Sunday, 20 March 2011

Mise-En-Scene (Research)


When planning any practical film work, we must look at what exactly it is we are going to put in the film. This can be doen by putting certain objects in the camera or putting the camera before objects found 'on location'.

Mise-en-scene is a french term borrowed from the theatre, Which literally means 'placed on stage'. The term is commonly used in film studies.

Element of mise-en-scene:
  • Setting/Decor
  • Costume and make up
  • Body language/ movement
  • Lighting
  • Props
It should not be thought of just 'props'. The information given in mise-en-scene can inform the viewer about all aspects of the programme and as we will see, careful selection of these five elements can lead to the construction of a completely different world.

Setting/ Decor
Setting can provide not only geographical backdrop to a film but it can also give us emotional or psychological tone. It can set the tone and the atmosphere  and provide us as an audience with the historical time or the state of the the main character is going through. How a room is decorated and how objects are used to furnish that room provides another way in which meaning can be evoked. Decor can relay information about a character,genre, atmosphere and setting.

Costume and Makeup
We all make judgements of people everyday of our lives based on their clothing. Costume can ground a programme historically and provide information on social and cultural background. Naturalistic can show social class and over the top costumes help to create the atmosphere of science fiction TV. Costumes are often used to indicate narrative changes in the characters mood or role (Cinderella and other 'rags to riches' stories). Sexual attraction and power ( very important in film narrative) can be shown through costume .

Body language/ Movement
The way characters stand, move or rest is a key to us for 'reading' their characters. A nervous character maybe jumpy and continuously looking around, while a confident character may walk slowly with their head held high. Body language can be an indicator of how a character feels at any point. Body language can also indicate character relationships to one another- a character who is more powerful, threat, may loom over another.

It is worth remembering that nothing can be seen (therefore filmed) without light. Lighting is hugely important in generating mood and atmosphere. It can throw shadows , illuminate key objects or exaggerate or emphasis a characters features. Lighting can intensity or soften the mood of a programme or a character.

Props can play a key role in determining the plot of a programme- a camera might linger on a murder weapon, or the proof of infidelity. Props are an easy visual way to communicate a characters intentions.

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