AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM
1 | Blackpool Sixth Form
1
AS Film
Studies
FM: Exploring Film Form
Understanding F...
2 | Blackpool Sixth Form
What is film language?
In his 1948 essay, ‘The birth of a new avant-garde: le camera-stylo’, the
...
AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM
3 | Blackpool Sixth Form
3
The production processes of filmmaking
Pre-production
T...
4 | Blackpool Sixth Form
Sound is also managed at this stage. The key players are sound designers,
Foley artists (who crea...
AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM
5 | Blackpool Sixth Form
5
MACRO ANALYSIS
Film genre
A genre is a type of film (eg...
6 | Blackpool Sixth Form
Write down the last film you saw and its genre. In the first column, make
a list of the conventio...
AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM
7 | Blackpool Sixth Form
7
Iconography in film genre
It is through repetition that...
8 | Blackpool Sixth Form
Hollywood was wither servile (eg a maid) or comic.
Film has the power to challenge stereotypes by...
AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM
9 | Blackpool Sixth Form
9
Diegesis
Diegesis comes from the Greek word meaning ‘re...
10 | Blackpool Sixth Form
MICRO ANALYSIS
Compared with analysis of genre and narrative, micro analysis requires more
refer...
AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM
11 | Blackpool Sixth Form
11
Mise-en-scene
Mise-en-scene roughly translated from t...
12 | Blackpool Sixth Form
(high/low resolution, colour/black and white) to help the audience distinguish
between past, pre...
AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM
13 | Blackpool Sixth Form
13
14 | Blackpool Sixth Form
Camera shot definitions
o Extreme Wide Shot (EWS) The view is so far from the subject that she i...
AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM
15 | Blackpool Sixth Form
15
Aspect ratio
The most basic element of framing is the...
16 | Blackpool Sixth Form
Editing
Mise-en-scene and cinematography are concerned with the organisation of
space. Editing i...
AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM
17 | Blackpool Sixth Form
17
Watch the extract from Run, Lola, Run Tom Tykwer, 199...
18 | Blackpool Sixth Form
The main functions of editing are as follows:
Present events in the correct order
Usually this i...
AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM
19 | Blackpool Sixth Form
19
Questions for editing
• Rhythm and pace
How do the fr...
20 | Blackpool Sixth Form
jobs in film production. In a room filled with miscellaneous pieces of junk, the
foley artist ma...
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Fm1 booklet1

  1. 1. AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM 1 | Blackpool Sixth Form 1 AS Film Studies FM: Exploring Film Form Understanding Film Language
  2. 2. 2 | Blackpool Sixth Form What is film language? In his 1948 essay, ‘The birth of a new avant-garde: le camera-stylo’, the French film critic Alexandre Astruc wrote: The cinema is quite simply becoming a means of expression, just as all the arts have been before it, and in particular painting and the novel. After having been successfully a fairground attraction, an amusement analogous to boulevard theatre, or a means of preserving the images of an era, it is gradually becoming a language. By language, I mean a form in which and by which an artist can express his thoughts, however abstract they may be, or translate his obsessions exactly as he does in the contemporary essay or novel. That is why I would like to call this new age of cinema the age of camera-stylo. Whereas he defines it as ‘a means of expression’, we would add to this definition the following: • Film language refers to the means by which meaning is created in a film-to tell a story, create a character and so on. • This includes dialogue and voiceover, but really focuses on cinematic aspects such as cinematography, mise-en-scene, editing, sound and special effects, as well as genre, narrative, representation and the start system. • Film language is a system of signs. Audiences use these signs to construct meaning and this is often in relation to other texts. When we see a star on screen, we are probably aware of other texts s/he has been in and this may influence our response to the character. The study of film requires two approaches: 1. Macro analysis. This focuses primarily on the way film language works within the film as a whole (narrative/story) or in relation to a group of films (genre), but also includes such aspects as representation, country of origin and the star system. 2. Micro analysis. This refers to analysis of the production techniques used to create meaning in an individual scene-for example, cinematography, mise-en-scene, editing, sound and SFX Bear in mind though that a macro analysis cannot function without making reference to the micro elements. How could we consider a character without considering the way in which that character is lit and photographed?
