REPRESENTATION IN TV DRAMA
This unit will focus on how the TV dramas represent particular social groups through use of camera,
editing, sound and mise en scene (everything in the frame).
You will be shown a five minute clip from a TV drama (shown 4 times) and asked to answer
With reference to the CAMERA, EDITING, SOUND AND MISE EN SCENE,
discuss how ........................ is represented in this clip.
The possible representations under question are:
Physical ability / disability
Class / status
Aerial Shot – A camera shot taken from an overhead position. Often used as an establishingshot.
Close Up – A head and shoulders shot often used to show expressions/emotions of acharacter. Also
can be a shot of an object, filmed from close to the object or zoomed in to it,that reveals detail.
Extreme Close Up – A shot where a part of a face or body of a character fills the
wholeframe/dominates the frame. Also can be a shot of an object where only a small part of
itdominates the frame.
Establishing Shot – A shot that establishes a scene, often giving the viewer informationabout where
the scene is set. Can be a close up shot (of a sign etc) but is often a wide/longshot and usually
appears at the beginning of a scene.
Medium Shot – the framing of a subject from waist up.
Two Shot – A shot of two characters, possible engaging in conversation. Usually tosignify/establish
some sort of relationship
Point-Of-View Shot (POV) – Shows a view from the subject’s perspective. This shot isusually edited
so that the viewer is aware whose point of view it is.
Over the Shoulder Shot – looking from behind a character’s shoulder, at a subject. Thecharacter
facing the subject usually occupies 1/3 of the frame but it depends on whatmeaning the director
wants to create (for example, if the subject is an inferior character, thecharacter facing them may
take up more of the frame to emphasise this).
Overhead Shot – a type of camera shot in which the camera is positioned above thecharacter, action
or object being filmed.
Reaction Shot – a shot that shows the reaction of a character either to another character oran event
within the sequence.
Camera Angle – the position of the camera in relation to the subject of a shot. The cameramight be
at a high angle, a low angle or at eye level with what is being filmed.
High Angle – A camera angle that looks down upon a subject or object. Often used to makethe
subject or object appear small or vulnerable.
Low Angle – A camera angle that looks up at a subject or object. Often used to make
thesubject/object appear powerful/dominant.
Canted framing (or oblique) – camera angle that makes what is shot appear to be skewedor tilted.
Pan – Where the camera pivots horizontally, either from right to left or left to right to reveala set or
setting. This can be used to give the viewer a panoramic view. Sometimes used toestablish a scene.
Track - a shot where the camera follows a subject/object. The tracking shot can includesmooth
movements forward, backward, along the side of the subject, or on a curve butcannot include
complex movement around a subject. ‘Track’ refers to rails in which awheeled platform (which has
the camera on it) sits on in order to carry out smoothmovement.
Crane – A crane shot is sometimes used to signify the end of a scene/ programme /film. Theeffect is
achieved by the camera being put onto a crane that can move upward.
Stedicam - A steadicam is a stabilising mount for a camera which mechanically isolates theoperator's
movement from the camera, allowing a very smooth shot even when theoperator is moving quickly
over an uneven surface. Informally, the word may also be used torefer to the combination of the
mount and camera.
Tilt - where a camera scans a set or setting vertically (otherwise similar to a pan).
Zoom – Using a zoom lens to appear to be moving closer to (zoom in) or further away from(zoom
out) a subject/object when in fact the camera may not move (so, strictly not cameramovement). Can
be used for dramatic effect.
Editing – the stage in the film-making process in which sound and images are organised intoan
Continuity Editing – the most common type of editing, which aims to create a sense ofreality and
time moving forward. Also nick named invisible editing referring to how thetechnique does not draw
attention to the editing process.
Jump Cut – An abrupt, disorientating transitional device in the middle of a continuous shot inwhich
the action is noticeably advanced in time and/or cut between two similar shots,usually done to
create discontinuity for artistic effect.
Credits – the information at the beginning and end of a film, which gives details of cast andcrew etc.
