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Contrast and Affinity in Visual Storytelling

14 min
Litclub  ✺  Essays

Explore the cinematic alchemy of contrast and affinity with Ilia Bagaev's insightful dive into visual storytelling. Uncover the secrets behind iconic films and learn how masterful use of visual elements can transform narrative into art.

This is a guest post by my brother Ilia Bagaev

Any good story has a structure. Whether it's a feature film, TV show, ad or video game. The most well-known approach is the Three-act structure. In the beginning, the authors let the audience get to know the characters and begin with the exposition. They show where a story takes place and set the pace and conflict premises. As a plot progresses, conflict emerges and grows to reach the most intense point - a climax. Heroes get to the most difficult and challenging situation and after it, a intensity fades. The conflict is resolved and characters accomplish their goals or lose. At the ending, a plot needs some time to close all secondary storylines and give the audience an opportunity to absorb the information and think about conflict's resolution.

Conflict's development could be explained through the story intensity. Exposition often doesn't have any intensity. Then it grows during the conflict, spikes at the moment of climax, and fades after resolution.

The same happens with a movie's visual structure. Using contrast we can create the greatest intensity during the climax and reach necessary affinity among the characters and the audience at the end of a film. Such visual solution adds up to a story and increases its effect on a viewer. However, you can keep a visual style uniform throughout the course of a movie. It also can help to make a fantastic visual structure if it contributes to the plot.

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