Film language

Film analysis: context (acknowledge your area) and value for VFX artists.

We should use a technical field such as pacing and editing, compositing, and lighting for the contextual area. However, there is another important field: the aesthetic, which underlines the mise en scene, the color, genre, and the rhythm.

Mise en scene means everything in the frame communicates visual information in front of the camera.

Mise en scène’s elements:

  • setting and props which tells us a lot of what is happening and elements that are in the setting or people is doing.

This plays an important part in films and animations. It’s an area where you can analyze the work and texturize what you do. Settings can manipulate the audience and make us think we are in a place even where we are not.

Props are a mighty use for storytellers; they allow the character to interact whit something and be dynamic.

  • Costumes hair and make-up must be correct for the related theme. This acts as an instant indicator to us of a character’s personality, status, and job.
  •  Facial expressions and body language is a big area because gesture and poses can create a huge amount of information, it can tell us so much. This provides a clear indicator of how someone is feeling. The body language may indicate how a character feels towards other characters or may reflect the state of their relationship
  • Lighting and color the color might be the overall sense of the piece like dark, moody etc.. are used to highlight what is important in the frame or make something more mysterious.

Low key lighting produces sharp contrasts of light and dark areas and creates distinct shadows and silhouettes.

High contrast lighting pushes a lot of light on something and brings the subject in the front

  • Positioning of characters or objects within the frame in cinematography is called composition, the place where the subjects are in the frame. This is hypercritical since this is the one that communicates the audience the mood, if you get it wrong you will misdirect and lose the audience. The positioning within a frame draws attention to an important character/object and makes sure that we understand what we are looking at. 

if you get your dept of field right, you have the potential to communicate the deep focus, which is a use of the camera lens and lighting so that both close and distant planes are shown in sharp focus. This technique allows filmmakers to emphasize a character or object that appears far away.

When I bring something in the front, the shallow focus looks blurred.

1. Fantastic Mr. Fox – Angry at Fox

Setting and Props

 Since both Mr. Fox with his family and Badger and the others wear filthy clothes, the environment seems to be under a tunnel in Fantastic Mr. Fox – Angry at Fox’s scene. In this scene, Mr. Fox faces Clive Badger and other characters. Inside this scene, we can understand that everything is set during the night (perfectly evident from Fox’s family wearing PJs and Mr. Badger’s untied tie). Moreover, both have a lantern that allows seeing in the darkness. If the characters weren’t wearing those costumes, we would not understand the setting’s time. 

Costume, Hair, and Make-Up

We can see in the scene that the costumes are related to the hour. In the foreground, Mr. Fox is wearing a PJ and his family behind him. However, even if Mr. Badger is wearing a suit, we can understand the late hour setting thanks to his untied tie around his neck. These costumes help us underline the different kinds of life the main characters in the scene live: Mr. Fox as a family “man” who goes to bed quite early and Mr. Badger as a working “man” who stays up till late to work. 

Facial Expression & Body Language

Both Mr. Fox’s and Mr. Badger’s facial expressions portrait their complex feelings. Both look tired and angry at each other, but Mr. Badger’s face – and the ones behind him – perfectly expresses his anger. After Badger blames Mr. Fox for all the problems some animals have to face, his family is shocked. Sadness takes over the mole because he misses the sunshine, but Mr. Fox looks confused since moles are blind and cannot see anything. 

During the second part of the scene, while the adults are talking in the background, the beaver threats the little fox, and his brother defends him. His facial expressions seem very realistic during his fight with the beaver. 

Lighting and Color

The lighting in the scene is possible thanks to the lanterns the main characters have. Unfortunately, lanterns usually have hot lights tending towards yellowish, and because of that, the entire scene looks brown-okra. 

Positioning of character/objects within the frame

The characters are spread into two main groups and a little one far away from the principal scene. Mr. Fox’s family is behind him on the side of the tunnel, and Mr. Badger and the others are on the other side. This position emphasizes that the two of them are arguing.

What role does the shot choice play in the scene?

Every shot in the scene has a depth of field. When the close-ups are shown, like when Mr. Fox or Mr. Badger speak, we see how the field changes and deep focuses. Shallow focus is mainly used in the scene to emphasize the adults are talking in the background while the beaver threats the two foxes.

2. Research Activity 2

Setting and Props

The setting of the scene is in a hotel room. The deduction comes from what seems to be a suitcase on the very left of the screen and a pair of flip-flops. Also, everything looks empty, cold, and unfamiliar for being a normal bedroom. 

Costume, Hair, and Make-Up

the two of them seem a married couple, and their clothes look humble  

Facial Expression & Body Language

Both of them are concerned about something; the lady looks like she is embracing herself to protect something, while the man on the left looks disoriented and hopeless, almost desperate. Both are next to each other like they seek physical contact even if they don’t want to.

Lighting and Color

In this case, the lighting is produced by some hot bedside lamps. As a result, everything looks more or less natural. 

Positioning of character/objects within the frame

Everything seems to be perfectly symmetrical: the two of them next to each other in the middle of the shot, two nightstands, and a pair of shoes next to the bed that might bother a bit the clean scene.

What role does the shot choice play in the scene?

The visual language here seems to be an extreme wide shot with a high angle that helps us watch the scene from a distance.

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