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Film techniques


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A presentation that can be used to introduce students to some of the techniques used in film. Includes camera shots and angles, sound, lighting, mise-en-scene.

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Film techniques

  1. 1. • Cinematography • Mise-en-scene • Lighting • Sound
  2. 2. • Cinematography refers to the art of photography and camerawork in filmmaking. Types of shots: • Close-up • Medium shot • Wide shot (also called a long shot) • Low angle • High angle • Straight angle • Canted or oblique (tilted) Camera angles can be used to communicate meaning and emotion about characters.
  3. 3. EXAMPLES Angelina Jolie in a close-up shot
  4. 4. Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta in a medium shot from Pulp Fiction
  5. 5. An extreme-long shot
  6. 6. Low angle
  7. 7. Daniel Craig in James Bond 007 – A high angle shot
  8. 8. Straight angle – The shot is looking straight at the subject
  9. 9. A canted shot (also called an oblique or tilted shot)
  10. 10. Mise-en-scene refers to the what is shown in the camerashot. It includes everything that is known about the set and everything set before the camera. It used to create meaning in the film. In other words, it is how a scene is put together to make an image as a part of the overall film.
  11. 11. Lighting refers to how a scene or shot is lighted. Lighting is used to create mood and feeling. There are different types of lighting used, but one important type is called chiaroscuro. The word ‘Chiaroscuro’ has Italian and Latin origins and was first made popular in Renaissance art. Basically, chiaroscuro refers to strong contrast between light and dark. It was a very popular style of lighting in the 1950s and in film-noir. A still from the film-noir ‘Chinatown’ – starring Jack Nicholson.
  12. 12. Sound is used extensively in films. Depending on the film, there could be a soundtrack, made up of tracks from various popular artists. There could also be a score, which is music that has been especially made for the film. A score is usually orchestra music. Films that have their own score include the Batman Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the Harry Potter films, The Pirates of the Caribbean films. Sound in film extends beyond music however. There are sound effects also. Sound effects range from the screeching of a tyre in a car chase to electronic sounds in Transformers films. A film score attempts to keep to the mood and story of a film. For example, The Pirates of the Caribbean is an adventure film with action and epic scenes. As such, the score is largely fast-paced and lively. Part of the score from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  13. 13. Diegetic sound: Diegetic sound refers to any sound of which the source can be seen on-screen or can be heard by the characters in the film. For example, if the character in a film were listening to music the sound would be diegetic. Other diegetic sound could include running water in a sink, a car driving by, and birds singing (there are many more). Non-diegetic: Non-diegetic sounds refers to any sound that the audience alone can hear and the characters within the film cannot. A film’s score would be an example of this. The audience can hear the music but the film’s character(s) cannot.