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Analysis of Opening Film Techniques Employed

Analysis of Opening Film Techniques Employed

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  • 1. - Léon (1994)
    Film TechniquesExamples of typical film techniques used and why– Illustrate your findings with references to actual onscreen moments. Titling – colour, font style, over image or black, timing, credits presentation etc The titles are all in white over either a black background or visual footage (of the location of the film). The credits shown are typical of any film in the order they come in; the names of the companies come first (0:24-31), followed by the director’s name (0:32-0:36). There is a pause where the background fades into the footage before the names of the actors are shown (0:44-1:01), and then the title of the film is shown (1:07-1:11). Each title flashes onscreen before fading out and are in an easy-to-read font.Camera Movement (panning, tracking, crane shot and crabbing etc)The first shot of the film is taken from a helicopter (crane-shot?) and shows the overall location of the film. From 1:17 the camera is still a crane shot as it is above the other objects on the road, but is much lower than the previous shot. During this opening title sequence the camera tilts upwards to show different parts of the scenery (i.e. what part of the city the film is set in).Framing of Shot (CU, MLS, ELS etc)From 0:39-1:17 an extreme-long-shot is used to show the audience where the film is going to be set and what kind of location it is: sunny and urban but with lots of greenery. 1:17-1:47 shows a long-shot that further defines the location, but allows us to see what the city is like when much closer instead of very high up.At 1:48 there is a close-up shot which shows us a character’s hands and an object. Because this is all we can see we assume that the object, while benign, will be a part of the story later on. 1:53 shows an extreme-close-up shot of a character’s eye and we are led to believe that this person is mysterious as we cannot see their eyes, only their sunglasses which reflect what they are sitting opposite. The rest of this scene only shows extreme- or simply close-ups of the characters or objects respectively, which builds suspense and makes us think that these people are powerful and secretive, as they are discussing murder. 2:12 is an example of a point-of-view shot; although the shot is very close up and we cannot tell much about it, we can tell that we are looking down on it as though through the eyes of another character.Camera Angles (high and low angles etcAs the shots used do not reveal anything more of the character’s faces than certain parts (i.e. eyes) there are no high or low angles used – this is because we have not seen enough of the characters to know what kind of position they are in (powerful or not, etc). The camera is aimed low during the point-of-view shots to show that the character is looking down at the object being shown to him.Selection of mise-en-scène including colour, figure, pops, lighting, objects, location and setting;The environment shows us that the location and setting of the film is going to be in a city; the sunny atmosphere makes us think that the city is friendly and a good place to live as there are lots of high-rise houses or offices surrounding a large park. When we are closer to the ground we can also tell that the city is very people-friendly as there are lots of cars and buses; it does not seem to be in a rough area.The environment is shown in high-key lighting: everything is very bright and the only shadows are made because of the buildings’ positioning with the sunlight, making us think that the area has a distinct lack of crime. While the characters are talking to each other the light becomes softer, but is still high-key and there are very little sharp shadows.There are three objects that are made important: a cigarette, a photograph and a glass of milk. We can tell these are important even though we don’t know why because they are all shown in close-up shots and are being used directly by the characters as opposed to being in the background.Editing directions(Match cuts, jump cut, reverse shots etc)Although the film is in order, there are very little matched cuts used – we are shown a jump cut at 1:17 that changes the location we see. There is another jump cut at 1:47, when the scene changes to the two characters instead of the environment. During this scene reverse shots are used to show that the characters are conversing with each other; the camera switches from their eyes to show which character is talking.Sound techniques(diegetic, non diegetic, silence, dialogue As the titles are playing, there is ambient music playing in the background that sounds light-hearted and gives the impression that this is a very normal city, although a darker note soon enters the melody and makes us feel more uneasy. The music continues until 1:57, where it slowly tapers off to silence and diegetic sounds such as the clicking of a lighter, and dialogue. The conversation these men have is said in slightly hushed voices, and they are talking about how to carry out a murder – so we immediately think they are possibly part of the criminal underworld. Actor’s positioning and movementAlthough we cannot see any more of the characters than a specific facial part, both characters take up the entire screen – the difference between them is that the man without the sunglasses moves around more (stubs the cigarette in the ashtray; moves his head) than the other man, giving us the impression that he is more powerful as he seems more at ease and is possibly giving orders to the other man.
    -0:18; shows that the opening titles are being shown over video imagery of an extreme-long shot to show the location of the film.
    -1:12; the first shot of the film after the titles have ended. Close-up shot makes us think the object is important.
    -1:35; the full face of the characters are never shown, but instead the camera focuses on specific parts of the face using extreme-close ups.