"FLAT LAY" Photo or Video Drama Technique
This post describes a dramatic adaptation of a fun photographic technique called "flat lay" for the purposes of posing scenes and message from a Bible story.
"Flat Lay" describes the purposeful arrangement of objects, words, materials (etc) on a flat surface and then taking a photo (or video recording) of the arrangement (or action) from ABOVE (bird's eye view), This technique is commonly found on Instagram and YouTube to display products and parts of products on a table. It is considered an art medium. Google "flat lay" for lots of examples.
While arranging objects on a table and photographing or video recording them might sound like an interesting "art" or photographic technique, this is the DRAMA Workshop afterall ! Our "objects" are the actors, and our actors love to pose and move.
So for our drama technique, we have borrowed two things from the "flat lay" folks to make our tableaux or freeze-frame Bible story scenes extra creative and fun.
- We're going to "lay flat" our actors ON the scene --that is, the floor.
- Then we're going to photograph them from above.
It's still what we might otherwise call "posing Bible scenes," or creating "tableaux," or "action freeze frames." But it's not going to look like this old-fashioned posed photo:
By laying our actors flat on the floor and photographing them from above, we not only gain an extra dimension, we can now "suspend gravity" to accentuate posed positions which are not possible if you're standing upright. It's particularly funny when you do a video recording of the actors acting in the scene, but it looks cool even when you're just creating still scenes. There's something about playing a trick on the eye that makes us pay attention and enjoy viewing and discussing our scenes.
CreativeCarol, a member of our Writing Team, has written a Writing Team DRAMA lesson that uses "flat lay" photography to create "tableaux" (creative photos) of various scenes and the reactions/messages found in Luke 2's Shepherds and Angels story.
Using a Video Camera to Record a "Flat Lay" Action Scene
In the above description of a "flat lay tableaux." actors still "freeze" to be photographed while they lay on the floor. But in "Flat Lay Action," we let the actors act out the focus of a story scene and the reactions to what's happening or being said while they lay flat on the floor and we record the scene from above.
And here's the cool effect that creates... When played back on the TV, the "physics" of watching the kids scoot around on the floor are humorous, allowing for bigger actions and reactions because you don't have gravity anchoring your feet to the ground.
Here's a great example of the humorous result "sideways scene" gives your drama:
Neil MacQueen, another member of our Writing Team, has written a Writing Team "Bethelehem Live Music Television Show" lesson that uses a cellphone/camera's video recording capabilities to create the effect of a "live tv show" while recording the show at the same time.
That lesson uses the "flat lay" technique with live actors moving on the floor. This type of comedy skit is known as "sideways scene." It has been popularized by improv shows and the "Whose Line Is It Anyway" TV show whose sideways scene skits can be found on YouTube. You can do sideways scenes of the scenes and dialog of the Bible story (photographed or video recorded.
How to connect your cellphone/video camera to your TV to show a LIVE FEED of the sideways scene. You don't need to have a live feed of your video going to your TV (as described in Neil's lesson), but you will want to have the ability to connect your camera to your TV so you can playback the recording and enjoy the acting and fun effect of "flat lay" action dramas.