Because the phrase ‘mise en scène’ describes ‘putting’ something in the picture, it reinforces the idea that films are constructed – nothing appears by chance in the filmic frame. Everything we see is placed carefully so that the audience enters and understands that filmic world – the characters that we see acting out that story and the time and place where the story is set. Exemplify this by creating a freeze frame using volunteer students and costumes and ask the other students to say what’s happening
Do a little role play – as an exmaple of body language
AS Film StudiesAS Film Studies
Unit FM1Unit FM1
Introduction to Micro Features:Introduction to Micro Features:
Mise En SceneMise En Scene
Lesson AimsLesson Aims
By the end of the lesson you will be able to:
• Understand the concept of ‘mise en scene’
• Apply the concept to a film extract
Definition: Mise En SceneDefinition: Mise En Scene
• A French term meaning
what is put into a scene or
• Visual information in front
of the camera
• Communicates essential
information to the
• Made up of particular
elements: Remind me of
what they are?
Everything that we see on screen has
been deliberately put there to make the
meaning - the furniture we see in a
room or the costume that a character is
wearing, or something more subtle such
as the make-up that an actor wears.
Because the phrase ‘mise en scène’
describes ‘putting’ something in the picture,
it reinforces the idea that films are
constructed – nothing appears by chance in
the filmic frame. Everything we see is placed
carefully so that the audience enters and
understands that filmic world – the
characters that we see acting out that story
and the time and place where the story is
The 5 Elements of Mise en SceneThe 5 Elements of Mise en Scene
• Costume, Hair & Make Up
• Facial Expressions & Body Language (performance)
• Lighting & Colour
• Positioning of characters/objects within the frame
Each aspect of mise-en-scene
has hidden meanings within a
film and sends signals to the
audience about how we are
supposed to feel at a certain
1. Settings & Props1. Settings & Props
• Settings & Locations play an important part in film-making
and are not just ‘backgrounds’
• Sets are either built from scratch or a great deal of time is
spent to find a setting which already exists
• Settings can manipulate an audience by building certain
expectations and then taking a different turn
• TASK: What settings and props you would find in:
1. A Science Fiction Film
2. An Action Fiction
3. A Horror Film
Setting can also
suggest the genre, or
type, of film
Settings are where the actions of a film take place. They
can help us understand when and where the film is set. A
film set in the past will have to convey when it is set
through the selection of locations that give the viewer the
impression of a particular period in history. The setting
also needs to be linked to the correct costumes and props.
All of these combined will help create a filmic world to
represent a time in the past that the viewer understands.
Seeing the same character in different settings can also
change our understanding of both the plot and also the
Props are the artefacts used in the film that can be
used in a number of ways
They can be used
to convey a general sense of
the period that the film was
Props can also confirm the
film’s genre, this is also
known as iconography.
The distinguishing elements, in
terms if props and visual
• The scene that you have just watched takes place in a number of locations:
• a) The streets of London
• b) The courtyard of Devonshire House
• c) The hallway of Devonshire House
• d) The bedroom where the Duchess awaits the arrival of her new husband
• 1. Why do you think that the sequence begins with a shot through an archway?
• 2. As the Duke and Duchess drive through the streets of London, what images of the streets are we
shown? What do we see in the streets?
• 3. Why do you think we are shown so many shots of marketplaces?
• 4. How does the courtyard of Devonshire House contrast with what we have previously seen?
• 5. There are two more shots of archways in the scene – firstly as they enter the courtyard in their
carriage and secondly as they enter the house. Why do you think that these two ‘archways’ were
• 6. As they enter the hallway, what feelings and ideas are suggested by the look of the room, in the
eyes of the Duchess and in the eyes of the audience?
• 7. As the Duchess goes up the staircase what impression is given by the arrangement in the frame of
the footmen standing in the hallway?
• 8. How does the look of the bedroom contrast with what we have seen of the rest of Devonshire
• If this scene shows the journey from wedding ceremony to wedding night, how do the various
settings that you see build up a sense of moving from the public to the private?
• This extract shows the journey
of Doctor Nicholas Garrigan
from the medical mission in
Uganda where he is working in
Kampala, the capital of
Uganda and home to the
dictator, Idi Amin.
• Nicholas has already met Amin
and is summoned to the
capital in order to become the
President’s personal physician.
