Category Archives: Representation in TV Drama

Fingersmith

Section A of exam…

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of sexuality using: Mise En Scene; Camerawork; Sound Design; and Editing… 

The television drama extract from ‘Fingersmith’ uses various techniques within: mise-en-scene; camerawork; sound design; and editing in order to represent the sexuality of the three different characters shown in the extract: Miss Maud; the servant, Sue Trinder; and the gentleman, Richard Rivers.

The extract began with a short scene in a dressing room. Miss Maud is shown to be dressing and helping her servant. The scene uses a two shot in order to show the two ladies looking at their reflections in the mirror. These two characters have been positioned into the centre of the shot; this displays to the viewers that these ladies are the main characters but also portrays the close relationship between the two, which later is revealed to be closer than anticipated. The scene begins with a piece of narration from Miss Maud describing the beauty of the other female shown in the scene. The fact that Miss Maud speaks these opinions in a narration, not out loud, displays that these are the hidden and secret homosexual thoughts in her head that she can not expose. In this scene Miss Maud is shown to be wearing a white dress. The colour white is often thought as as the colour of innocence and purity. At the time that this television drama is set, the Victorian era, homosexuality of any form was seen as hugely immoral and a sin. Homosexual people were looked down on in society and because of this people often hid their sexuality and pretended to be heterosexual, pretended to be someone else. By wearing the innocent and pure colour of white, Miss Maud is shown to be encaging, restricting and covering up her true homosexual emotions. During this scene, positioning within mise en scene has been used in order to display how Miss Maud thinks of herself and her priorities. When the two women are shown stood in the mirror, Miss Maud is standing behind her servant, Sue Trinder. This could be seen as unusual because surely she should be seen as more important due to the social hierarchy of the time; however this displays how important Sue really is to Miss Maud and how much she admires, cherishes and arguably loves Sue. The positioning could also display that Miss Maud is not true to herself and does not respect herself due to her true homosexual feelings. The mirror is fairly dusty; this dirt on the mirror could represent the negative views of homosexuality of the time but could also portray that Miss Maud’s dream of having and loving Sue is distorted, unlikely and negative. During this scene the non diegetic, composed score is fairly graceful and buoyant. The sound design is used in order to show the audience how Maud feels when being herself and how happy and at home she feels with her love. This graceful music is contrasted to the exaggerated diegetic sound of the heavy breathing. The heaviness of the breaths indicates that Miss Maud is somewhat nervous around her lover and displays that Maud is scared of her true feelings and the consequences to them. However, the heavy breaths could also indicate the heart beating faster around Sue’s presence due to Maud’s admiration of her; this is because when the heart beats faster it needs more oxygen… meaning heavier breaths are required.

The programme then fades into the next scene; this transition could have been edited in in order to show that Maud can not live her life displaying her true feelings. She must fade out of her dream world and fall back into reality. The scene faded into shows Miss Maud in some form of dark office. The dark lighting to the room could display how gloomy Maud’s life is when she is trapped in her feelings and forced to live life as a different woman. This shorter scene shows the contrasts between Maud’s life when she is being herself and when she is hiding her true feelings. The contrast of lightness and darkness displays her two forms and how they make her feel. The simple, elegant and spacious room from before compared to the busy, smaller and murky room of this scene also displays the simplicity and joy of her life, compared to the complicatedness to a life made up on a lie.

The next scene is located in a bedroom. In this bedroom the two characters are shown to be in bed. The wide shot is used in order to display the two women’s full bodies in the bed and the connection between the two. The fact that the two are shown to be in bed together immediately gives connotations to sexual connection between the two characters. In the same shot, Miss Maud is then shown to almost touch the other female character in areas of the body often related to lust and sexual activity. The two characters are shown to be wearing white, thus displaying the cover up of innocence once again. Miss Maud’s hovering hand over the intimate areas of the other female is override by a white glove. The glove could be acting as a barrier in order to stop Miss Maud from releasing her secret to the world. The whiteness of the glove once again shows that Maud is covering up her, then seen, embarrassing and dirty secret by using an image of innocence and purity. The romantic, composed score playing in the background of the scene further displays the sentimentality between the two characters.

