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Cinematography Versus Mise-en-scene

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  • CinematographyVersus Mise-en-scene

  • CinematographyCinematography: "writing in movementDigital Cinematography and Computer-Generated Imagery have brought changes in Cinematography, which was traditionally based on chemical/photographic images and effects. Cinematography = Everything that has to do with cameras and lenses, with film/film stock (and its digital equivalents), exposure and processing of film/digital images. Citizen Kane (Welles)

  • Cinematography vs. Mise-en-SceneCinematography can be contrasted to mise-en-scene (staging), which refers to what is filmed; while cinematography refers to how it is filmed. This difference raises questions:Visual Special Effects? Often done in post-production (esp. digital effects). So, is that Cinematography?Lighting? Effects exposure, lens setting, focus, etc., Usually under control of Cinematographer (Director of Photography). But Lighting, since it is part of what is filmed, could also be seen as part of a films mise-en-scene. What is your opinion?what is filmed (mise-en-scene) how it is filmed (cinematography)Is this cinematography or mise-en-scene?

  • Main Elements of Cinematography(1) Composition of the frame and mobile framing.Frame shape (aspect ratios), camera distance (types of shots: e.g., CU, Medium Shot), angle, level, height, & mobile framing (camera movements and zooms), perspective, pov.(2) Camera, Lens, & Exposure Choices & Techniques (what used to be called photographic elements) Camera Choices (speed of motion, shutter speed), Lens Types (e.g., telephoto, wide angle), Lens Settings (focus, aperture, depth of field, etc.), Exposure issues.

  • COMPOSITION OF THE FRAMECamera Angles High anglePsycho (Hitchcock)

  • COMPOSITION OF THE FRAMECamera Angles Straight angle; Straight onRebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

  • COMPOSITION OF THE FRAMECamera Angles Low angle

  • COMPOSITION OF THE FRAMECanted framing (a.k.a. Dutch angle) Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov) one of the first films to use Canted anglesCanted framingCamera not level / not horizontalOften suggests tension, trouble, distress, etc.

  • Did you know?The term Dutch angle originates from the term Deutsch which means German. German expressionism used canted angled in many films to denote madness and uneasiness.The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)Dir. Robert Wiene

  • Framing can become a directors signatureThere are other examples of framing, which include using the natural framing occurring in objects.Tarantinos low angle trunk shot.

  • CAMERA DISTANCECamera/Shot Distance or Type of Shotextreme long (ELS)long (LS)medium long shot (MLS)medium (MS)medium close-up (MCU)close-up (CU)extreme close-up (ECU)

  • Extreme long shot (ELS)

  • Long shot (LS)

  • Medium long shot(knees or shins to head; a.k.a. American shot or knee shot)

  • Medium shot (MS)

    Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau)Modern Times (Chaplin)

  • Medium close-up (MCU)

  • Close-up (CU)

  • Extreme close-up (ECU)

  • Other "shots" that arent named for their shot distance:Establishing shotMaster shot Two and three shotReverse shot or reverse-angle shotPoint-of-view (POV) shot (a.k.a. subjective shot)

  • COMPOSITION OF THE FRAME: Aspect Ratios(ratio of width to height)Rules of the Game, Jean Renoir, 19391.33:1 (4 to 3) actually 1.37:1Aliens, James Cameron, 19861.85:1Rebel Without A Cause, Nicholas Ray, 19552.35:1 (Cinemascope)

  • Framing: aspect ratiosAcademy ratio = 1.37:1, but often said to be 1.33:1Note how framing affects balance, visual information, & relationship of on- & off-screen space2.2 to 1Pan & Scan; 1.33 to 1

  • Aspect Ratios (when shooting digital)A. 4:3 - composition well suited for a close-upB. 16:9 - loss of focus - i.e., frame includes extraneous informationC. 16:9 - letter boxed - face is smallerD. 16:9 - to command attention - i.e., fill-up the frame - face is cropped

  • Mobile FramingActual Movements of CameraZooms, where Camera doesnt move, but the frame changes as the lens focal length is changed: Zoom In or Zoom Out. (Magnifies)Computer-generated shots: for ex: fly-bys, rotations. Computers, like traditional animation, can potentially generate any movement.

