The concept of film analysis is trying to understand a film in a comprehensive way. The following is a write-up of three unique aspects of film namely, lighting, shot types and editing . Each aspect serves a purpose to the communication of a plot and the process in each is described and demonstrated below.
According to AFDA’s production course (2017/8), Medium is the communication tool, it is the instrument of media production”, it establishes perception of the narrative and communicates it to the audience. It is a platform for the story and can actually be more essential than the message itself that is being conveyed. Semiotics forms a part of medium, it is all about the study of signs and symbols and how meaning is created through them. These signs and symbols are communicated through a type of medium. All three aspects mentioned are a form of medium with signs and signifiers within parts of them.
Lighting is a very intricate part of film. It is what visually stimulates the viewer. It is an essential tool for enhancing or even diffusing video image. It sets the mood and reflects on the genre of the film. It forms part of many elements that are used to classify a films genre . This is used to communicate the plot to the audience through the choices made within the department. Lighting creates the effect the audience is intended to get from the narrative. Lighting consists of the clarity, sharpness, contrast, etc. of the image. Dark lighting creates tension and terror like the one used in Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (2018).Background lighting is used to separate the subject matter from their surroundings/ environment, this directs attention to what is relevant eg when Queen Latifah has her back turned to the crowed as she is about to address the protagonist in scene four of the Film Girls trip (2017), this allows for the viewers attention to be on the two characters and not the crowd and in this way the plot is communicated as the two have a confrontation which is clearly captured by using visual and smart lighting choices such is this.
Shot types can either be from cinematography or editing which is basically production and post production. However this focus is on cinematographic choices. Camera shots are defined by the subject matter in the frame. The most common types of shots are high and low angle shots. The distance of the camera from the subject communicates the narrative for example, if the angle is an extreme long shot, it might represent the insignificance of either the human or object being viewed and if it is at extreme close up it would communicate the fact that what is being viewed is important to the audience. It would mean it is very relevant and is also used to show what a character is thinking about for instance in the ball scene of Wonderwoman( Dir; Patty Jenkins; 2017) when she was thinking of ways she could use to disguise herself and the camera focused on a maidens attire, the shot type was used to show a thought referent.
Editing is the selection and arrangement of shots into a series after production when the cinematography has been completed. It is a technical section of production.When carried through effectively, the viewer should be so intensely engaged with the narrative that they aren’t even aware of the editing. Along with several other contributions to the film-making process as well as the narrative itself, it has a very significant impact on the plot and making sure it is communicated as desired to the audience.
Continuity refers to the consistency of components used in the film or parts of it and the editor ensures it is maintained while selecting shots and transition types for narrative effect. Failure to do so will break the viewers attention and direct it to the continuity errors made during the editing phase. An example of when this has happened was in Bat-man: The Dark Knight(2008)(Interrogation Scene)
Continuity works the same with the synchronisation of visuals and audio.
Editing communicates the plot in several different ways using pacing, cuts, timing, transitions and motions, all the components within the art. For instance slow , fast paced editing creates suspense and excitement, it can also be used to evoke fear within the viewer along with the sound that corresponds. A lot of fast paced editing was used in films like Get out( 2017), an American horror film written and directed by Jordon Peele. This type of editing is made of of quick cuts which transition at a fast rate, not giving the viewer time to linger on other emotions but rather evoke the above mentioned emotions to maintain a type of panic effect. Films like Girls trip (2017) incorporated frequent jump cuts which are used to show disorientation such as when a character is intoxicated or just lost in thought or confused. They also consisted of slow motions which is basically the slowing down of action to create an emotional effect. All types of editorial components have a significant impact on the way the plot is communicated.
Each aspect has the capacity to alter the way the narrative is perceived and they each help to categorise a film. The structural elements are what help establish what kind of technical choices need to be made, Lighting, shot types and editing all play a very big part of film and communicate a plot in ways that should engage the viewer visually, mentally and emotionally
Jeunet, J (dir) & Deschamps, J(prod), Ossard, C (prod). 2001. Ameli. Canal+, France 3 cinema, UGC, UGC Fox Distribution.
Mchluhan, M. 1964. Understanding Media: The extensions of man.Penguin Books
Get out( Writ&Dir; Jordon Peele; 2017). Blumhouse Productions
Girls Trip(Dir; Malcom D Lee; 2017). Will packer productions
Wonderwoman( Dir; Patty Jenkins; 2017). DC Films
Batman( Writ&Dir; Christopher Nolan; 2008) DC Comics; Warner Bros.