Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Kooza and The Alps

This was a great week for us. We went to opening night of the latest Cirque du Soleil show Kooza with its featured 'Wheel of Death' act, and then a few nights later we went to the opening night for the Imax movie 'The Alps' in which a trio are filmed climbing the Eiger in Switzerland. Both were spectacular and had our hearts in our throats. During both, you felt fearful that one wrong move could result in death. It was very intense.

Chuck and I watched a scene in the movie 'The Alps' where you are soaring over the jagged mountains and then you fly over the last peak and, without warning, the earth drops away. We felt a sudden drop in the pit of our stomachs. We gasped along with the rest of the audience. We asked ourselves, would our hearts be pounding if we were shown individual still images, or a slide show of the same scene? No. Not at all. So, what is the difference?

While a photo can artfully and beautifully capture a single moment in time, what it can never do is capture the fluid motion, voices and sounds a video can. It isn't that emotions can't be captured in a photograph, they can. The challenge to brides and grooms is that the number of photographers who are able to capture and convey true emotion in the same manner and to the degree a video can are few and far between.

For 1 million years, our brains have been finely honed to perceive and interpret the slightest movement because our survival depended upon observing and interpreting movement correctly. We are wired to automatically respond to movement. Sometimes it's a benign response when there is no threat present. Because a photo is an abstraction of reality, it rarely triggers the same level of response.

When Chuck and I make a movie, we keep these things in mind. When we are filming, we look for the broad and subtle cues in each movement. We look for the flash of his smile, the gentle lowering of her eyes, his hand that gently finds the small of her back and pulls her to him, the sweep of her train. We all have the visual vocabulary to interpret each of these movements as being joyful, demure, sensuous, and elegant respectively. We assemble all these cues and skillfully edit them into a sequence with a pace that will enable the viewer to experience those emotions.

There are hundreds of these emotion-triggered moments every day, but most pass without our conscious notice. We are more likely to notice them when our senses are heightened and we are fully engaged in an activity. It happens while watching a sporting event, attending the theater, praying at church, on a first date. Or on your wedding day. That is why you may find your experience is more powerful when watching your beautifully filmed and edited wedding movie, than looking at still images.

Because that's the way we are wired.

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