Films change your perception of reality

Why subjective perception is part of a film like butter on bread

The privilege and curse of film lies in the fact that it has to take a perspective through the eye of the camera. That opens the door to subjective perception. Do you have to find that really bad?

When explaining the question of what subjective perception is and can be, one of the most renowned daily newspapers in Europe recently complained that videos in recent years have been "mercilessly subjective and mercilessly arbitrary" because of YouTube (quote:) - and therefore largely theirs Would have lost their effect.

What a cheese! Those who hammer theses of this kind into their computer keyboard are either sitting in the wrong film or do not know how subjective perception and film, narrative attitude and storytelling interact. Such claims only convey conclusions about the sender's lack of expertise.

You have to know that

  • Films are always shaped by subjective perception. This is no excuse for merciless arbitrariness.
  • The camera's angle of view, whether consciously or unconsciously, guides the viewer's eye and cuts the film image.
  • The decisive factor in every respect is not the question of subjectivity, but the question of how you as a filmmaker deal with it.

Mercilessly subjective? Mercilessly arbitrary?

Films and videos are recorded by cameras or generated on the computer. Either way, work is going on always with image details. The word image section says it all: with a section, i.e. part of the whole. Films and videos only have a perspective with this and therefore, whether intentional or unintentional. Just like a photo, a film or video cannot and never show objective reality.

What is depicted and reproduced is not a section of reality, but an image of a documented (real) or staged moment.

Even if, in the end, many of these excerpts (called “shots” in the language of the film) result in a big whole (the film) after the film has been assembled: Every part of this puzzle is subjective. Subjective, not objective. That is why the entire work remains, in fact, in many cases it should even be. Because without a strong narrative perspective, strong storytelling is not possible at all.

What is objectively measurable is generated by the individual forces and factors that are effective in the “object”, or at least influenced in a way that cannot be objectively controlled.
Gerald Hüther

Whether it is a TV commercial, feature film, product video, web video or image film production: There is no objective moving image communication. There are only films in which subjectivity is consciously dealt with, or in which an unconscious, uncontrolled subjectivity comes into play out of ignorance.

Filtered information and subjective perception are among the basic characteristics of the film.

APOV (Point of View)

The culmination of the subjectivity of cinematic narration is the so-called POV shot. The abbreviation with three letters means "Point-of-View" (German: Blickwinkel). This does not mean the camera's point of view per se, but that the camera takes the point of view of this one person on behalf of a protagonist in the film:

In a POV shot, the viewer sees the action from the actor's point of view. The camera is no longer just the eye of the audience, but also (!) Also the eye of the performer.

B360 ° videos

Anyone who claims that 360 ° videos can be used to refute the argument of the viewing angle is mistaken. It is true that 360 videos, the trend in video communication, show an all-round picture of the environment through which the user can and can scroll more or less interactively.

Only: Whether by chance and due to the location, whether placed somewhere, or whether consciously and with a lot of loving consideration positioned at the location, even a 360 degree video is characterized by subjective perception. It only shows a visual contact point to the environment, only a selected room situation at a selected point in time, and is therefore ... - subjective.

C randomness

You can't go wrong with “Me Too Videos”. But you don't do anything right either. Chance and subjective perception are two different things. Both have nothing to do with each other. But a lot with a lack of knowledge and the absence of cinematic craft.

Merciless arbitrariness has never been a recipe for success in marketing and communication and in the struggle for attention

Films are not only a means of transport and an economic asset, but also a medium with inherent artistic potential. The lamentations about arbitrariness are nothing new. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the de ’Medici were already concerned with the question of how much subjective perception, creative independence and creativity a picture must have in order to represent more than the sum of its individual parts as a painting.

DWhat is subjectivity?

Subjectivity comes from Latin and stands for "to be subject". The exact definition of the term has been philosophically controversial since ancient times. However, the thinkers agree that subjectivity distinguishes people from objects (similar questions increasingly shape our perception and our dealings with the animal world).

Whoever is subject to a point of view, who is subject to a view, is not objective. What is not objective is frightening.

In science, subjective perception is recognized only as a source of error. In psychology, on the other hand, as in the social sciences, the cognitive value of research methods has been recognized for a long time. Probably also because subjects, people, are the focus of this research. Studies in this area are subject-oriented per se.

In pedagogy, subjectivity is also understood in the sense that it helps people to define their ability to act and to maintain their self-esteem.

Subjectivity, not just objectivity, enables people to master crises and successfully face the constant flow of challenges in everyday life.

Everyone is an idiot. All together are a genius.
Billy Wilder

With good arguments, one can therefore even go so far as to claim that reality consists of the sum of the subjective perceptions of all people. Reality would then not be objective and independent of subjectivity, but objectivity would only arise through the merging of the individual views of all those involved.

E-film and video always means: subjective perception

Films and videos are, regardless of how far and broadly the concept of subjectivity is interpreted, like our perception: always subjective. There are no excuses about this. It is like the effect of colors or the language of flowers.

If films are mercilessly subjective, so much the better!

Anyone who denies subjectivity in visual communication leaves the answers and the effect, and thus the achievement of his communication goals, to chance, because this opens the door to uncontrolled subjectivity. That may be fine for amateurs and people who want to entrust their films to the largest moving image cemetery in the world, YouTube (over 97% of the videos uploaded to YouTube channels are not clicked more than 3 times).

The nonsensical question of whether films can be objective or subjective should not be the focus. It is much more important how wisely subjectivity is handled.

Last but not least: It is not only the view of the camera and the filmmaker himself that is subjective. Seeing films is also subjective. Every viewer is different, sees differently and understands films and video differently. Just as the focal length determines the perspective of the camera, the personal perspective also determines the perception. The FILMPULS contribution The Top 10 Most Absurd Commissioned Films in the World shows that this also applies to the makers behind the camera.

Conclusion on subjective perception

For professionals, ignorance shouldn't be an option. It doesn't cost anything to ask. In criminal law as in communication, the following applies to people: ignorance does not protect against punishment.

Did you have other experiences? Do you disagree with this article? Then please contact us and leave your comment at the end of this page! We look forward to your film pulse.

Movie tip

A cruelly grandiose, unsurpassable example of life, perception, subjectivity, reality and cinematic work with a subjective camera is the feature film Son of Saul, which was awarded in Cannes and this year also received an "Oscar".

The masterpiece by director László Nemes Jeles and cameraman Mátyás Erdély not only shows people and atrocities that exceed imagination, but also trusts, like no other film for a long time, the power of limiting the perspective, the sound level and the imagination of the viewer . Subjective perception cannot be used cleverly for a film.

More about subjective perception

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Quotes: Gerald Hüther is a professor of neurobiology, Billy Wilder (1906-2002) was a director