Mise en Scène & Camera
By Lucy Weetman
This is an expression used in films. It’s the way in which
the design or aspects has been used to create a
specific setting or design of a story or scene. This is
done though storyboarding, cinematography and stage
Cinematography is the use of a camera angle, shot and
movement & position.
When applied to the cinema, this means
everything that appears before the
camera and the arrangement of the
props, costumes and setting ect.
One of the most important people who
takes over the production of mise en
scene is the production designer and the
The set design can help give the
production a mood or certain feeling to
the audience and help them feel more
included in the production.
The setting reflects on the mood of the
scene and helps direct an audience to
specific feeling. It may also reflect the
characters emotions and state of mind.
The setting can also the time period and
location in which the film is set.
The colours used in the set can also help
give a feeling to the scene.
High Key Lighting – The lighting can influence the scenes feeling and the audiences
emotion. For example, low key lighting brings a dark, depressing, sad or even scary
feel. Where as, high key lighting gives a more bright, cheerful feel.
High Key lighting is an illumination which makes the scene seem very bright and
soft. The fill light is increased. This gives the feeling of happiness to the audience.
Therefore, this effect is most commonly used in musicals and comedies.
Low-Key Lighting is the opposite of high-key lighting. The fill light is always very low
causing shadows and darkness. This causes light and dark to contrast. The shadows can
cause the majority of the frame picture to be hidden in shadows, giving a more
mysterious feel to the scene. This can be a great effect when someone is slowly moving
into the frame from the background as this gives a scary and more unexpected/jumpy
Therefore, the effect is often used in horror,thriller of mystery movies to give a more
mysterious and scary feel.
Costume is very effective for an
audience to immediately be able to
recognise the time period, setting
and mood of the scene.
The make-up and costume used can
also portray the characters
personality and social class.
Continuity is the consistency of components in a shot.
For example, If Mr. Smith was holding a bag in his right hand, but when the shot
changed he was holding it in his left hand, this would be a continuity (visual) error as
the continuity has been broken.
An example of a plot error would be if a character stated he was vegetarian and later
on be seen eating meat.
An example of an editing error is when someone mentions an event which has not yet
occurred in the film.
There are three ‘Continuity rules’
180 degree rule – The means that you should keep the
shots all behind a 180 degree line in front of the
characters and events . This means that when you come
to edit the shots, you can cut between two people and
they will be facing each other from different sides of the
Shot reverse shot – This is a way of filming an exchange
between characters. Observing the 180 degree rule, the
camera will film one person taking and looking in a
direction then cut to another responding while looking
off screen in the other direction. This assumes that they
are looking at each other.
Match on action – This is when filming of a action is cut
while in progress & completed in a different angle shot.
Composition is the arrangement of props and visual
elements in a scene.
If a composition is broken (e.g change in light) then this can
highlight a specific scene which the director wants the
audience to pay attention to because it may be abnormal.
Rule of thirds –
The rule of thirds is a simple guideline to composition in a
shot. It gives you four lines/parts which are useful for
placing points of interest for elements in the shot.
The idea is that if you place certain points
of interest along the lines then it makes
the shot more balanced. This may be used
to bring focus to a certain point of the
shot to the audience, or highlight an
Deep space is used to emphasis the distance between objects.
Important components are placed far away or close to the camera
Deep space is used in ‘Finding Nemo’ to emphasis how small the fish
are in comparison to the ongoing ocean. It also reflects on how far
away Nemo’s dad is from us. This makes the fish seem un powerful
and small, and the reality of Nemo’s dad finding them unlikely.
The fact that the misty image of Sydney in the background is bigger
than Nemo in the foreground also emphasises his small size.
Shallow space is when the camera is very close up and
fills the frame with components. For example, in this
Finding Nemo shot the fish are oblivious to the whale
behind them which creates suspense for the audience.
The technique emphasises how close the whale is to the
fish. Therefore, this technique is great when creating a
The shot involves a ‘close up’.
Establishing shot – this shot involves a distant framing that shows the relation
among the important figures., objects and setting a scene.
Master shot – this is when the setting is defined and all characters and objects
are shown together.
Close up (& variations) – this is when the framing of the object is shown very
large. It most commonly involves someone from the neck up or an object of
the same size which fills the screen.
Long shot- This is when the object or person is normally shown un full size
from a distance and normally appears the height of the screen.
Wide shot- a shot covering a wide angle.
High angle – when the shot is taken from above and is looking down to the
Low angle – filmed from below, looking above. Could be used for the filming of
a young child talking to their parent.
Ariel shot – A moving shot from above looking down.
Point of view- A shot taken with the camera placed approximately where the
characters eyes would be.
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