One of my main goals in every piece I produce is to capture a sense of place.
Before I enter the content of any new scene I try to orientate the viewer to where they are and what they are seeing and hearing. The light that is streaming through the window and casting shadows on the wall. The texture of the wood over the fireplace. The corner of the coffee table slightly chewed by the family dog a few years ago, when she was a puppy. The sound of muffled conversation coming from the next room. This is the character of the place. The wide shots establish the location while the close-ups and sound provide detail and character, combined they contribute to the viewer’s sense of that place.
I usually like to enter a new scene with a series of detail shots. Three close up shots in a row generally works well, then I establish the location with a wide shot. The close ups tease the viewer. Where are we now? However the payoff comes quickly. We have fickle viewing habits; if we are teased too long we loose interest.
The natural sound of the place should not be overlooked. No matter how soft the sound we need to hear it or else the place seems empty. Even if the visual is a room full of people at a busy diner. Music provides the mood. There is no better tool to help a viewer ‘feel’ something than music. If the place is in decay, the use of light classical music might provide associations of past grandeur. The use of a slow mournful violin might make the viewer feel the place has been neglected.
In each new location and each new scene this is how I try to provide a sense of place.