  3. 3. AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM 3 | Blackpool Sixth Form 3 The production processes of filmmaking Pre-production This is the first stage in the creation of a film. It all starts with an idea and a script. This may be a fully developed screenplay or just a basic pitch in which the writer describes the pitch. The script will influence many of the macro aspects of film language, such as character, theme, tension etc. However it is common for scripts to be rewritten, sometimes beyond recognition during pre- production. Casting is a critical element of pre-production. The director is one of the first to be appointed and will have a significant influence over all elements of the film from then onwards. Star power is very strong in Hollywood, and this means that the leading actor is sometimes involved in production. Casting is not just looks or style, but what audiences may expect from a certain actors. For example, casting Renee Zellweger as a romantic lead will create a very different meaning from casting Julia Roberts in the same role. At this stage, production, set and costume designers will work on the overall look of the film. Location scouts are employed to find suitable places to shoot and storyboards are prepared.Special effects work begins including computer generated images, animatronics, prosthetics etc. Production Under the guidance of the director the actors perform their roles for the camera. The director of photography (DP), or cinematographer, is one of the most important people at this stage. In consultation with the director, s/he sets up camera movement, instructs the lighting crew and composes the shots we eventually see. Some special effects are constructed and performed at this stage. Pyrotechnics and stunts are filmed on set. Chroma key sequences (green/blue screen) are shot in special studios. Post production At this point, editing and sound become the main focus. The editor cuts the filmed footage into a meaningful sequence. The language of film is composed of many elements and editing is one of the most important. Think of cinematography as making the visual equivalent of words; film editing arranges these words into sentences, paragraphs and chapters.
  4. 4. 4 | Blackpool Sixth Form Sound is also managed at this stage. The key players are sound designers, Foley artists (who create sounds using objects and items to mimic a sound effect) and composers to create the soundtrack or score. Apart from dialogue, almost all sounds are created and added during post-production. Remember that every sound in a film is a decision, a message to the audience. This is also the time when the final elements of special effects are created. Animated sequences are mixed with live action. The following are all credits you might see at the end of a film. Decide whether they are jobs in pre-production, production and/or post- production. Then try to explain what the job is. Job Pre- produ ction Produ ction Post- produ ction Role Producer Finding money to make the film Director Writer Art director Composer Gaffer Grip Editor Foley artist Continuity Storyboard artist Casting Location scout Assistant director Second unit Hairdresser Makeup artist Technical advisor Cinematographer Sound Sound editor
  5. 5. AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM 5 | Blackpool Sixth Form 5 MACRO ANALYSIS Film genre A genre is a type of film (eg horror, war, romantic comedy and, arguably film noir), but is also a system of signs used by producers, filmmakers, and audiences to make meaning. A specific genre can be defined by typical plots, characters, themes and cinematic techniques. The plot of a romantic comedy, for example, usually involves a man and a woman overcoming a series of obstacles before they get together at the end. More often than not, a horror film is characterised by low lighting, dramatic music and a monster. Genres exist in the film industry for a number of reasons: • In the past, producers have capitalised on successful formulas by repeating them in a slightly different format. • Producers are able to identify and target specific audiences • Genre films are economically efficient. Sets, costumes and props can be used again; camera crews get used to filming certain set sequences (eg car chases in action movies); some stars stay within a particular genre and fit certain characteristics of, say heroes and villains. • Audiences are more likely to pay money to see a film if they know what to expect. Consequently, marketing films will often emphasise generic elements. • Genre provides a framework which a director or writer can express his/her individual style and themes. • It is also a way for audiences to differentiate between films. Repetition and difference in film genres As you will be aware, film producers re-use successful formulas, but with variations so the audience don’t get bored. On the one hand, audiences enjoy familiarity of genre films. On the other, much of the pleasure of watching a genre film is in its variation from what is considered by the audience as the norm. Indeed a director with a distinct visual style (an auteur) might use the genre as a vehicle for self expression. As a result, the conventions of genre are not fixed, but evolve over time, usually in line with changing audience expectations and attitudes.
