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A Few of My Favourite Things - Part One 
20th-Dec-2011 10:32 am
Becc_j Art
To keep me and my fandom brain occupied over the next few days, I will be posting some of my favourite (and not so favourite) things about my show from the past 6 seasons (with sneak appearances from S7).

They will mostly take a "Top Five" format. Except for this one. I want to start with my favourite shots and there are far too many to restrict myself to only five. (I also want to stretch my picspamming skills...;) )

This one is at the top because it's my absolute favourite. It's the establishing shot of the hospital in After School Special (4.13). I adore the extreme low angle and the way the windows reflect the outside world. It sets up a foreboding, oppressive tone for the episode. It's also fairly obscure and detached. Wonderfully symbolic and beautiful.

Show uses overhead shots to great effect. They usually spiral in or out of the subject and create a sense of chaos. They often use circles as a motif. (Much meta to be had here on circles and the re-occuring themes - death, resurrection, abandonment, revenge etc. To be tackled at a later date).

This scene really struck me. Look at that huge oppressive bridge on top of our boys. So much symbolism. This is from All Dogs go to Heaven (6.08). Sam has no soul and the boys have this heavy weight over them. I love how professional and confident they look as they walk. It's a wonderful juxtaposition between the might of the Winchesters and the weight of the world. Brilliant.

Car porn! SO much love for this sequence in Two and a Half Men (6.02). The camera adores the Impala. (*sniff* I am missing her).

I remember being blown away by Castiel's introduction. From the doors opening, to the sparks of exploding light to the wing shot. Probably the best entrance for any actor on the show!

Use of Light. This is an embarrassingly small example of how awesome Show (well, Serge Ladouceur) uses light. But these two are amongst my favourites. The pools of light with the encroaching water in Hello Cruel World (7.02) and Sam bathed in (angelic) light in When the Levee Breaks (4.21).

I've put these scenes together because I feel there's a theme here. We often have shots where the Impala is in the foreground - as if watching over the boys. She's part of their family.

It's curious to me that when soulless!Sam is watching Dean and Lisa it's a similar shot. Only he's "excluded" from that family.

The star gazing shot from Swan Song (5.22) is one of my absolute favourites. The car is underneath them. Supporting them. With them. Part of the family. Part of their fate.

This is a rather random selection of my favourite scenes. It's mostly about the composition. It's what's in the background or foreground. The way the surroundings speak volumes without words.

I think the cinematography on Supernatural is amongst the best. I'm probably biased but for the little show that could they do remarkably well. :D
20th-Dec-2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
I don't usually pay that much attention to things that aren't a part of Dean's face, I definately take the rest for granted...which I may say is better than adoring the scenery and taking Dean for granted...but I love what you pointed out here...and am particularly drawn to that clothesline shot, I'm a fan of the clothesline WTF? I really am.
20th-Dec-2011 05:46 pm (UTC)
I love the clothesline in 6.01 maybe even more.
Supernatural is the first show I ever wanted to stop the VCR and just ogle at the lighting and setting.
My favorite scene? 4.22 - everyone sitting around that map at Bobby's. Another fav is this tree with the blue light from behind in Route 666 with the Impala rushing in the foreground - and of course the huge moon from Dark Side of the Moon.
20th-Dec-2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
Wonderful observations! ♥ :)
I remember hearing that Misha had to wet his hair to "survive" his angelic entrance. It sure looks like he is about to catch on fire in those caps. :S
21st-Dec-2011 12:58 am (UTC)

Hee... I imagine there would be some danger there. I wonder how many times they had to shoot that scene....

20th-Dec-2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for pointing out some things. I'll confess that I'm not a very visual person, so the niceties of cinematography usually don't jump out at me until I'm re-watching Show on DVD. I'm too busy with the angst and the narrative on first viewing. But, wow, Supernatural really does look classy when viewed through these images.

Misha's entrance is the only thing I've been spoiled about that I'm really sorry I didn't get to see without prior knowledge. I watched S1-3 on DVD in Spring 2009, then saw the season finale of S4 before ever seeing any other eps from that season. I should have taken the fangirls' advice and skipped the season finale until the S4 DVDs had arrived, since that's the one season where there was some doubt about how things would play out. Live and learn.
21st-Dec-2011 01:03 am (UTC)
I suppose I notice them because of the vidding. It's usually when I'm clipping the scenes that I notice the way the imagine is composed. I think directors go to a lot of trouble to think about the way they set up a show. It's never random so every detail has been considered.

Ah yes. Being spoiled for that would have been a pain. It was such an amazing entrance.

20th-Dec-2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
The Impala is a being indeed. And like Chuck said, it is their home. Plus it is a symbol of Deans will to overcome- the Impala has been destroyed so many times, just like Dean was broken, and by repairing her he also restored himself. So if SPN ends, it has to be in the Impala.

Besides, great idea what you are planning and posting here :-). I feel pretty much while watching a scene, but I can seldom put my fingers on what it is that touches me so deeply (besides Dean beauty). But you help me realize what it is, so your entries are often a much needed explanation for me.
21st-Dec-2011 01:09 am (UTC)
just like Dean was broken, and by repairing her he also restored himself.

So true. I wonder how symbolic it is that she's out of action at the moment. I'm really missing her. It's been a while now. :(

I'm glad I can help with the explanations. :) I really just wanted to have a play with picspamming and this seemed like a fun way to go about it.

