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Mise-en-scene

An introduction to mise-en-scene, the visual elements within a scene
by

Patrick Wimp

on 11 January 2012

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Transcript of Mise-en-scene

Pronounced:
MEES ON SEN

The arrangement and impact of the visual elements within the scene
Comes from FRENCH theatrical term
What does this include?
EVERYTHING
The Frame, lighting, positioning of the actors, set dressing, space outside the frame, colors, movement, EVERYTHING.
Discussed in CRITICAL ANALYSIS, not FILMMAKING
THE FRAME
Defines the world of the film
Shapes what we see on screen
THREE-DIMENSIONAL SPACE confined into a TWO-DIMENSIONAL IMAGE
We are working in MOTION PICTURES!!!
Our frames can MOVE, CHANGE and RE-DEFINE themselves through CAMERA MOVEMENT
The film’s ASPECT RATIO is the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the frame.
TV - 1.33:1 or 4:3
FILM, - 1.85:1
Anamorphic - 2.35:1, 2.39:1, OR 2.4:1
We can use objects within the frame to MASK various elements and create FRAMES within the film FRAME
KAY ADAMS – She is outside the frame of Michael’s life here in the Godfather. The frame is cut down by the black space on the left, forcing us to look at the action within the door frame. Kay is left outside this door and as such outside her husbands new life.
Changes the effect of the image on the audience
POSITIONING
position within the frame comments on characters and objects found within
CENTER FRAMING
traditional and obvious choice for an object that requires our attention
Not as dramatic
REALISTIC vs. FORMALISTIC
Subject attracts our attention but without artistic flair
Creates an "OFF Balance" feeling which can be useful in shots like this one
TOP OF THE FRAME
Suggests POWER
Lower in frame suggest SERVITUDE
Just like in real life, HEIGHT/SIZE suggests dominance.
EDGE OF FRAME
Mystery
Darkness
unknown
insignificance
Trapped by frame
OFF FRAME
Characters or objects are intentionally not shown to create suspence
JAWS, Predator
We know something is coming but can't
RULE OF THIRDS
DOMINANT CONTRAST
Also called the DOMINANT, it is the object that immediately attracts our attention.
Acheived through LIGHTING, COLOR or POSITIONING within the frame.
SUBSIDIARY CONTRAST
- Where our eye goes next.
EVERYTHING WE SEE IN A FILM FRAME IS CAREFULLY PLACED AND ORCHESTRATED FOR THE VIEWER. OUR EYE IS GUIDED FROM ONE PIECE OF THE IMAGE TO ANOTHER TO FULFILL A WELL THOUGHT OUT DRAMATIC SEQUENCE OF IMAGES.
BATMAN IMAGE – Initial Focus on Bale, secondary thought is his alter ego of Batman, looming over him
Audience attention will focus on smaller visual elements that they know can be dramatically important to the scene or story. Things that carry a stronger dramatic weight.
Dominance through MOVEMENT
Movement within the frame guides our eye and creates dominance
Different directors will use movement to shift our attention to a variety of dramatic elements
VISUAL WEIGHT
One of the primary principals of image and cinematography is that different characters or objects and their placement within the frame carry with them a different visual weight. These elements can then be arranged and rearranged to create BALANCE or IMBALANCE within the frame. We use this to suggest different things about the film or it’s characters.
Patton – Imbalance creates balance
Top Heavy – Elements like the sky can weigh down on an image, forcing our eye downward onto a subject.
Negative Space – Empty or unfilled space in the mise en scene, often acting as a foil to the more detailed elements in a shot.
STRUCTURE
The skeletal structure of an image also makes allusions about the subjects found within. Often times you can find objects arranged in an “X” or “S” shape within photos and movies. Different arrangements hold different meanings.
Doubles or Two-shots suggest a pairing, partnership or bond. The characters are sharing the space of the frame on a semi-intimate level
Triangles – Create an interplay among three players.

Friends, enemies, lovers, etc
Territorial Space or 3-D Space
In film, 3-D space is compressed into a 2-D image. We manipulate objects in the FOREGROUND, MIDGROUND and BACKGROUND to comment on one another—usually the subject of the shot is placed in the midground and the f.g. and b.g objects comment on that subject
SPATIAL DOMINANCE

As we see in real life, dominant and controlling organisms occupy a greater space than those who are beneath them
FUll Front or Direct Address
Profile
Quarter turn
POSTIONING THE ACTOR
The way the actor is positioned toward the camera has a dramatic effect on their attitude towards the world and those around them.
BACK to CAMERA
CLOSED OR OPEN FRAME – TIGHT OR LOOSE
Create different impressions and have effect on how we feel about the characters within.--Tighter shots used to entrap or imprison. We are literally locked in with a character and feel the claustrophobia that would come with being enclosed or on top of someone. GIRL INTERRUPTED.--In a more open frame with wider open spaces, there is a greater feeling of freedom. Perfectly exemplified here in SHAWSHANK—he is free and the world is open to him.
PROXEMIC PATTERNS
Exist in Cinema and SOCIALLY
Deal with proximity between subjects--i.e. "personal space"
Closeness of body reflects intimacy of relationship
INTIMATE, PERSONAL, SOCIAL, Public
PROXIMITY IN SHOTS
These proxemic patterns are reflected in the way we feel about various shots. A close up is generally more intimate while a wide shot allows us to be a bit more neutral, observing and commenting on the action within the frame.
High/low Key
High/low Color
High/low Contrast
ANALYSIS
What is the DOMINANT?
Lighting? High or low key/contrast?
Angle?
Color Values—dominant colors?
Lens/filter/film stock? (more exemplified in Breathless)
Subsidiary contrasts—where does our eye go next?
Density—how much information is packed in the frame? What is it’s texture?
Composition—what does the positioning of objects say?
Realistic oR Formalistic?
Framing – Tight/loose?
Depth—How is the 3-D space compressed in the image? Is it deep or flat?
Character Placement
Eye Lines (Staging Positions in Book)
Character Proximity
NEXT CLASS - CAMERA PT. 1
MID-TERM STUDY GUIDE

HD - 1.78:1 OR 16:9
3/4 Turn
Varying degrees:
An "enemy" can invade a person's space to add tension
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