Starting your course with the introduction to film language is a good idea. As it links to all aspects of the course – it’s a key area of Film Studies So you can use the analysis of language to discuss genre and its importance to the industry perhaps. Again ensuring students link the various areas of the course together.
SLIDE FIRST So really macro are the bigger aspects of film language, the key concepts that the smaller details (the micro aspects) describe. So basically when your students are analysing the use of camera they should also be thinking what it tells them about the type of film they are watching. When they are considering the pace of the editing in a particular sequence, they will also be thinking how the pace of the narrative is effected. Representation is an important concept but it doesn’t fit as neatly into the macro area of film language. The way people and places are represented though and the messages received by audiences is important in all areas of the course, especially for paper 2, where representation is such an important feature. we’re now going to focus on each micro aspect.
Cinematography refers to the way the camera is used , the visuals of a film basically; so camera shots, camera movement, depth of focus and the use of lighting ( though I tend to do lighting and colour as part of mise en scene as it fits there too). the use of the camera hugely effects our reading of a film through: the choice of shots the movement of the camera ( read point 2 on slide) The angle the Director chooses to show us the action from, the depth of focus on a characters reaction, the viewpoint we are given through the choice of shot - all reveal how the Director wants us to view this particular character or situation.
MAYBE DISUCSS WHAT EACH SHOT IS - WHEN USED?
CLIP – THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. HOW DOES THE USE OF CAMERA INCREASE TENSION AND RELATE TO THE DISASTER MOVIE GENRE?
Another disaster movie – The Titanic, shows the other important thing about editing – what different shots is it editing between? And what effect does this have on the audience – why is this scene included – is it a convention of the disaster genre? (Dissolve – scenes still connected, fade – end of a part of narrative)
French word meaning everything in the frame – so where you need to consider the details of the set. Surprising amount of detail you don’t notice that links to genre and narrative.
DISCUSS DETAILS IN THIS IMAGE WHAT CLUES ARE THERE THAT THIS IS A DISASTER FILM?
(slide) Lighting and colour can be used to create a certain atmosphere or mood and can even be used symbolically. Certainly directors are aware of the power of cultural connotations - for example if I say WHITE? - what associations immediately come to mind… or RED? Certain genres use colour more obviously than others and you have probably already noticed colours used in sci-fi? Horror? (slide) filmmakers use colour and lighting effects to make audiences well aware of the kind of film they are watching and when teaching your students the basics of film language, here’s what you need to know about lighting effects: The basic organisation of lighting looks like this ( refer to overhead ) The KEY LIGHT is the term for a powerful light that casts sharp, black shadows behind the things it illuminates. It’s the main source of light in a scene. FILL LIGHTS can be used to soften these shadows and basically fill them in. More or less of these will be used depending on whether images are to be sharp or soft. If people or objects are lit from behind it makes them stand out from the background and they become more prominent. Underlighting (from below) and toplighting create different kinds of shadow (egs) There are two main ways of describing the use of these lights - HIGH KEY LIGHTING - means the use a lots of fill lights along with the key lights so everything is brightly lit and there are few shadows. This is the style you would expect in romantic comedies, youth pictures, the colour you’d expect from a glossy Hollywood film.. LOW KEY LIGHTING - uses fewer fills, so more shadows are created with definite pools of light interspersed - you might associate this with horror films and is the style of lighting associated with film noir.
