Shots usually have a main stimulus: a smoky texture, an extreme angle, beautiful lighting, a rare acrobatic feat, an intense performance, whatever.
But a shot also has a whole complex of secondary stimuli.
Think of it like overtones & undertones in music.
So in the same shot dominated by the stimuli of say, an extreme close-up, we're also experiencing secondary tones which communicate ideas about “grittiness” “black-and-whiteness” “the male journey” etc.
These stimuli are felt in the “psychic” realm of human perception.
Behind the general subject of the shot, the summary of all these stimulations are also present.
This is why we get a particular "feeling" from a shot.
Yes, there is a physiology to film.
Movies deeply affect the body.
I call it “body stuff.”
Not a believer?
Re-watch that scene in ‘Requiem for a Dream,' where Jared Leto shoots up his infected arm – or take note of your emotions the next time you see two people kissing on-screen.
But this isn’t about the body stuff.
This is about mindfulness.
What does that mean?
Basically, if we accept that every shot communicates subconscious ideas along with your main intended idea, then we must become more mindful filmmakers.
This subconscious foundation to your movies exist whether you believe it or not.
We must become more mindful of what our shots, and our edits, communicate.
Your work will be saying the things you wanted to say, but it will also be saying the things you may not have wanted to say… in the form of secondary stimuli.
Be aware of the secondary stimuli, and shape them as much as possible.
You’ll never be 100% in control of the subconscious world of your movie.
But at least you’ll have a slight edge.
This also happens to be the first stop on the road to aesthetic mastery.