I create my films based on four components and I feel that a film can stand on these four legs. It is how three of these elements (Visuals, Score, and Ambient Audio) are used in composition that determines whether or not it is a great film. Here are the four legs to a film.
The Story A film is created to tell a story with the use of visuals, score, and ambient audio. The use of these three elements are placed in what I call an edit. It is how I use these three elements in combination within that edit that will ultimately become the story. I can give a viewer different experiences by changing any of these three elements composition and/or ordering within the edit.
The Visuals What is captured by the camera is considered the visuals. There is more to recording video than just exposing and focusing correctly. With the use of proper cinematography the visuals become more meaningful to the story. It is how lighting is used, foreground elements, or camera angles and movement that make for a better film.
The Score The score is referred to as the soundtrack of a film. I will spend more than half the time in an edit culling through music libraries to match how I want to retell a story. The score is used to invoke feelings based on what the viewer is watching. If not used correctly it could ruin the story.
The Ambient Audio Any audio that surrounds the story is considered ambient audio. This could be anything from conversations within a room, traffic in the streets, birds chirping outside, or even the wind rustling the leaves of a tree. It is the weaving of ambient audio that makes a film more immersive and makes the story more compelling giving the viewer a sense of actually being in the film.
Check back later for my follow up to this article and I will discuss what makes a film average vs. great.