This blog post will go through the main filming rules used in cinematography and the effect they create.
Match on action:
This is an editing technique where one shot cuts to another shot to express the action of the subject in the first shot. A sense of continuity is shown when the camera cuts between two different shots; helping the audience to understand what is happening throughout the film. For example: if a character enters a room, the first shot would be an over the shoulder shot showing them facing towards the door,opening it and the second shot would be of the door opening and the character facing forwards.
This is a cinematography guideline where two characters in a scene must maintain the same left-right relationship with one another. But this has to happen within the 180 degree angle in filming, as shown in the diagram below:
Where the cameras must be positioned anywhere in the arc up to the line of action; but if the camera passes over the line (known as cutting the line), it results in the characters switching positions on screen. If the rule is broken it results in confusement because the viewer will not be able to understand whats happening in the scene as they won’t know the distance between the two characters. But with the rule it allows the audience to know the location of the scene and acknowledge the dialogue in the scene between characters.
There are a range of camera angles used in filming for many different effects. For example:
High angle- This shot shows the subject from above where the camera is angled downwards facing the subject; giving the impression of the subject being less powerful in comparison to something else.
Low angle- Opposite to high angle, it gives the subject significance and power due to the shot being taken below the subject, looking upwards.
Eye level- Where the camera is placed at the subject height to reveal a neutral shot in which the subject appears to be in line with the camera; the viewer feels like they’re having a conversation with the subject.
Slanted/tilt- This shot is where the horizon is at an angle because the camera is purposely tilted to one side to create a dramtic effect as tension builds between the subject being filmed.
Birds eye- This is more extreme than high angle as the shot shows the subject from directly above/overhead, which the word “Birds eye” relates to the fact that the shot makes the observer feel they are the bird looking down on the subject. This shot is used in a variety of ways like creating a dramatic effect from the view being unnatural looking or informing the audience of the landscape/perspective of the scene.
Long shot- This provides an extended view of the scene, particularly used in an outside area to set the scene to the audience.
Extreme long shot- A panoramic view of a landscape/location taken from a very far distance to allow the audience to see the layout of the scene. This is frequently used to emphasise the distance in which the characters have to travel.
Wide shot- The subject takes up the majority of the frame to show the subject and the environment surrounding it; also referred to as the establishing shot because of this.
Medium shot- A realtively close shot that generally shows the body from the waist up. This is especially used in dialogue scenes of a film as the audience can notice the gestures and actions of the characters.
Close up shot- A detailed view of the subject to create an emotional connection between the subject and the viewer. This is because sometimes a close up shot is of a person’s face, so we can see their facial expression (if they are angry or scared).
Extreme close up shot- An exceedingly detailed view of the subject, for instance the eyes are only shown in the shot to reveal and emphasise the emotions and characterisitcs that would have gone unnoticed if another shot type was used.
A two shot- This is framed quite similarily to a mid-shot but it shows a shot of two people;which helps to establish a relationship between two charcaters in the film.
Point of view shot- Is also known as the first person camera as it shows the view of the subjects perspective in the film. It’s used to show the audience what is happening in the scene as if to put them in the position that the character is in; this intensifies the scene and makes the viewer more intrigued to what might happen.
Shot reverse shot- Is used during a conversation between two actors as the shot views the action from the opposite side of the the previous shot, this creates the effect that the two characters are looking at each other.
Mise en scene-
This is the arrangement of everything, including lighting, decor, props, actors, actresses and costume that appears in a frame; the french term Mise-en-scene translates to “placing on stage”. Therefore, settings, props, costume, make up, hair, lighting, colour, body language, facial expression, and the positioning of characters/objects within the frame are each aspects of mise en scene which are used to create meaning by transferring useful information about time/place aswell as character information.