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A Feast for the Eyes: Dissecting the Cinematography of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”

July 25th, 2014 by Kelly Lin

Editor’s Note: This post is in conjunction with a special summer program on Hulu called Hulu Summer Film School. This summer, Hulu is using some of your favorite films to explore how filmmakers use elements such as sound, cinematography, and lighting to tell powerful stories and create moments that are unforgettable. Learn more at hulu.com/film-school. 

In Jiro Dreams of Sushi, cinematographer David Gelb uses a variety of angles, framing, and compositions to capture Jiro’s world. Let’s take a closer look at the different camera shots Gelb uses to construct the overall style of Jiro and inject deeper meaning into the images.

1) Medium Close Up - A standard for interviews in the talking head style, the medium close-up frames the subject from just below the shoulders to the top of the head.

2) Wide Shot – In this shot, the entire subject is shown as well as their surrounding area. As a result, we are able to see both Jiro’s son, Yoshikazu, and the actions he is performing.

3) Extreme Wide Shot - Gelb uses this extreme wide shot to establish the subject in relation to the surrounding area.

4) Extreme Close Up - This is a tight shot that focuses on a part of the face. The motivation of the shot is to magnify detail.

5) Dolly Shot - In a dolly shot, the camera is placed on a track and moves forward or backwards to slowly reveal parts of the frame.

6) Tracking Shot – In this shot, the camera moves with the subject, making sure to keep them in frame.

7) Fish Eye Shot – This shot uses a fish eye lens to create an interesting visual distortion. Notice that the center of the image is the widest and the most in focus while the rest of the image is slightly blurred and a bit skinnier.

8) Pan Shot - In the pan shot, the camera stays in the same position, but moves on a tripod from right to left, or in this case, left to right.

9) Tilt Shot – In this shot, the camera stays in the same position, but moves on a tripod from up to down or down to up.

10) Cut-In- The cut-in is a shot that focuses on a part of the subject in detail. In this case, the emphasis of the shot is on Jiro’s hands.

Another beautiful cut-in.

Did we mention this film has beautiful cut-ins?

 

If a production team were a kitchen staff, then the cinematographer would be its chef. By employing a variety of shots throughout the film, David Gelb is able to capture the beauty of Jiro and his craft, turning each frame into a mouthwatering delight.

Visit the Hulu Summer Film School page to watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi and learn more about cinematography.

Last comment: Aug 2nd 2014 4 Comments