The programme then transitions into a new scene, outside. The environment is displayed as sunny, bright and full of fresh green vegetation. Miss Maud is shown to be painting her lover whilst she sleeps against a boat. In this scene a new character is introduced, he is a male and is wearing dark and black clothes. These colours in contrast to the pure white colour of the women’s outfits display that he is in no way pure but rather dirty as the audience later learn. The mise en scene location of nature, which is displayed through the varying camera shots, alongside the nature related diegetic sounds, such as the chirping of the birds, suggests that Maud feels most comfortable, ‘normal’, and peaceful in her true feelings. The nature related noises also represent her mood as they increase in tempo when her fear increases but decrease in tempo as she becomes more calm and focused upon Sue. A close up shot of Miss Maud’s face displays her concentration upon the woman. Her eyes seem alive and located on the woman only; this in itself displays her romantic feelings towards the woman as she sleeps and is unaware alike everyone else. The camerawork then uses two close ups in a sequence of shot reverse shot in order to display to the audience the intentions and homosexual thoughts of Maud. The close up shots display the breast area of Sue and her hands in her lower region suggesting sexual tension. The close up shot of Maud’s reaction in-between the two displays her sexual intensions and what she wants. Maud is shown to be fixated by the body of the other woman, so much so that red paint falls from her paintbrush onto her skirt. The colour red symbolises love and lust; therefore representing the feelings Maud has towards her female associate. However, red can also be related to danger; this direct link to danger portrays how unsafe the sexuality of Maud is and how dangerous it could be for her secret to escape and her heterosexual act to fall just as the droplet of paint fell from the brush.The longer Maud stares at Sue with intimate intentions and admirations, the dynamics of the soundtrack increase. This could display that her feelings for Sue become stronger the more she attempts to suppress her true feelings. It could also indicate that she is scared of revealing her true self as the reaction of her loved one and others in society may be catastrophic. Towards the beginning of this scene the male character is positioned to be stood in the middle of Maud and Sue. This shows that he comes between the two, is what is keeping Maud away from her true love and displays a form of a love triangle. He is a physical barrier and is obtaining  accepted social views by doing so.  Miss Maud is shown to be sat in the shade, wearing a hat, under an umbrella. The shade represents the cover up of her secret… her life is dark when she is unable to be who she truly is and unable to be with the woman that she loves.It is then when the gentleman notices her intimate focus on Sue. At this point the tempo and dynamics of the composed non diegetic sound increases; this displays to the viewers Maud’s increasing fear as she realises that her secret has become exposed. As Maud notices that her secret has been revealed to the gentleman, the diegetic sound of deep breaths also increase as she is nervous of the upcoming reaction due to the taboo surrounding homosexuality in the Victorian era. Before Maud revealed her true feelings to gentleman Rivers, the length of shots was fairly long and slow paced; this reflected her comfort knowing that her feelings were a secret. However, from the moment where it is revealed until when gentleman Richard Rivers agrees to help cover up Maud’s secret, the length of shots become much shorter. There are also many more shots. This fast pace adds a sense of chaos and the contrast of editing displays Maud’s fear of her secret being out. As the male character approaches Maud with an aggressive trait, all sounds included in the scene are amplified in order to display her increasing fear. Maud is then pulled out of the shade by the gentleman and during this swift and aggressive action her hat falls off. This shows that as she is brought into the sunlight her and as her hat comes off her secret is now no longer a secret and so Maud is who she really is. The true Maud has stepped into the bright, real world. From here, the music stops. Silence can be very powerful and has been used within sound design to show that her secret is not now close to being revealed, it is revealed. The silence is also tense and so represents the atmosphere as no one knows how the upper class, Victorian gentleman will deal with a sinful lesbian. It is eery and produces a sense of discomfort. The two characters then share dialogue which displays the gentleman verbally attacking Maud for her feelings and referring to Sue as a “fingersmith”. A fingersmith is a thief or pick pocket. The use of this phrase to describe the love of Maud’s life shows the jealousy of the heterosexual gentleman who clearly is in love with Maud. It could be argued that he believes the fingersmith is stealing Maud away from him. The gentleman then drags Maud toward a tree, then holds her up against the trunk. The forcefulness could represent the strict rules, judgement and views of society in there Victorian era forcing women with theme emotions to act as ‘normal’, heterosexual. Shot reverse shot is used within camerawork in order to display the expressions of the two characters and to show the discomfort felt by Maud around Richard. This shot reverse shot also displays the two opposites of sexuality appearing in this scene. The heterosexual man is positioned to be higher up than the homosexual woman; thus displaying the views of the time as heterosexuals looked down upon homosexuals as vile and wrong. The silence is still present which adds further tension to the scene. This silence is then broken by an awoken Sue as she can not find Maud. The speech and diegetic sound of Maud suddenly becomes much more frantic as she is close to her lover finding out the truth. This is when the music begins again as the gentleman begins to smother Maud with his affection through sexually related acts. The composed score is eery, uncomfortable to listen to and fairly mysterious; this portrays how Maud is feeling through to the audience and allows them to feel sympathy towards her. Gentleman Richard Rivers is denied a kiss from Maud as her feelings for Sue are true and although she may be able to act heterosexual, this would be taking it too far. As he leans in for a kiss, the shadow of the gentleman covers Maud; this displays that she is once again retreating to her fake and dark life and keeping the secret hidden. The camera then changes to a mid shot revealing the males face infant of Maud’s middle section of body. This section reveals the areas of intimacy and the shot displays the face of the man focussed onto it; this displays the sexuality of the man as he forces himself upon Maud with determination to have her. An aspect of mine en scene that also displays the two sexualities is when Richard Rivers takes off the white glove from Maud’s fragile hands; this could show that he is now in control as he has removed her barrier and is able to control her sexuality of the real world as he wants her for himself. It also shows that he is taking away her innocence as he further carries out sexual related acts. He then licks the hand of Maud. Sound design uses an exaggerated diegetic sound in order to make this even more uncomfortable to watch; this represents the discomfort felt by Maud in the situation.