  6. 6. 6 | Blackpool Sixth Form Write down the last film you saw and its genre. In the first column, make a list of the conventions of the genre. What conventions were repeated from other films in the genre? What was different? Film: Genre: Conventions of the genre Repetition Differences 1. In your opinion, was it a good film? Explain your answer. Was your response to the film (positive or negative) related to its genre? 2. Will your experience of the film affect your decision to go and see another like it? 3. What led you to see the film in the first place?
  7. 7. AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM 7 | Blackpool Sixth Form 7 Iconography in film genre It is through repetition that a genre develops its iconography. Iconography refers to recurring symbolic images that carry meaning. The term normally refers to objects and settings (eg in Westerns, the six-shooter, the horse, the saloon bar etc.) but can also be the physical attributes of an actor or star (eg Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscles in the action genre). All genres depend on the audience making certain associations with images. Through iconography then, information is passed on quickly to the audience in order to communicate aspects of character or setting. If an icon is overused, however, it will become a cliché and lose its power. Working in pairs, make a list of the iconography typically found in science-fiction cinema as well as what it may mean to an audience. Icon Meaning Character types in film genre A genre film also uses stock characters or types that fit into plot formulas. The action-adventure film, for example, will probably include a hero, a sidekick and a villain. The male female romantic leads in rom-coms usually have less attractive best friends. Within genres, character types have become an accepted part of film language, and these types can be used by a filmmaker to establish a role quickly within the short amount of screen time available. However, when this character becomes a fixed mental picture of a particular social group, it becomes a stereotype. Stereotypes have the potential to reinforce negative messages about a social group or minority to a mass audience. The romance in romantic comedies is nearly always heterosexual, and the representation of black people in early
  8. 8. 8 | Blackpool Sixth Form Hollywood was wither servile (eg a maid) or comic. Film has the power to challenge stereotypes by presenting a particular social group in a more positive or complex way. Stars Star images are another convention associated with character that can be used by filmmakers. Audiences can also use stars as a way of establishing roles within a film. Eddie Murphy for example is often characterised as the street-wise, wise-cracking comedic-hero. The star will also feature heavily in marketing a film. Themes As well as plot or character, a genre might also be defined by its themes. The gangster genre for example, explores themes such as crime and loyalty. Science-fiction is often concerned with the relationship between human beings and technology. Hybrid genres Finally, whereas genres evolved as a way of targeting particular audiences, hybrid genres evolved as way of capturing a wider audience. A film that brings together more than one genre will widen its appeal, for example, Bad Boys as an action-comedy which will attract audiences from both genres. Genre hybridisation has become an important element in trying to ensure that Hollywood movies reach the largest possible audience. Film narrative Theorist Tzvetan Todorov’ idea of narrative has been attractive to film academics. He suggests that there are three fundamental stages in every narrative: 1. The story begins with equilibrium (the world in a state of balance and harmony) 2. It then progresses through a period of disequilibrium (the world is temporarily disrupted and chaotic)… 3. …before reaching the third and final stage of a new equilibrium The classic narrative A more useful narrative is one linked more explicitly to Hollywood film-the classic narrative. Although it is largely a convention developed during the Hollywood studio system (1930’s-1950’s), Todorov’s three stages are a key feature. It should be emphasised however that it is still a term used by academics and not people working in the industry. The key features are as follows: • The world portrayed is similar to our own in some way. • The story begins in a state of equilibrium; a state of disequilibrium is created, until a final new equilibrium is established. These are sometimes referred to as ‘the three acts’. • Events are organised into a cause and effect relationship. • Events are caused by characters. • There is a strong sense of narrative closure at the end.
