ritasantos (2013) ‘Rear Window: Mise-en-scene definition’
In this session we learnt all about, ‘mise-en-scene’, and why it is important in a scene. Every single day I feel as though I am learning more and more about how important everything in a scene is when making an impression on an audience.
is basically everything in the scene. The audience watching is able to decode everything on a scene, and so mise-en-scene play and extremely important role in how an audience perceives characters and the film or TV show overall. Mise-en-scene is what the audience does analysis on.
Props can have a huge impact on a scene. They can tell you the personality of a character without the need of any words. For example, if a character was to hold an old flip phone, an audience could decode this one of two ways: Either the person doesn’t care, and they don’t mind that their phone isn’t a modern phone, or they cannot afford a new phone. As you can see, just one prop can convey so much about a character to an audience. Here are some more examples of props that can be really affective when trying to convey a message to an audience:
Locations are another really important thing that convey such a lot for an audience to decode. On example of this is for example if a show is set in an old, deserted school, the audience would automatically decode that this is not a positive thing, and something may have happened in the past for the school to end up this way. Here are a variety of other locations that an audience could easily decode:
- Flats/ apartments.
- In my opinion clothes are one of the most important things that an audience can analyse.
- One example of how an audience could decode clothing in a scene is if a person was to have a really neat, freshly ironed shirt on. The audience can automatically decode that the man is very neat and tidy, and likes to present himself well. The audience can also decode that the man is well of, as he has the money to come in with a freshly ironed, good looking suits with no rips or tears.
- Sometimes we forget that mise-en-scene means ‘everything in a scene’, this means including the actors in the scene. One of the most important things that an audience can decode from an actor is body language. For example, if a character is slitting slumped in a chair with his arms crossed over his chest, an audience decodes that the character doesn’t care about his posture of how he looks. Also, crossing your arms is scientifically known to mean that you are being defensive, and so the audience may automatically decode that this character is going to be a very defensive one who doesn’t like sharing things, or is insecure about himself.
- Spoken word.
- Music. Music can be either ‘diegetic’ or ‘nondiegetic’. Diegetic means that the music is in the scene. So for example two characters could be in a car in silence, and then one of them turns up the radio an they start dancing to the music. This is diegetic. The other type of music is ‘nondiegetic’. This means when music is not present in the actual scene. So for example this could be narrator commentary or mood music.
- Foley sound.
- Special effects.
- Another thing that is also present in a scene is the lighting. As we learnt last week, lighting plays an extremely important part when it comes to creating the atmosphere of a scene. Lighting is an element people often seem to forget about when it comes to mise-en-scene, as it isn’t a prop or anything like that. But, as I said, it is such an important element that can completely change the mood of the scene. For example in the movie ‘Strangers on a Train’ (Alfred Hitchcock 1951) the use of lighting is so effective. It creates a tension filled, dark and ominous atmosphere that really stands out to the audience.
- The final thing I came up with was editing. Just like everything else, editing is such and important part of mise-en-scene as it determines how the overall scene will look. Small changes in editing can be really affective, and can help dramatize a scene. One example of this in the advert for ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (Stanley Kubrick 1968) after the computer system says: ‘I’m sorry Dave, i’m afraid I can’t do that’ the pace of the editing speeds up considerably. This makes the audience feel exhilarated and ready to see the film, as well as realising that this computer system may not be as ‘perfect’ as we first assumed.
‘2001: A space Odyssey Official Re-Release TRailer ( 2014 ) HD’ Stanley Kubrick (2014)
Analysing the First Scene of The First Episode of two different TV series:
Now I am going to be picking 2 TV series, and analysing the very first scene of the very first episode. By doing this I will be able to see the effects of Mise-En-Scene, and how much it gives away to the audience from the very start.
Sherlock: A Study In Pink (2010) Paul McGuigan
‘Sherlock Episode One season One’ Paul McGuigan (2010)
So the very first scene that instantly came to my head was from probably my favourite TV show of all time. This is the first scene from Sherlock (2010 Paul McGuigan.) I truly believe that Sherlock is one of the best TV shows of all time, everything is so well made, from editing to script writing to lighting, and so I thought it would be really interesting to have a look at the very first scene of the TV show.
The episode starts with a variety of shots of men in army uniform. The shots are quick and confusing to the audience, creating the idea of a dazed and confused atmosphere. After this we see John Watson, Played by Martin Freeman, sitting up in shock from what we now know to be a flashback or nightmare of some kind. Watson is the first character that the audience is getting to see properly, which suggests to them that he is going to be very important throughout the series. The sound of thunder in the background here is really powerful. From this sound the audience decodes that Watson is in a very dark and doubtful mindset. The used of light showering into his room from the curtains portrays Watson in a dim light, showing how he feels dark and somewhat alone.