21st-Dec-2011 07:32 am (UTC)
These are great. Your observations about the Impala shots and the ones under the bridge are spot on. I love the shot of the boys walking by the wheat field.

I never really paid a lot of attention to lighting and filming before I started watching SPN. The lighting crew and the people who dress the sets are really talented. They've been really fortunate to work with some great directors too.

Geeky me loves this stuff. Can I have my photo op with Serge or Guy Bee?
21st-Dec-2011 10:52 am (UTC)
Can I have my photo op with Serge or Guy Bee?

Yes please!! The thing I'd love to do most (short of actually watching them film a whole episode) is sit in the editing suite and watch. My geek would certainly be satisfied.

21st-Dec-2011 08:18 am (UTC)
Oooh, what a lovely selection! SPN definitely has gorgeous cinematography, and I love that you mentioned the lighting because from the gritty dark filter of season one to the way the Smith/Wesson episode was handled I LOVE it!

Right now the only fav that comes to mind for me is in Heart, the shot that starts up in the sky with the pretty full moon and slowly comes down to reveal Dean leaning against that wall (dumpster? Wall, I think) waiting; I remember thinking that was a lovely shot :)
21st-Dec-2011 10:55 am (UTC)
Thank you!

And yes... that transition is wonderful. There's one that transitions from the bridge to the moon and then to Dean sitting by a window. It's stunning.

The show does amazingly well on (what I imagine to be ) a small budget.

Thanks for dropping by.
22nd-Dec-2011 01:01 am (UTC)
I think you're right. They have to move around a lot so it probably allows them to be more creative. I love the way they use exteriors.

21st-Dec-2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. Such an interesting perspective on the episodes and shots. I'm with you, the cinematography was one of the first things that made me sit up and take notice when I started mainlining the episodes to catch up way back when. I remember being blown away by the way the season 1 finalé was filmed - that amazing scene, shot from below, when sam shoots his dad in the leg.
22nd-Dec-2011 01:04 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)

Oh yes.... that scene in the cabin is quite amazing. They really utilise camera angles so well on this show.

21st-Dec-2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
I agree with you that the show is gorgeous. I'm always amazed at the colours and compositions I find when I take out all the black they add. I have been known to coo at wallpaper in the background... "Why did they hide you, lovely thing?"

I like your choices here, especially the bridge.

Also, sorry for not replying to your email yet -- I'm trying to get a lot of jobs done. But in short: yes to everything you said!
22nd-Dec-2011 01:06 am (UTC)
I love the wall papers!!! :) I think someone did a wall paper picspam once (if not... it's a must do *g*) The hotel rooms are a thing to behold on this show. I love 'em.

And don't worry at all about the email. I was just blathering on. As I do. :DD

21st-Dec-2011 05:58 pm (UTC)
Lovely choices! Thank you for pointing these out - some are ones I've never noticed, e.g. the bridge scene. Very symbolic, indeed. And I agree with you about the brilliant use of Show's overhead shots - they are always amazing.

22nd-Dec-2011 11:55 am (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked the shots. The bridge scene is so wonderful. They could have filmed that anywhere but made a great choice in using under a bridge.

Thanks for dropping by.
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22nd-Dec-2011 01:15 pm (UTC)
Yes yes... it's so wonderfully viddable. And they seem to make a real effort to make the shots interesting.

22nd-Dec-2011 09:04 am (UTC)
I had to nod to every single shot from the "random selection of favorite scenes". YES, all of them. And I like you talking about metaphors. Now I'm intrigued what else you'll post about!
22nd-Dec-2011 01:20 pm (UTC)

I'm glad you like the shot selection. :)

My other posts won't be quite as thinky as this one. ;) It's mostly to practice my picspam skills and have a bit of fun trying to thing of all my favourites. Though it's been tricky. Show has too many wonderful things.

Thanks for dropping by.
23rd-Dec-2011 12:31 am (UTC)
Thank you thank you thank you. You explain what I sometimes get on a gut level. And I love being more educated and having someone point out technical and artistic choices. It's like *knowing* something is super special and having someone tell you *why*. I like to figure out similar things in the scripts. But visually I don't work that way. This way. Anyway, thanks much for this.
23rd-Dec-2011 10:16 am (UTC)
You're very welcome! :D

I think I certainly work from a more visual level. I will often think "what a great shot" before I think about other things. Then I like to think what a shot might represent because directors have got to make choices. They usually have reasons more doing it that way. Well, I gotta hope. :D

Thanks so much for your feedback. :)
23rd-Dec-2011 04:10 am (UTC)
I think I've watched and rewatched every episode of spn at least three times, and I've never noticed it the way you do. It's amazing! I'm sort of blown away by all this beauty. Thank you for showing me this!
23rd-Dec-2011 10:17 am (UTC)
Thanks so much. I'm so glad you've been able to see things a little differently. Show does an amazing job of with its visuals. I kinda get all geeky about this stuff.

Thanks so much for dropping by.
24th-Dec-2011 03:39 am (UTC)
Gorgeous! I always say the cinematography is superlative on our little show, and posts like this Prove it!
24th-Dec-2011 04:01 am (UTC)
Thanks. :) Show blows me away when it comes to the way they film it. They really work it.
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