"Man with the virtual movie camera: Alex Roman's short film masterpiece provides a voyage across architecture art through the eyes of a photographer."
Alicante-born Jorge Seva, who uses the artistic name Alex Roman, created this impressive short film while taking a sabbatical year from work. Coming from a traditional painting background with a great appreciation for photography and film, Jorge tried to apply these aesthetics to the world of architectural visualization work, only to be met by deaf ears and lack of understanding. The Third & The Seventh is born from an act of rebellion against the established aesthetics and the need to create something different.
In the end that is what interested me the most: getting the spectator to experiment the same feelings I went through while creating the piece.
The film revolutionized the world of computer graphics and expanded much further, gaining the appreciation of a worldwide audience. All this to Jorge Seva’s own surprise.
The title of the film, The Third & The Seventh, refers to the artistic disciplines of architecture and film. This classification is a modern interpretation that evolved from earlier attempts to systematically define art as a group of disciplines. These attempts can be traced back as far as ancient Greece, Rome and China.
Analysis: First Look
The genealogy of the film lies in architectural visualization (Archviz) reels, a video genre commonly used by architectural visualization firms, but seeks to be an active departure from their usual style. In our analysis we’ll aim to highlight two main questions: what are the elements that separate this film from Archviz reels and transforms it into something altogether different, which appeals to a global audience, and how does the author manage to hook the viewer with a short film that has no storyline or conflict (something that successfully goes against most major theories of scriptwriting and dramaturgy). A few less relevant aspects for this case (such as lens used, narrative POVs, etc.) will be left on the side. Let’s begin!
Shot Types and Camera Elements
TT&TS combines a number of close-ups with wide shots. The close-ups are a logical choice for the exploration of materials and light. The use of close-ups in a progression to wider shots are in some cases used to reveal the scene, and provide a strategy that is an important part of the way the author hooks the viewer into the film (more on this later).
Beautiful composition and framing provide extra impact to the wide shots. Changes in shot size are sometimes used to cause emotional effect (though interestingly enough they aren’t used on human characters), especially when punctuated through sound. A human height for camera placement is common in many shots, with some exceptions such as the case of overhead shots. In a few cases the camera is let lose and hovers well above the ground.
Camera moves are prevalent in TT&TS, only a few static shots are used. The aim of showing architecture makes it necessary to move the camera to transmit space. Pacing is slow and smooth, in sync with the music (interpreted by the filmmaker, too) and the descriptive aim of the film. In the timelapse sequences (6m36), camera moves are used to show passage of time.
One of the highlights of TT&TS, which sets it apart from Archviz reels, is that camera moves are successfully associated with emotional displacement.