After this we hear Watsons deep, heavy breathing as he lies back down. The breathing sounds like he is scared and out of breath, and the audience is able to decode that these flashbacks are something that is causing him great pain. Watsons body language is also captured extremely well here. Ones of his hands is over behind his head as he begins to cry. This shows the audience that Watson is a person that fears showing emotion even when he is completely alone in his home, a place here he should feel absolutely safe.
The next shot is extremely effective. We see john sitting, looking into the dark, blank and desolate walls of his room. From this one shot the audience can decode a huge amount about Watson. His room is incredibly plain, suggesting that is life is currently dull and bleak. There are no pictures of family members, or anything that personalizes the room in any way. We can see no trace of the room being marked as his own, suggesting that he has not been there long, or that he doesn’t have too many connections and possessions at the present moment. The one this the audience is allowed to see in this shot is a single crutch leaning against the desk. This shows the audience that Watson is physically damaged in some way, showing that maybe he was hurt in combat. The placement of the crutch is also very interesting. The crutch is leaning up against the desk. This could be representative of Watson himself, not wanting to lean on anything for support, but having it there just in case it is needed.
As you can see, simply by analysing the first 50 seconds of Sherlock ‘A study in Pink’ we, as an audience, is able to see a huge amount about one of the main Characters in the series. It is really amazing how just a few seconds can sape a whole series in terms of character development.
Doctor Who: 1×01 ‘Rose’ (2005) Keith Boak
‘Doctor Who 1×01 Dailymotion’ (2005) Keith Boak
The other TV Show intro I decided to analyse is the first few moments of the first episode of the reboot of Doctor Who (2005 Keith Boak.) Doctor who has always been one of my all time favorite programs. I have gone back all the way to the very first episodes of the original Doctor Who, simply to see how they used the limited money they had available at the time to come up with sometime amazing. But the moment I am analysing today is from the first episode of the reboot. The episode is called ‘Rose’.
After the reboot of the classic Doctor Who theme, the audience is met by a shot of the Moon and then Earth from outer space. This automatically sets the audience up and lets them know that Doctor who is a Sci-fi that is going to be based around outer space and the unknown. Music is used to build great anticipation, as the audience waits to see what we are going to see next.
We are taken from this shot of outer spaced, and zoomed all the way in to an alarm clock going off reading ‘7:30.’ From these few seconds we realise that the alarm is alerting someone that they need to wake up. The audience decodes that the person this alarm is going off for is going to be very important in this series, as they are the one person in the universe we have come to.
Quickly a hand is slamming down on the alm to turn it off. This action alone is really important, as we can now tell that the character isn’t ready to get up and face the day, suggesting they are not doing what they truly want to be doing. We are them allowed to see the character and their room for the first time. The audience is introduced to Rose as she wearily sits up and runs out of the room. We can see by her messy hair unkempt bed that is she is just like any normal person. Her body language of being tired and not ready for what lies ahead of her that day will be very relatable for a lot of the audience, and so this use of body language is really effective.
We find out so much about Rose from the simple shot of her room. The audience can see that the room is extremely, messy, with mess and clothes scattering over the floor and the side table. The audience automatically decodes that Rose is a messy person, who doesn’t take too much pride in her things. The state of her room also suggests that she is a lazy person, or someone who doesn’t have any time to clean. Finally, the room is completely pink. The pink room could be used to show that Rose is stuck in the past, as a pink room is usually associated with younger people, and so she could be living in the past and waiting for something, anything to happen to her.
As you can see, within just a few seconds the audience has found out such a broad range of facts out about Rose, and how she will be important throughout the series.
Boak, K. (2005) ‘Doctor Who 1×01 Dailymotion’ Available at: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4em0rv ( Last Accessed: 8th October 2016 )
Kubrick, S. (2014) ‘2001: A space Odyssey Official Re-Release TRailer ( 2014 ) HD’ Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N3HTGrbgw0 ( Last Accessed: 7th October 2016 )
McGuigan, P. (2010) ‘Sherlock Episode One season One’ Available at: http://www.veoh.com/watch/v30405960N2xG7WCj ( Last Accessed: 8th October 2016 )
ritasantos (2013) ‘Rear Window: Mise-en-scene definition’ Available at: https://ritasnsantos.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/rear-window-44-shots-analysis/ (Last Accessed: 8th October 2016)