• Notes & Activities
  • Vocabulary

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Notes & Activities:

Mise-en-Scene:

Mise-en-scene is the way in which a shot has been composed, or put together.  It involves:

  • Lighting
  • Focus
  • Line
  • Color
  • The camera shot and angle

Take a look at this PowerPoint to understand each component:


Film Study

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Activity 1:



For Homework:

In pairs, take photos on your cellphone that demonstrate the different lighting effects.  (Use a lamp or a torch.)  Bring your photos to school to share with the class.

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Activity 2:



Analyze the mise-en-scene of the following movie still according to what you have learned so far:



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Camera Shots:

When describing different cinematic shots, different terms are used to indicate the amount of subject matter contained within a frame, how far away the camera is from the subject, and the perspective of the viewer.  Each different shot has a different purpose and effect.  
 
A change between two different shots is called a CUT.

I've used examples from the Twilight Saga.

1.  Extreme Long Shot:

An extreme long shot can be taken from as much as a few kilometers away, and is generally used as a scene-setting (or establishing) shot.



It normally shows an EXTERIOR, e.g. the outside of a building or a landscape, and tells us where the next scene is going to take place.



2.  Long Shot:

A long shot is generally a shot which shows the image as approximately "life" size, i.e. corresponding to the real distance between the audience and the screen in a cinema (the figure of a man would appear as six feet tall).



This category includes the FULL SHOT showing the entire human body, with the head near the top of the frame and the feet near the bottom. 



3.  Medium Shot:

A medium shot contains a figure from the knees/waist up and is normally used for dialogue scenes, or to show some detail of action.



Variations on this include the TWO SHOT (containing two figures from the waist up) and the THREE SHOT (contains 3 figures).  



Another variation in this category is the OVER-THE-SHOULDER-SHOT, which positions the camera behind one figure, revealing the other figure, and part of the first figure's back, head and shoulder.



4.  Close-up Shot:

A close-up shot shows very little background, and concentrates on either a face, or a detail of the scene.



This shot magnifies the object (think of how big it looks on a cinema screen) and shows the importance of things, be it words written on paper, or the expression on someone's face.

The close-up takes us into the mind of a character.  In reality, we only let people who we really trust get THAT close to our face - mothers, children and lovers, usually - so a close up of a face is a very intimate shot.



A film-maker may use this to make us feel extra comfortable or extremely uncomfortable about a character.

5.  Extreme Close-up Shot:

As its name suggests, an extreme version of the close up, generally magnifying beyond what the human eye would experience in reality.

An extreme close-up of a face, for instance, would show only the mouth or eyes.



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Activity 3:



Working in small groups, think of a scenario involving learners in the classroom.  Storyboard your scenario taking care to use each of the camera shots.  (Don't worry about dialogue.)  Shoot your mini movie (± 30 seconds) using a cellphone. 

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Camera Angles:

The relationship between the camera and the object being photographed (i.e. the ANGLE) gives emotional information to an audience, and guides their judgment about the character or object in shot.  

The more extreme the angle, the more symbolic the shot is. 

1.  Bird's Eye View:

This shows a scene from directly overhead, a very unnatural and strange angle.



Familiar objects viewed from this angle might seem totally unrecognizable at first (umbrellas in a crowd, dancers' legs).

This shot does, however, put the audience in a godlike position, looking down on the action.

People can be made to look insignificant, ant-like, part of a wider scheme of things.



2.  High Angle:

A high angle is not as extreme as a bird's eye view.  The camera is elevated above the action using a crane to give a general overview.



High angles make the object photographed seem smaller, and less significant (or scary).

The object or character often gets swallowed up by their setting - they become part of a wider picture.

3.  Eye Level:

An eye level angle is a fairly neutral shot.  The camera is positioned as though it is a human actually observing a scene, so that, e.g. actors' heads are on a level with the focus.



4.  Low Angle:

The background of a low angle shot will tend to be just sky or ceiling, the lack of detail about the setting adding to the disorientation of the viewer.

The added height of the object may make it inspire fear or awe in the viewer, who is psychologically dominated by the figure on the screen.



5.  Oblique Angle:

Sometimes the camera is tilted (i.e. is not placed horizontal to floor level), to suggest imbalance, transition and instability.



This technique is used to suggest Point-of-View shots (i.e. when the camera becomes the 'eyes' of one particular character, seeing what they see - a hand held camera is often used for this).

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Activity 4:



Working in small groups, take photos (using a cellphone) of a subject from each of the camera angles.

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Activity 5:



Film an action sequence of two people fighting. 

Please note: The actors must stand at least 1 meter apart and not have ANY contact whatsoever!  You must work out which shots and angles to use in order to trick the eye into believing that they really ARE hitting each other.

Example:


Fight Sequence

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Activity 6:



Working in groups of ± 4, choose the best dialogue from the The Man He Killed activity (G8,T3,L8-10) to make into a short film.

The following website may be helpful: www.indie-film-making.com

Storyboard your movie using all the elements that we've learned about (lighting, focus, line, colour, camera shots and angles).  Compose each shot according to the response you want your audience to have.


Storyboarding


Storyboard Template

Shoot your movie. 

Have fun.

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Pop Quiz - Film Study

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Vocabulary:



You will never be able to master a subject if you don't have the vocabulary to support it.  So, please learn the following words (contained in these notes).  You will be examined on them.

     

Vocab Quiz - Film Study