Film Aesthetics I


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This accompanies a lecture in Video Production at Montana Tech.

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Film Aesthetics I

  1. 1. Video Production Film Aesthetics I Photography. The cinematographer, the shots, the angles, lighting and colour symbolism (+ post production)
  2. 2. Mise en Scene Mise en Scene Mise en Scene: How the visual materials are photographed, staged, and framed (as a captured moment in time). Mise-en-scene -- originally a French theatrical term, meaning “placing on stage.” In movies, mise-en-scene is a blend of the visual conventions of live theatre and converted into a two-dimensional image of the real thing. Even though film is a temporal medium and the visuals are constantly in flux, we will be analysing single-frame composition as mise en scene. The “visual” text. Aesthetics of Filmmaking
  3. 3. Systematic Mise en Scene Analysis 15 pt. Systematic Mise en Scene Analysis . <ul><li>Dominant. What is our eye attracted to? </li></ul><ul><li>Lighting Styles and Key: High-key, low-key, painterly, linear? </li></ul><ul><li>Shot and Camera Proxemics: What type of shot? How far away? </li></ul><ul><li>Shot Angles. High, low, neutral. </li></ul><ul><li>Colour values. What is dominant colour? Colour symbolism? </li></ul><ul><li>Lens/filter/stock. How do these distort or comment on photography? </li></ul><ul><li>Subsidiary contrasts. What are the eye-stops after the dominant? </li></ul><ul><li>Density. How much visual information is packed into the image? Is texture stark, moderate, or highly detailed? </li></ul><ul><li>Continued next screen </li></ul>“ Photographic considerations” Aesthetics of Filmmaking
  4. 4. Systematic Mise en Scene Analysis 15 pt. Systematic Mise en Scene Analysis 9. Composition. How is the 2-D space segmented and organized? What is the underlying design? 10. Form. Open or closed? Does the image suggest a window that arbitrarily isolates a fragment of the scene? Or is it self contained? 11. Framing. Tight or loose? How much room do the characters have to move around? 12. Depth. On how many planes is the image composed? Does the background and foreground comment on the midground? 13. Character placement. What parts of the framed space are occupied? 14. Staging positions.Which way to they look vis-à-vis the camera 15.Character proxemics. How much space between characters? Continued …
  5. 5. Cinematography and Shots Cinematography affects “tone” or general atmosphere of a film. Eg the drop-dead awesome beauty of the long shot or establishing shot, in Lawrence of Arabia. Genre: (Action/Adventure) Drama. Requires a wide angle lens to capture objects at several focal distances and photographed in depth. How does music enhance the spectacle of the long shot? Are there adjectives that relate to both visual and aural texts? Aesthetics of Filmmaking
  6. 6. Shot Proxemics Eg # 1. Proxemics. In scene 60 of Il Bueno, il brutto, il cattivo, watch for the transition between long shot or establishing shot to the full shot to the medium shot to the closeup to the extreme close up. Question… who is the camera?? What is the function of the over-the-shoulder shot in this scene? What about the music? Check the depth of field in extreme closeups. What happens to focus of the background? Aesthetics of Filmmaking
  7. 7. Il Bueno, il brutto, il cattivo aka The Good the Bad and the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1966) DOP (Cinematographer): Writing credits Luciano Vincenzoni & Sergio Leone Genre: Action / Western / Drama (more) Music: Ennio Morricone Tagline: For Three Men The Civil War Wasn't Hell. It Was Practice! Plot Outline: Three gunmen set out to find a hidden fortune. Who will walk away with the cash? User Comments: The best of Eastwood's &quot;spaghetti westerns&quot; Cast overview, first billed only: Clint Eastwood .... Joe Lee Van Cleef .... Sentenza Elli Wallach .... Tuco From imdb
  8. 8. Shot Angles <ul><li>Eg # 3. It’s all here in Psycho! Scenes 9 and 10. </li></ul><ul><li>There are five basic angles in cinema: </li></ul><ul><li>The bird’s eye view </li></ul><ul><li>The high angle </li></ul><ul><li>The eye-level shot </li></ul><ul><li>The low angle </li></ul><ul><li>The oblique angle </li></ul><ul><li>Watch how the “status” of the characters change in scene 9 through use of high and low angles. Who is the camera again?? </li></ul>Aesthetics of Filmmaking
  9. 9. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock , 1988) DOP (Cinematographer): John L. Russell Writing credits Robert Bloch (novel) Joseph Stefano (screenplay) Genre: Horror / Thriller Tagline: A new- and altogether different- screen excitement!!! (more) Plot Outline: A young female embezzeler arrives at the Bates Motel which has terrible secrets of its own. Cast: Anthony Perkins .... Norman Bates Janet Leigh .... Marion Crane Vera Miles .... Lila Crane John Gavin .... Sam Loomis From imdb
  10. 10. Light and Dark Styles of lighting: High Key, Comedies, musicals, bright even light with few shadows. Example we saw? High Contrast, Harsh shafts of light, dramatic streaks of blackness. Example? Hitchcock staged many of his most violent scenes in the glaring light. Painterly style of light eg. Girl with the Pearl Earring. Soft-focus, sensuous, romantic. Linear style is austere, deglamourized, razor-sharp deep focus. High-key cinematography favoured by realists. Aesthetics of Filmmaking
  11. 11. Colour Expressionism Colour tends to be a subconscious element in film. Strongly emotional in appeal, expressive and atmospheric rather than conspicuous or intellectual. Psychologists have discovered that people actively attempt to interpret the lines of a composition but accept colour passively, permitting it to suggest moods rather than objects. Some filmmakers deliberately alternate episodes in black and white with sequences in colour. Example of these two points: Girl with the Pearl Earring. (Colour saturated and muted in post production.) Aesthetics of Filmmaking From: Giannetti, Louis, and Jim Leach. (2005) Understanding Movies, Third Canadian Edition). Pearson: Toronto.