  9. 9. AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM 9 | Blackpool Sixth Form 9 Diegesis Diegesis comes from the Greek word meaning ‘recounted story’. In most film narratives, the world of the story is presented to us as a self-contained reality. Characters in this world do not acknowledge the presence of a watching audience. This world is known as a diegetic reality. As an audience there are some breaks with diegesis that we have grown accustomed to, and we accept these without feeling that the realism of the film has been compromised. The most important of these are non-diegetic sounds, especially soundtrack music or voiceover. Time The two most common aspects to consider are the order of events and duration. In a classic narrative, the order of event is usually linear or chronological, but a film might also use flashbacks to piece together the story. The duration of events in the film itself are also important. The passing of time can be conveyed to an audience through codes which we have come to accept such as different light levels (night/day), meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) or even costume (pyjamas, work clothes, evening dress etc.). Alternatively, the passing of longer periods of time might be signalled by calendars or changes in the seasons; or longer still, the aging of the characters body. Watch the opening 10 minutes of: …………………………… 1. What do we learn of the films plot? 2. Can we apply the classic ‘Hollywood narrative’ to this film? Can we apply Todorov’s? Provide a breakdown for each. 3. What methods are employed by the filmmaker tomake clear the films plot? Eg. Dialogue, visual references, actions, stereotypes, casting etc. 4. How might the film resolve itself? What does this tell us about the relationships between audience and genre?
  10. 10. 10 | Blackpool Sixth Form MICRO ANALYSIS Compared with analysis of genre and narrative, micro analysis requires more reference to the technical elements of film production. We must still, however, emphasise the meaning behind each aspect. The aspects we will be studying are: • Mise-en-scene • Performance • Cinematography • Editing • Sound The language of film produces three types of response in the audience. 1. Film language may point the audience to a specific meaning. It is useful to think about film techniques as a language used to communicate meaning. For example, a point of view shot tells us that we are looking through the eyes of someone in the film. Another example might be a character screaming in response to a sudden action: we know they are supposed to be surprised but the meaning here might be amplified by the use of a sudden edit. This sort of film language can be described as the denotative. 2. Film language may produce an atmospheric or emotional effect These are more complex messages, and can be described as connotative. Usually, the filmmaker is trying to direct us towards a particular interpretation, or a preferred reading. For example, if a shootout sequence is shown using flashy music and a fast editing style, it could be exciting for an audience. If, however, the same sequence was shown but with sad music, slow motion and gory detail, it could be a distressing, even disturbing experience. 3. Film language may trigger a range of more subjective and connotative reactions. Again, the filmmaker will attempt to anchor preferred readings and connotations. However, there is more likely to be room for individual response by the spectator. For example, a foreign genre film may be viewed and enjoyed as just that, but some audiences may recognise ideas and messages that deal with, say, political or social problems specific to that country.
  11. 11. AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM 11 | Blackpool Sixth Form 11 Mise-en-scene Mise-en-scene roughly translated from the French means ‘put in the scene’. The most obvious aspects are those elements of visual presentation which are organised before filming can take place: the pre-production work of art direction, set design, casting, costume and props. The most common purpose is to create realism with regard to time and place. If the audience are to believe that they are looking at San Francisco in the year 2056, London 1872, or Middle-Earth in the Third Age, the mise-en-scene should construct this. Genre is also frequently reinforced by mise-en-scene. This is most obvious in genres like the Western, historical drama or Science Fiction, where a world is created that is very different from that inhabited by the audience. Having established the broad messages, an analysis of mise-en-scene can then be refined to consider more specific meanings. Casting decisions, the costuming of actors, surrounding details can all communicate a range of messages to the spectator. Cinematography The word cinematography literally means ‘drawing movement’. This element of film production is arranged between the director and the cinematographer – often called the director of cinematography, DP or DoP. Some directors, notably Tim Burton and Ridley Scott, take more control than others over the photography, and many directors work repeatedly with the same cinematographers. Film stock The starting point for determining the look of the finished film is the stock it is shot on. There is a range of film widths, from 8mm through to 70mm, with 35mm being the most common in professional use. Generally, the wider the filmstrip the higher the quality and the larger it can be projected. However the width is only one of the many factors affecting the look of the projected image. Different brands produce different ranges of colours. Lab processing can modify this further: washing out some colours, intensifying others. Some film appears grainy and gritty; some appears smoother and softer. Moreover, a significant proportion of film now is not film at all but digital video, which is then processed electronically to create the look and feel of a particular film stock. To address this analytically, we need to ask ourselves ‘does the quality of the film itself construct a message? If it grainy and harsh, what does this say about the story we are being told? Sometime film stock can serve particular narrative purposes, for example switching in the appearance of film stock
