Principles of Film Theory


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  • Continuity: American Beauty, chapter 4Classical: American Beauty, chapter 4Radical Subjective Continuity: Pulp Fiction 30 minThematic: The Hours, chapter 1Associative: The Shining, chapter 28 1:41Dialectic: The Thin Red Line, chapter 28 2:32
  • Principles of Film Theory

    1. 1. Principle Elements of Film Theory CMT 190 Digital Video Production
    2. 2. Understanding FilmAnalysis of film comes through content (what is in the film)and form (how the film is portrayed). Types of Films (Realism, Classical, Formalism) Shots Angles Lighting Color Sound Editing Mise-en-Scene
    3. 3. Characteristics of Realism: Realism • Unprofessional actors • No special effects A filmic style that favors the • On location sets and props commonplace, portrays its subject • Minimal editingobjectively, and attempts to emulate • Natural lighting real life without manipulation. • Documentary-style The Bicycle Thief Once (dir. Vittorio de Sica, 1948) (dir. John Carney, 2006)
    4. 4. Characteristics of Classical classical Cinema: • Professional actorsThe mode that falls between the two • Minimal or no special effectsextremes of Realism and Formalism; • On location or in studiostrives to achieve authenticity of real • Editing used for time-lapse people and real events but with the • Lighting and sound used to manipulation of its creative create a mood production elements. Citizen Kane Milk (dir. Orson Welles, 1941) (dir. Gus Van Sant, 2008)
    5. 5. Characteristics of Formalism: Formalism • Professional actors • Relies heavily on special effects • Editing speeds up or slows downA filmic style which alters reality and timeshowcases the director’s subjective • Lighting and sound create experience. exaggerations • Breaks illusion of reality Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless The Seventh Seal Mind (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1958) (dir. Michel Gondry, 2004)
    6. 6. ShotsExtreme Close Up Close Up Medium Shot (ECU) (CU) (MS) Full Shot Long Shot Extreme Long Shot (FS) (LS) (ELS)
    7. 7. Shots (Cont’d) Deep Focus Over-The-Shoulder (OTS)American Shot POV Shot
    8. 8. AnglesEye Level Angle High Angle Low Angle Oblique Angle
    9. 9. LightingHigh Key Lighting Low Key LightingChiaroscuro Lighting Silhouette/Back Lighting
    10. 10. ColorThe use of red in We Need to Talk About Kevin (dir. Lynne Ramsay2011)
    11. 11. Color (cont’d) Saturated Color: conveys happiness, fantasies, romance, or some idyllic sceneryDesaturated Color:conveys thepast, struggle, depression, or some otherdystopic scenery
    12. 12. Sound DIEGETIC: NON-DIEGETIC: Sound whose source is Sound whose source is not visible on the screen or visible on the screen nor has whose sound is implied to be been applied by the action of present by the action in the the film; basically any soundfilm; also characterized by off- that comes outside the story screen or on-screen placeExamples: Examples:• Voices of characters • Narrator’s commentary• Sound made by props • Sound effects added for• Music coming from dramatic effect instruments in film • Mood music
    13. 13. Editing STyles Continuity: collapse of time and space while preserving fluidity Classical: first popularized by D.W. Griffith, this style jumps from long shot to medium shot to close up for dramatic effect Radical Subjective Continuity: cuts of different time and space for dramatic effect Thematic: edits that are driven by a particular theme Associative: juxtaposition of two shots that when combined have meaning (but separate, they do not) Dialectic: edits driven by expressing a contradiction
    14. 14. Mise-En-ScÉne A french word that means 1. Placement around “placed on stage.” frame Everything that appears before the 2. Face to cameracamera and how it’s arranged on thescreen to convey meaning in the film. 3. Territorial space 4. Frame constraints
    15. 15. Placement around the frame
    16. 16. Face to camera Full Turn Three Quarter TurnQuarter Turn Back Half Turn (Profile)
    17. 17. Territorial space Background Mid-ground Foreground
    18. 18. Frame Constraints Tight Frame: conveys subject’s intensity, importance and inability to escapeOpen Frame: conveysdesolation, space, freedom, orinsignificance
    19. 19. Analysis ActivityConsider:  Shot  Placement around frame  Angle  Face to camera  Lighting  Territorial space  Color  Frame constraints
    20. 20. Homework Due: Thursday, January 31 Do a shot-by-shot analysis of a scene from a film of your choosing. Determine if the scene is characteristic of Realism, Classical, orFormalism, and support your assertion by analyzing each individual shot based on: Type of shot Angle Lighting Color Sound Editing Style Mise-en-Scene (placement of frame, face to camera, territorial space, frame constraints)