An introduction to technical codes (MS1)

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Information about An introduction to technical codes (MS1)

Published on March 3, 2014

Author: CrispySharp



A look at what different camera angles and editing are available to filmmakers and how they can be understood - using World War Z as an example

Technical Codes What is the grammar of cinema & television?

Technical codes • Filmmakers control what the audience focus on and therefore every shot is chosen for a reason. • Changing how an object or person is framed can drastically alter how audiences react to that character / object • There is no such thing as neutral.

Establishing Shot • An Establishing Shot lets the viewer know where the action is taking place – it can also give a feel for the type of location the character might spend time

Long Shot • A Long Shot shows a large distance and makes a character symbolically small within a space

Full Shot • A Full Shot shows the character from head to toe and allows them to feel part of their surroundings

Mid Shot • The Mid-shot is the most emotionally neutral and reflects ‘normal’ conversation distance

Close Up • A Close Up shows the emotion in a character’s face. It is an intimate shot and normally allows us to relate to a person.

Extreme close up • An Extreme Close Up is incredibly intense and shows a moment of action or suspense. We hardly ever get this close to people in real life.

Focus • Shallow focus can highlight the emotion of a character and ‘bring them out’ of a location (more artistic) • Deep focus can add a distance between characters and their surroundings and make them feel small or insignificant (more realistic)

High Angle Vs. Low Angle • High Angle – looks down on a character reducing their importance or strength • Low Angle – looks up at a character increasing their domination of the frame

Mini Quiz What type of shot is this and what is a possible ‘reading’?

Reminder • When analysing a frame it is important to think about Distance / Focus and Angle • When analysing filmmaking it is important to focus on Duration / Movement and Edit

Duration Different shot durations have different uses: • Quick Editing is used to create action and excitement. Often the viewer is tricked into thinking they have seen more than they really have • Slow Editing is used to create emotional attachment to the onscreen action. For example, a moving dramatic scene or lengthy conversations

Camera Movement From A Fixed Point With Movement • Hand-Held – shaky as if • Pan – moving left & right the point of view is in the action (realistic) • Tilt – moving up & down • Tracking – smoothly on • Zoom – moving in & out tracks or with a steadicam to provide a distance from viewer (artistic)

Editing (Techniques) Editing is the name of the process that puts moving images in order. Some useful examples are: • Match Cut – graphically (or with audio) linking two shots together to create a higher meaning(Jump Cut) • Jump Cut – purposefully jolting the action forward normally to convey waiting around (Match Cut) • Cutaway – showing an important object or person away from the main action / main character’s eye line

Editing (Transitions) A transition is an obvious edit between two scenes: • Fade to Black – signals the end of a scene • Cross dissolve – shows the passing of time • Wipe – usually means “Meanwhile…”

An Example

World War Z The Framing of a Hero…

Establishing Shot

Mid Shot (4 shot)

Close Up (2 Shot)

Close Up (2 Shot)

Extreme Close Up

Close Up

Low Angle

Mid Shot

Long Shot

Extreme Close Up

Over Shoulder Shot

Low Angle

(slightly) High Angle

Your turn! • In pairs / groups, watch a film trailer and comment on the types of camera angles / editing being used: o Distance o Movement o Focus o Editing o Angle o Duration • What does this say about the genre of the film and how is the audience supposed to read these ‘codes’ • Make ten bullet points / screen shots and we will watch them together next week…

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