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Film Codes and Conventions

Revision of codes and conventions with examples.

Kayla McCarthy

on 27 September 2012

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Transcript of Film Codes and Conventions

Written Codes and Conventions Symbolic
Codes Objects: can be used to assist in the suspension of disbelief and as plot progression devices.
For example: The ghost-face mask in 'Scream' (Craven, 1996).
Colour: all colours have connotations derived from their context.
For example: White generally symbolises good, where as black is often used for bad/evil.
Clothing: Assists in creating characters and era.
For example: The costumes in Downtown Abbey to show it is set in the early 1900's.
Body Language: Central to develop mood and assist with character creation.
For Example: When Ofelia meets Pan for the first time, we can tell she is afraid as she moves away from him and closes her jacket - see clip.
Setting: Creates a sense of time and place.
For example: In Run Lola Run (Tykwer, 1998) we see Lola at home before she runs to various other settings in 20 minutes. Music - used to assist with the creation of atmosphere.

Dialogue - is used to convey the narrative.

Sound -
Diegetic: is sound that would be expected from the film. If the actor can see, touch or hear it then it is diagetic; such as a door closing.
Non Diegetic: are sounds that are added that the audience can hear but the characters in the film cannot; such as a soundtrack. Audio Codes Lighting: used to create a specific atmosphere. Dark lighting for an ominous feel and light and bright for a cheerful connotation. Technical Codes Norman and Marion in 'Psycho'
(Hitchcock, 1960). Chuck and Sarah practice their vows in 'Chuck vs. The Cliffhanger' (McNeill, 2011). Camera Angles:

High Angle

Eye Level

Low Angle

Undershot Technical Codes All images from lessonbucket.com - Brett Lamb Camera Movements

Tracking: when the camera is following the subject.

Panning: When a camera is mounted on a tripod and moves horizontally (left to right).

Tilting: When a camera is mounted on a tripod and moves vertically (up and down).

Dollying: "A dolly is any sort of moving platform that a camera is mounted on. A ‘dolly in’ is when the camera moves closer to a subject, a ‘dolly out’ is when it moves further away." (Brett Lamb) Technical Codes Framing - also known as shot sizes includes the close up, long shot and medium shot. All shot sizes have a specific function. For example: a close up assists with detail and emotion. Technical Codes For examples, see:


http://lessonbucket.com/filmmaking/cinematography/ Written codes assist in anchoring meaning to an image.

Headlines: assist to narrow the interpretation of an image. They appear in large type at the top of an image and are often written by the copy editor to suit the target audience of the publication.

Captions: appear beneath an image and assist to clarify meaning.

Titles: a title sequence is the way a television
show or film presents its major cast, crew and
the title, the closing credits repeat and cover
the remaining cast.

Speech bubbles: used predominantly in comics
to convey the narrative.

Onomatopoeia: words that are describing the sound they make. Such as boom, pow, zip. Watch Batman clip. Written Codes Watch - The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008) Extras: Sound with Hans Zimmer Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film such as: voices of characters ; sounds made by objects in the story; music represented as coming from instruments in the story space ( = source music). Diegetic sound is any sound presented as originated from source within the film's world. DIEGETIC SOUND Sound whose source is neither visible on the screen nor has been implied to be present in the action such as: narrator's commentary; sound effects which are added for dramatic effect; mood music. Non-diegetic sound is represented as coming from the a source outside story space. NON DIEGETIC SOUND Example of an extreme close-up
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