This assignment will ask you to identify how these factors work to create the overall movie viewing experience. Choose one of the two clips provided below. Your goal is to identify all of the elements of scene construction that occur within it. Your task will be to storyboard each shot from your clip, considering elements like lighting, framing and camera movement. You will identify and draw out what you witness on screen, shot by shot.
Look on page 138 of the Corrigan and White textbook for the definition of a shot–it’s a continuous point of view from the camera between two edits. If the camera framing changes, but there’s no cut to a different point of view, it’s still the same shot–that’s camera movement within the same shot.
The second part of this assignment then will ask you to analyze how each of these components ultimately come together to set the tone and move the plot forward. You will describe how these elements of mise-en-scene, cinematography and editing create the movie watching experience.
Instructions for each portion of this assignment:
Part 1: Storyboarding
Before any scene goes into production, filmmakers sit down and write out how they intend to film it. Storyboarding is a method in which ideas for camera angles, movements and light sources are thought out and drawn.
How to storyboard:
Using a template, you will draw the actions you see within your scene. In the lines below you will describe the kinds of action that occur within that shot. This will include the physical actions of characters and also the movement of the camera.
For your drawings:
Drawings should be in the color scheme of the original film (so, black and white for black and white film). We are aware that some of your are less artistic than others, stick figures are alright provided that you continue to identify the following components.
Match the framing of a characters in the original scene
Identify the lighting source (try to draw the lighting within your frame, however, if you are less artistically inclined, simply identify where it appears that lighting is coming from in the description area below).
Identify the physical movements of characters during a shot through arrows. For example if a character walks from the left side of a room to the right, draw from where they are first positioned in the first shot then draw an arrow pointing left to indicate that motion.
Identify every shot in the scene, and each cut that occurs. There should be an image for every shot in your clip.
In the lines below your drawing please identify the following:
The exact framing of your shot (example: long-shot, close-up, etc.)
Any camera movement the occurs within the shot (ex: pan, tilt, track etc)
Any reframing (for example: if a shot starts at medium shot and through the camera movement becomes a long shot).
If you had challenges drawing it into your frame, please identify your lighting source, where is the light coming from? how many lighting sources do you see?
You can see sample storyboards from popular films on the StudioBinder website.
Choose ONE of the clips below:
Scene from Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958):
Scene from Detour (Edgar Ulmer, 1945) (You only need to storyboard the first two minutes):
Part 2: Analysis (250-300 words)
After you have organized all of the elements in your storyboard, you will explain how you feel that the mise-en-scene and cinematography work together to create meaning in the scene. Try to answer the following questions: what happens in this scene narratively and how does that point of the scene come through though the visual construction of the scene. Does the lighting or use of color convey a particular mood or set a tone? Why do you think the scene was composed of these shots?
You likely won’t have quotations from external sources, but if you do, be sure to cite them using a standard citation format.
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