Thursday, 6 December 2018

Corrie: A New Direction?


Guest blog post from Ben who is on Twitter @islandniles

Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? All details here!  

You know what’s important in soaps? Familiarity. We watch these characters over years or even decades, and we rely on tuning in and seeing the faces that we recognise. But we also rely on the sets, the locations, looking the same. Ken Barlow aside, Coronation Street’s longest serving character is, in some ways, the street itself. While it’s changed quite a bit over the years, it’s still recognisable as the thing that’s been on screen for nearly 60 years, and that’s important.

This familiarity means that we have come to expect a few standard camera setups for each location, particularly on the interior sets. It must help from a production standpoint, but it also grounds us instantly at the beginning of a scene – we know we’re in the Kabin or the Rovers or Dev’s. I’m not complaining; we need this consistency in a continuing drama. 

That said, it’s nice when a director shakes things up a bit by including some unusual shots. Something as established as Coronation Street can certainly afford to include some creative angles without sacrificing the familiarity that’s so important. 

The director of Monday’s episodes, Matt Hilton, did just that, and I wanted to share a few of them. Quite a number of these shots were not static, and so a description and photo won’t do them justice, but hopefully you’ll get the idea.

First up, we had some slightly unusual composition and angles on some of interior sets. This scene with Rita and Cathy in the Kabin, for instance, was nicely framed.

SCREENSHOT 1 - KABIN


Over at Tyrone and Fiz’s place, there was a subtle change from the angle we usually see, and it worked well.

SCREENSHOT 2 – TYRONE, FIZ AND EVELYN


Toyah and Imran didn’t get to sit on chairs, but it made for an effective shot.

SCREENSHOT 3 – OFFICE


And in one of my favourite shots of the episode, looking straight into the booth, Robert and Kate realise they haven’t even considered whether or not they’re fertile. 

SCREENSHOT 4 – BISTRO


The real magic, though, happened on the exterior set. You could just feel Matt Hilton making creative use of the space, placing the camera behind objects or in positions that we’re not overly accustomed to. This shot of Fiz outside the factory, for instance, was just lovely.

SCREENSHOT 5 – FIZ, KABIN


Then, as Tyrone, Hope and Cerberus walked to the community garden, the camera tracked in the opposite direction from inside the building, the neon glowing in the foreground of the shot.

SCREENSHOT 6 – NEON


Shortly afterwards, as we return from the ad break, we’re treated to a high angle shot looking down on Tyrone, this time with pipework in the foreground.

SCREENSHOT 7 – TYRONE HIGH ANGLE


There are quite a few other shots I could mention (there was one of Adam from a low angle that showed us the tops of buildings we don’t usually see, one taken from inside the tram stop, and a great wide shot of Victoria Street) but I get that for most people, it’s probably not that interesting. However, I can’t finish up without talking about what was arguably the best series of shots, and they came right at the end of Monday’s second episode.

We start looking up at Nick and Leanne in the window…

SCREENSHOT 8 – NICK AND LEANNE, LOW ANGLE


…and the camera moves up slowly until we reach them.

SCREENSHOT 9 – NICK AND LEANNE, HIGH ANGLE


We get a conversation shot from a couple of angles, left and right, and then we get the kiss, framed in the window. It’s a great shot.

SCREENSHOT 10 – NICK AND LEANNE, KISS


The episode ends with on the same scene, but with a perfect night shot looking to Victoria Street.

SCREENSHOT 11 – END OF EPISODE WIDE SHOT


I know this is very geeky stuff but, when you’ve watched a soap for years, you become very familiar with the usual camera setups. Like I said at the start, this familiarity is good, but it also means I notice instantly when something unusual happens, and I think (like with the long tracking shot earlier in the year) it’s worth drawing attention to. 

Guest blog post from Ben who is on Twitter @islandniles

Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? All details here!  

See also: Christmas presents for Coronation Street fans


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4 comments:

Keggie said...

Great post! I like it when the directors do something different too.

Kosmo said...

Well observed and a sharp commentary. I had noticed that some different views were being used and certainly there were some inventive aspects on Monday, glad it was recognised and recorded in your posting.

Fluttershy said...

Where is that red neon? Speed Dahl? The Tattoo parlour?

Seriously, there are so many characters in Corrie with nowhere to live, what they needed from the Victoria Street extension was another row of terraces to accommodate the expanded cast. Is the gym still there? That needs to be knocked down for housing immediately 9do the council know??)

maggie muggins said...

Glad you guest blogged on this, Ben. I noticed some of these, especially liking the long shot of the Nick and Leanne kiss. I find this kind of variety also gives me a better sense of where the shops and homes are in relation to each other.

Having a view of upper windows, outside stairs and rooftops is also nice. For those of us who will never visit the set, it answers many questions we might have, without having to consult the various Corrie street maps that appear now and then.

After reading your post, I found myself looking more closely at the credits for Monday's eps., and noticing the numerous camera people, who may have also contributed to trying out these unique viewpoints.

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