Film makers use a lot of techniques to convey many meanings in their films, every little thing in a film is thought about to tell the audience about the characters and the plot without the characters saying it.
One of the techniques is Mise En Scene. This is to do with the props, costumes, setting, lighting, colour, characters and facial expressions. With props, the directors put any props they think is related to the scene, to either tell the audience about the characters lifestyle or something about the plot. For example, if it’s a scene of someone in their home and they have a chandelier, then you know that the character is wealthy, but without the character actually telling the audience. Costumes do the same, depending on what the character is wearing, you can tell a lot about the character and their lifestyle. For example, if the character is wearing ratty, ripped clothes, then you know they’re not very wealthy. The setting does the same. (Props and costumes don’t just tell the audience about the wealth, it can also tell the audience about their age, job, etc).
Lighting are powerful ways of setting the mood of the scene. Low key lighting shows a tension between characters, and makes the audience feel unnerved as we know somethings wrong, without the characters directly saying it. High key lighting sets a betting, uplifting mood of cheerful and energetic. Back lighting are mainly used in horror films to create a mysterious silhouette, to make the audience feel uneasy and like something bad is going to happen.
Colours can also set the mood of the scene. For instance, if the colours are bright and warm, like pink and yellow, that means it a nice good mood. But, if the colours are red, or dark colours, it sets a bad mood for that audience. However, it’s not always the case. They also can show flash backs, which the colours are usually black and white. And also time passing, as you know in the day time it’s very bright, but at night it’s dark, which signifies the time passing between day and night.
They also think about every camera angle they use. Low angles are used to show that the audience if below the character, to make the audience feel vulnerable and the character look powerful. High angles are used to make the audience feel powerful, looking down on the vulnerable character. Establishing shots are used so that the audience knows where everything is and gives them a sense of space in the scene. A medium shot is to capture the characters emotion, but also the background. Extreme close ups are to only capture the characters emotion. And so on.
Finally, the editing. By editing a film/program quickly it will put the audience on edge, this type of editing is mostly used in horror/thriller films because it makes them feel uncomfortable and scared. Slow editing is mainly used in more of the rom-com’s and, real life movies/programs because it helps you relate to the characters and the film.
Compare two different productions
Community – ‘Digital Exploration of Interior Design’ (Comedy Sketch)
At the start of Community there is no opening display of what happened last week, because most of the episodes don’t continuously follow up from each other. But, there is a slight bit over music going over the top at the start of the scene for around 1 second just to introduce the start of a new episode, as the opening credits don’t start until the introducing scene has been on.
The setting starts off in the canteen of the Community College the series is set in, this is a very familiar setting for the audience as it’s a College with many young people in it, crowded with people. The lighting is very bright to show a happy mood and also that it’s either early morning or midday. The first, opening scene starts off with a medium close up of
the Dean (of the college), so that we know who we are focusing on but
also shows the students around focusing on him too It then moves to an establishing shot of the canteen so that we can see the amount of people who are gathering around to hear what he has to say. It then moves to an over the shoulder shot (the Dean’s shoulder) of the main seven characters on a table, watching him, to show how close the table is to the Dean. Most of the shots following are medium close ups or medium shots to show between one to three characters and their surroundings.
(The media shot of the Dean)
(The establishing shot of the canteen)
(The Over-The-Shoulder shot)
After 2 minutes the opening credits come on of a very catchy theme tune and a paper fortune teller opening up on the actor/actresses names with a little pen like drawing around it to symbolise which character they play. The cast of this TV program is very diverse, in the main group of characters there is 3 different races, and also there is 4 different age groups from 18-60 years old. They’re all working class, I know this because the characters are wearing jeans and t-shirts, not suits and fancy dresses. Throughout all of the program the lighting is always high because it never really have any major mood swings as the narrative is mostly closed (unless it does episodes that are continued onto two episodes, which the episode Digital Exploration of Interior Design is). The narrative of the series is mainly closed, other than this episode which branches onto another episode. The editing throughout just quickly cuts between different shots, without any special fading or quick editing for mysterious effect. Finally, the episode ends with a cliff hanger because it continues onto another episode, but most of the episodes just finish bluntly without any suspense.
