I have been doing more research, this time into Cinematic techniques.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of it, I just wanted to talk a moment about why I feel that the below techniques will be useful to you.
It is a safe assumption to make that anyone reading this is going to be using the Replay Mod to make videos.
I believe that, if everyone had the time and patience, they would master the Mod and start producing super high quality moves for people on YouTube/Vimeo or wherever to watch.
This thread is just to give you a bit of the theory behind film making. More specifically camera work, which is what the Replay Mod is so good at.
Most of this information is taken from Wikipedia and some other sites that have a wealth of resources for anyone wanting to step up their game.
As of writing this thread, I have no examples of the various techniques below but as time goes on I will try record examples and I will embed them when I can.
A shot taken from a plane, helicopter or a person on top of a building. Not necessarily a moving shot. The main source of light is behind the subject, silhouetting it, and directed toward the camera.
Obviously, with the Replay Mod , you can just position the camera as if it were suspended on something really tall to get the desired effect.
A shot used to cover a jump in time or place or other discontinuity. Examples are the falling calendar pages, railroad wheels, newspaper headlines, and seasonal changes.
This type of effect would in most cases be added during the editing phase of your project.
The angle at which the camera is pointed at the subject: Low/High/Tilt.
The splicing of two shots together. This cut is made by the film editor at the editing stage of a film. Between sequences the cut marks a rapid transition between one time and space and another, but depending on the nature of the cut it will have different meanings.
Cutting between different sets of action that can be occurring simultaneously or at different times, (this term is used synonymously but somewhat incorrectly with parallel editing.) Cross-cutting is used to build suspense, or to show the relationship between the different sets of action.
These are cuts that take us seamlessly and logically from one sequence or scene to another. This is an unobtrusive cut that serves to move the narrative along.
A technique in which objects very near the camera as well as those far away are in focus at the same time.
The denotative material of film narrative, it includes, according to Christian Metz, not only the narration itself, but also the fictional space and time dimension implied by the narrative.
These terms are used inter-changeably to refer to a transition between two sequences or scenes. Generally associated with earlier cinema but still used on occasion. In a dissolve a first image gradually dissolves or fades out and is replaced by another which fades in over it. This type of transition, which is known also as a soft transition (as opposed to the cut), suggests a longer passage of time than a cut.
A tracking shot or zoom which follows the subject as it moves.
A panoramic view of an exterior location photographed from a considerable distance, often as far as a quarter-mile away. May also serve as the establishing shot.
A punctuation device. The screen is black at the beginning; gradually the image appears, brightening to full strength. The opposite happens in the fade out.
This effect will need to be added during the editing phase, since Minecraft and the Replay Mod don’t add effects such as this.
An auxiliary light, usually from the side of the subject that can soften shadows and illuminate areas not covered by the key light.
Note: The Lighting system within Minecraft wasn’t really designed with film making in mind. That being said, you can still apply some of the theory here to a lesser degree.
The way in which subjects and objects are framed within a shot produces specific readings. Size and volume within the frame speak as much as dialogue. So too do camera angles. Thus, for example, a high-angle extreme long shot of two men (or mobs) walking away in the distance, (as in the end of Jean Renoir's La Grande Illusion, 1937) points to their vulnerability – they are about to disappear, possibly die. Low angle shots in medium close-up on a person can point to their power, but it can also point to ridicule because of the distortion factor.
Cut where there is no match between the two spliced shots. Within a sequence, or more particularly a scene, jump cuts give the effect of bad editing. The opposite of a match cut, the jump cut is an abrupt cut between two shots that calls attention to itself because it does not match the shots seamlessly. It marks a transition in time and space but is called a jump cut because it jars the sensibilities; it makes the spectator jump and wonder where the narrative has gone.
A long take of an entire scene, generally a relatively long shot that facilitates the assembly of component closer shots and details. The editor can always fall back on the master shot: consequently, it is also called a cover shot.
Simply, editing. More particularly: Eisenstein's idea that adjacent shots should relate to each other in such a way that A and B combine to produce another meaning, C, which is not actually recorded on the film.
(abbreviation of panorama) Movement of the camera from left to right or right to left around the imaginary vertical axis that runs through the camera. A panning shot is sometimes confused with a tracking shot.
(Often abbreviated as 'pov'). A shot which shows the scene from the specific point of view of one of the characters.
A tracking shot or zoom that moves back from the subject to reveal the context of the scene.
A technique that uses shallow focus (shallow depth of field) to direct the attention of the viewer forcibly from one subject to another. Focus is "pulled", or changed, to shift the focus plane, often rapidly, sometimes several times within the shot.
A shot from the opposite side of a subject. In a dialogue scene, a shot of the second participant.
A complete unit of film narration. A series of shots (or a single shot) that takes place in a single location and that deals with a single action. Sometimes used interchangeably with sequence.
A quick paced film technique that follows a subject giving the audience a frantic or documentary feel using the following: a hand-held camera, a camera attached to rope(s) or a camera that appears hand-held.
In terms of camera distance with respect to the object within the shot, there are basically 7 types of shots;
medium long shot
extreme long shot or distance shot
In addition, the terms one-, two-, and three-shots are used to describe shots framing one, two, or three people – usually in medium close-ups or medium shots
The subject framed by the camera fills the screen. Connotation can be of intimacy, of having access to the mind or thought processes (including the subconscious) of the character. These shots can be used to stress the importance of a particular character at a particular moment in a film or place her or him as central to the narrative by singling out the character in CU at the beginning of the film. It can signify the star exclusively (as in many Hollywood productions of the 1930s and 1940s). CUs can also be used on objects and parts of the body other than the face. In this instance they can designate imminent action (a hand picking up a knife, for example), and thereby create suspense. Or they can signify that an object will have an important role to play in the development of the narrative. Often these shots have a symbolic value, usually due to their recurrence during the film. How and where they recur is revealing not only of their importance but also of the direction or meaning of the narrative.