The extract then fades into the last scene which is located once again in a bedroom. It begins with the a mid shot displaying a topless woman with her back facing the camera. She is positioned in the centre of the shot therefore displaying that she is all that Maud thinks about and is also very important to her. Infront of her, but behind from the view of the shot, there is a burning fire. The fire is a producer of light and so this aspect of mine en scene could portray that being honest with this woman could lead her into the light, could lead her into having an improved life. On the other hand, fire is often related to danger and so this could once again be portraying that Maud’s feelings towards Sue are dangerous and would lead to unknown consequences. The scene has been edited so that it is in slow motion as Sue undresses. This shows how this is almost like a dream for Maud, it displays what she wants in her ideal world but what she can not have. How she can only have Sue in her dreams. On the other hand, the slight blur and slow motion of the scene shows the confusion of Maud surrounding her feelings but also how in the Victorian times homosexuality was seen as wrong and as a distortion that many could not understand. The final shot of the scene shows Maud laid in bed once again with Sue. However, this time she is positioned to have her back facing away from Sue. This could be due to her discomfort from her smothering of gentleman Richard Rivers or because she is trying to suppress her true feelings. On the other hand, a close up shot reveals the worried expression on Maud’s face as she holds the covers over her mouth; this could show that she feels ready to tell Sue about her true feelings but has the cover, representing society, acting as a barrier to stop her. The final part of the scene uses diegetic sound for a short piece of dialogue. The dialogue is muffled due to the cover being over her mouth;  however it could be argued that Maud mutters the words “tell me”; this selection of words could display that Maud is wanting Sue to share her secret love which displays that in the Victorian era many woman had to lie and lived different lives to the lives that their hearts desired. On the other hand, the use of a muffled diegetic sound rather than a clear one could represent how the judgemental restrictions of society muffled the lives of these homosexual women and made them too nervous to speak the truth and act upon it.

The television drama extract from ‘Fingersmith’ uses varying techniques in order to represent sexuality. Two forms of sexuality are displayed alongside one another as the male is in love with Maud due to his heterosexual desires whereas Maud is in love with Sue due to her homosexual desires. Mise en scene, camerawork, sound design and editing are all used in order to represent these two sexualities and the taboo surrounding homosexuality during the Victorian era. Homosexuality was seen to be a sin, not morally correct and looked down upon by the heterosexual people who were confused as to why people would want to be different.

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Holmes Under The Hammer

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of ability/disability using the following: 

  • Camera Shots, Angle, Movement and Composition
  • Editing
  • Sound Design
  • Mise-En-Scene

In order to answer the statement, we watched the first 2/3 minutes of the first episode (Study in Pink 01×01, 2010) of the BBC drama Sherlock.We were put into groups of 4 and we all shared our ideas with each other.

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The extract that we were shown is of Dr. John Watson (pictured above on the left, played by Martin Freeman) dreaming about his past in the SAS. He is shown to be distressed by these flashbacks which suggest some sort of mental disability such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He then wakes up and is shown to have a walking stick; this displays the physical disability that he has gained from his experiences in the war. We then see Watson with a therapist who suggests to him to write a blog about what occurs to him in his everyday life. John Watson sees this as pointless because “nothing happens to [him]”. However, this is ironic as this then leads to the first episode where he meets Sherlock Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Camera Shots, Angle, Movement and Composition

There are various ways in which the extract uses camera shots, angle, movement and composition in order to portray ability/disability.

The extract begins with a dream/flashback of John Watson fighting in Afghanistan in the SAS. This dream is displayed by using point of view shots. By using this type of shot, the viewers can see and experience what John had previously experienced with his time at war. The shot also displays that this part of his life is still present in his mind and he is unable to disconnect himself from this part of his life. He is unable to leave the soldier part of himself behind and experiences PTSD firsthand as a result of this. For the duration of the dream, lens flare emphasises the hardships and reality of war that is constantly replaying in the mind of Watson. The flashback scenes are filmed using a handheld camera; the unstableness of the camera represents how unstable Watson is mentally… his mind is all over the place.