  12. 12. 12 | Blackpool Sixth Form (high/low resolution, colour/black and white) to help the audience distinguish between past, present and future. Lighting Film lighting creates the mood and emphasises the key elements of the mise- en-scene. It turns cardboard sets and plastic props into a convincing three dimensional reality, often without drawing attention to itself. Usually, like film music, lighting creates its effects without the audience noticing; sometimes, like film music it becomes a dominating presence with visible shafts of light and dark shadows. In Hollywood, the three-point lighting system is favoured. This is based on the idea that the figure should usually be lit from three directions: • The key light – the main light source, creating the strongest sense of the direction of lighting • The fill light – softens the effect of the key light and reduces shadows • The backlight – helps to make the subject distinct from the background The main purpose of Hollywood lighting is to focus our attention on important figures and to remove distracting shadows. Every new angle requires the repositioning of studio lights. Questions to ask about lighting: 1. What does the lighting reveal? What does it hide? 2. What does it emphasise? What does it reduce in importance? 3. Does the lighting create contrasts between particular elements of the mise-en-scene? 4. Does it create a mood? Here are some more technical questions: 5. Does the lighting appear to be ambient or artificial? 6. If artificial, does the light appear to be inside or outside the frame? 7. Is there strong use of attached or detached shadow (ie we do not see the figure, only the shadow) Framing and composition Framing suggests the placing of a frame around an image, cropping away elements that are off-screen and creating compositional relationships between the objects within the frame. As such, it should be regarded alongside mise- en-scene. We should ask: what is big? What is small? What colours dominate?
  13. 13. AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM 13 | Blackpool Sixth Form 13
  14. 14. 14 | Blackpool Sixth Form Camera shot definitions o Extreme Wide Shot (EWS) The view is so far from the subject that she isn't even visible. This is often used as an establishing shot. o Very Wide Shot (VWS) The subject is visible (barely), but the emphasis is still on placing her in her environment. o Wide Shot (WS) The subject takes up the full frame, or at least as much as possible. The same as a long shot. o Mid Shot (MS) Shows some part of the subject in more detail whilst still giving an impression of the whole subject. o Close Up (CU) A certain feature or part of the subject takes up the whole frame. o Extreme Close Up (ECU) The ECU gets right in and shows extreme detail. o Cutaway (CA) A shot of something other than the current action. o Cut-In (CI) Shows some part of the subject in detail. o Two Shot A comfortable shot of two people, framed similarly to a mid shot. o Over the Shoulder Shot (OSS) Looking from behind a person at the subject, cutting off the frame just behind the ear. The person facing the subject should occupy about 1/3 of the frame. This shot helps to establish the positions of each person, and get the feel of looking at one person from the other's point of view. o Noddy Shot Common in interviews, this is a shot of the person listening and reacting to the subject. In fact, when shooting interviews with one camera, the usual routine is to shoot the subject (using OSS and one-shots) for the entire interview, then shoot some noddies of the interviewer once the interview is finished. The noddies are edited into the interview later. o Point-of-View Shot (POV) Shows a view from the subject's perspective. This shot is usually edited in such a way that it is obvious whose POV it is (see the example below). Camera movement o Tracking Shot The camera is mounted on a cart which travels along tracks for a very smooth movement. Also known as a tracking shot or trucking shot. o Camera Pan Horizontal panning, left and right. The camera remains on its axis (e.g tripod) o Camera Tilt Vertical movement of the camera angle, i.e. pointing the camera up and down (as opposed to moving the whole camera up and down). Camera angles o High Angle A high angle shows the subject from above, i.e. the camera is angled down towards the subject. This has the effect of diminishing the subject, making them appear less powerful, less significant or even submissive. o Low Angle This shows the subject from below, giving them the impression of being more powerful or dominant. o Bird's Eye The scene is shown from directly above. This is a completely different and somewhat unnatural point of view which can be used for dramatic effect or for showing a different spatial perspective.
