follow focus, what I mean is that in many scenes a coach will be
portrayed from a close-up angle or from an over-the-shoulder shot; but
rather than cutting away from these shots when the coach went on the
move, the filmmakers often followed the coach’s movement while
keeping the camera at the same angle. By not cutting away from the
coaches, the filmmakers send a clear message to the audience that not
only are they the central focus of the film but also that when they’re in
a scene, they’re undoubtedly the most important person featured.
The use of low-angle shots is another commonly used cinematic
strategy in both films. Low angle shots are often used with the intention
of making the figure being portrayed look more powerful or dominant.
The reason that both films use this technique so often is because in
order for a coach to be portrayed as an authoritative figure, he must be
visually dominant as opposed to other characters in the shot. In fact,
both films seem to shoot the coaches from low-angles so often that I
started to question whether they might be shooting every single scene
with a coach in it from a slightly lower angle than the rest of the film.
While I do not know if this is indeed true for every scene, it certainly to
be the case most of the time that coaches are portrayed from an angle
that has the viewer looking at least slightly upward at them. In Coach
Carter, one of the most perfect scenes for explaining the power of the
low-angle shots is when the camera is shooting from ground-level
recording a player performing push-ups and Coach Carter enters the
camera’s view. In that scene, because the camera is shooting from
ground-level, Coach Carter looks even more overpowering and
dominant compared to the player he looms over than he would if the
camera were shooting from eye-level. The use of a low-angle shot in
this scene takes what is already an action of dominance by the coach in
standing over his player while he does push-ups and emphasizes this
superiority and dominance by capturing the exchange from the line of
vision of the player.
I mentioned over-the-shoulder shots earlier in combination
with the use of follow focus, but this strategy deserves
acknowledgement separate from that as well. The use of over-the-
92
Previous Page Next Page