Close-up of one or two (sometimes three) characters, generally framing the shoulders or chest and the head. The term can also be used when the camera frames the character(s) from the waist up (or down), provided the character is right to the forefront and fills the frame, (otherwise this type of shot is a medium shot). An MCU of two or three characters can indicate
a coming together
a certain solidarity.
Conversely, if there is a series of two and one shots, these MCUs would suggest a complicity between two people against a third who is visually separate in another shot.
Generally speaking, this shot frames a character from the waist, hips or knees up (or down). The camera is sufficiently distanced from the body for the character to be seen in relation to her or his surroundings (in an apartment, for example).
Typically, characters will occupy half to two-thirds of the frame. This shot is very commonly used in indoor sequences allowing for a visual signification of relationships between characters. Compare a two-shot MS and a series of separate one-shots in MS of two people. The former suggests intimacy, the latter distance. The former shot could change in meaning to one of distance, however, if the two characters were separated by an object (a pillar, table or telephone, for example). Visually this shot is more complex, more open in terms of its readability than the preceding ones. The characters can be observed in relation to different planes, background middle ground and foreground, and it is the inter-relatedness of these planes which also serves to produce a meaning.
Halfway between a long and a medium shot. If this shot frames a character then the whole body will be in view towards the middle ground of the shot. A quite open shot in terms of readability, showing considerably more of the surroundings in relation to the character(s).
Subject or characters are at some distance from the camera; they are seen in full within their surrounding environment.
The subject or characters are very much to the background of the shot. Surroundings now have as much if not more importance, especially if the shot is in high-angle. A first way to consider these shots is to say that a shot lends itself to a greater or lesser readability dependent on its type or length. As the camera moves further away from the main subject (whether person or object) the visual field lends itself to an increasingly more complex reading – in terms of the relationship between the main subject and the decor there is more for the spectator's eye to read or decode. This means that the closer up the shot, the more the spectator's eye is directed by the camera to the specified reading.
Shots, in and of themselves, can have a subjective or objective value: the closer the shot, the more subjective its value, the more the meaning is inscribed from within the shot; conversely, the longer the distance of the shot the more objective its value, the greater the participation of the spectator or reader in the inscription of meaning. other factors influence the readability of a shot. A high or low camera angle can de-naturalise a shot or reinforce its symbolic value. Take, for example, an ELS that is shot at a high angle. This automatically suggests the presence of someone looking, thus the shot is implicitly a point of view shot. In this way some of the objective value or openness of that shot, (which it would retain if angled horizontally at 90 degrees) is taken away, the shot is no longer 'naturally' objective. The shot is still open to a greater reading than a CUC, however; although the angle imposes a preferred reading (someone is looking down from on high). In terms of illustrating what is meant by reinforcing symbolic value, the contrastive examples of a low- and high-angle CU can serve here. The former type of shot will distort the object within the frame, rendering it uglier, more menacing, more derisory; conversely, when a high-angle CU is used, the object can appear more vulnerable, desirable.
The invention of cameraman Garret Brown (developed in conjunction with Cinema Products, Inc.), this is a system which permits hand-held filming with an image steadiness comparable to tracking shots. A vest redistributes the weight of the camera to the hips of the cameraman; a spring-loaded arm minimises the motion of the camera; a video monitor frees the cameraman from the eyepiece.
The camera is used in such a way as to suggest the point of view of a particular character.
High- or low-angle shots indicate where she or he is looking from
a panoramic or panning shot suggests she or he is surveying the scene
a tracking shot or a hand-held camera shot signifies the character on motion.
Subjective shots like these also implicate the spectator into the narrative in that she or he identifies with the point of view.
One version of a shot. A film-maker shoots one or more takes of each shot or set-up. Only one of each group of takes appears in the final film.
The camera tilts up or down, rotating around the axis that runs from left to right through the camera head.
Terms used for a shot when the camera is being moved by means of wheels: On a dolly (a low tracking shot), in a car or even a train. The movement is normally quite fluid (except perhaps in some of the wider car chases) and the tracking can be either fast or slow. Depending on the speed, this shot has different connotations, e.g.: like a dream or trance if excessively slow, bewildering and frightening if excessively frenetic.
A tracking shot can go:
left to right
right to left
The way in which a person is framed in that shot has a specific meaning, (for example, if the camera holds a person in the frame but that person is at one extreme or other of the frame, this could suggest a sense of imprisonment).
A type of pan shot in which the camera moves sideways so quickly that the picture blurs into indistinct streaks. It is commonly used as a transition between shots, and can indicate the passage of time and/or a frenetic pace of action. Also known as: swish pan, flick pan and zip pan.
An optical effect in which an image appears to "wipe-off" or push aside the preceding image. Very common in the 1930s; less so today.
Zooming either towards or away from an individual object (or multi-object ensemble), going e.g. from distance shot to close-up shot or vice versa.
These are but a few of the many techniques available to aspiring film makers. Obviously not everything is going to apply to Minecraft or the Replay mod but there are definitely useful bits of information here.
Please also note that this thread will be updated from time to time so be sure to check back here for more information later.