The TV Show “Stranger Things”: A Look at the Production Techniques
The Duffer brothers produced and directed “Stranger Things,” a successful Netflix television series. The television series is set in the 1980s and follows a group of elementary and high school students. The children discovered Upside Down, a gateway to another dimension built by scientists in a nearby laboratory.
These classes of children seem to be the protagonists in this series. Will, the boy from the party kidnapped by a strange creature and transported to the Upside Down world, is the one that all the characters are focused on above and beyond all other conflicts. The antagonist is apparently just the Upside Down and the creatures that emerge from it to disturb the livelihoods of the people of Hawkins village. Will often gets visits from the strange creatures in the form of shadows. It is evident from the events of the series that the central story conflict is man against supernatural (residents of Hawkins v ghostly creatures from the Upside Down).
In episode 1 of season 1, Will Byers has an encounter with the mysterious shadow which looks like a mixture of a spider and a storm that appears to him and makes him disappear. Will does not know what it is, he just feels that it is evil. Within this first episode, the five key props would include their vintage hand-me-down clothes specially made for the Byers family. The kid’s clothes were also custom made to reflect the 1980s period. The old arcade shop and the rustic vintage cars are the second and third props of the first episode. The Halloween costumes the characters vintage homes are the fourth and fifth props of chapter one.
The main setting of the television show is the fictional rural town named Hawkins. One of the three locations within the context is the school grounds. The group of younger kids who go to elementary school are always meeting up in a specific room within the building. It is where they mainly meet and discuss what is happening. The second location is Will’s house where some mysterious things happen where Will’s mother hears the voice of Will on an imprecise phone call and continuously hears Will through the wall of the house. El’s home and the arcade are the other locations in which a significant problem approaches and changes, or moves things on.
There are fantastic camera setups within this show. In fact, their camera setups are meant to pan and tilt within different places in a particular scene. For instance, the camera would zoom in towards a dark shadow to later zoom out from a dark-colored detail painting hanging above a bed towards a character just waking up from a nightmare. There are several examples just like this in the Stranger Things that is mainly used to connect and transition to each character smoothly.
Another camera set-up employed by the producers is framing of specific items or subjects to make them fill the whole screen. For example, when the armed men set out to look for Eleven, they identify a web-like element on a wall. That strange thing is framed to fill the whole screen as a way of communicating to the reader its supernatural powers and also bring up the aspect of horror. Moreover, that scene is followed by a low angle shot of Eleven’s legs that are zoomed out to show the viewer the whole image of Eleven. That camera shot and movement are used to make the audience feel empathy for Eleven being an escapee and knowing that the armed men are after her.
The scene showing Will in his room when he is about to disappear the camera pan from the boy’s face which is looking terrified to the bulb. That movement helps to create the atmosphere of the existence of evilness in the room as well as prepare the viewer for a major action that will start at the bulb. The camera stays on the lamp to create an extreme close-up shot until the bulb bursts, and Wills room is filled with darkness. That camera movement and shooting are tactfully employed to develop imagination in the mind of the viewer regarding what might have happened to Will until the following morning when his mother discovers that he is not in his room.
Some of the production challenges include attempts by the directors to present the horror effect by using a monster that is not influenced by any computer effects. While they managed to use constructed props like the misty web-like thing to represent the monster, the effects would not come out so convincing without adding few computer effects in other shots.
The Stranger Things is a fantastic, skillful production that has probably several central production challenges or considerations faced by the producers. The fact that they’ve achieved producing a vintage setting, believable evil creatures, and transforming the standard setting into an Upside Down world is incredible.
Netflix. “Stranger Things Chapter One: The Vanishing Of Will Byers.” 2016, https://www.netflix.com/ke/title/80057281.