Retro Camera – Visual Fun & Visual Stimulation

Published On February 21, 2011 | By Mike Carroll | Retro Camera

As much as this site is about filmmaking, the core element to filmmaking is visual storytelling. Almost every aspiring screenwriter’s script that comes my way is not so much a movie as it is a screen play.

Note that I did not use the word “screenplay” but the term “screen play.” That is be cause most of their scripts only have a relationship to a genuine screenplay purely by the fact of their screenplay formatting. Beyond that, they are usually little more than lots and lots of dialogue in various locations. This produces loads to listen to but not much to look at.

I have yet to see The King’s Speech but, as rich as its screenplay is with dialogue scenes it is also sumptuously rich in visuals on the page. A far cry from Aaron Sorkin’s script for The Social Network, which he would be the first to say is much closer to theater than it is to cinema, truly is a “screen play.” [Click on the links here to download the scripts from and see for yourselves.]

To me movies are all about images. Faces. Hands. Places. Movement. Action. Tableaus.

And the best images, the most lasting, memorable images are because they dramatically capture something using composition and lighting — whether using the natural light that’s there to sculpt the image or adding your own additional lighting.

The TV station where I work has issued Android phones to everyone in the news department for capturing news images as still photos and video to electronically transmit back to the station for posting on the news and/or our website —

As a photographer — or a “shooter” as I prefer (I hate convoluted titles that make people sound more talented than they are worthy of) — I love tha camera part of the Android.

I’ve been longing to have a simple, yet high-resolution camera with me at all times to grab images — “snaps” my mom used to call my “photographs” to keep me in check.

I’ve written about the free Retro Camera app that on the Android. Plastic Camera or Hipstamatic would be the iPod equivalent.

These smart phone camera apps can transform a basic “snap shot” into “snap art.”

Posted here are some pictures that I’ve grabbed over the past few days while out walking the dogs or sitting in the car at a seemingly eternal red light.

As “shooters,” whether it’s video, film or stills, we are all about looking at things and interpreting through the camera lens what we are seeing.

Capturing a moment, mood, feeling, idea, sensation — something — in that brief moment or instant before it goes away and is lost forever.

Just as walking the dogs is good exercise, I find that taking these “street photography” snap shots keep my mind and my eye stimulated and exercised as well. Spotting something and thinking about what it can be visually transformed into.

These are some of the shots I’ve grabbed with something as simple as a free app for a smart phone that say something to me. Perhaps I will use them in my next movie. Perhaps they’ll just live in an album in my iPhoto library. Whatever becomes of them they were taken and, as a “shooter” I say that it’s always better to snap a picture than walk away from it and wish later that you did… before it is forgotten forever.

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About The Author

Mike Carroll joined the digital revolution in 1999 with a Sony TRV900 camcorder and Final Cut Pro, when it was only Final Cut Pro and not version 2, 4 or a Suite.

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