PEEP THIS: Spike Lee’s Creative Dolly Shots

Posted by Anthony - April 23, 2012 - Cinematography, Experimental - No Comments

 Indiewire posted a nice article by Matt Zoller Seitz and Richard Cruz examining Spike Lee’s creative use of signature dolly shots across his film career.  Richard Cruz edited a whole series of them together to create the cool little video essay below.

Peep the Spike Video Essay montage below, then check out the clip from Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” to follow…


Like many, these type of flashy dolly shots are hit or miss with me…sometimes I feel like they really work well in a given scene/moment/mood of a film (Malcolm X, Crooklyn) and other times I find them jolting, gimmicky and heavy-handed (School Daze, Jungle Fever).

Nevertheless, even when it doesn’t always work for me, I still always appreciate and allow extra room for error for filmmakers willing to take bold creative chances with camerawork, because it’s the only way to push personal filmmaking to the next level by trying new, unorthodox and unproven storytelling techniques onscreen.   Their bold moves instruct and inspire the rest of us to mimic, reinvent and expand upon their original ideas.

This bar scene from Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” was influential to Spike’s dolly experimentations…


We were inspired by Spike, Spike was inspired by Scorsese, Scorsese was inspired by the camera work of many classic black and white films, like “Belle of the Ball” below.



What films or particular director or D.P.’s camerawork would you most like to emulate or expand upon own your own work?


(*Thanx  to “Rev.” Alex Houston of Fiat Lux Productions for the tip.)

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