After the dream, the extract cuts to a birds eye view shot of Watson in bed. The shot enables the viewers to be looking down at Watson. The composition of the shot shows him in the centre, these two features put together display his vulnerability to the ‘real world’. The shot could also be viewed as fairly voyeuristic; this also backs up his vulnerability. The audience then see John Watson sat upright on his bed in his dull bedroom. The shot shows Watson isolated in the dull room, this displays his isolation and vulnerability from the outer world. It also displays that he is separated and unable to connect to anyone. The camera then dollies out in order to display the rest of the room. This is when viewers learn that Watson is not only disabled mentally, but also physically. As the camera dollies out, a walking stick is shown. The walking stick is positioned to be across the room to Watson; the fact that he has it placed away from him shows his reluctance to help and to accepting that his life in the SAS is over. Following this scene, the walking stick is somehow shown in each camera shot. This reoccurrence displays the importance of the walking aid to Watson’s life and so emphasises his disability which was presumably gained from an accident in Afghanistan.

Watson is then shown to make what is presumably his breakfast. He brings out an apple and a mug of coffee. The camera has a shallow focus on the mug; this brings the audiences attention to the army logo on the mug. It also links back to the dream of life in the army that was previously shown and tells the audience that his mind is trapped in that way of life and he cannot let go of that lifestyle.

The scene then changes, Watson is now in a therapist’s office getting help for his mental disability. In the shot showing Watson sat down in the therapist’s office he has been positioned in the rule of thirds so that he seems to be separated from the surroundings; this shows how detached he is from the ‘real world’ and how he can not snap back or adjust back into reality. The shot is also filmed from a higher angle meaning that as the audience, we are looking down at him slightly; this allows him to seem more vulnerable and weak due to his mental and physical disabilities. It also suggests that this is how people in society view others with disability, society looks down on, judges and pities the vulnerable. When the camera dollies into Watson towards the end of the scene the audience are drawn in to focus on him and his emotions. The audience feel a sense of sympathy towards him and focus on him as he is the main character in the shot and scene.

Here is the mind map that my group produced in order to come up with analysis for camerawork…

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Editing

The scene begins with the dream of Watson at war. In order to display how hard, fast pace, energetic, chaotic and active this event was, fast pace editing has been used. The more frequent shots match how chaotic and frenzied the war was and could also represent the mind of Watson now because of it. Watson is meant to be sleeping, the fact that his dreams are this upbeat and active whilst he is meant to be calm and relaxed show how much the war has effected his mentality. In contrast to this, slower editing pace is used to show the life of Watson in present day. This could suggest the slow pace of him adapting back into the normal world but cold also represent how before he was always active, running and never standing still compared to present day where he can barely walk to his walking stick; this shows how the disabilities from war limit him in his everyday life.

When dreaming of his lifestyle back in the war, cross cutting is used to show how distressing Watson finds these flashbacks and memories of his past. The scene displays footage from the war and then cuts to Watson breathing very heavily. This shows that even in his new life, flashbacks often trigger a sense of panic, horror and trauma showing that he is not coping with the terrorising images in his mind.

When Watson is shown to be on his laptop trying to think of something to blog, the audience can see his face in the screen. However, this then fades out into the next scene in the therapist’s office. Not only does the fade display the slow passing of time in his life now that he is disabled and alone, but it shows his lack of enthusiasm into attending the session. This reluctance displays his shame of his own disability and how he feels as though he needs to cover it up. The fade also shows his isolation from the outer world.

When Watson is shown to be in the therapist’s office, shot reverse shot is commonly used; this allows the audience to see the reactions of both the therapist and John Watson. The facial expressions of Watson display his discomfort and lack of social skill when trying to adjust back into civilised life. Even though both characters are shown through shot reverse shot, the therapist seems to have much more screen time then Watson. This shows viewers that she is comfortable in this situation whereas Watson is not as he is embarrassed by his disability and his mental disability is stopping him from opening up and becoming comfortable in the situation.

Here is the mind map that my group produced in order to come up with analysis for editing…

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Sound Design

During the war dream there are many exaggerated sounds such as gunfire, shouting and screaming. These sounds display the chaos in Watson’s mind and the loudness could represent how much he wants his old life back. These sounds can be classed as diegetic sounds because even though they are being presented in a dream, they are meant to be purporting from the world of the film. Also in the dream there are a stream of echoes at the beginning; this displays the distortion and trauma of war and also show the echoes in his mind on a daily basis. Eery echoes are also often associated with being haunted and so it could be argued that Watson is being haunted by the echoes of his past. When the stress of the dream becomes too much for John Watson he suddenly awakes. As soon as he does this the extract goes silent. This noticeable juxtaposition displays the mundaneness of his life that his mental and physical disability has brought upon him. The clear difference also shows the contrast between his old and new life. When waking up from the dream, Watson is shown to be in a state of shock and relief. This is shown through the diegetic, exaggerated sound of his heavy breathing. The heavy breaths show the stress and horror of Watson’s past creeping up on him. This is the first moment in the extract where the audience sense a form of PTSD within Watson. On the other hand, the heavy breathing could be displaying how scared he is of adapting and adjusting to his new life. As soon as Watson awakes there is a slight, high pitched ringing sound, non diegetic, being played. This adds discomfort to the scene which shows the audience how he feels in his new life and within his own mind.

