After discovering Nash Edgerton's brilliant work on Dylan's "Must Be Santa" video (see the previous post) I had to see more. Here's (above) another Edgerton short called "The Spider." Watch it and see if you can figure out how he did it.
Here the characters look flattened out, meaning that the camera used a long lens (slightly long) and was farther back than you'd think. It must have been on a platform shooting through a glassless rear window, and the platform must have been attached to the car so it could take bumps in the road the same way the car did.
So why did Nash go to so much trouble to give the illusion that his film was made cheaply with real back seat photography? I think he wanted the intimacy that comes from back seat shots. Notice there's no frontal shots. You could argue that cinema requires a variety of angles but Nash deliberately restricts his palette, as all artists do.
What you get from a back seat view is a real feeling of being cramped in a moving car. It brings back memories of past drives. Not only that but it forces you into a new relationship with the people infront. You see only the backs of your friends. You feel like like a disembodied spirit eavesdropping on them. That creates intimacy.
Here's (above) a video which shows how a crane was used to shoot the dazzling interior pan near the end of Nash's film.
IMHO The most interesting thing about "Spider" was its highly disciplined narrative structure. Nash dials up the sounds of ordinary life and the film is cut to those rhythms. He creates a pattern of normalcy then shatters it.
After the final violence happens the pattern is repeated. We're left with the unsettling feeling that in our real world Alice-in-Wonderland universe horrifyingly unexpected events are a part of everyday life.