brettI07: Cinematography & Mise-en-Scene

posted on 23 Nov 2012 14:46 by uncommon-nonsense in brett

7: Cinematography and Mise-en-scene


Film semiotics --> how does film signify?

What is means of expression

what are its codes & conventions


Analogical argument: film as 'language'

structured like language

communicates in ways that are codified

systems of meaning (codes) must be learned


Film is a signifying system governed by plural codes

-unlike langugae, film has no master code

-all codes have equal potential significance & need to be addressed in analysis

-codes can be differentially weighted in relation to textual & ocntextual dynamics (hierarchy of codes)




  • pracetice of film editing, assemblage of individual shots into a conjoined assemblage



  • the composition of a film shot: everything you see in frame


*twin axes of cinematic language

*both = transformative structure (pro-filmic --> film-world)

*montage work largely with time; mise-en-scene with space

*both developed codified forms (grammar of cut/shots)



a continuous piece of film between cuts (edits)


Mise-en-scene: literally “to put on stage” FR

everything internal to the shot & its organization

-iconography: set, prop, costume


-performance: blocking, make-up, etc.

-some definition include cinematography




everything related to camera

-frame, shot scale, movement & focus



Both MES & CN organized internal syntagmatic relation of the shot

selections of sign in shot

how they are combined

significaton they produced

Andre Bazin (1918-1950) “Mise-en-scene is the essence of cinema"

function of art – reveal world in its “thereness” * “wholeness”, edit subvert this function & compromise true artistry of film

Depth of field (Deep focus) โฟกัสทุกอย่างในช็อต

bring spectators into closer contact with image

produce complex & intelletually challenging meaning effect

foster ambifuity essential to work of art


Long Take (plain sequence) แพนไปเรื่อยๆไม่มีหยุด

continuous shot of long duration

form of 'ur-cinema'

enables added realism & “passionate contemplation”


Mise-en-scene as artistry: Douglas Sirk

German emigre director who made stock 'domestic melodrama'

used MES skillfully to artistic effect

MES became the means thru which Sirk express his critical view of US post-war culture


Aspects of Mise-en-scene:

-iconography: exposition of narratice & character, symbolism, theme, emotion, mood

-color: dominant pallete, foils, symbolism

-lighting: high key, low key aka. Chiaroscuro, dynamic, protrait, studio aka 3 point standard

Three Point Standard:

  1. key light

  2. fill light

  3. back light


Aspects of Cinematography:

-technical aspect

  • stock: film/digital, color, high/low speed, gauge: (8mm, 16mm, 35, 75, IMAX)

  • speed

  • contrast

  • lenses (wide angle, telephoto, zoom)

-frame & composition

  • aspect ratio: crop, widescreen

  • angle: eye level/straight angle, low, high, canted aka dutch

  • rule of thirds (dominant framing): static composition, dynamic composition


  • shot sizes: Extra long, long, full, medium, medium close up, close up, extreme close up


  • physical movement: aerial shot, crane shot, tracking/dolly shot, hanheld or steadicam

  • camera movement: pan, tilt, whip (swish pan)

  • focal movement: zoom, racking, infinity zoom