Cross Cutting – the editing technique of alternating, interweaving, or interspersing onenarrative
action (scene, sequence or event) with another – usually in different locations orplaces, thus
combining the two: this editing technique usually suggests Parallel action (thattakes place
simultaneously). Often used to dramatically build tension and/or suspense inchase scenes or to
compare two different scenes. Also known as inter-cutting or parallelediting.
Cutaways – A brief shot that momentarily interrupts continuous action by briefly insertinganother
related action. Object, or person (sometimes not part of the principle scene or mainaction), followed
by a cutback to the original shot.
Freeze Frame – the effect of seemingly stopping a film in order to focus in on one event orelement.
Eye-line Match – a type of edit which cuts from one character to what that character hasbeen
Flashback – a scene or moment in a film in which the audience is shown an event thathappened
earlier in the film’s narrative.
Shot Reverse-Shot— Edits which switch back and forth between two characters interactingwith
Slow Motion – indicates intensity or importance of an action.
Graphic Match – an edit effect in which two different objects of the same shape aredissolved from
one into the other.
Juxtaposition – the placement of two (often opposed) images on either side of an edit tocreate an
Linear Narrative – a style of storytelling in which events happen chronologically.
Montage Editing – the juxtaposition of seemingly unconnected images in order to createmeaning.
Parallel Editing – a type of editing in which events in two locations are cut together, in orderto imply
a connection between the two sets of events.
Visual Effects - visual effects are usually used to alter previously-filmed elements by
adding,removing or enhancing objects within the scene.
Match on Action - A shot that emphasises continuity of space and time by matching theaction of the
preceding shot with the continuation of the action. (For example a shot of adoor opening after a
shot of a close up of a character’s hand turning a door handle)
Diegetic Sound – sound that can be heard by the characters within a scene/ sound part ofthe
Non-diegetic Sound – sound that the characters cannot hear and is not part of theimaginary world
of the story. This includes a musical soundtrack or a voiceover (howeverthis excludes a narration by
a character within the story – referred to as an internalmonologue and is diegetic).
Score – The musical component of a programme’s soundtrack, usually composed specificallyfor the
Sound Effects – sounds that are added to a film during the post-production stage.
Sound Motif- A sound effect or combination of sound effects that are associated with aparticular
character, setting, situation or idea.
Sound Bridge— Can lead in or out of a scene. They can occur at the beginning of one scenewhen the
sound from the previous scene carries over briefly before the sound from the newscene begins.
Dialogue— Words spoken by the characters
Incidental music— non-diegetic sounds which add atmosphere to an action or revelation.
Ambient sound—the background sounds which are present in a scene or location. Commonambient
sounds include wind, water, birds, crowds, office noises, traffic, etc. It performs anumber of
functions including: Providing audio continuity between shots, preventing anunnatural silence when
no other sound is present and establishing or reinforcing the mood.
Sound Perspectives—The sense of a sound's position in space, yielded by volume and pitch.Used to
create a more realistic sense of space, with events happening (that is, coming from)closer or further
Voiceover—When a voice, often that of a character in the film, is heard while we see animage of a
space and time in which that character is not actually speaking. The voice over isoften used to give a
sense of a character's subjectivity or to narrate an event told inflashback.
Mise en Scene—Everything in the frame.
Location— The place where the scene is shot, e.g Paris or the countryside.
Set design—The way the set has been decorated in order to express particularcharacteristics
Costume - The clothing of a character speaks volumes about their personality
Make-Up—As does their make-up
Iconography—The visual style of a piece of film OR the meaning that using a famous actorbrings to a
film or show.
Props - Items that are used by characters in a particular scene
Colour design.—A scene’s colours are very carefully selected in order to give off
Proxemics—Refers to the physical distance between characters
Physicality—The physical presence of an actor and what that brings to a role.
Gesture and Posture— The characters physical movements and what that says about them.
High Key Lighting—Lighting which appears to be natural (but very rarely is). A three
pointlightingsystem is used to reduce shadows and be flattering to the character.
Low Key Lighting—Using a lighting system which intensifies shadows and gives a moody orscary
Back lighting—When a character is lit from behind, thus silhouetting them.