In the three years since the Chinese short-length dramas went from rough to sophisticated, the romance genre has been riding high in terms of volume, with the ancient costume category leading the market in terms of subdivision. Like long-length dramas, costume romance short-length dramas are created by imitating the ancient style of China, with intricate and exquisite hanfu costumes, spectacular scenes, and special worldview settings to construct poignant or sweet love stories.
To a certain extent, the ancient costume short-length dramas can recreate the scenes of ancient life and satisfy the curiosity of the audience. At the same time, this ancient landscape has always had a notable appeal with its unique beauty.
Earlier, the word aesthetics was not much associated with short-length cdrama. However, after the accelerated development of the industry, more and more high-quality short-length dramas have joined the competition, and the aesthetics of the episodes has become the most basic pursuit.
In terms of the ancient romance theme, especially after the great popularity of last year's batch of works such as "The Killer is also Romantic", "My Princess" and "A Familiar Stranger", the ancient aesthetics of the short-length drama field has gained more voices of recognition.
Recently, another ancient costume romance short-length cdrama has been broadcast. In addition to the wonderful plot, the aesthetic sense is also a significant advantage of "Dong Lan Xue (东栏雪)". How exactly do these kinds of short-length dramas shape the aesthetics of ancient style? The specific strategy is worth exploring.
Formal beauty: the equal importance of actors, modeling and scene construction
As a form of artistic expression with sound and vision, film and television works bring audiences visual and aural intuition. The appearance of actors, costumes, and scene construction are important parts of audiovisual aesthetics.
The appearance of the actors often determines the audience's first impression of the aesthetics of the work. Based on the creation style and demands, the demand for handsome men and beautiful women in romance short-length dramas is high.
Some short-length dramas are small in size, but they do not lower the requirements for casting male leads. The main sources are mainly three types, one is the actors who have participated in costume drama projects, they are guaranteed from the costume, grooming and acting skills. Such as "The Killer is also Romantic" male lead Yang Ze, "A Familiar Stranger" male lead Cheng Lei, etc., handsome or masculine looks can harvest audience love.
The second is the hanfu model, the male lead of "My Princess", Jin Chao, was originally a hanfu model, often appearing as a runway guest at hanfu cultural events, so there is no doubt about the suitability of appearance, temperament and ancient costumes. The female lead source is basically the same as the male lead, but the richness of the female actor types and the superiority of their appearance are overall more stable than the male actors.
China's long and splendid hanfu costume culture also gives ancient costume dramas more flexibility in styling and makes it easier to create a Chinese aesthetic.
In terms of costumes, hanfu change with the dynasties, and the look and feel of each period and form can vary. The costume style of the short-length dramas also serves the content and tone of the drama. The costumes of "Dong Lan Xue" follow the elegant and light style of "My Princess", and the long shirts and big sleeves waving to make the scenes more beautiful. Wei, Jin, Tang, and Song are the common costume styles in short plays, while Ming and Qing-related ones are less common.
Regardless of the dynasty, color combinations and fabric materials influence the final texture of the clothing. The women's costumes in "A Familiar Stranger" are dominated by Tang-style Qixiong Shanqun, rich in color but not cluttered. "Palace: Devious Women", on the other hand, uses the rare Qing Dynasty time-travel theme, and the costumes use the Qing Dynasty court style, which has polarized viewers' comments.
In terms of female makeup, the flower inlay of "A Familiar Stranger" and the willow eyebrows of "East Rail Snow" are antique designs, while the makeup of "The Only Girl You Haven't Seen" and "Please Don't Spoil Me" is not very different from popular web dramas, and are all very pleasing to the eye. The rare thing is that some of the short dramas are not the same in terms of women's hairstyles, but have a clear sense of design. There are both dignified and regular coiffure, but also playful and lively bun.
