Mise-en-scene translates from French to ‘place on stage’, which is basically the visual elements of the frame. We have control of everything that is included and happens within the frame, such as the lighting, setting, costume, character behaviour and composition. Each one of these aspects then creates its own meaning and communicates it to the audience.
When filming or taking photographs, it is important to this about the lighting and the effects of what it can do to a frame. For example:
- Quality of lighting.
- Direction of lighting.
- Colour of lighting.
Each of these alter the tone of the scene and can create mood and atmosphere.
Types of light:
- Ambient / available light – The light surrounding an object which is not created by photographers.
- Artificial light – The light that photographers add to light a scene / object.
- Diffused / soft light – Soft even illumination to produce soft, balanced lighting (minimum shadows).
- Hard light – A focused beam of light from a single point light source. It creates shadows with a shadow edge.
- Coloured light – The colour of the light source can be used to create mood and atmosphere, for example, red light connotes danger.
Examples of lighting:
This is a screenshot from the horror film, Insidious. In this frame coloured lighting is used to portray how the boy may feel as he is crying because he is scared. The colour red connotes danger, blood and violence because as red resembles each of them in some certain way. For example, blood is the colour red, and then danger relates to blood so the connotation to that is then red. This then means that he is most likely feeling one of these emotions or is experiencing one as it is a horror film too. Artificial lighting is also used because the people in charge of the lighting would have had to get a red light or a red filter for a light to make it like this. I think that it is effective because it helps the consumers understand and see how vulnerable this boy is in this scene.
This is a screenshot from the television series, Pretty Little Liars. This episode is filmed in film noir, therefore uses a lot of harsh and hard lighting to portray how the characters are feeling and to the plot line of what is happening during that series. The hard lighting is a beam of light on a character, which is effective in this case because of the genre of the film because it puts the characters on spot and then you know which one you should be paying attention to. I think that this style of lighting is especially effective in black and white because when the beam of light is on a character or object, everything surrounding it is is darker so you know what to focus on. Artificial light is then used to make the effect of hard lighting because they would have had to get a spotlight / beam light to be able to get the effect of the light being on someone because without it, it would not be effective.
This screenshot is from the film, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. This shows that ambient / available lighting is being used. This is because they are using the lighting that is from the sun, without any added lights to make it appear different. I think that natural lighting is effective in circumstances like this because it makes the situation the character is in more realistic. This lighting suits what the character is doing because she is in the countryside, therefore the natural lighting works well.
Soft / diffused light:
This is a diagram of what the studio looked like when we were taking photos:
In order to take the photos to create the soft / diffused lighting effect, we used a soft box which can diffuse the light from a flash. It was placed higher above us to imitate the sun so it seemed like natural lighting. We then used a light meter which helps us to measure the light so we get the correct exposure when taking the images. We set the aperture on f/8 and the shutter speed on 125th of a second. This is when we would use the light meter to ensure that we had the correct exposure. Sometimes the camera thinks that it needs a larger hole to increase the aperture. To obtain a smaller aperture, more power needs to come out of the flashlight / soft box.
These are the photos that I took in the studio. The one on the left is taken with only the soft box, and the one on the right is taken using the reflector and the soft box. Whilst using the reflector, I learnt that it eliminates shadows as it reflects it. Therefore, on the second image there is not a shadow on her face, and on the first one there is. In the future I need to ensure that the camera is fully in focus so that the photos are completely clear. To do this, I could have zoomed into her eyes once I thought that it was focused to be able to check. In portraits like these, I learnt that checking that the eyes are in focus is important because there are medium shots therefore you are able to tell if the eyes are clear or not.
In our interactive film, we could use soft / diffused lighting when we want to create a soft and shadowless shot. For example, when we introduce either the two female characters because they are the both the main protaginists who are both ‘good’ characters throughout the whole film. By using this type of light, it ensures that there are no harsh and hard shadows; making the character seem more innocent as you can see them clearly. Harsh light can make characters seem more sinister, which we may use to portray the stalker. Also, we can use this type of lighting if we are trying to recreate a day where the sun is out but there are clouds in the sky which make the light more soft.
This is a diagram of what the studio was set up like when we took the photos.
