Textual Analysis : Fingersmith

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of  Sexuality  using the following: Camerawork, Editing, Sound design and Mise en scene

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The opening scene is set in a dimly lit room and involves Maud caressing the Servant who has just received a brand new dress. This scene is filled with sexual tension in the way that she is touching the woman, but the setting of a dimly lit room suggests that her feelings must be concealed. This is reinforced with the Narration that is used as it is used to express inner thoughts that she feels that she can not voice towards the servant.  A Mid shot is used to show the intensity in which Maud looks at her and the Servant being framed in front of Maud also shows the admiration and importance that Maud has for her which builds up ideas of sexuality. Miss Maud’s feelings are expressed in the Non-Diegetic sound track which has romantic connotations which further emphasises the secret nature of her feelings since the soundtrack cannot be heard in the world in which the story is unfolding in.

We are then introduced into a scene in which Maud is showing admiration, yet again, for the Servant by painting her. Cross cutting and close up shots are used to show the focus and intensity that Maud is paying towards the sexual features of the servant  which highlights and adds to the sexual tension. We are then introduced to the third character which is a Young Male who appears to be a man of power. Loosing concentration by admiring the servant that she is painting, Maud drops red paint down her and this is not unnoticed by the newly arrived character. Red is not only a colour that has a semantic field of danger but also love and lust which represents the way Maud is feeling which in tern displays her sexuality. A 3 Shot is then used in order to get the reaction of all the characters and further display Maud’s sexuality coming to light to the other character and a loss of innocence is shown through the stain that is left of her dress. Much like the stain left on Maud’s dress, Maud’s sexuality and feelings are permanent and cant be washed away .

An imbalance between the power of the sex’s is shown through the use of framing the newly arrived male character in the centre of the screen, and also have him on a higher level than the 2 other female character. The idea that Man ultimately rules over Woman is then later shown where the man physically abuses Maud by using his strength and status that he has. Maud is next shown being pushed against a tree in what is an uncomfortable scene where the edenic music cuts and then a wide shot displays the male’s shadow casting over Maud as he gets closer and closer. This is used to show the darkness of his sexual intentions as well as the power that he has. A sound bridge is then used to show that the Servant is looking for Maud and this is followed by a sigh of relief from Maud which shows that she only cares for the Servant. Never the less the male character fulfils part of his sexual desires by slowly dropping down the side of Maud’s body before erotically kissing her hand in a extremely sexual manner. Maud shows signs of discomfort while this is happening and the scene then fades away making it seem as if it were just a nightmare.

The final scene is in the bedroom where Maud is in a dimly lit room removing her garments. This footage was slowed down to give you the idea that she is in a dream like state and that she wishes that the earlier events of today were just a nightmare.

In conclusion sexuality is presented as being dark and secretive and is not openly expressed from maud to the servant which contrasts the open sexual desires shown from the male character to Maud

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Holmes Under The Hammer

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of  disability/ability using the following: Camerawork, Editing, Sound design and Mise en scene.

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In the first few seconds of film we are shown a war zone to emphasise , using hand held point of view camera shot which is used to give an immersive feel to the audience. Using a point of view shot shows the former ability of the protagonist, later shown to be John Watson, and this juxtaposes the later shots showing his disability in the present day. Lens flare is also seen to be used during this scene which adds reality. The sound used in the dream/ flashback scene is diegetic and contains echoes of the war zone which displays the distortion and trauma the character still feels as it echoes in his mind, projecting the theme of his disability. The camera then flashes back to a one shot of John which shows his isolation then this is shortly followed by the camera blurring to emphasise the distortion and sickness he feels. The echo then fades and heavy breathing is amplified to give a tense feel to the audience and this is then shortly followed by silence to replicate the mundaneness of his life. We are then shown John Watson from a birds eye view which positions him as being vulnerable and isolated.

John is then shown in a room by himself in a long shot, showing the rooms sombre colour palette of dark blues as well as the distance between him and his walking stick. This is then further highlighted when johns gaze wanders towards the walking stick which shows his dependence and severity of his disability. In this same long shot you are shown his bed which is neatly made to the standard of which John would of had to made when he was in the army which shows the impact his time there has had on him and alludes to the idea of him having PTSD. Time is shown to have passed by having character dissolve in one frame to then another which also reflects his distantness from the outside world. During the dissolve transition a focus is shifted off of the character and is brought towards a small container of pills which shows the control that they have in his new life and highlight his disability.