When carrying out actions such as getting the mug and apple in the scene, the sounds are exaggerated hugely; this shows that these are the most exciting things happening to Watson now that his life has been limited due to his mental and physical disability. They also emphasise how lonely he is and contrast to the previously exaggerated sounds in the war zone in order to show how his life has changed so dramatically. Whilst sitting on his laptop with the mug and apple, there is a distant car horn. This shows how isolated he now is and how disconnected he is from the ‘real world’. He then opens his laptop onto an empty blog page. In this same shot we hear the therapist speaking for the first time;this is a sound bridge and connects this scene into the next whilst showing that the two are connected and the blog will be vital to Watson’s recovery.

When in his therapy session there is no music in the background, there are also many pauses and silences. The silence gives the scene a very awkward and uncomfortable tone; this represents how Watson feels when talking about his mental and physical disability as he feels embarrassed and ashamed by them. The silence also adds to the reality of his disability. The therapist is shown to be starting conversation, asking questions and trying to prevent the silence. Dr John Watson seems reluctant to talk which further proves his shame of his disability and how uncomfortable he feels connecting to others as he has felt isolated for so long.

The music played in the background throughout is very mellow and minor; this mirrors the mind of John Watson and helps to portray to the audience how his disabilities make him feel. However, the mellow music is then hugely juxtaposed by the upbeat, forte, composed theme tune. This juxtaposition displays how John Watson’s life was before he managed to get over his sense of isolation and dis communication and before he became an associate to Sherlock Holmes.

Here is the mind map that my group produced in order to come up with analysis for sound design…

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Mise-En-Scene

At the beginning, in the dream of Watson fighting back in Afghanistan there are many props to set the scene including: guns; army, camouflage uniforms; helmets; tanks; run down houses; camouflage netting; plus much more. The lighting is bright and all characters are shown to be active. All of this allows the flashback to seem not only chaotic, but exciting and adventurous. This is then juxtaposed as the audience see John Watson’s apartment for the first time. The room that Watson is shown to be in is dim coloured, plain, dimly lit and very simple. The contrast shows how his disabilities have taken the excitement and purpose out of his life and how he is so drained of energy that he does not bother to brighten up where he lives and decides to lead the most simple lifestyle that he can. When the scene shows the whole room, two bottles of pills are shown to be in the front centre of the rooms. This shows that these pills dictate his new life, just like his disability controls what he does, who he sees and how he sees life. The colour palette of the room is simple and somewhat depressing; this shows how the disabilities that he obtained from the war have made him feel.

When sitting in bed, Watson is displayed with a plain black background behind him. The background is representing how his life has turned upside down and is now dark and plain everyday. The bed that he is shown to be sat on has been neatly made; this is a common trait of army personnel and shows that there are some parts of his past life that will never leave him. The army and his disability will always be a part of him, he just has to learn to find a way to adapt and adjust back into normal life. The scene then pans to reveal the walking stick on the opposite side of the room. By using the rule of thirds, the audience are drawn to see it and the eyeliner between Watson and the walking aid shows how much he relies on it in his new life. The walking stick is from then shown in almost every shot. This constant appearance shows his dependence on the stick and how this is now a part of him that he will have to learn to live with.

When Watson takes an apple and a mug with the SAS crest on it, there are various ways of reading the items and how they present the disability of him. The two items contradict one another, the army mug is a souvenir of his past, exciting and adventurous life, whereas the apple is showing his new simplistic life he must lead due to his disability. The two together show that both sides of his life are constantly playing in his mind. Another way to view it is that the apple is used in order to relate to Biblical terms.The apple could be perceived as the fruit of life showing that Watson wants his old, fuller life back. Also, the dreams,flashbacks of war in Afghan and PTSD could represent the devil tempting him just like the devil tempted Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden with the apple.

Watson then goes into his draw in order to get out his laptop to try and blog due to the advice of his therapist. When taking the laptop out, a gun is revealed below it. These two objects show the two sides to his life. The laptop represents his new life as it directly links to his therapy sessions due to his disabilities, whereas the gun links back to his old life in the army and shows how he can not let go of his dreams and enter reality. They juxtapose the two lives that he is replaying.

Here is the mind map that my group produced in order to come up with analysis for mise-en-scene…

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Here is the trailer for the episode displaying much of the scenes that I have mentioned in this post…

 

 

 

Textual Analysis: Editing

Narrative

Continuity – things happening in a continuous sequence.

  • Match on Action
  • Establishing Shot – the establishing shot allows the audience to get a sense of the geography of the location being filmed in.
  • Cutaway – when you see something in vicinity that adds context.
  • Glance/Object – when glancing at something and then showing what the character was glancing at.
  • Reaction Shot – editing to display when something happens, the reaction that takes place after.
  • Shot Reverse Shot
  • Master Shot – a master shot puts close – ups into context, they are an establishing shot for a specific action.

