All of these ideas are supported in class by demonstrations from film or with a camera hooked up.
This takes about 1.5 weeks to cover in full. In addition to identifying the mise en scène, students should try to understand how the director is using this powerful technique to manipulate the audience.
For the quiz, each student is given an image. The students will provide a full analysis (from memory) of the image.
Camera Proxemics: how close the camera is to the subject (shots are relative)
- ELS = extra long shot (establishing shot)
- LS = long shot is head to toe + landscape features
- FS = full shot (character can be seen head to toe)
- MS = medium shot (waist up)
- CU = close up (head shot – close up of an object)
- ECU = extra close up (an eye instead of a face, for example)
Staging Position: how characters face in relation to the camera
(full front – could be intimate or could be confrontational, ¼ turn, profile – shows psychological disturbance, ¾ turn, back to camera)
Framing: the degree to which the frame constricts/liberates the subject
- Tight = lack of options, not a lot of freedom
- Medium = sufficient wiggle room
- Loose = tons of space
- Low = dominance, power
- Eye-level = straight forward storytelling (how we experience the world)
- High = subject looks small, vulnerable, less in control
- Bird’s Eye = determinism, fatalism
- Oblique = Camera is tilted in such a way that the horizon is not horizontal.
Form: how much the shot pushes the left and right sides of the frame (psychologically)
Open = important information is off camera, outside the frame
Closed = all necessary information is visible; draws the attention inward toward the screen
The Dominant/Subsidiaries: the dominant is the shape your eye focuses on first; the subsidiaries are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, things – the dominant often stands out because of a contrast between blacks and whites
Density: how busy the screen is (background objects; very subjective)
Focus/Depth of Field: sharp or blurred; shallow or deep
Lighting: how the subject is lit (principal light source is visible within the frame); natural v. unnatural; low=menacing; halo-light = romantic, warm vs. cool, contrast? Hard vs. diffuse.
Color: how the shot employs color. Is there an overall artistic color scheme? Are they muted or vibrant?
Lens/Filter/Stock: telephoto (flattens depth and magnifies the image), wide-angle (increases depth, pulls in a wider view of the subject, can distort), normal (50mm, mimics human eye) Fish-eye (creates a super-wide circular distortion); filters may diffuse or mask a scene; stock refers to the size of film (35 mm, 70 mm, 16 mm, 8 mm) and the color (or b/w) qualities of that stock.
Depth: How many layers of depth are there? What occupies each layer? Note: There is occasionally an infinite number of depth layers, as when a road is disappearing into a distant horizon. Commonly, there are 2 or 3 layers of depth in most film shots.