The biblical reference to the garden of eden of the is shown through the shallow focus of the apple which then juxtaposes to the mug in which displays the British army logo and alludes to the idea of the devil tempted him to join the war much like the devil tempted Adam and Eve. It could also show the extreme difference between what his life used to be with the Mug showing his previous exciting life and the Apple now showing his dull and mundane life. The next shot shown is of him opening a draw in which seems like a mundane thing to show, however this then reveals a gun that is hidden in his drawer which displays the deep impact the military has on his life as he still does not feel safe. Other than the diegetic sounds of John moving objects around, there is no background music and it is mostly silent during this scene which makes the audience slightly uncomfortable and mimics how he feels. While John is seen on his own blog a sound bridge of his therapy session can be heard which shows you that the blog is used as treatment.

Within the scene of John and the Therapist, John is framed from a higher angle which belittles him and presents him as being weak. He is also in a more empty and darker area of the room which reflects how he feels distant from the outside world while the therapist is filmed with a window in the back drop and from a slightly low angle which shows the independence and power that the character has compared to John. The distantness John feels is also reflected in the diegetic sound of distant car horns and traffic which show his separation from the outside world and his disability to integrate back into society. Shot reverse shot is used but with more focus on Johns facial expressions rather then the Therapist which shows the importance of Johns feelings. The audience can connect with John when the shot Dollys into his face to show his emotions and foreshadows to later events which adds irony for the final frame.

Textual Analysis: Sound design

Sound design is used throughout film making to create atmosphere and a realistic environment.

Diegetic sound is sound that purports to come from the world of the film.

Non-Diegetic sound is sound added in post production to have an effect on the audience. 

  • Composed score (music composed for the film) and
  • Compiled score (songs which already exists but, is then put into the film)  

Sound bridges are used when a track plays over changing scenes

Textual Analysis: Mise en Scene

Mise en scene is any element of a film that doesn’t involve Editing, Camerawork and Sound design.

Setting- includes the time and geographic location in which a story takes place, and helps initiate the main backdrop and mood for a story.

Colour Palette- Allows to set the mood of a scene by selecting a colour palette theme. e.g If the scene was sad then a blue colour palette may be used.

Lighting- Also helps towards setting a mood for a scene of depicting hierarchy our feelings of a character.

Actors- The hair, makeup and costume of an actor as well as the level of performance carried out and expression shown in the film.

Textual analysis: Editing

Today we looked at the Editing that is put into the post production of TV Dramas and films and looked at the different types of Editing, learning key terminology  as we went along.

Narrative Editing (Create a Narrative) 

Contiguity (Multiple things happening at the same time)

  • Cross cut/ Intercut/ Parallel Editing- Things happening in a parallel order
  • Action Match- Movement in one scene matches movement in another
  • Graphic Match- Shape of something matching a similar shape in another scene

Continuity (Showing a sequence of events) 

  • Establishing shot- Allows audience to see geography of the room
  • Cutaway- Show something else in the vicinity (adds context)
  • Glance Object- Shows object glanced at
  • Match on action
  • Reach Shot- Shows reaction
  • Shot reverse shot
  • Master shot- Close up establishing shot

Temperal Structure (Showing time passing) 

  • Fast Forward- More than 1 second of film shown in 1 second
  • Frame skip- Miss Frame
  • Freeze frame: freezing the scene/frame.
  • Slow motion
  • Time compression:  making the duration of film shorter than real-time.
  • Juxtaposition: two contrasting shots
  • Montage: collection of videos in a sequence.

Post production effects

  • Colour correction
  • Filters
  • Visual effects

Transitions

  • Dissolve
  • Fade
  • Wipe

Textual Analysis: Camerawork

Today we looked at the camerawork that is put into production of TV Dramas and films and looked at the different elements to camerawork, learning key terminology  as we went along.

Camera Shots

  • Wide shot-The most common shot in cinema is used to show the environment a character is in and shows the character from waist up to the top of the head. It is also known as a medium shot.

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  • Long shot- A shot showing a character from head to toe and shows full environment

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  • Extreme long shot-  Shows complete environment more so than a long shot.

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  • Close up- Tightly framed person or object.

 

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  • Extreme close up- Only shows one feature of a close up.

