Mode of address/direct address – This is how the text “speaks” to the audience/ Most actors do not speak directly to the camera – to maintain realism and the sense of involvement/escapism the action provides.
The frame – This is the space in which the action takes place. In a film we do not see the director or camera-person. They are outside the frame – this suggests a special ‘world’ or hyper-reality (perhaps the diegesis or fictional world of the film)
Frame composition – This is how the film-makers ‘construct’ the elements within the frame – consider depth-of-field.
Cut/edit – The most basic tool of the editor. Cutting and editing turns months of shooting into a two hour film - Editing trims the footage down but also helps to create/ maintain the logic of a start, middle and end (narrative).
Montage – A series of shots that are connected together to reinforce/create meaning – intensifies and controls the emotion through collection.
Fade- This is when the picture gradually disappears to be replaced with often a black or white screen – suggests the end or a new beginning
Wipe – This is when one image or a line literally ‘wipes’ across the screen to replace another – suggests the passage of time or a transformation.
Dissolve – This is when one frame disappears gradually to be replaced by another - suggests the passage or time or a transformation.
Superimpose – This is when one image is laid on top of another on the screen – suggests that both images are connected or related to each-other – consider split screen.
Theme music – This is the music that introduces, develops throughout and ends the film. It often indicates the ‘personality’ and mode of address of the movie. Characters can have their own theme music – this is used to indicate their presence or ‘emotional journey’.
Sound effects – These are sounds that are diegetic or non-diegetic – Used to create a sense of realism or emotional involvement in the audience.
Ambient sound- This is background sound that comes from the action, such as wind blowing, cars horn, chatter – reinforces the mood/ the reality of the film.
Literally it means ‘placed in the picture or scene but includes the following:-
Set – This is the physical structure on which the ‘action’ is shot and played out – the position of the actors or objects in the set often indicate their level or importance or status. A ‘convincing’ set means that the audience is able to ‘suspend belief’ about the hype-real action that takes place
Set layout and design – This is how the set is put together to create a certain mood, location and atmosphere for the film.
Costume – This is what the actors wear to show their status or character. Costuming is a key indicator in the action movie. Action heroes will often wear a ‘costume’ to suggest their role, intentions and how they will react to the situations they find themselves in.
Lighting ( ambient/artificial/low or high key)
This is how light is used by the film to create a certain mood or atmosphere – low lighting is often considered unsettling and threatening. Action movies tend towards a more brash and visceral use of lighting and colour.
Props – These are the objects that are used to ‘dress’ the set create a sense of realism. Action props help to signify general themes of action.
Think of the iconography of a sequence or perhaps the binary oppositions (Levi-Strauss) caused by the props standing for some ideological conflict i.e. guns:- order/disorder; law/lawlessness
Captions – These are pieces of written text that are used to give the external audience information or guidance. This information usually indicates a time or place and acts as a ‘visual’ shorthand. Puts the audience in the ‘privileged’ position of the ‘spectator’.
CGI – These are c omputer g enerated i mages that are often used to create an effect that cannot be shot due to expense or practicality – the foundation of most modern action movies. CGI and blue-screen work create the fantastical and make the impossible probable and believable.
Special Effects are produced during the shooting/production stage, and would include stunts and pyrotechnics, whilst
Visual Effects are produced during the editing or post-production phase.