  15. 15. AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM 15 | Blackpool Sixth Form 15 Aspect ratio The most basic element of framing is the shape of the screen onto which the film is projected. With the development of widescreen TVs and home cinema, aspect ratios are equally as important outside of the cinema. What follows is a definition of the most common variants: • Academy (4:3) This is the aspect ration used in almost every film made before the 1950s. Until relatively recently it was also the shape of every TV set and computer screen in the world. • European widescreen (1.66:1) This ratio has been used for a large number of European movies, as well as much of Stanley Kubrick’s output. • American widescreen (16:9 or 1.85:1) This is now the most common ratio for American films. It is also the shape of ‘widescreen’ TV’s. • Scope anamorphic (2.35:1 and others) They tend to be used for large-scale, epic productions such as the Lord of the Rings movies. Focus and depth of field Cameras can be equipped with lenses of various focal lengths, and this gives the filmmaker control over what is or is not in focus at any time. • Deep focus is used when the detail of an entire scene needs to be shown. It means that everything that is visible, near to and far from the camera, is in focus. • Selective focus simplifies the image. It reduces the importance of certain elements within the frame by showing them blurred. • Pulling focus changes the subject of selective focus. Camera movement The main purposes for moving a camera while film are: 1. To reframe a scene 2. To reveal new aspects of the mise-en-scene 3. To create kinetic energy 4. To follow a character or object in motion 5. To show the perspective of a character or object in motion Compare the two sequences Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring and American Beauty Sam Mendes, 1999. They both use 2.35:1 scope anamorphic aspect ratios but to a much different effect. Make notes on both and record the intended effect on the audience. Were they successful in achieving this? Were there other elements in the frame which help audiences understand the intended meaning? Lord of the Rings American Beauty
  16. 16. 16 | Blackpool Sixth Form Editing Mise-en-scene and cinematography are concerned with the organisation of space. Editing is the organisation of time. The editor’s principal job is to make decisions concerning what we look at, and how long it is before we look at something else. In most films, the primary purpose of editing is to create continuity-that is, a sense that the film makes logical sense in terms of immediate cause and effect, and is consistent in its presentation of the world. It is through continuity that the audience can believe in, and make sense of, the narrative. Transitions: the way in which shots are linked together. o Cut: an abrupt switch from shot A to shot B o Dissolve: Shot B begins to appear as Shot A fades away o Fade: Shot A fades to black (or less usually to white) before shot B appears o Wipe: One shot is replaced by another which appears to travel across the screen. o Iris: the use of a steadily diminishing circle to end a shot, or a widening one to open another. Graphical match: scenes are linked by their visual resemblance, as in the cut from a tumbling bone to a tumbling spaceship in 2001: A Space Odyssey Action Match: either an action commenced in shot A is completed in shot B, or an action in shot A is mirrored by an action in shot B, for example when we cut from character A in location A reading a letter to character B in location B reading the same letter. Eyeline match: shots are matched by the linkage from the gaze of one character towards another character. If character A looks down to see character B, character B will look up to see character A. Sound match: either a sound begun in shot A continues in shot B, or a sound in shot A is matched by another, similar but different sound in shot B (for example a scream cuts to a train whistle). Point of View Shot: shot that represents the point of view of a character. Reverse Motion: action that appears backwards. Cross Cutting/parallel action: a way of manipulating time where we cut between two different storylines running simultaneously.