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Framing and composition

  • Rule of thirds- Aligning a subject with the guide lines and placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section. Doing this appeals to the eye.
  • One shot- One person being shown
  • Two shot- 2 people being shown
  • Point Of View shot- Taken from characters view

Focus

  • Shallow focus- Focus on one thing, everything else is out of focus
  • Deep focus- Everything is in focus
  • Focus pull- Focus changes from the fore-ground to the background

Camera Angles

  • Eye level- The most common shot taken from eye level
  • High angle shot- Camera is high
  • Low angle shot- Camera is low
  • Birds eye view- Camera is directly above scenery or character
  • Up shot- Camera looking straight up
  • Dutch tilt- taken from an angle, causes disorientation

Camera movement 

  • Crane shot
  • Dolly shot- Smooth repeatable movement from camera on tracks
  • Crab shot- Horizontal dolly shot
  • Arch Shot
  • Fixed shot
  • Hand held shot
  • Stedicam shot
  • Zoom- Fixed point but lens is used to zoom in
  • Crash Zoom- https://vimeo.com/141729555

Aerial shots

  • Helicopter shot ( Expensive, Bulky)
  • Drone Shot (Cheap)
  • Wire shot (Cheap, Precise)

Textual Analysis on ‘Flowers’

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To introduce us into the As media course we went over specific terminology that is used in textual analysis, This consists of; Camera work, Sound design of diegetic and non diegetic sounds, Editing and Mise-en-scene. We then watched the television show known as Flowers’ to then analyse how the producers create Moods.

Camera Work

Close up shots into the faces of the characters when speaking were used to create a relationship between the viewer and characters throughout the entire episode, which consequently leads to a tense mood as atmosphere is created. Different camera angles were also used to give a sense of hierarchy to each of the characters. In the opening scenes this is used when Maurice Flowers is in control of the situation and clearly has a stronger influence over Deborah Flower. This is not just shown through dialogue but rather through the camera work as Maurice is shot from a low angle which then pans up and makes him appear as being strong, powerful  and dominant. On the other hand Deborah is shot from a high angle which makes her appear small, weak and less powerful. The camera angles creating a sense of hierarchy is then prominent again after when Maurice Flowers then losses his upper hand in the argument and they start to agree, they are shot from the same angle as each other. Camera Work is also used to show the importance of certain actions as displayed in the scene where Maurice tries to hang himself, the camera focusses in on the rope used and foreboded to the occasion.

Sound design 

Non diegetic sound is used prolifically in ‘Flowers’ withe the sole purpose to create a mood. The first example of this is in the opening when an upbeat song, that is almost nursery like, plays in the background and completely juxtaposes to what is happening on screen (Man trying to kill himself) and gives the scene a sense humour due to Morbidness of the events contradicting the song. A small sound clip of Non diegetic sound is also played and acts as a transitional sound between scenes but it could also be argued that it is also used whenever a character is feeling upset or disappointed and although it is played in a major key, it still has a sad ring to it. It should be also noted that a high pitch noise is used during the scene in which Maurice tries to hang himself and this creates the audience to feel uncomfortable, disturbed and almost disorientated. In the scene where ‘Grandma’ Is introduced, another sound clip is used to create fright and then humour amongst the audience as it is a sudden sound that is then juxtaposed to seeing a small feeble woman.

Diegetic sound is also used throughout and helps emphasise certain actions that the characters are taking. This is displayed during the hanging scene where small noises are emphasised such as: The tying of the rope, Climbing up on the chair, The noise his footsteps make. Focussing on all the small noises creates a sense of foreboding and gives a tense mood to the scene. The squark of a crow, which is commonly associated with death, is also used to create the same mood.

Mise-en-scene

The setting of the English Countryside is used to show how rural the family is and how they don’t fit in with society norms, being so isolated. The weather is also used to establish the mood as it depicts the classic British weather, that being of overcast with brisk winds, this gives a dreariness to the episode as no bright colours that are usually associated with happiness, can be seen. In the opening scene, the use of a dark room with the light only illuminating his face up creates a depressing mood. Later on in the episode the setting of inside the house is introduced in which we see a tight and cramped space which creates a sense of hectic-ness and uncleanliness which leads to an uncomfortable mood. It is also note worthy how the room of Amy Flowers is all the way upstairs, isolated from everyone else and emphasises the idea that she is the black sheep of the family.

Editing

The episode has been edited with continuity which helps give a realistic effect to the episode and shows how time is moving on. It uses the 180 degree rule which helps the audience view the characters in many different ways and makes good uses of the ‘shot reverse shot’ technique during conversations between characters. Editing has been used to give the episode a slow pace which adds to the dreary tone that it gives off and helps create the sombre mood.