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  • Paul Davidson

Today’s Thoughts on Slo-Mo Walking Shots In Movie Trailers

Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Wes Anderson’s Rushmore should be getting paid royalties these days for all the hacks stealing their trademark slo-mo walking/tracking shots. The above screen-grab comes from the upcoming Sundance Film Festival favorite, Garden State. The movie itself, is supposed to be awesome. The slo-mo walking/tracking shot above, isn’t.

If I had more time today I would provide you with tons of images from tons of current movie trailers all using this element to make their movies and sequences feel more “artistic” and “groundbreaking.” There’s a scene like this in the Anchorman trailer. And you know, just by looking at the screen grab above, that you have seen it far and wide.

Slo-Mo Walking/Tracking shots have got you steamed.

You say to yourself, much like I say to myself — why is it that all these filmmakers are taking all this slo-mo time and putting it into these three-people walking shots? Why don’t they just let life unspool at 24 frames per second as they were meant to be by the Almighty one upstairs? Why is it that there are always three people and never just one person doing the slo-mo walk?

I’ll answer that question for you right now. There are no single people doing the slo-mo walk because that’s called “walking lethargically.” Two people walking slo-mo together is a “love sequence/montage.” Three people walking together in a slo-mo walking/tracking scene is “hip” and you know it. So do all the up and coming directors who secretly are told by their agents that they must be sure to include a slo-mo tracking shot in their trailers or end up sixth place on opening weekend.

I would like to suggest that filmmakers looking for unique and artistic transitions in their movie trailers look to the iris fade out (in which a circle of black engulfs the image until there’s nothing left) or the old-film scratchy-look. They might also want to try the “lens-flare” or the “bouncing title” effects which, surprisingly, come with any MAC that you buy today. Who needs expensive three-person slo-mo walking/tracking shots when the cheaper alternatives shout originality instead of plagarism.

Finally, I must address the obvious questions that are filling your heads as you read this piece. No, I am not nor have I ever currently been a fan of four person slo-mo walking/tracking shots or six person slo-mo walking/tracking shots. I am, however, a huge fan of the five person slo-mo walking/tracking shot and the eleven person slo-mo walking/tracking shot. And if you have to ask why, you’ve obviously never seen the movie The Poseidon Adventure.

I hope the three-person slo-mo walking/tracking shot can take a vacation soon, leaving room for other odd number person slo-mo walking/tracking shots and wish it well while on hiatus.

(Disclaimer: I am not friends with Quentin or Wes, nor have they recommended that I write this opinion piece. Although I can tell you that Quentin hates legumes and Wes can’t stand popcorn; go figure.)

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