  • Mobile Framing:Camera MovementsPans = rotates horizontally, side to side (camera rotates on vertical axis) Tilts = vertical pivot/rotation, up and down In pans & tilts, camera does not change position, it pivots or rotates. Usually tripod mounted.Dolly/tracking/traveling shots Crane (and boom or jib) shotsHand-held and steadycam shots

  • Mobile Framing:Camera MovementsDolly, Tracking, Traveling shots: all basically the same.Sometimes people use tracking shot to mean a following shot But name tracking shot came from the tracks that dollies moved on.So, dolly and tracking interchangeable terms. Traveling shot is generally reserved for more expansive movements, taken from a vehicle. Dolly shots usually lead to LONG TAKES.

  • Dolly Shot, on Tracks

  • Dolly Shot Jean Luc Godards Le Mepris (Contempt, 1963)

  • Mobile Framing:Camera MovementsCrane and Boom/Jib shots:Boom/jib shots: Camera mounted on counterweighted boom (similar to booms for microphones); some booms can also telescope in or out. Can use for combinations of pans & tilts, horizontal (tracking), vertical or diagonal moves.Crane shots: Shots look the same as boom shot, but often motorized or with hydraulics for movement. Usually cranes have seat for operator, wheels. Some can be driven. Motion-control techniques: computer programs to direct elaborate camera movements.

  • Opening: Welles' Touch of Evil 1958

  • Opening: Robert Altmans The Player (1992)

  • Mobile Framing:Camera MovementsHand-held and Steadicam Shots:Hand-held & Steadicam shots can pan or tilt or track. Hand-held movement is obviously unsteady--which is how we know its a hand-held shot. Steadicam: a patented device wh/ dampens unsteadiness, producing a relatively smooth movement, even when walking or running. Operators must be trained to use.Steadicam first used in Rocky (1976). Early prominent use in Kubricks The Shining (1980).

  • Tracking Shot Children of Men (2006) Alfonso Cuaron; Steadicam example

  • Mobile FramingWhen viewing a film, mobile framing can be hard to spot, because we often follow what is being photographed, rather than how. And often, multiple combinations of camera movements:Ex: Tracking shots often include some panning.And combinations of camera movements can become quite complicated, as in some Crane Shots.Also, can combine camera movements with zooms.

  • Mobile FramingVertigo, Alfred Hitchcock, 1958 Dolly Zoom

  • Mobile Framing

  • Left: move the camera (track in)short focal length lens Note: Relation of back/foreground, changed anglesdistortion at edgesRight: Camera stationaryChange of focal length (i.e., zoom in)Relation of back/foreground closer (telephoto effect of flattening)No distortion at edgesZooming is unnatural to the human eyeTracking Vs. Zooming

  • Like the Dutch angle, using mobile framing can denote a particular psychological effect.In Vertigo, the motion represents a sudden rush of adrenalin much like what you feel when youre bungee jumping.These types of framing are cinematic depictions of a highly psychological feelings. Emotional Framing

  • Who is the audience looking at, and from whos perspective? What perspective does the camera put the audience in? M (1931; Fritz Lang)Cinematography and PerspectiveBlack Swan (2010; D. Aronofsky)

  • Subjective shot(or point-of-view shot)Subjective Shot/Camera: from the position/point of view of a character--as if seeing through character eyes. Also called POV shot. Cinema equivalent of First Person in writing. Some people make distinction between subjective shots & POV shots: use POV shots to include over-the-shoulder shots--which give a sense of POV without actually being from the position of the character. But easier & better: treat POV and Subjective as the same; over-the-shoulder as different.

  • Subjective shot(or point-of-view shot)Subjectivity/POV is crucial to Classical Hollywood style: shot/reverse shots & eyeline matching are based on the idea of seeing from characters POV.But, shot/reverse shot shows both "subjective" and "objective" views: Hollywood (most cinema) mixes both together. What happens if subjectivity is taken to extreme? If we see only subjective shots?

  • How many camera techniques can you find?John Carpenters Halloween trailer (1978)

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