Low-key images always contain dark tones and colours to create a dramatic looking photo. It can create harsh shadows around the face so that only certain parts are clear to see. The low-key lighting we were creating was meant to represent the sun so the light was up high. The aperture was set on f/8 and the shutter speed on 125th of a second. We then used a snoot which is a tube or similar shape that fits over a studio light or portable flash, which controls the direction and radius of the beam of light. They tend to be used in fashion or portrait photography, therefore, the light suited what we were photographing.
When taking this first photo, I wanted Anna to look directly at the camera so that the light would reach the majority of her face, allowing you to see her face more clearly. The shadow was then only on the left side of her face; making the image look more dramatic to the audience. In the second photo, I asked her to look down so that the light would only cover half of her face. The shadow was then on the left side of her face so you could not see her features; making the image seem more mysterious.
We could use this lighting in our interactive film when we want the scene to be more dark and moody. For example, if we are filming in an alleyway, this could be a good choice of lighting as it would portray how the characters would be feeling. However, it will be hard to make this style of lighting when we are filming as we would not be in a studio, especially when we are filming outside. If we cannot do this lighting, this is what we would have wanted.
This is a diagram of what the studio looked like when we were taking photos:
We used coloured gels to create different moods. The purpose of them is to portray the feelings and emotion within the scene. For example, you may use a red coloured gel when something dangerous is happening because the colour red connotes to blood and anguish. Someone had to hold the coloured gel up to the light as I took the photo.
The first one that I took had blue and orange coloured gel held up at the light, which created a dark, low-key light source. This is effective as you can only really see the right side of her face because of the dark shadows; creating a moody and harsh effect. The second photo had red coloured gel held up at it which created a very dark red light source. You do not nececcerily have to have the coloured gel over the light like these photos, you can have a strobe light instead and use reflectors so that it only goes on certain parts of the subjects face / body. This would be effective because it would only be a small bit of colour, therefore, it would look good in fashion photography.
We could use coloured lighting like this in our interactive video when we are trying to portray the feelings of our characters. However, it would be difficult to replicate as we are not in a filming studio. Also, we are filming outside for parts of it, therefore, the natural lighting would be dominant.
These images all represent how we want different our interactive film to look.
Firstly, we want the weather to be quite grey and dull so it reflects the mood of the interactive film more. For example, the film uses the technique of equilibrium with some of the paths, because it starts out good with one of the characters in her bedroom sleeping, then the next day, her and her friend discover they have a stalker, and finally, with a couple of paths it turns out the whole thing were a dream. The use of the low-key lighting of the weather then represents an eerie mood which presents to the audience that something bad may happen.
Secondly, there are a couple images of alleyways because this is where we would like to film at least one scene of our interactive film. This is because we think that they can be quite a mysterious, sinister place to be which reflects the stalkers personality and image. This then completely contrasts with the two characters usual environment that they are used to, therefore, will scare them even more when a stalker is involved. This ensures that the girls will be able to show emotion and it will make a more dramatic storyline.
Thirdly, we included some shots of films which we may want to include in ours to make certain scenes more effective. We liked the idea of the high-angle shot of the Joker because it shows that he is in control and has more power at that moment in the film. This is because it makes the audience feel as if he is looking down at them. This could be used in our film if the stalker was seen and he was looking at the two girls because it would belittle them and show that the stalker is more dominant. Also, we liked the low-angle shot of Matilda because it shows that she is not in control as it looks like someone is looking over her; making her seem small. This could be used during the film if the two girls felt vulnerable and felt as if they were not in control of the situation.
The photos of the different perspectives of the phone will definitely be used during the film because the audience needs to get a clear view of the screen at certain points because they need to read what is on it to understand what is happening at specific stages. Sometimes they may be presented as point of view shots; as if the character is reading the message/ notification, or they may be presented as an over the shoulder shot, so that the audience can see that the character is reading the message.
