District 9


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Analysis of Opening Film Techniques Employed

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District 9

  1. 1. -District 9 (2009)<br />Film TechniquesExamples of typical film techniques used and why– Illustrate your findings with references to actual onscreen moments. Titling – colour, font style, over image or black, timing, credits presentation etc From 0:00-0:31, two animations are shown that announce the names of the companies that present the movie (TriStar Images and QED International). From 0:32-0:50 the names of the director, the presenting company and the production company are shown on a black background in white font which fades in and out. At 0:51 the scene switches to visual footage.Camera Movement (panning, tracking, crane shot and crabbing etc)From 0:52-0:54 the camera zooms in on the person that is speaking, identifying him as the main character. From 0:57-1:26 the camera is held steady and does not move, allowing us to focus on this character further. In the next shot, a crabbing shot from 1:27-1:38 allows us to see the environment. The zoom-in and the steady shots are repeated again, and at 1:52 we see the scene through a point-of-view shot, which appears to be handheld and is unsteady, making us think that the video was taken by an actor in the film.Framing of Shot (CU, MLS, ELS etc)Medium-close up shots are used to show the characters speaking directly towards the camera; this emphasizes the idea that the film is being shot in a documentary-like fashion. From 1:27-1:38 an extreme long shot is used to show us the spaceship in the background and also the surrounding environment; from this we can learn that the area is poor as it seems to be mainly small houses with large buildings in the background. Camera Angles (high and low angles etcThe majority of the camera angles are shot straight-on or from a distance, making the audience feel equal to the people that are telling the story. However at 2:16, two masked characters are shown from a low angle. As they have just discovered the aliens, we then assume that the angle shows that from the beginning the humans had more power over the other species.Selection of mise-en-scène including colour, figure, pops, lighting, objects, location and setting;All the scenes shot in the offices have high-key lighting with a soft quality of light, making the shadows softer and allowing the audience to feel unthreatened by the people. However when the humans are aboard the spaceship the light is very low key and there are mainly shadows, making it hard to see what is going on and also building tension as we do not know what to expect aboard the ship.The main props used are the microphone that the first character is shown fiddling with at the beginning of the scene, as it allows us to understand that he is a character of some importance (he is appearing in a documentary); and background objects such as books and computers which further set the scene and allow us to understand the characters we are being shown are intelligent and/or important.The location of the film is important as we understand that it is in a city, but not one of the main cities of the world (such as New York) – thus we know straight away that the outcome of the film is going to be different to anything we would expect from a large budget Hollywood film.Editing directions(Match cuts, jump cut, reverse shots etc)Most of the shots in this opening scene are not matched cuts, as they do not lead directly on from each other. The most commonly used shot is a jump cut from scene to scene (i.e. offices to general location to a street to the offices again), although we still understand what is going on because of the background dialogue. This technique makes us more aware that the film is copying the style of a documentary. Sound techniques(diegetic, non diegetic, silence, dialogue There is no background music throughout this entire scene, which emphasizes the ‘documentary’ feel of the movie. There are diegetic sounds such as the man playing with his microphone at the beginning of the scene and the footsteps of the people who enter the spaceship. However there is mainly dialogue – often non-diegetic as it is a voice-over of the footage that is being shown, which talks the audience through what is happening, allowing us to understand more. The language that the man uses when addressing the camera such as “we” instead of “I” gives a strong impression that he is simply recounting a story and was not involved in it personally. Actor’s positioning and movementThe people in the offices that speak directly to the camera are positioned in the centre of the frame, showing their importance in the documentary. Only the character that we are first introduced to moves his arms and upper body (1:12-1:14) to personally involve the viewers, making us aware that he has a large role to play.<br />-The second title seen; the font tells us that it could be a science fiction movie.<br />-1:07; this is a typical shot from the documentary-style scenes. It is a medium shot, level with the character; we can see the background as well as his expressions.<br />-1:33; extreme-long shot shows us the location and environment that the film is going to be set in.<br />