The Big Motion hides the Little One

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.
Bill Mullins
Posts: 4678
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

The Big Motion hides the Little One

Postby Bill Mullins » April 4th, 2016, 4:38 pm

In a description of a group screening of (magician) Orson Welle's "Citizen Kane" (from the 2012 Ebertfest program):

[In 2004] one of the students at the Savannah College of Art and Design observed something not pointed out in any of my sessions in the previous 30 years. I want you to watch for it. Wait for the scene where young Charlie Kane’s parents sign the document making Mr. Thatcher his legal guardian. In the background, through the window, you can see the boy playing in the snow with his sled. The adults stand up and walk into the back of the shot to watch him through the window. Now I will quote from the article I wrote from Savannah:
The scene ends as the three adults walk back towards the window. “Stop! The chair moved!” somebody shouted. “Just as the camera tracks past the chair on the lower right,” the voice said, “the chair moves out of the way.” We reversed the film and looked at it again. The voice in the dark was correct. The chair movement isn’t even subtle. An unseen hand clearly yanks the chair away from the path of the camera. But because our attention is naturally on the moving actors and not on an obscure chair in the corner, we miss it. We miss it so completely that in my 30 years of “Kane” shot-by-shots nobody had ever spotted it. Until now.

see for your self

At 0:43 in the same clip (earlier), you can see the camera dolly backwards through the location that the table on which they sign the papers must be. Obviously, the camera could not pass through the table, so someone had to set it in place after the camera was out of the way. Notice how the stovepipe hat is still wiggling after being moved.

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