Temporal Structure – how you show time passing in various ways.

  • Fast Forward – where more than one seconds worth of film is put into a seconds length.
  • Frame Skip

Contiguity – seeing things that are happening at the same time.

  • Cross Cut/ Intercut/ Parallel – Things occurring in a parallel order.
  • Action Match – movement in one scene matches movement in another scene.
  • Graphic Match – picture of one thing very similar to another. For example, a record player and a car wheel.

Textual Analysis: Camerawork

We were introduced to various new terms and terminology. We focused on Camerawork and new various techniques and terms to do with it…

Camerawork

Camera Shots:

  • Wide shot – A wide shot is the most common shot used in cinema. It displays the character from the waist up which doing so shows the environment in the background. Wide shots are also known as mid shots and medium shots.

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  • Long shot – A long shot is similar to a wide shot but taken from further away. It shows the feet to the top of the head.

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  • Extreme long shot – The extreme shot is a further away long shot. It displays more of the environment that the character is in.

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  • Close Up -A close up shot frames the face of a character. It is a commonly used shot and can display emotions and reactions.

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  • Extreme Close Up – An extreme close up is much closer and displays features of the close up.

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Framing/Composition

  • Rule of Thirds – The rule of thirds includes 3 vertical and 3 horizontal columns in a grid. The points of interception of the lines guide you. Aligning the composition of the shot with these interceptions allows the shot to be more aesthetically pleasing.

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  • One Shot – A one shot displays one person in the shot.

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  • Two Shot/Three Shot – A two shot displays two people in the shot. This is often used to display a conversation between two actors. This is the same for a three shot but there are three characters shown rather than two.

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  • Point of View Shot – A point of view shot displays to the viewers what the audience are seeing.

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  • Over the Shoulder Shot – The over the shoulder shot displays the conversation and actions of two characters or more.

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Focus

  • Shallow Focus – A shallow focus is when the focus of the shot is very specifically on one thing/object. This draws the audiences attention to it.

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  • Deep Focus – In order to carry out deep focus in a shot, the camera operator would have to use a different lens. It is where everything in the shot is in focus.

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  • Focus Pull – Focus pull is where within one shot the focus changes from one object to another. This type of focus is often used to reveal something.

Camera Angles

  • Eye-Level Shot – An eye level shot is where the camera is on an angle so that the middle point is within eye level of the character. It is the most common angle used in cinema and film.

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  • High Angle Shot – This type of angle is where the camera is higher up and looking down on something.

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  • Low Angle Shot – A low angle shot is the opposite to a high angle shot and the two are often mixed up. The low angle shot is taken from a lower angle looking upwards. These two types of shot are often used to present the power and hierarchy of the characters involved in the video.

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  • Birds Eye View Shot – This angle is used when the camera is looking straight down, almost as if seeing the setting from the eye of a bird flying over.

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  • Down Shot – A down shot is similar to a birds eye view shot but is more limited. For example, seeing a table in a classroom rather than the whole school building.
  • Up Shot – The up shot is the opposite to a birds eye view shot as the camera faces directly up. This shot may be used to display the view of someone stargazing for example.

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  • Dutch Tilt/Canted Angle/Oblique Angle – This type of camera angle is usually used for disorientation or confusion.

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Camera Movement

Aerial Shots 

  • Helicopter Shot – Helicopter shots are very common in film making, this is because there is lots of variety in shots, heights and positions available when using a helicopter. However, this is a very expensive type of movement as a helicopter is required to carry it out.

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  • Drone Shot – A drone shot includes almost all of the advantages of a helicopter shot but is much cheaper and is becoming more available to amateur film makers because of this.

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  • Wire Shot – Wire shots are relatively cheap to carry out. A filmmaking advantage to using wire as a move rn technique is that you can do the same shot precisely again and again and again.
  • Crane Shot – A crane shot moves the camera very smoothly. Because of this they are commonly used.

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Dolly Shots

  • Dolly Shots are smooth, precise, repeatable techniques of movement.
  • Dolly In, Dolly Out – Dolly in simply means that the camera is moving closer and vice versa for dolly out.
  • Crab Shot – A crab shot uses a camera on the dolly track. However, the camera is at 90 degrees to the track and so moves sideways almost like a crab.

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  • Arch Shot – An arch shot is where the camera on the dolly is moving in an arch/circular motion.

Fixed Shots

  • Pan – A pan is the movement of the camera from a fixed point moving horizontally.
  • Tilt – A tilt is the movement of the camera from a fixed point moving vertically.

Handheld Shots 

  • Handheld shots are often filmed with the camera on the operators shoulder. Because of this, handheld shots are very manoeverable.

