November 5, 2009

What is “freeze frame”?

A freeze frame is the effect of “stopped time”. It’s typically used at highest emotional points, positive or negative: a character’s triumph, as in Rocky or a character’s suffering. Movies sometimes end with freeze frames (“Farewell, friend”, “400 blows”). A wide-spread technique is to halt the action on the freeze frame and to let the character to address the audience directly. Can be also combined with the green screen, where only the action in the background is freeze-framed whereas the character remains animated, or the opposite, the life moves on but the character freeze-frames, or freeze frames are done asynchronously in the foreground and background (used famously in the trailer to “Enemy at the gates”.) A freeze frame can indicate a moment “freeze-framed” in a character’s memory.