Watch: Breaking Down the Pencil Trick Scene from Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight'
Wolfcrow puts The Dark Knight's shot selection, pacing, and use of camera movement under a microscope.
Remember that pencil scene from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight? There was a lot going on under the surface.
Sareesh Sudhakaran, editor of Wolfcrow, has analyzed the motivation behind each shot, explaining why it serves the film's micro (scene-level) and macro (story-level) intent. Though Nolan employs fairly traditional coverage throughout the scene—60% medium shots, 30% wide shots, and 10% closeups—he still manages to say exactly what he wants to say with the camera. Here's how he does it:
The video, despite being titled "pencil trick," has much more to say about cinematography and directing; at the end, however, Sudhakaran does briefly give us insight into how clever blocking was used to create the stunt:
"The stunt man swept away the pencil with his hand, which is out of frame, and Heath Ledger shielded his head."
Sudhakaran has always demonstrated a broad knowledge of the filmmaking process and this format really works to help filmmakers understand that every decision is important. If you want to see more like this from Wolfcrow in the future, weigh in on his comments section or check out his Patreon and let him know what films or scenes you'd like to see analyzed next.