The close up shot of the face would be very good to use in our film of the stalker because it is very creepy and represents the stalker hiding and lurking in the shadows. The fact that you can only see part of the face, especially the eyes, represents that he is watching someone or something. Also, due to the light that is on him being bright, it shows that he could be hiding in a cupboard or some small space because it could be a gap in the door. This would be creepy because it presents a stereotypical stalker: watching someone without anyone knowing. The last shot included is one of someone in a corridor. We included this because it could be used in our film if one of the girls feel disorientated or confused due to the stalkers strange behaviour. For example, we may decide to use this in the scene where one of the girls is walking to town and keeps seeing the stalker; causing her to become very muddled and unsure of her surroundings. I think this is a good idea because it shows that the stalker is messing around with her head and is effecting her more psycologically, rather than physically. This then follows the plot line more too because there is never a stage in the interactive film where the stalker physically hurts them.
Finally, the other images in my storyboard represent how the girls bedroom will look and the personalities of our characters. We want the bedroom to be covered in photos and memories of the girl to present that she is a very friendly and family orientated, also that she is an overall happy person because it will make the plot more exciting. This is because the stalkers personality which is obviously, creepy, will contrast with the innocence and the friendliness of the two female characters; making it more interesting and intense.
Ideas for film:
These are some screenshots of existing films which will give me ideas for my own interactive film. They include shot types, angles and lighting which I may want to include.
The film, Ratter, is about a student who has been hacked on all of her electronic devices, therefore, the stalker is able to see what she is doing every minute of the day, and where she is. I like the fact that this film is completely filmed as if the camera is her phone or laptop, however, in our film, this is not what we are going to do as our characters devices have not been hacked. But, I like the idea of this film because the stalker knows everything about the girl due to the technology we have access to. This is an aspect of what we are doing in our film because the girl keeps the location on in her photos on Instagram (which is a very popular social media app), therefore, the stalker is able to see where she is and lives. Within the film, the girl is unaware of what is happening to her because of how popular technology is these days which makes it more exciting for the audience because they see weird things happening to her and her devices before she gets suspicious about them. This film portrays the dangers of technology these days, which is also what our film shows. Even though this film has many relevant topics and similarities to what we want to create, the story was very slow paced for the first half of the film as nothing major happened. This could be because they were trying to create suspense and show the student having a normal life; slowly progressing to show the stalkers weird behaviour, however, it took to long to get into the main focus of the story. Additionally, I like the shot in the left corner of the screenshot. This is because you can see the girl lying in bed, asleep, however, behind her in the doorway you can see a dark figure standing there which is the stalker in the film. This example is the style of how we want to portray our stalker to the audience because he is there, but you have to look closely to see that there is a figure there. Portraying our stalker like this seems more disturbing and uncomfortable than someone being there in plain sight all of the time because you cannot always see them: you have to look closely.
The film, Obsessed, is about a successful asset manager who is happy with his career and his marriage. However, a new female worker joins the company and starts to stalk him; trying to ruin everything about his personal life. I like this shot because the only light that is there is on the woman which shows that she is important within the scene. Secondly, the fact that the room is dark and that the lights on her are bright, show that she is going to make a big impact to this scene. Furthermore, the use of both lightings: low-key and high-key could show that she is only there to ruin everything, for example, the fact that both lightings are mixing could indicate something bad is going to happen because she is the one making two contrasting lightings go together at the same time. I also think that under lighting is used in this scene on the woman entering the room because it looks as if there would be lights under her due to the shadows. They are effective because it can disfigure the face, making it hard to see who the character is which can create tension in horror films especially. This film shows that to be a stalker, they do not have to be lurking in shadows, they can be in plain sight, confronting the victim. I like this trailer because it clearly portrays who the stalker is and she clearly shows to the audience how crazy they can be. I think this film completely contrasts with what ours is going to be like because the stalker in this film and the stalker in ours will be portrayed differently to the audience because in ours, the characters only ever really see the stalker when they are paying close attention to detail to make it more threatening. However, one similarity is that some of their methods of stalking may be similar in some ways. For example, the stalker in, Obsessed, knows where the person she is stalking is most of the time, which will be happening in ours due to the app Instagram. We have chosen to portray him like this because it shows that the use of technology can cause situations like these where someone can find you very easily just because of an app.
