WHO IS STEVEN SPIELBERG?
Steven Spielberg is one of the most influential personalities in the history of cinema, Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. He has an extraordinary number of commercially successful and critically acclaimed credits to his name, either as a director, producer or writer since launching the summer blockbuster with 'Jaws' (1975), and he has done more to define popular film-making since the mid-1970s than anyone else.
Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer Steven Spielberg's films include 'Jaws,' 'E.T.,' 'The Color Purple' and 'Schindler's List,' among many others. He has been the recipient of various awards including three Academy Awards.His creativity and innovation have been behind the mammoth success that he has achieved over the years. He has become a national icon in America and is one of the greatest film makers in World cinema.
THROUGHOUT THE YEARS
DECEMBER 18, 1946 - born in Cincinnati, Ohio
LATE 1960's - became one of the youngest television directors for Universal in the late 1960s
AGE OF 13 - set off with his father’s movie camera and made a 40-minute film called ’Escape to Nowhere’ based on a battle in East Africa
AGE OF 16 - made a sci-fi adventure film called ‘Firelight’ on a $500 budget
1975 - directed the film ‘Jaws’ which would go on to turn his fledgling career upside down. The movie made more than $450 million at the worldwide box office. This film grossed more than $380 million and made him one of the elite directors in Hollywood
1982 - produced and directed the film ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ on a budget of $10.5 million
1993 - directed two of the greatest movies in his Career, the out and out commercial movie ‘Jurassic Park’ and the dramatic ‘Schindler’s List’. ‘Schindler’s List’ got him his first Academy Award for Best Director
JUNE 9, 1993 - 'Jurassic Park' is released, based on the science fiction novel by Michael Crichton. The film is Spielberg's highest grossing movie worldwide to date, making more than $1.05 billion to date (2018)
1994 - joined with multimedia moguls Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen to found a new studio, DreamWorks, which was particularly successful as a creator of such popular animated films as Antz (1998), the Shrek series (2001, 2004, 2007, 2010), and Puss in Boots (2011)
1998 - went on to direct ‘Saving Private Ryan’ which gave him his second Academy Best Actor Award
2002 - receives a B.A. Degree from California State University in Long Beach
2004 - directed the lighthearted comedy 'The Terminal'. Tom Hanks again starred, this time as Viktor Navorsk, a visitor from a fictional country in central Europe
DECEMBER 2005 - DreamWorks SKG is sold to Paramount for $1.6 billion. Spielberg and Geffen remain with the company
NOVEMBER 24, 2015 - is awarded the "Presidential Medal of Freedom" by President Barack Obama
2017 - returned to historical events with 'The Post'
MARCH 2018 - Forbes, in its annual list of the world's billionaires, estimates Spielberg's net worth at $3.6 billion
TECHNIQUES & TIPS
Other than writing, directing and producing phenomenal movies, Steven Spielberg also known for his cinematographic techniques.
Sideways tracking shot
A sideways tracking shot follows the movement of the characters. Although it is a classic technique, Spielberg really puts a lot of visual depth.
He typically concentrates on a pair of actors on-screen during an important conversation and likes to add lots to the foreground and background to really magnify the picture and increase the viewer’s perception of the movement. Most of the time the characters on screen will stop walking and then move directly towards the camera at the end. Usually, this means that one of the characters of the scene is attempting to persuade or convince the other character of something.
Spielberg also uses the alternative of having the actors approach the camera after tracking, ending in a close-up, as exampled by the scene in “Jaws” when the camera tracks Brody and his wife to the fateful boat.
A tracking shot is when a camera follows a person or an object physically moving with the subject. This can be done using tracks, handheld, ropes, a Steady-cam, etc... Spielberg does this a lot! And it's never without reason. These shots can add a lot of dramatic tension to a scene
Mirror reflections to close ups
Spielberg has made frequent use of this unique little technique. The shot will usually start with a shot of a character seen through a reflection of a mirror or window. The character will then typically step out of view of the reflective surface and then suddenly appear in an extremely close face shot. It's essentially a more dramatic entrance
Claustrophobic over-the-shoulder shots
Picture the example given for regular over-the-shoulder shots, but with the over-the-shoulder figure taking up most of the shot, with barely any room left for the other actor to fit. This shot is most often used to emphasize the importance of that exact moment and, in particular, the reaction of the actor whose face is visible
These transitions are very fun to watch. As the name implies, in a match cut an object (and its placement on the screen) in the second shot matches an object's movements in the first shot. Giving it a unique flow, of sorts. It sure beats using a straight cut.
Introducing a character
Spielberg often uses either action or fraction (glimpses of body parts or features) to introduce his protagonists, and some of his most memorable introductions employ both. Think of one of the most iconic character introductions of all film time: to Indiana Jones in the first “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
The long take
A long take, aka a “oner,” is a continuous shot played out in real time. Unlike other directors, Spielberg’s long takes tend to be less stylized and more emotionally driven. As this No Film School article puts it, “Spielberg disguises these long takes in a number of ways, allowing audiences to become immersed in the dramatic energy of the scene without feeling the kinetic energy of the camera.” For some examples from everything from “Saving Private Ryan” to “Jurassic Park,” .
Over the shoulder
Over the shoulder shots are common enough in cinema, but Spielberg uses dramatic and claustrophobic over the shoulder shots to create effects that push the boundaries of classic cinematographic framing. The dramatic shot uses a wide lens, making the character in the foreground look bigger than the other character, which conveys a feeling of dominance. The claustrophobic shot increases the amount of shoulder in the frame, pushing the main subject away from center.
Frame within a frame
A cinematic frame within a frame utilizes physical objects–mirrors, windows, doors, power lines–to divide the frame and create striking composition. In “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” Spielberg and his cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, use a circular lamp fixture, and in “Minority Report,” they use a headset held by one of the characters in the foreground. The novelty of these framing devices suggests how you can use everyday objects for brilliant aesthetic effects.