Norway: How To Read A Film


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A presentation from the Norwegian partners describing techniques used to analyse films effectively. Presented to other partners in Italy 2009 as part of The Comenius project.

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Norway: How To Read A Film

  1. 1. Comenius Reading Film Film Analysis
  2. 2. Reading a Film <ul><li>The dual nature of film: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Narrative content: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>novel </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>short story </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual & Aural content: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Painting / photography </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Theatre / drama </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Symphony / opera </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Reading a Film <ul><li>The Visual & Aural </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A unique combination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How films convey the narrative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less abstract than writing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must also be &quot;read&quot; </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Reading a Film <ul><li>The Narrative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Films can be compared to written texts. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contain many narrative elements: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Plot / story </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Characters </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Setting </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Point of view </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Themes / Message </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Reading a Film <ul><li>Film Related to other arts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The novel - expansive scope of narrative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Theatre - visual & aural in real time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Music - evocative like a film's sound picture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Architecture (environmental art) - requires 3-D spaces </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Film Visual <ul><li>Mise-en-scene </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Construction of the scene </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How it is done </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Meaning of objects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose of the arrangement </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Mise-en-scene
  8. 8. Film Visual <ul><li>Symbolism </li></ul><ul><li>Signs / connotations / codes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cowboy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;merely&quot; a cowboy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ranch hand with specific job </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Symbol for: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Masculinity </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>America </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Historical era </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Signs / connotations / codes
  10. 10. Signs / connotations / codes
  11. 11. Signs / connotations / codes
  12. 12. Iconography <ul><li>Objects we EXPECT to see on screen in a certain genre </li></ul><ul><ul><li>guns in a thriller </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>saloon in a western </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pretty girls in horror flicks </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Iconography
  14. 14. Film Visual <ul><li>Lighting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>create atmosphere and mood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>light and shade can suggest codes of meaning (e.g. in a horror film) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>strong light is harsh, soft light romantic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>spotlight picks someone out </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>full face = trust and honesty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>shadows = fear and lack of trust </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Lighting
  16. 16. Low-key lighting <ul><li>High contrast </li></ul><ul><li>Dramatic </li></ul><ul><li>Dangerous </li></ul>
  17. 17. High-key lighting <ul><li>Evenly shaded </li></ul><ul><li>Lit background </li></ul><ul><li>Non-threatening </li></ul><ul><li>Fun </li></ul>
  18. 18. Film Visual <ul><li>Camera angle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Width </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wide </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Normal </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Telephoto </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elevation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>High to Bird's-eye view: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Eye level </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Low to Worm's-eye view </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Canted </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Camera angle
  20. 20. Film Visual <ul><li>Camera and Lens Movement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Left / Right: pan, crab or track </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In / Out: zoom or track </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Up / Down: tilt or ped </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Role </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wild Film (speedy, blurred movement) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Handheld (for closeness, intimacy) </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Film Visual <ul><li>Shot </li></ul><ul><li>Editing - the cutting and joining of lengths of film that makes the narrative flow. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Shot <ul><li>Single take </li></ul><ul><li>Size (close-up, long shot, panoramic) </li></ul><ul><li>Subjective point-of-view-shot (through the eyes of a character in the movie) . </li></ul><ul><li>Eye-line shot (that makes YOU feel like you are part of the movie, seeing things from your angle). </li></ul>
  23. 23. Shot Size <ul><li>Long shot </li></ul><ul><li>Medium shot </li></ul><ul><li>Close up </li></ul>
  24. 24. Editing <ul><li>Jump-cut = a dramatic cut that breaks the time continuity/ jumps in time or space </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-cut = a cut that follow parallel action in two or more separate scenes at the same time </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-cut = follows an action to its consequence </li></ul><ul><li>Fade (sometimes into black) </li></ul><ul><li>Split screen </li></ul><ul><li>Collage /matte </li></ul>
  25. 25. Visual (special) effects <ul><li>Used to create realism and meaning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>example: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Space craft in Star Wars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Animated monkey in King Kong </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Frame Rate <ul><li>Film speed </li></ul><ul><li>Time laps </li></ul><ul><li>fast motion </li></ul><ul><li>slow motion </li></ul><ul><li>freeze frame </li></ul>
  27. 27. Film Sound <ul><li>wind-noise </li></ul><ul><li>screeching cars </li></ul><ul><li>background music </li></ul><ul><li>footsteps </li></ul><ul><li>music for mood etc. </li></ul><ul><li>narrative (musicals) </li></ul>
  28. 28. Film Sound <ul><li>Actual sound </li></ul><ul><li>Commentary sound </li></ul>
  29. 29. Actual Sound <ul><li>Voices of characters </li></ul><ul><li>Sounds made by objects in the story : coffee cup, foot steps </li></ul><ul><li>Music from : instruments, record players, radios, tape players in the scene </li></ul><ul><li>Basic sound effects : dog barking, car passing as it is in the scene </li></ul>
  30. 30. Actual Sound
  31. 31. Commentary Sound <ul><li>Narrator's commentary </li></ul><ul><li>Voice of God </li></ul><ul><li>Sound effect which is added for dramatic effect </li></ul><ul><li>Mood music </li></ul><ul><li>Film Score </li></ul>
  32. 32. Commentary Sound
  33. 33. Genre - type of narrative <ul><li>western </li></ul><ul><li>detective story </li></ul><ul><li>musical </li></ul><ul><li>comedy </li></ul><ul><li>thriller </li></ul><ul><li>sci-fi </li></ul><ul><li>drama </li></ul><ul><li>action </li></ul><ul><li>horror </li></ul>
  34. 34. Genre
  35. 35. Analyses <ul><li>The point of analysis is to figure out: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>THEMES: What we should think about </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MESSAGES: What we should understand </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Further Reading: <ul><li>Monaco, James. How to Read a Film, The Art, Technology, Language, History and Theory of Film and Media. Oxford University Press Inc, USA. 1981. ISBN 0195028066 </li></ul>