What makes a scene work?

Does it lie in the carefully executed plans of a film’s cast and crew? Or does the magic rest upon fortuitous mistakes, spontaneity and improvisation? What steps must be taken to convey your vision and intent? Watch our video series, Frame of Mind, to get answers to these questions and more from commentators working in a wide variety of areas in production who’ll guide you through clips from their films, in their own words. Moviemakers and film fans: Grab your notepads, popcorn, or both, and press play.

As a first-time feature director, Jordan Peele is getting a ton of credit for his bold horror-comedy Get Out, and deservedly so. But just because a newcomer is visionary doesn’t mean that he can commit that vision visually without a second pair of seasoned eyes, and that’s where Toby Oliver comes in. Having lensed indies like the Guy Pearce-starring 33 Postcards, Greg McLean’s Wolf Creek 2 and, most recently, Insidious: Chapter 4 (currently in post), Oliver’s reliability as a low-budget and genre-friendly DP is evident, and his work on Get Out imbues Peele’s film with an eerie, ethereal glow that befits the somber parable of its narrative.

Watch the videos below and prepare to go deep into process and tech talk as Oliver walks through two sequences—including the now-notorious “sunken place” scene—from Get Out, detailing the cameras, shutter speeds, light sources, coloring, practical tricks, visual effects and other ingredients that led he and his crew to execute some of the film’s most memorable moments. Wanna learn how to pull off the illusion of being underwater without actually being underwater? Or the illusion of being under moonlight when you actually shot during the day? The wealth of information Oliver shares, here, should help you get started.

What did you take away from Oliver’s frame of mind? Let us know in the comments below. MM

Get Out opened in theaters February 24, 2017, courtesy of Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures. Video courtesy of Universal Pictures.

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