Published on March 3, 2014
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…”
World War Z The Framing of a Hero…
Mid Shot (4 shot)
Close Up (2 Shot)
Close Up (2 Shot)
Extreme Close Up
Extreme Close Up
Over Shoulder Shot
(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…
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
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