Film Analysis

From Angl-Am
Jump to: navigation, search


Getting Started: Shot (a single run of the camera or the piece of film resulting from such a run) vs. Sequence (a dramatic unit composed of several shots, all linked together by their emotional and narrative momentum) vs. Scene (a dramatic unit composed of a single or several sequences; usually takes place in a continuous time period, in the same setting, and involves the same characters).

(1) Camera Distance

  • the establishing shot: an establishing shot sets up, or "establishes" (or introduces), a scene's setting and/or its participants, mostly used in the form of an extreme long shot (panorama) of a landscape at the beginning of a movie
  • extreme long shot (ELS): mostly a panorama view showing a film's landscape/setting, often used as an establishing shot
  • long shot (LS): typically shows the entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in some relation to its surroundings
  • medium long shot (MLS):
  • medium shot (MS): typically shows a person's waist or hip, e.g. in Western Movies the cowboy's hip and the gun
  • medium close-up (MCU):
  • close-up (CU): tightly frames a person or object; the most common close-ups are ones of actors' faces
  • extreme close-up (ECU): focuses on a single feature of an object or subject
  • Zoom: A shot in which the magnification of the objects by the camera's lenses is increased (zoom in) or decreased (zoom out/back)

(2) Camera Angle: the location of the camera, and what can be seen with it

  • extreme low angle
  • low angle: a shot from a camera positioned low on the vertical axis, often at knee height, looking up
  • normal camera height
  • high angle: the camera is located high (often above head height) and the shot is angled downwards
  • bird’s eye view: a shot looking directly down on the subject
  • Dutch angles: a shot composed with the horizon not parallel with the bottom of the frame

(3) Camera Movement

  • pan (swish pan): The action of rotating a camera about its vertical axis
  • tilt: The action of rotating the camera either up or down
  • tracking shot: The action of moving a camera along a path parallel to the path of the object being filmed
  • crane shot: A shot taken by a camera on a crane; often used to show the actors/action from above

(4) Camera

  • hand-held camera: a film and video technique in which a camera is literally held in the camera-operator's hands - as opposed to being placed on a tripod
  • Steadicam: A camera attached to a camera operator via a mechanical harness which reduces or eliminates the unsteadiness of the operator's motion
  • static camera: The camera is fixed on one position and one perspective and does not move even if the actors move out of the frame

(5) Lens Type

  • wide-angle lens: a lens whose focal length is substantially shorter than the focal length of a normal lens for the image size produced by the camera, whether this is dictated by the dimensions of the image frame at the film plane for film cameras or dimensions of the photosensor for digital cameras

(6) Lighting

  • low key: little illumination on the subject
  • high key: bright illumination of the subject

(7) Deep focus: A shot in which both the foreground and the background are in focus; a shot with exceptional depth of field

(8) Editing: Reconstructing the sequence of events in a movie

  • Cut: A "cut" of a movie is also a complete edited version
  • fade out/in: A smooth, gradual transition from a normal image to complete blackness (fade out), or vice versa (fade in)
  • dissolve: An editing technique whereby the images of one shot is gradually replaced by the images of another
  • wipe: An editing technique in which images from one shot are fully replaced by the images of another, delimited by a definite border that moves across or around the frame
  • Parallel Editing/Cross cutting: an editing technique used in films to establish continuity; the camera will cut away from one action to another action

(9) Two diametrically opposed editing principles

  • Montage: an artistic device for creating the artistic "look" or "feel" of a scene, through the use of visual editing; often contrasted with mise-en-scène
  • Long Take: an uninterrupted shot in a film which lasts much longer than the conventional editing pace either of the film itself or of films in general, usually lasting several minutes

(10) Time:

  • Flash-forward: a scene that breaks the chronological continuity of the main narrative by depicting events which happen in the future
  • Flashback: a scene that breaks the chronological continuity of the main narrative by depicting events which happened in the past

(11) Colour-coding: a system for displaying information by using different colors

(12) Tying everything up: Mise en scène — an image’s setting, subjects, composition, colour, camera angles, positioning of objects and subjects etc. The analysis of a mise en scène focuses on one (specific) scene, whereas the term "mise en cadre" refers to the analysis of a film still/frame/film capture, regardless to the content of the film. However, these two terms are often used as synonyms.

(13) DV = Digital video: a type of video recording system that works by using a digital, rather than analog, representation of the video signal


(1) Sound Effects / Natural Sounds:

  • Sourced Sound / Diegetic Sound: any sound where the source is visible on the screen, or is implied to be present by the action of the film
  • Unsourced Sound / Off-Screen Sound: also called "commentary sound"; represented as coming from a source outside the story space, i.e. its source is neither visible on the screen, nor has been implied to be present in the action

(2) Music:

  • Source Music / Diegetic Music / Local Music
  • Unsourced Music / Non-Diegetic Music / Background Music

(3) The Spoken Voice:

  • Dialogue
  • Monologue
  • Voice-Over: indicates that a dialogue will be heard on a movie's soundtrack, but the speaker will not be shown
  • Narrator: comments on or introduces the narrative
  • Dubbing: post-recording the voice-track in the studio, the actors matching their words to the on-screen lip movements; not confined to foreign-language dubbing

(4) Sound bridges: Adding to continuity through sound, by running sound (narration, dialogue or music) from one shot across a cut to another shot to make the action seem uninterrupted

(5) The use of songs

Further Links

General Film Sites