BBC News at Ten – Wednesday 2nd September 2015
The presenter starts off introducing the show, not in a studio, and introduces the main headline of the night. It cuts to footage of the main headline, short footage. Then, it cuts to a presenter in the studio introducing the other headlines. After every headline it has a noise that everyone knows is to do with the news. After the main headlines are introduced it has the opening credits of a red and white world, sort of being made, with the well known theme tune for the news. The theme tune is serious, and not a catchy, happy, theme tune. It is well known by Britain as being the news.
The first story of the evening is presented live from Budapest, as a passive witness, to show the audience exactly what it’s like. The presenter, who is wearing a blue and white suit, is looking directly at the camera, with a very serious expression on his face. He’s speaking in a present tense to show the audience that it’s happening now. He’s speaking in an obvious posh London accent, where everything is pronounced properly and clearly. Surrounding him is some refugee’s at the scene, to show the audience that it’s actually happening right now. There are no different angles, the presenter is filmed in the centre of the screen, looking directly into the camera. It then cuts to a pre-recorded and edited video tape of the refugee’s with a voice over of a presenter, being cut up with short interview’s of the people living there. To go back to the studio he rounds it off saying “and now back to the studio with” and says the presenters name.
The studio looks very futuristic with a look of glass surrounding it, and a lot of red and grey. These are cold colours, which makes the atmosphere not a happy one, to symbolise that the stories and the news is very serious. Also, the studio isn’t trying to be anything else, like a house, you can easily see it’s a studio with people and TV screens in the background as they work behind scenes. The presenter is focused in the middle of the screen, as he stars directly down the camera to make the audience feel personally connected to the story. He’s wearing a black suit with a blue tie and a white shirt, with papers in front of him. He’s also leaning on the table, to make the audience feel more comfortable and not on edge while watching the show. On every story, it has a quick caption at the bottom of the screen in red with white writing, telling the audience that it’s the BBC News and also who it is that’s talking, and their job to do with the story. This is so that the audience knows that they’re professional and know what they’re talking about, so they can trust their opinions.
At the end of the show, it goes back to the live recording in Budapest to round off the show. It goes to an interview os a Syrian refugee. He then talks to a chief correspondent, so that the audience knows the facts, rather than opinions. He then rounds off the show, telling the audience about whats coming on tomorrow’s show, then he says goodnight.
The theme tune of the comedy sketch, Community, is a very catchy tune. However, the theme tune for the News is serious and droning, with no singing or catchiness. The news starts off by being outside and not in ta studio, but in Community it starts in a studio which is set out to look like the college. Neither of them, however, don’t have an opening sequence telling the audience about what was on last week. They both also have an introducing story before they play the opening credits.
After the opening theme tune/credits, Community starts off by acting in a studio (set out like a college) with bright lighting, mainly using medium shots or medium close ups. Community changes what angles and shots they shoot in also, so that the audience can see everything that’s happening in the scene and get a sense of the surrounding. The characters are wearing informal, casual clothes because the characters are 18 years old and over, in a community college. However, in the news it starts with a live report from Budapest, where the reporter is shot in medium shots, whilst wearing a smart suit. The lighting is dark to show the audience that it’s not a very happy situation that he is in, showing the world the amount of refugee’s there are.
Throughout the whole of the News, they don’t change any angles to low or high, and they very rarely change the shot sizes (they don’t at all while they’re doing a live broadcast). However, when they’re in the studio, they start with a wider shot and then slowly zoom in to get a medium long shot of the presenter. This is similar to Community as it tries to show the audience the surroundings and then zooms in to show the audience the main subject. Whilst they’re in the studio, the lights are very bright, just like in Community. Eventhough they both have bright lighting at this point, they symbolise different things. In Community, it symbolises happiness. However in the studio it’s more of a harsh lighting which may makin the audience feel a little uncomfortable and alert. Throughout the News the presenters barely show any emotion, whereas in Community there is a lot of emotion happening.
In Community it ends on a cliffhanger (on this one episode) and then cuts to the ending credits. But, on the News it cuts back to the live report in Budapest where the reporter finally says “Goodnight” at the end, to directly tell the audience that it’s the end of the show.