MISE EN SCENE
• Mise en scene is a French word which means
everything in the shot. The codes of mise en
scene are the tools by which the media
producer alters and tries to control our reading
of the shot. The elements covered by mise en
• The settings provide the space in which all other
elements of mise en scene are situated.
• Settings set up expectations for the viewer and
can instantly produce meanings; it signifies
• For example in Western films we expect the
action to take place in deserts, towns, bars etc.
• News readers are usually in a studio, which is
• Can you think of any other settings that would
help you to categorise a media text?
• Props are inanimate (lifeless) objects placed
within the setting. They may remain static
(furniture) or may be used by the characters in
the film (knives, guns, cars).
• Props may also strengthen the effect of the
settings by making the environment in which the
action takes place more convincing.
• For example hi tech equipment, space crafts
makes Science Fiction films more believable.
• Props can also inform the viewer about the
impending action – a shot of a gun usually
• Costumes help to create an actor’s character.
They can place an actor within a particular
historical period, indicate social class or life
style, and even determine what is possible and
what is not.
• A space suit makes survival in space possible, a
gangster with a gun can survive a shoot out with
the police or his enemies.
• Costumes also help to define the genre of a
• What an actor or TV presenter/celebrity does
within a shot obviously contributes to the
meaning produced. The way they:
• Body language
• Non-verbal communication
• Speech patterns
These terms can also be called figure
performance, in short.
• Lighting is usually thought of in terms of high
key (balanced) and low key lighting
• High key lighting is used when a relatively
normal, everyday scenario is being filmed. This
technique is used to ensure that everything is
• Low key lighting is used to create suspense
and fear. This is achieved by providing a lack of
information and hiding detail. Low key lighting
creates shadows and strong contrasts.
Colour has long been thought to affect mood;
for instance, light green is believed to be a
relaxing colour; red is a ‘restless colour’.
But as well as having a psychological effect,
colours can also symbolise emotions and
values, thus producing meanings in a text.
What do the following colours signify?
• Having selected all the elements for
inclusion in the shot, the media producer
then has to place them as required. The
arrangement of the elements within a shot
is known as composition.
• The composition of the shot can add to the
overall meaning of the shot.