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Steadicam 

  • Steadicam is in fact a brand name. The operator of the camera wears a harness with the camera and some weights attached to it. The weights allow the camera to be constantly balanced resulting in smooth movement.

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Zoom

  • Zoom In – Where the shot is zooming into one point.
  • Zoom Out (Also Known As… Reverse Zoom) – Where the shot is zooming out to display more.

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Textual Analysis on ‘Flowers’

To introduce us into using Textual Analysis we re-visited technical terminology that we learnt in our GCSE course such as: Sound Design; Camerawork; Editing; and Mise en Scene.  To practise using these terms, seeing how they create effect and analysing TV Drama using these categories we were shown a dark comedy called “Flowers” on Channel 4.

Sound Design

There were various types of sound design shown in the first episode of “Flowers” such as: diegetic sounds; non-diegetic sounds; composed scores; compiled scores; and sound effects in order to create a specific effect on the audience.

Non-Diegetic sound is sound added in post-production to have an effect on the audience. The first example of a non diegetic sound used to create effect in “Flowers” is the theme tune. The programme began with a sombre and somewhat mellow theme tune which created a dark mood. Using such a melancholic tune leads the viewers to believe that the programme will be gloomy and dark. However, this is disproven as comedy is portrayed through the dark events, such as the tree branch snapping in the opening scene when Maurice Flowers attempts to hang himself. The contrast allows the viewers to find light in the situation whilst also relating to the situation. This theme continues throughout the programme as cheery and upbeat music is played over the top of bitter circumstances. This allows everyday, negative events to seem funny. On the other hand, on occasion melancholic music is played at a sad part of the show. This allows the viewers to feel sympathetic prompts the audience’s mood to reflect the mood of the characters. When something bad occurs, a high pitch whiny sound is used in order to add suspense to the situation. It also makes the viewers feel uncomfortable when watching adding to the eerie tone.

Throughout the episode a narrator explains the setting and actions of the characters. The tone of the narrator shares many similarities with the stereotypical narrator at a pantomime or child’s film. By doing this, the audience feel younger and more immature therefore allowing them to enjoy the jokes and to feel more free to laugh at the problems of adulthood. The narration has a mono-tonal voice and speaks in rhyme. This allows the programme to seem much more structured and almost like a structured story. Once again, this contrasts with the actions occurring in the scene as they come across as fairly random and crazy. The narration also displays a juxtaposition to the seriousness of the situations shown in the programme. This also allows the otherwise formal and sincere programme to seem lighthearted and amiable.

Diegetic sound is sound that purports to come from the world of the film. The creators of “Flowers” have used diegetic sounds such as dialogue, squeaky floorboards and tree branches snapping to create an effect on the audience. An example of diegetic sound used to create effect in “Flowers” is when the daughter, Amy Flowers, begins to play the piano at the anniversary party. At first the piano tune is fairly calm, however as the drama and chaos increases the tempo, dynamics and energy that she is playing also increases. This creates a foreboding effect as the audience know that when the chaos gets too much and when the music gets too fast and too loud something will happen to stop all of the noise. When the accident occurs, the music instantly stops as there is no more tension and suspense to build. During the scene where Maurice attempts to hang himself, specific audio pieces are enhanced such as the feet crunching against the leaves, the rope against the tree bark and the crow. These are simple noises but have strong connotations  such as the crow. Crows are a sign of death and darkness and so by using the caw of a crow the scene becomes more morbid. They also allow the scene to be more alluring and serious. This added seriousness and tension adds to the humour when it goes wrong.

Camerawork

Various different shots are shown to be used in the programme in order to create specific effects on the audience. Not only this, but the creators of “Flowers” have used varying shot movement and angles to represent and create effect.

To begin with, a long shot is used in order to display the setting to the audience. This gives the audience an idea about whereabouts the programme will be set and give an overall tone. The long shot also displays how isolated the family are. This builds to the mysterious tone. Throughout the episode there are many close-ups. The close-up shots allow the audience to see reactions and expressions in more detail. This allows them to feel empathy for the character. Towards the beginning close-up shots are used to keep the actions of Maurice Flowers a mystery. This adds a tension to the scene which allows the relief and comedy to be at a higher level when it goes wrong. Once the fondue machine explodes, a mid shot is used in order to display not only the facial expression of the character that the contents landed on, but also to show the mess that it has made. As the chaos at the party increases, an argument begins to emerge. In order to display this argument and all involved, a mixture of a two shots and a shot-reverse-shots are used. By using these, the audience can view the whole argument whilst also experiencing the reactions and seeing the facial expressions as each character reacts. Two shots can also be used to display relationships. In the kitchen, a two shot is used in order to show a conversation between Maurice and his son, Donald. Not only is the conversation displayed to viewers, Maurice has his back on Donald throughout the conversation. This displays the distance to their relationship which adds an awkward and pessimistic mood.

