The Filmic Lens

If we didn’t see a PowerPoint slide as a piece of paper projected onto a wall, how much would our perspective change?

Paperfilm_2 Most analysis of PowerPoint applies principles of print design as the criteria for failure or success. That’s fine as long as you are willing to accept that the model for media for live presentations is paper.  But paper is not the only lens through which you can see PowerPoint.

Filmmakers, like people who use PowerPoint, blend both projected image and spoken word to communicate. If you were to look at PowerPoint through a filmic lens you just may see a whole new vision of the medium. When you see your next film, ask yourself:

  1. How are filmmakers able to complex communicate information without using text on screen?
  2. What tools and techniques do good filmmakers use to engage audiences, and keep them interested?
  3. Does a film have to "tell them what you’re going to tell them" in order for an audience to understand what is happening?

When we answer questions like these and then refocus our underlying attention on PowerPoint, we might just find that there’s more to this medium than just a piece of paper.

Tip: The next time you see a film, watch it with the questions above in mind. Then visit here again and post the answers that you find.

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3 Responses to “The Filmic Lens”

  1. TonyD says:

    Number one for me is music. Even a mediocre film can get at the heart strings if it’s well scored.

    What if your presentation software had a selection of premade or custom score styles: “symphonic”, “techno”, “folk”, and so on.

    The score would play quietly in the background. You could flag slides to signal a change in tone, for example “build on slide 4”, “crescendo on slide 8”, “denoument on slide 12”.

    The possibilities are actually rather frightening.

  2. Dutch Driver says:

    Cliff,
    Actually, film makers do use make use of foreshadowing as hints for the audience to follow.

    Of course, we may choose to ignore them. I certainly did with The Sixth Sense. It was the one film in perhaps 30 years that I did have figured out before the ending twist. And the director was cheeky enough to add a short documentary to the VHS tape describing how they were tipping us off.

    Back to my point, film makers use genre to great effect. We know certain things are going to happen because of the type of film we are watching. Will Tom Cruise ever die on film? Not that I have noticed. ;o)

  3. Brad Abrams says:

    re: To use a slide template or not??

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