3 Ways to Read a Film • Literary aspects – the elements that film shares with literature. • Plot, characters, setting, theme, point-of-view, recurring images and symbols • Dramatic aspects- the elements that film shares with live drama. • Actors, dialogue, costumes, make-up, sets, directors • Cinematic aspects- the elements unique to film. • Cinematography, sound, editing, special visual effects
Cinematography • Art and technology of motion-picture photography. • It includes the composition of a scene (types of shots), camera work (focus, angles and movement), and lighting of the set and actors.
The Shot • A single, uninterrupted piece of film
The Shot Get out your paper cameras!
Types of Shots • Cinematic shots are defined by the amount of subject matter in the frame. • The 3 main framing shots are the long shot, the close-up and the medium shot.
Long Shot • The object on the screen appears small or appears to be seen from some distance away. • This type of shot can show the setting, the character’s relationship to the setting or the character’s relationship to other characters.
Long Shot This extreme long shot shows the setting of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. What can we see?
Long Shot This long shot shows the main character in the setting of Austin Powers. What can we see?
The Long Shot Get out your paper cameras!
Close Shot (Close-up) • A shot in which the subject takes up nearly 80% of the frame and appears very large. • This type of shot directs our attention to the subject or object in the frame in order to tell us something about it, show us what is important or engage us.
Close Shot (Close-up) A close-up of an object in A Saint in London. What’s important here? A close-up of two characters in New Moon. What does the director want us to see?
Close Shot (Close-up) A close-up of a character in Bride of Frankenstein. What’s important here? A close-up of a character in The Shining. What can we say about this character?
The Close-up Shot Get out your paper cameras!
Medium Shot • In between a long shot and close shot – people are seen from about the waist up. • The type of shot has no obvious cinematic effect.
Medium Shot The main character in Legally Blonde.
Medium Shot Characters meeting in The Talented Mr. Ripley.
The Medium Shot Get out your paper cameras!
Types of Focus • A director can play with focus in order to communicate something to the audience. • There are 3 types of focus: soft focus, rack focus and deep focus.
Soft Focus • This type of focus blurs an image ever so slightly, giving it a “soft” texture. • This technique can be used to soften an actor’s features, to enhance the romantic quality of a scene or to communicate uncertainty.
Soft Focus Classic Hollywood actresses like Greta Garbo used to insist on soft focus for their close-ups.
Soft Focus Soft focus is used to help create mood in romantic films like Romeo and Juliet.
Soft Focus Hitchcock used soft focus to make this character in Vertigo look ghostly,the way the main character saw her.
Rack Focus • This technique is used to bring either the background or the foreground suddenly into focus. • The focus actually shifts during the scene from one subject to another to direct the viewer’s attention.
Rack Focus In these frames, an object in the foreground is brought into focus. Why?
Rack Focus In these frames, characters in the background are brought into focus. Why?
Deep Focus • In deep focus, all objects in the foreground, as well as in the background, remain in focus. • Some critics say deep focus gives a greater sense of reality since in real life we can choose what to look at.
Deep Focus The person in the background is small but in focus in this frame from Citizen Kane.
Deep Focus All of the characters in this scene from The Last Picture Show are equally in focus.
Camera Angles • The director must decide how to position the camera in relation to the subject. • She can choose low, high, eye-level or Dutch angle.
Low Angle Shot • The camera is below the subject, which exaggerates size and strength.
Low Angle Shot In this scene from Land of the Lost, the main character is filmed from below to look powerful and in control.
Low Angle Shot A typical low angle shot from Bad Boys. The characters seem capable.
Low Angle Shot What is the effect of this low angle shot from Dr. Zhivago?
The Low Angle Get out your paper cameras!
High Angle Shot • The camera is above the subject, which presents objects as smaller, weaker or having less control.
High Angle Shot A slightly high angle shot making this character from Alice in Wonderland look smaller than she would at eye-level.
High Angle Shot What effect does the use of the high angle shot have on this character from Psycho?
The High Angle Get out your paper cameras!
Eye-level Shot • The camera is at eye-level with the subject. This shot, like the medium range shot, is another “neutral” shot, and the most natural.
Eye-level Shot In this scene from Pretty Woman, the characters are mostly at eye-level with each other and with the viewer.
Eye Level Get out your paper cameras!
Dutch Angle Shot • In this shot, the camera is tilted to give a slightly off-kilter or “canted” angle to the subject. • The image on the screen appears sideways, to one extent or another, within the frame. • This shot is often used to shed light on a menacing character, show danger or create tension.
Dutch Angle Shot In the old Batman and Robin TV series, every villain had his own angle.
Dutch Angle Shot The Dutch angle adds a touch of evil to these characters from Battlefield Earth.
Dutch Angle Get out your paper cameras!
Camera Movement • The way the camera moves also contributes to the cinematic effect of a scene. • The camera can pan, tilt, zoom or be hauled on a dolly.
Pan • The camera pivots along the horizontal axis. • The pan is often used to introduce a setting.
Pan A pan usually moves from left to right, but in this scene from Rear Window, the pan is from right to left.
Pan Get out your paper cameras!