Camera movements also build moods. When Donald asks, “Why’s the tree broken?” the camera moves around Maurice to a close-up of his face to see his reaction. This shows his expression as he becomes aware that his secret may be revealed; this allows the viewers to feel sympathy towards him. It also adds tension and awkwardness which is relieved when Donald turns it into a joke. A common camera movement used in “Flowers” is tilt. Often, the camera tilts upwards to show the body and then focuses in on the act occurring or facial expression to reveal emotions attached to that. This reveals the mood to the audience allowing them to empathise with the characters.

An example of shot and camera movement used together is when the daughter, Amy, is playing the piano and a dream like sequence of the neighbour is displayed. The shots are transitions and have many layers to them, the image is blurred and is very slow and smoothly moving. This combined with the warm colours, nature of the shots and music gives a creepy and odd mood off. It is also partially uncomfortable and displays the abnormal features of the Flowers family.

Editing

“Flowers” uses continuity editing as the story is being told in a chronological order. This type of editing adds a sense of reality and order into the programme, allowing the audience to feel more involved, to be learning/experiencing different things and to be going through the day alongside the characters.

Towards the beginning of the programme there are fewer camera shots and each shot remains for longer. This adds a calm and smooth tone to the programme but changes as the action of the programme increases. It also forces the audience to look at the awkward reactions present in order to display a definite tone and mood. When the chaos at the anniversary party increases, the shots become much shorter and there are a lot more. This allows the audience to see the reactions and actions of everyone in the scene, but also adds to the build up excitement and tension alongside the music.

Mise en Scene

Mise en Scene is a french phrase which translates to “putting into the frame” or “staging”. It includes everything that you see in the frame whether it be the positioning of actors, their makeup/clothing or lighting. Each thing displayed in a shot is there for a reason and is there to create an effect.

The setting of “Flowers” is in a stereotypical English countryside. There are green fields surrounding, the weather is dim and cloudy and the colours are fairly dull and neutral. This creates a fairly ‘normal’ yet sombre tone for the show. The weather, lighting and setting is quite dark. This forebodes the upcoming programme as it is a dark comedy and also prepares the viewers for the gloomy upcoming events. It also matches the dark humour that is used throughout the programme.

The mother of the family, Deborah Flowers played by Olivia Colman, wears very stereotypically ‘mother-like’ clothes. She wears a cardigan and a tweed coat and has a short, simple bob haircut to match her natural looking makeup. Having characters to match their stereotypes allows the audience to connect to the programme more as it seems to be more realistic and relatable. The daughter, Amy Flowers, is presented to be the opposite of her twin brother, Donald Flowers. She has dark hair that frames her pale, thin face. These are all common stereotypes of an ’emo’ or ‘goth’. The characters stereotypes are not solely displayed through their clothes, hair and makeup. When Shun draws a picture, he draws some sort of cartoon in the style of anime. This backs up the nationality of his character and adds to the comforting familiarity.

Arguably, the main prop of the episode is the hangman’s rope. This rope displays the intentions of Maurice Flowers and gets across to the viewers the darkness of his character. Other various props such as a grand piano, fireplace and a wall full of books adds to the setting of a typical English home which also allows the viewers to relate.

During the title sequence when being introduced to the various family members, they seem to be partially obscured by the lighting. This displays the family to be dysfunctional and allows the viewers to become interested and intrigued into the characters of the programme.

The directors of “Flowers” also use composition to display the characteristics of characters in order to create a specific mood. At the beginning of the programme, there is a shot to show the father, Maurice Flowers, in his office. The whole room is dim with a lit up Mr Flowers in the centre. This shows that he is an important character but also makes him seem isolated and alone. This displays his feelings of depression to the audience from very early on, therefore allowing the audience to feel sympathetic to him throughout. When Shun and Maurice are in the shed having a conversation Mrs Flowers enters wanting to have a conversation with Maurice. All three characters are shown in the shot, however Deborah is shown in the centre stood outside of the shed. This positioning shows that she is the outsider in this situation and is distant from the other two. By doing this, the audience automatically can infer that the relationship between Maurice and Deborah is uncomfortable and somewhat forced. Composition can also be used to display authority and control. For example, when Deborah wanted the anniversary party to go ahead Maurice was shown to be higher up and looking down on Deborah showing that he had the most authority. However, as they began to agree they are shown to be on the same level. When they are shown on the same level in the shot together it is almost as if they are pretending that everything is fine which creates a somewhat awkward mood. Another example of this is when Amy Flowers is shown un her room. She is shown to be alone and isolated in an attic converted bedroom. She is presented in darkness and in the centre of the shot alone which presents to the audience that she has a wacky, lonely and odd persona.

The writer of “Flowers”, Will Sharpe, uses these various techniques in order to create a specific effect on the audience. The dark comedy has a mix of comedy, drama and darkness and so at different times these features will be used to create different effects and moods upon the audience.

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