Mise-en-scene

TV Drama and representation learning book 2

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Mise-en-scene

  • Mise-en-scene: refers to the fact that all the objects and subjects in the frame are there to create a specific meaning. We analyse mise-en-scene through the factors of:

Can be taken to include all aspects of:

(Production design: the overall look of a media text.

Cinematography: lighting and colour.)

Diegetic world (diegesis): the fictional space and time implied by the narrative.

Verisimilitude: the quality of appearing to be true or real.

Must follow: Rules of continuity: temporal (time) and spatial (space) coherence i.e. it must make sense in terms of the time and place where the story takes place.

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Diegetic effect: for a story to engage us it must appear real as we watch it.

  • Lighting:

Three point lighting:

  • Key lighting: This is the main light. It is usually the strongest and has the most influence on the look of the scene. It is placed to one side of the camera/subject so that this side is well lit and the other side has some shadow. It is a hard, direct light, which produces sharply defined shadows. It can be bright (HIGH key) or dim (LOW key).
  • The Fill Light: This is the secondary light and is placed on the opposite side of the key light. It is used to fill the shadows created by the key. The fill will usually be softer and less bright than the key.


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The Back Light: The back light is placed behind the subject and lights it from the rear. Rather than providing direct lighting (like the key and fill), its purpose is to provide definition and subtle highlights around the subject's outlines. This helps separate the subject from the background and provide a three-dimensional look.

High Key: this is lighting that is used to make the scenery appear natural or realistic.

Low Key: this is lighting that is used to give a particular mood in relation to the theme of good v. evil, for example, or simply to make a scene seem moody.

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  • Set-design
  • Make up
  • Actors
  • Gesture
  • Props
  • Colour
  • Costume
  • Setting
  • Iconography: something visual with deeper meaning.
  • Gesture
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