The scenes are equally important in costume dramas. Only, short-length cdrama are limited by the cost, not much in the grand scenes built to excel, often more modest, but medium or smaller scenes can also have the beauty of not losing to the long-length drama.
"The Killer is also Romantic", the first episode of the lantern festival street scenes, and the feeling of the male and female leads looking for each other is quite similar to "In the crowd once and again, I look for her in vain. When all at once I turn my head, I find her there where lantern light is dimly shed." In "Dong Lan Xue", a corner of the courtyard is preferred as a scene with snow scenes and plum blossoms.
Implication combined with the form
Although formal beauty has an independent aesthetic value, it is still fundamentally at the service of storytelling, so the beauty of implication behind the form should not be neglected in order to obtain a comprehensive aesthetic experience. After the visual and auditory enjoyment, the beauty of meaning is a deep feeling in the heart.
Director Zhi Zhu was interpreting an episode of "Dong Lan Xue" in which the male lead, Chu Ning Yuan, and the female lead, Shen Yan, have an argument. "The scene was shot through a curtain, implying that Shen Yan's inner barrier separates the two. Besides the target being killed, another reason is that she doesn't want Chu Ning Yuan to see her in her current state. Although she usually doesn't care about this, the male lead is the one that she cares about, it's different after all."
If there is no substitute for this layer of understanding, the audience can probably only feel that the hazy Shen Yan also looks beautiful, but combined with her inner thoughts, the curtain has a metaphorical meaning, the strong emotions emitted is also a kind of meaningful beauty.
Due to the short production cycle of short-length dramas, we can see a lot of fresh ideas in the plot setting that long-length dramas have not yet started, The anti-set up of the plot is presented first. The energetic plot is supposed to contribute to the generation of more aesthetic sense. At the same time, adhering to the characteristics of fast-paced and many reversals, they can also make the audience have a very rich viewing experience at once.
If we trace back the roots, the many variations of the short dramas cited above are shaped mainly through the creative experience and philosophy of the creators behind the scenes. Before ZhiZhu became the director of short-length cdrama, she worked as a photographer and was used to shooting ancient style portraits and short videos. She has high self-imposed requirements on shooting, and the final product of the ancient style work continues to be of good quality.
Zeng Qingjie was one of the first traditional film and television creators to come into contact with web dramas. After the rise of short-length drama, he turned to this new tredn, a "The Killer is also Romantic" hit his reputation. Then, with an upgrade in production funding, Zeng Qingjie responded to the expectations of his financiers and audiences with the equally highly acclaimed "A Familiar Stranger".
Short-length Dramas VS. Traditional Dramas
It must be said that quality is becoming more and more present in the creation of short-length dramas, and quality works are trying to develop a broader market. But compared to trtratraditional dramas and movies, short-length dramas still have a long way to go. A Familiar Stranger", "Dong Lan Xue The shows such as "A Familiar Stranger" and "Dong Lan Xue" are the top works in the whole field of micro-dramas, but they are certainly not on the same level as the classics in long plays and movies.
The dramas such as "A Familiar Stranger" and "Dong Lan Xue" are the top works in the whole field of short-length dramas, but they are certainly not on the same level as the classics in long drama and movies. The aesthetic interests of all film and drama works are by and large similar, and the aesthetic shaping of short-length dramas is not very different from that of traditional dramas, and some works are even created with long dramas as the benchmark.
Using long-length dramas as a reference point, short-length dramas are actually lacking in all aspects. The more popularly recognized, artistically expressive and long-lasting costume images are instead works that eliminate popular web-based content and seek to restore traditional Chinese culture and value systems.
But this is clearly a departure from the genes and laws of short-length drama creation. For example, traditional Chinese culture is characterized by implicit, and long costume dramas can have a lot of imagery and metaphors for the audience to properly figure out, while most short dramas are mainly more straightforward.
In the future, there is no one who can be the prophet of which direction the short-length dramas will go, and let's expect what kind of surprises the creators can bring us.