The film, The Roommate, is about a girl who joins college and is living on the campus. She befriends her roommate but is unaware that the girl is slowly becoming obsessed with her. This shot of the stalker looking through the books is one that we have included in our storyboard, however, ours is of one of the characters looking through the small gap between the door and the frame to see if the stalker is in the hall. Even though this shot is used to portray the stalker following the victim and ours is to portray one of the characters hiding for the stalker; it is still effective. In general, the reasons for this is because it clearly shows that the character is hiding / looking for someone and is trying not to be seen because the gap is so small. It ensures that you can see their eye so that you know they are looking for someone / something. The fact that the books surrounding her head are not in focus also shows that she is the main focus of the shot and you should only be worrying about what she is doing. I also like this shot because the lighting is very low key and mysterious which represents this character in this case because they do not know that she is so dangerous and creepy at the beginning. Also, the only light in the shot is on her face which shows that she is important in the scene as the spotlight is on her. I want to make sure ours is quite dark too because it will represent that the character is feeling quite unsafe as they think the stalker is in the house. In general, low-key lighting is mostly used in horror films, therefore, I will definitely be using it in ours when horrible situations occur.
The film, Crush, is about a girl who has a crush on a boy who already has a girlfriend. She ends up stalking him and his girlfriend; trying to get rid of her so she can have him for herself. This shot with the dark, low-key lighting, is something that we could use in our interactive film. This is because she is lurking in the background and is trying hard here not to be seen. The audience can see her, but the characters cannot, therefore making her seem very creepy and also makes the audience become on edge because they know something the characters do not. This is a technique we plan on using in our own film because it creates tension and makes the audience know that something bad may happen. In our storyboard and script we have used part of this technique because at the beginning it is shown to the audience that the girl has left her location on whilst posting a photo on Instagram, meaning anyone can see where she is. Therefore, there is a hint shown to the audience that someone, somewhere, knows where the girl is. However, within this film the couple know about their stalker, and know who she is but do not always know that she is there watching them.
The film, Orphan, is about a husband and wife who recently lost one of their children, and choose to adopt a nine year old girl. She seems innocent at first, but the more she lives with them, they realise how dangerous she is to the rest of their family. This shot shows the adopted girl standing above their other child. I like this shot because the natural light from the moon and the nights sky is shining on the dangerous, adopted child which shows that she is awake, and there is no lighting on the girl sleeping; showing that she unknown that there is someone else present in the room. This shot is a low angle shot for the adopted child, which shows she is in power and is more dominant than the child asleep. We plan on using low angle shots to portray the how the characters feel and their emotions. For example, when the girls think the whole stalker situation is more of a joke, there could be a low angle shot to show that they are feeling more in control of the situation. I also like that the adopted girl is dressed in white which represents holiness and innocence, however, the girl is actually dangerous so contrasts with her real personality that is currently unknown to her new family. This is effective to the audience because they would know that the orphan is dangerous, even though the other characters do not. Therefore, they would see through her fake act of purity.
The film, Kidnap, is about a mother whose son gets kidnapped whilst they are at a park. She sees the kidnapper drive off with her son and does not stop until she gets him back. This is a close up of the mothers face, which is effective because you can clearly see the emotion and helps the audience connect with the character. Close ups are effective because they ensure that you can see what the character is feeling emotionally; giving you a better understanding of the situation they are in. Soft lighting is used because it allows that you can see the character clearly because there tend to not be many shadows. Furthermore, it goes well with the scene because the character is trying to convey as much emotion as possible to make the scenario more realistic. These shots with this styled lighting would be powerful in our film because both female characters go through quite shocking events, therefore, we would be able to catch their expression well with close ups.
The film, The Gift, is about a young married couple, in which the wife gets introduced to one of her husband’s old “friends” from the past. He starts to continuously show up at their home, and then a secret is unleashed which was buried away for twenty years. This shot is a reflection of the woman looking into their pond, with a close up of the dead fish floating in it. This event could be foreshadowing that the stalker will not only kill the fish, they will also kill her. The fact that you can see her reflection can make the audience think that she is reflecting on the situation that has just happened and that she might be thinking that it could be her next too. The lighting is very dark on the water and her reflection; suggesting that something bad may happen to her as negative situations tend to be dark and good situations are normally white. We will most likely not use a shot like this in our film because we are not including death, however, the use of foreshadowing an event may be used but not at an extreme level. Ours could include a close up of the girls mobile phone, then a couple shots later it could ring and be the stalker. I think foreshadowing is effective because, firstly, once the film / television show has finished, you can look back and everything links together more clearly and you can see that everything did happen for a reason. Secondly, when something is foreshadowed, it can sometimes be a surprise for the audience as they might have not picked up on it, therefore, they are a good way to create excitement in media.