  17. 17. AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM 17 | Blackpool Sixth Form 17 Watch the extract from Run, Lola, Run Tom Tykwer, 1998, Run and make notes on which of the above editing techniques are used. Then, justify there use by noting the intentions of the film maker. Edit Intended effect
  18. 18. 18 | Blackpool Sixth Form The main functions of editing are as follows: Present events in the correct order Usually this is normal chronology – time moves forward from the beginning to the end. However, there may be disturbances to the flow of time, such as flashbacks. Create relationships in action Within a single scene, it is important to connect actions together for storytelling purposes. For example, if two characters are walking towards each other, one must move from left to right in shot A, the other must move from right to left in shot be. Identify and maintain spatial relationships The audience needs a confident sense of where they are and where things within the mise-en-scene stand in relation to each other. An establishing shot or master shot would help here so that the shot can be returned to throughout a scene so that the audience are reminded where characters stand in relation to each other. Sustain continuity Continuity editing is a method used in most feature films. It is designed so that audience do not notice the cut and therefore can escape easily into the film ‘world’ or diegetic reality of the film. The most simple of these would be an action match edit which would simply mean that an action started in shot A (eg a gun firing) would continue into shot B (impact of bullet). This is sometimes called ‘invisible editing’. One other important rule in continuity editing is the 180 degree rule. You should never cut from one side of an imaginary 180 degree line to the other, as this creates confusion about screen direction. The best explanation of this rule is that football matches are always filmed from only one side of the pitch because otherwise it would look to the viewer as if the teams kept switching ends. Identify important lapses of time; conceal unimportant ones When we cut to a new location, we require signals to tell us whether or not we are seeing continuous or discontinuous events. Editing can point up those moments in a film when there is a significant shift in time. Usually this would be achieved through contrasts, such as daylight followed by night, a change of location, the introduction of a different musical theme, a long take on the establishing shot at the beginning of a new location, or the closing shot at the end of the old location.
  19. 19. AS Film Studies FM1 EXPLORING FILM FORM 19 | Blackpool Sixth Form 19 Questions for editing • Rhythm and pace How do the frequency and timing of cuts fit the mood and purposes of the scene? How are editing and sound integrated? • Juxtaposition (opposing images placed together) Editing is the placing of one thing next to another in time. Do the images juxtaposed contrast or complement each other? Sound and sound editing It is useful to begin by classifying sound into different types. The following four categories can be used to describe all the types of sounds we are likely to encounter during a film: 1. Diegetic sound: This arises directly from the world of the story. Its source may be on or off screen. A character on screen speaks, we hear words; a gun is fired in the next room, we hear a bang; horses are approaching, we hear hooves; a radio is playing, we hear music. 2. Non-diegetic sound: We hear this, but it is not produced by anything in the world of the story. The two commonest forms of non-diegetic sound are musical score and voiceover. 3. Synchronous sound: This is diegetic sound produced in the scene we are currently viewing – ie it is synchronised in time with the visuals. It may come from an on screen or off screen source, but it is within realistic hearing range. 4. Asynchronous sound: This is any sound not produced by the scene we are watching – ie it is not synchronised in time with the visuals. Here are two common uses for asynchronous sound: • Bridging a cut: we hear the next scene moments before we see it in order to prevent the transition from jarring. This is called a sound bridge. • Creating a meaningful juxtaposition of images and sound Sound is manipulated a great deal during post-production. Actors may need to lip-synch (ie perform their lines again in a dubbing studio, matching their on screen lip movements) because of problems with the original sound. The noise made by on screen action, which for various technical reasons often cannot be recorded live, has to be created using sound effects libraries and foley artists. Foley is one of the strangest, most important,
  20. 20. 20 | Blackpool Sixth Form jobs in film production. In a room filled with miscellaneous pieces of junk, the foley artist makes sounds by hitting things, shaking thinks, rubbing things together and so on. These noises are used when constructing the soundscape of the film. Sometimes, sound is essential to the creation of realism or sense of place. A scene shot in an inland town can be made to seem coastal by the addition of seagull cries. Some sounds need to be emphasised for atmospheric purposes: the creak of a floorboard or the engines of a passing aeroplane, for example. Frequently, the emotional impact of a sequence is dependent to an enormous degree on the juxtaposition of image and sound, especially soundtrack music. Questions for analysing sound • Does the music include a recognisable tune or song? What message does this convey in relation to the images? • Could you describe the music as having a recognisable style (eg military rhythm)? • Is the music typical of the films genre? • Can you recognise elements of the instrumentation (eg electronic instrument)? • What tonal range dominates the arrangement (bass, midrange or treble)? • Are contrasts between sound and silence used? • How does diegetic background sound increase the audience’s sense of realism? • Is diegetic sound used to increase the effect of any action (emphatic sound)? • Are there sound bridges or other uses of asynchronous diegetic sound? • Is there any asynchronous non-diegetic sound, other than music (eg voice over)? • What are the effects of all of the above?

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