The setting – location where the action takes place. It may be artificially constructed (studio sets) or ‘shot on location’. Certain genres are associated with certain settings. Eg. Soap Operas in domestic settings such as homes or social settings such as pubs or cafes.
Whilst most British films and dramas operate within realism and favour a more naturalistic look, some are extravagant with colour. Sci-fi texts often use bright colour palettes since they are not bound by the constraints of realism. However, some use colour to signify further plot information.
Focusing on the characters – the way they move, their body language, gestures and facial expressions – consider what assumptions we can make about their personalities, agendas and roles in the narrative.
Use the worksheet to make detailed notes on each.
How do costumes, setting, colour and lighting further this image?
Generally, the way a scene is lit will impact upon the overall visual style of the text. In film, certain directors may use lighting as part of their own unique visual style and may make their work recognisable. Think of Tim Burton!
In TV, however, lighting is often limited to naturalistic lighting due to the desire to achieve a sense of realism. Occasionally though, even TV producers can get creative!
Three point lighting – This is standard lighting in mainstream film/TV. Used in classical Hollywood cinema. There are three lights: key, fill and back. The balance can be altered to create different effects.
Low-key lighting/ Hard lighting – Here the key light is weaker than the fill. The result is harsh shadows on the subject. This technique is most commonly associated with film noir, gangster or horror genres.
Back lighting – Most commonly associated with horror films. The subject is lit only from the back, creating a silhouette effect. The features of the subject are not visible and may, therefore, appear more menacing.
Chiaroscuro Lighting – This type of lighting is most commonly associated with film noir. It may be defined as an extreme contrast between light and dark. White and black contrast harshly and establish questions around identity of the character and a separation between the blanc and noir worlds.