The film, Split, is about three girls who are kidnapped by a man with twenty three different personalities. The girls need to escape from him before the twenty fourth personality becomes apparent as it is very dangerous. This is a low angle shot and shows the man with the different personalities standing over one of the girls. It is effective because it shows that he has a lot more authority and power over them; making him seem very condescending. The general purpose of low angle shots is to make the subject seem a lot larger so that they seem more intimidating. The lighting in this is quite harsh and creates a shadow on half of his face. This is effective because there are hard shadows that make the rest of the subject stand out more. In this case, the man is more bold because the shadows on the left him ensure that you can see more details on the rest of his face. Hard / harsh light can be used in our film when the two girls and in the alleyway and they encounter the stalker because the alley is quiet dark anyway, therefore, will make it seem increasingly eerie.
Mise-en-scene in films:
The Edge Of Seventeen
In this scene it shows the characters are in a history class. The audience can see this as there are posters in the background associated with historical events. There is a USA flag in the background too which implies that it is based in America and is an American school because it is showing the audience where the film is based and that the students are American.
In this scene the characters room seems to be quite plain which could be because this character has not be introduced to the audience that much at this point. From this angle, his bedroom appears to be tidy as the bed is made and there is folded washing on the bed too. This suggests that he is quite a tidy and well-behaved character, rather than someone who rebels. Stereotypically, this could imply that he is someone who is quite intelligent because in films / television shows, the boys who rebel tend to not be tidy as they do not care about how well some things are kept.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
At the beginning of this opening scene, you see the main character, Bridget lying on the sofa smoking. The cigarette is one of the main props here because it shows what type of person she is. It could suggest that she is alone and that she has nothing better to do than smoke in her own home.
As you can see, Bridget, is wearing quite childish pyjamas; suggesting that she could be quite a childish person for her age. This is because the clothing could represent that she could be a bit of an odd person, or someone who struggles to get along with new people.
Here she is drinking alcohol by herself, which could also suggest that she is lonely. This is because, sometimes in films / TV shows, when you see someone drinking by themselves, the audience are meant to pick up that the character is quite empty. In this scene, Bridget, is shown to consume quite a large amount of alcohol, therefore, showing the audience that she has nothing better to do at this moment.
Mise-en-scene in our film:
The main character, Holly’s bedroom is decorated to fit her personality. For example, she has lots of photos on the wall to represent that she is quite a friendly person who likes to go out and meet her friends and socialise. This shows the audience that she is quite a likeable person, who is nice to most people; making them like her. There are also photos of animals, such as cats and a horse as the character owns these animals; showing the audience that she is an animal lover. These traits are good to have as they present Holly to be a genuine good person; allowing the audience to have a positive perception of the character.
The room is very cosy and has lots of different lights in it; creating an ambient effect. In this day, her room is very stereotypical and trendy as most of the furniture and decorations are up to date and are what a lot of teenage girls want their rooms to appear like. This shows that she is just an average sort of girl which a lot of the audience can relate too.
The kitchen is quite modern and up to date. This shows the audience the sort of lifestyle her and her family could be living in. As it is a kitchen, there are not any specific details we added to make it seem like it was Holly’s home because there was no space to put anything anywhere and we felt it was not needed because it is a kitchen.
This room is a very comfortable, family room, which shows thr audience that Holly is quite family-orientated. We have added a couple of photos of Holly in here so that it looks like it is her house. This is so that if the audience spot them in the interactive video, it is more believable that Holly lives there.
Although we cannot bring props to the town with us, we chose locations which represented the emotions the characters would be feeling and which matched the plot of the story. We want to film in alleyway because we think it will give a sketchy vibe and make the audience feel on edge a lot more, rather than filming in a popular street as it would not feel as scary due to it being busy.
Click here to watch my final interactive film: Unit 7: 4 – Interactive video