Visualization in Platoon

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For this post, I used the opening scene from Platoon. The scene takes place on an airfield and Stone seems to go with an inductive opening to show us this. The text mentions that filmmakers have only recently begun using inductive openings, so I can't help but think that he helped pioneer this. He begins with a CU of two Army jeeps. The jeeps actually move toward us on the Z-axis, providing us with some of that depth we learned about on Monday. Once the jeeps go offscreen, we get a CU of an Air Force plane along with the title. Then he finally dollies (or maybe zooms? I can't tell) from a CU of soldiers leaving the plane to an LS of them and the soldiers working around it. All to ensure that viewers can visualize and feel like they're in Vietnam.

Stone also uses the Objective to Subjective POV in order to immerse his viewers in the film. I feel he did so rather successfully here. We see Charlie Sheen's character trying to shield the dust from his eyes when someone from screen left points toward screen right. The camera then switches to Sheen's POV to show us soldiers in body bags getting unloaded from a cart. Shortly thereafter, we get Sheen's POV again as he passes some soldiers on their way back to the states. I feel that this entire sequence visualized Vietnam well, and really helped viewers feel as though they truly are in Vietnam.

Stone still had to worry about misc-en-scene in this clip, though he didn't have to be concerned about all the elements. They were outdoors and on a giant airfield, so I feel like Stone didn't have to worry about lighting and blocking.

However, I'm certain he had to worry about set design and costuming. No doubt, he wanted props and costumes that were as accurate as possible so that his own experiences in Vietnam could be shared through this medium. If you pay attention to the background, there are military helicopters, vehicles, buildings, and possibly about 100 extras. That's not to mention the dust flying around in every clip, and actually getting into Charlie Sheen's eyes. All of those props serve to accurately represent an Army airfield. He did very well with the costumes too. The uniforms on the incoming soldiers are brand new and crisp. The ones on the outgoing soldiers are tattered and stained, and it makes them look like they truly just spent a year in Vietnam.

3 Comments

Good choice of Platoon to talk about production design. It is an incredible film and it could not have been great without the locations, sets and props to the recreate the look and feel of the Vietnam War. Another great production from Oliver Stone is J.F.K. in which he uses real and recreated footage to dissect controversy of the Kennedy assassination.

This is a great example for production design. They did a great job of making the newer soldiers look nice and neat and also a little confused and naive. Compared to the older soldiers who were beat up but also acted as though they had been there for a long time and nothing seemed new to them. The attention to detail really made this film great.

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This page contains a single entry by swan1703 published on March 11, 2013 8:49 PM.

Prompt #7: Visualization and production design was the previous entry in this blog.

Rear Window - POV is the next entry in this blog.

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