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'Freeze frame' is also a drama medium term used in which, during a live performance, the actors/actresses will freeze at a particular, pre-determined time, to enhance a particular scene, or to show an important moment in the play/production like a celebration. The image can then be further enhanced by spoken word, in which each character tells their personal thoughts regarding the situation, giving the audience further insight into the meaning, plot, or hidden story of the play/production/scene. This is known as thought tracking, another drama medium term.
A memorable freeze frame is the end of François Truffaut's 1959 New Wave film The 400 Blows. Director George Roy Hill frequently made use of the technique when depicting the death of a character, as in The World According to Garp (1982) and in the memorable ending to the classic western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), with Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
Hong Kong director John Woo also makes extensive use of freeze frames shots, usually to gain a better focus on to a character's facial expression or emotion at a critical scene. An early use of the freeze frame in classic Hollywood cinema was Frank Capra's 1949 film It's A Wonderful Life where the first appearance of the adult George Bailey (played by James Stewart) on-screen is shown as a freeze frame. This technique is used quite a lot in the 2003 film Pieces of April; the director uses this to capture special moments that are considered particularly significant.
The TV show NCIS is known for its utilization of freeze-frame shots, more commonly referred to as "phoofs" due to the sound effect that accompanies them. These "phoofs" are short black and white frames that reveals an event that will occur later in its episode. It has been suggested that these "phoofs" are used a method of building suspense. As a result, a viewer may be more inclined to continue watching the episode to see the events leading up to the "phoof". These "phoofs" originally began in the fourth episode of NCIS' second season, "Lt. Jane Doe", and have been featured in every episode since then.
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