Look at sound in The Devil’s Backbone
Isn't as difficult to discuss as you might think – identify when special effects are used. Is going to be a particularly interesting area to discuss in regards to disaster films and can link to industry ( the more money, the more highly developed special effects.) But can also lead to debates – to cgi or not to cgi – some film-makers are rejecting the trend. ( Casino Royale) You just need to be able to identify when and where special effects are being used – you don’t always have to be right – difficult where cgi is concerned, but extras on DVDs are a good source if you want to look into further. THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
APPROACHES TO TEACHING FILM LANGUAGE
Introduction to film language=an introduction to the course <ul><li>Here students will learn the basic tools of analysis that they will need in the exams, in coursework and learn the language they should get used to using whenever they talk about films. </li></ul><ul><li>Through the analysis of clips and discussing each other’s film viewing, aspects of industry can also be introduced. </li></ul><ul><li>Non-Hollywood films could be used to analyse micro aspects, a gentle introduction to different kinds of films. </li></ul><ul><li>Watching film clips means you are not really working – doesn’t it!? </li></ul>
MACRO and MICRO elements of film language <ul><li>MACRO - </li></ul><ul><li>GENRE </li></ul><ul><li>NARRATIVE </li></ul><ul><li>(REPRESENTATION) </li></ul><ul><li>MICRO – </li></ul><ul><li>CINEMATOGRAPHY </li></ul><ul><li>SOUND </li></ul><ul><li>EDITING </li></ul><ul><li>MISE EN SCENE </li></ul><ul><li>SPECIAL EFFECTS </li></ul>
Cinematography <ul><li>Refers to the visual aspects of a film’s language </li></ul><ul><li>Camera shots and movement can give us clear indications of emotion, motive and give audiences clues as to things that may be about to happen. </li></ul><ul><li>It is important that your students can identify shots and consider how the choices made impact on the narrative. </li></ul>
Camera movement <ul><li>Pan (side to side) </li></ul><ul><li>Tilt (up and down) </li></ul><ul><li>Whip pan </li></ul><ul><li>Crane shot </li></ul><ul><li>Tracking shot </li></ul><ul><li>It’s important students practise identifying these shots and link to their developing knowledge of genre and narrative. </li></ul>
Editing <ul><li>Students often find editing a difficult concept to discuss but basically analysing editing is about: </li></ul><ul><li>How it changes the pace of the narrative </li></ul><ul><li>What the editing technique used tells us about where the narrative is. </li></ul><ul><li>Lots of techniques to use but most common – </li></ul><ul><li>STRAIGHT CUT </li></ul><ul><li>FADE </li></ul><ul><li>DISSOLVE </li></ul><ul><li>Others – wipe, jump cut </li></ul>
LIGHTING & COLOUR <ul><li>Is used to create mood and atmosphere </li></ul><ul><li>Positioning of lights creates different effects </li></ul><ul><li>High key lighting </li></ul><ul><li>Low key lighting </li></ul>
Sound <ul><li>The world of the film as we see it on the cinema screen is known as the DIEGETIC world. </li></ul><ul><li>When we watch a film the sound we hear can be DIEGETIC OR NON-DIEGETIC. </li></ul><ul><li>DIEGETIC SOUND is sound that is part of the film world. </li></ul><ul><li>NON-DIEGETIC sound is sound that is not recognised as part of the film world – e.g. voice over, background music </li></ul><ul><li>PARALLEL SOUND – sound which compliments the visual image. </li></ul><ul><li>CONTRAPUNTAL SOUND – sound which does not fit with the image but helps to create new meanings. </li></ul>
Sound & Genre <ul><li>Elements of sound reveal key aspects of genre to an audience </li></ul><ul><li>Sound is important in informing us about the time in which a film is set or the kind of action we can expect </li></ul><ul><li>Certain types of music have become synonymous with particular genres </li></ul>
Sound & Narrative <ul><li>Voice overs allow us to see things from a particular character’s point of view </li></ul><ul><li>They are often used to introduce and ‘round up’ the narrative </li></ul><ul><li>SOUND BRIDGES aid continuity as sound from one sequence carries on into the next </li></ul>
Special effects <ul><li>Know what different kinds of special effects exist and what they are: </li></ul><ul><li>CGI </li></ul><ul><li>Stunts & explosions </li></ul><ul><li>Animatronics & models </li></ul>
SUMMARY <ul><li>Understanding and applying film language is key to your student’s success on this course </li></ul><ul><li>Give them plenty of time to apply their knowledge through analysing clips as a class or in groups but also consider- individual presentations if you have confident students. </li></ul><ul><li>Putting their knowledge into practise also re-enforces learning and gives you an opportunity to start them on some coursework ( i.e. make some film clips of your own!) </li></ul>