phone. All of these are experiments
and some are honestly failures. But that’s good,
because people are trying. And for once, this is a level playing
field. You and I have as much of a chance of figuring
out the solution as the next Hollywood film. For something
like this, lack of money is an advantage Remember: cheap, efficient, elegant. For all I know, the solution
is already out there. –A hacker Hell, Sherlock may have figured it out. But in the meantime I think it’s
nice to appreciate a small formal step in the right direction. This is proof
that film form is not set in stone. People don’t stop inventing this stuff.
And right now, at least, I see a big problem we haven’t solved
yet. And a very level playing field for anyone who wants to go for it. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

Danny Hutson

100 thoughts on “A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film

  1. I think you could have mentioned about the German film 'Who Am I' for their portrayal of internet chatrooms. It is brilliant. And this is some great stuff you are making. And gotta tell you.. we don't mind some ads, if it helps you bring out more videos like this. You deserve to get something out of this man.

  2. This has been my favorite video so far, I really liked that it talked about a currently unresolved issue. I thought it gave the mind more to chew on.

  3. I was afraid you wouldn't mention the Fifth Estate. Say what you will about that film, but everyone agrees that the way that they projected code and texts and stuff onto the characters faces as they read them was brilliant.

  4. By far the best and most pioneering example of texting in film is Kelly Rowland's 'Dilemma' in which she inexplicably texts Nelly using Excel on her phone, and is furious that he doesn't reply. Cracks me up every time.

  5. Hey, Tony, there's probably no way you'll ever see this, but if you like desktop filming, anime's use of text and Satoshi Kon (which I know you do) check out an anime music video made from Kon's Perfect Blue, it's called "Fade to Blue." You may like it.

  6. I know it's just a teen show, but Skam (norwegian series) has one of the best uses of on-screen texting I've seen in a while! You should check it.

  7. The on-screen text reminds me of Peanuts when they'd be writing letters and the words would appear over their heads.

  8. Hey! I might be a little bit late to your video but that might also not be a bad thing.
    There is a really interesting episode of Modern Family where they use the internet to solve a mystery.
    Without giving too much away, the mother of the family stalks her daughter to figure out where she is and wether or not she's getting secretly married.

    The episode is very intuitive and immersive, maybe you can check it out and let us know what you think of this solution. Some sort of revision.
    The episode is called 'Connection Lost' and is the sixteenth episode of the sixth season.
    Let me know!

  9. I don't like the text pop-ups and most graphical stuff. It's a breaker of the "suspension of disbelief". Plain subtitles are better than fancier ones, moving ones, and I think that hearing the actor who's reading mentally reading it, or perhaps the voice of who's typing, reading it. The fancier, more graphical stuff, is perhaps more acceptable in comedy, though. Just like they could add comic strip thought bubbles and things like that.

  10. Related to this idea, I would love to see a video exploring the merits of dating a movie vs. intentionally trying to avoid that.

  11. I visualise being on the internet as long endless rows of single stretched desks as far as the eye can see either direction, in a massive, shadowy, dark room. You sit across from the person you are sitting across from the person you are communicating with, but a large strip of a grill protrudes across the desk, as far as you can see. It is the perfect hirghr to cover the face of the person you are talking to.

  12. You gotta watch the Adventure Time episode 'Imaginary Resources'! Best use of characters interacting in the internet I've ever seen.

  13. Are there any films where a 1-to-1 online chat is portrayed as a confessions box in a church? Perhaps have the other side's profile picture actually stuck to the priest's window?

  14. I really like this "on screen" texting but couldn't put into thoughts why. thanks for this video ! (that i am finally watching in 2018)

  15. one more recent show that i think does this pretty well is Skam, it kind of switches between onscreen texting which looks exactly like how you would text on an iphone

  16. I first noticed texts onscreen in Sherlock as well! (I may have seen texts onscreen before, but I only noticed them in Sherlock)

  17. I know this is old and the channel and discontinued, but I still love these videos. Watching this the other day I thought of Yuumei's webcomic Fisheye Placebo, which has depictions of computers and hacking that I really enjoy, and it really draws from the sort of Japanese animation that you talked about: https://www.yuumeiart.com/fisheye-placebo/

  18. The only problem with text on screen is it reminds you you watching a movie. I like watching a movie and forgot I was even doing that. I want to be in the story, but when text on screen appears I remember I was watching a film.

  19. i find the style in Sherlock sophisticated and elegant. Its simple and it works. I also liked the way text was placed on objects in the Splinter cell games.

  20. I remember first watching Sherlock and being blown away by the text on the screen. I had never seen it before, at least in a way that stuck out to me (I was born in 97 and grew up with early 2000s preteen/teen movies, I'm sure it came up somewhere in there).

  21. I remember seeing an episode from Modern Family that had an interesting way of storytelling by having a social networking website as the setting..
    It was one of the best episodes I've seen, but I saw it a long time ago, so I don't remember much of it now..

  22. You are the one that I can say "I love all of his videos". I'm from Asia and when I see so many JP HK KR movie or animate cuts in your work I always feel amazing. I love the feeling. Thanks a lot.

  23. Searching (2018) is such a good example of the desktop movie done well. I personally hate the texting format on most movies because it takes me out of the film, but I agree that Sherlock does a pretty good job.

  24. the movie By the Grace of God (french version of Spotlight by the perspective of the victim) it is not good on this particular matter. they put the actors to read the emails for almost 30-40 min in the beggining.

    note: the story is very good. François Ozon does a good job.

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