Nicholas is in effect moving
from one world (the mission)
to another (the capital).
• Why do you think that the first shot is of a mosquito on
• Activity 1:
• Describe the mission station where the journey begins.
What impressions do you have about the mission?
• Activity 2:
• As Nicholas drives to Kampala, what other locations are we
shown as he looks out of the window of the car? How does
each location that he sees build up to his arrival in the
• Activity 3:
• How does the capital at the end of his journey contrast
with the mission where he started his journey?
2. Costume, Hair & Make Up2. Costume, Hair & Make Up
• Costume, Hair & Make Up act as an instant
indicator to us of a character’s personality, status
• It tells us immediately whether the film is set in the
present and what society/or culture it will centre
• Certain costumes can signify certain individuals
(i.e. black cloak of a vampire, Spidey’s Spiderman
• 1. Towards the beginning of the scene, we are shown a view of the
people attending the ball. Describe the way in which they are
dressed. What are the predominant colours of their costumes?
• 2. In this shot, pay particular attention to the women’s dresses,
their hairstyles and their jewellery.
• 3. As the Duchess appears, how is she instantly recognised as what
we would nowadays call a ‘fashion icon’? List the ways in which her
costume, hair style, jewellery and make up are different to those of
the women we have seen in the crowd.
• 4. How does the Duchess’ costume help her to stand out in the
• 5. Lady Bess Foster enters into the scene. How does her dress make
us realise she is a key character?
• 6. As Bess and the Duchess talk to each other, how does what they
are wearing help us to make decisions as to their characters?
3. Facial Expressions & Body3. Facial Expressions & Body
• Facial Expressions provide a clear indicator of how someone
• If someone is smiling broadly, we assume they are happy
but we may get a different feeling if this is accompanied by
• Body Language may also indicate how a character feels
towards another character or may reflect the state of their
• TASK: What meanings/emotions do the following images
4. Positioning of Characters & Objects4. Positioning of Characters & Objects
within a framewithin a frame
• Positioning within a frame can draw our
attention to an important character/object
• A film-maker can use positioning to indicate
relationships between people
• TASK: What does the positioning in the
following images reveal about the
• This is a very short sequence. You
should write down what you see
in each individual shot.
1. Once you have done this, think
about the effect of what you are
shown. How do the movements
and the look of the actor create
an atmosphere? What do you
think the atmosphere is of the
2. What are the different
expressions on the actor’s face?
How do they change and at what
point in the action? What
emotion does the actor show in
• Colour carries certain
connotations which may
add meaning to a scene
(i.e. Red = Danger/Passion)
• Can give a scene a
particular look, feel or
• Can be used for dramatic
5. Lighting & Colour5. Lighting & Colour
Lighting & Colour can be used to achieve a variety of effects:
• To highlight important characters or objects
within the frame
• To make characters look mysterious by
shading sections of the face & body
• To reflect a characters mental state/hidden
emotions (i.e. bright = happy, dark =
disturbed, strobe effect = confused
Lighting can be used to create a sense of place, give ideas about the
weather, the state of mind of the character and also for aesthetic or
Types of LightingTypes of Lighting
• LOW KEY LIGHTING:
• Created by using only the key &
• Produces sharp contrasts of
light and dark areas
• Deep, distinct
shadows/silhouettes are formed
Example: Horror Films
Types of LightingTypes of Lighting
• HIGH KEY LIGHTING:
• More filler lights are used.
Lighting is natural and
realistic to our eyes
• Produces brightly lit sets or a
sunny day (right)
What types of lighting are used in theWhat types of lighting are used in the
following images:following images:
TASK: For each image, answer theTASK: For each image, answer the
following questions:following questions:
1. What type of lighting is used in each image (High
or Low Key)?
2. Where are the KEY LIGHTS, FILLER LIGHTS & BACK
LIGHTS in each image?
3. What effects/meanings does the lighting suggest?
• Write 500 words on a short sequence of film
and analyse how MISE-EN-SCENE has been
used to create meaning
• You will be expected to show your clips in
class next week
• If you have the technical know how you could
create a voice over commentary analysis
• DUE THURSDAY 27TH
• When we analyse a sequence in terms of mise
en scène, we need to look at how all the
different elements and techniques work
• - Tell a story
• - Evoke an atmosphere
• - Give the audience information
• - Provoke an audience response
• - Highlight key themes