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FM1: EXPLORING FILM FORM

 

Focus of the unit

This unit focuses on the micro features of film and the construction of meaning and emotion. Understanding will be fostered through:

 

• studying micro features of film: mise-en-scène, performance,

cinematography, editing and sound

 

• identifying how these construct meanings and contribute to the sensory impact of film

 

• reflecting on individual response to micro features of film as a means of

exploring the relationship between film and spectator

 

• creating a sequence to demonstrate how micro features produce meanings and responses.

 

Throughout this unit, the emphasis will be on the interaction of film and spectator.

 

 

Content

(a) The micro features of film

 

This unit requires the study of the micro features of film.

 

Mise-en-scène includes setting, props, staging, costume and makeup,

figure expression and movement and off-screen space.

 

Performance includes physical expression, vocal delivery and

interaction between performers (with reference to issues of

staging/choreography where relevant).

 

Cinematography includes photographic elements (e.g. camera

position, colour, lens, depth of focus), lighting, framing and

composition and special effects.

 

Editing includes the organisation of time, both within a sequence and

across sections of the narrative and the organisation of space,

especially in creating coherence for the spectator. The principal

conventions of continuity editing, such as shot/reverse shot and the

180 degree rule, will be studied. The uses of montage editing will also

be considered.

 

Sound includes diegetic sound, non-diegetic sound and the variety of

ways in which aural elements (e.g. speech, music and noise) are used

in relation to visuals.

 

The Yale Film Studies film analysis site is invaluable for any one not fully understanding micro film terminology.

 

It is recognised that it is often difficult to separate micro and macro features of

film, although macro features – narrative and genre – will be the basis for

FM2.

 

 

(b) Spectators

The unit encourages candidates to develop an awareness of their active role

as spectators in working with the way the micro features of film construct

meanings and contribute to the sensory impact of film. The extent to which

responses derive from the micro features of film and the extent to which they

derive from personal and/or cultural identity will begin to be explored.

 

(c) Producers

This unit also encourages candidates to develop their analytical and creative

skills, reflecting their growing understanding and appreciation of the micro

features of film and the ways in which these can be deployed in order to

create meaning and produce response.

 

Assessment

 

 

(a) An analysis of a film extract - 1500 words (30 marks)

 

Candidates are required to explore how one or more of mise-en-scène,

performance, cinematography, editing, and sound construct meaning and

provoke response in a film extract.

 

• Candidates are encouraged to support their work with illustrative

visual material.

 

• Recommended length of extract: approximately 3-5 minutes

(depending on the complexity of the extract).

 

An approach in which a whole class studies the same extract is not permitted.

 

(b) Creative Project: aims & context, film sequence or short film and reflective analysis (50 marks)

Candidates are required to create a film sequence or a complete short film

that demonstrates how the micro features of film construct meaning. This

comprises three elements:

 

(i) Aims and context

A clarification of the aims and context of the sequence or short film to

be completed on the appropriate cover sheet.

Please note: the 'Aims and Context' must be completed on the

appropriate cover sheet, otherwise the Creative Project and

accompanying Reflective Analysis cannot be adequately assessed.

 

(ii) Film Sequence or Short Film

The film sequence may either be an extract from longer film or a

complete short film, with the emphasis on visual communication rather

than on dialogue.

In the case of Mrs Symons’ class it will take the following  form:

 

 

• a photographed (digital or photo-chemical) storyboard of

between 20 and 25 different shots (some of which may be

repeated) plus up to 5 found shots (shots which would be difficult to photograph or where locations need to be established).

The 5 found shots must be acknowledged.

 

(iii) Reflective analysis approximately 750 words or equivalent

(10 marks)

 

The reflective analysis should select key micro features of the

sequence and demonstrate how they make meaning(s) and aim to

provoke response(s) in audiences.

The analysis must be presented:

• as a continuous piece of writing, with or without illustrative

Material.

 

You already have a template to help you with layout and presentation of your storyboard,this should be stuck to.

 

Further storyboard  tips and ideas.

 

Before beginning your photography for your storyboard you must decide which of the three aspect ratios you will be presenting your work within. Here  is a diagram which illustrates the various classic formats or ratios.

As
SPECIFICATIONS  FM 1.

Many cameras can be set to a 16 by 9 capture ratio. This is useful because it helps you to see within that capture ratio.

Most photo editing software can be set up to crop to any given ratio.

A candidate’s failure to decide on and stick by a precise ratio will appear to the Examiner as a very real failure of research and obvious absence of cinema knowledge.

You must all learn to think within the frame.

 

The general elegance and tidiness shown in the presentation of the task is most important. The legibility and appropriateness of your typeface will affect the Examiner’s response as will the quality of your photographic presentations and ,of course, your ideas.

Scruffy, badly printed, grungy work will impress nobody.

Candidates must aspire to the very highest standards of visual and typographic presentation.

 

 

 

YALE FILM STUDIES
Guide to film analysis
YALE FILM STUDIES
Guide to film analysis
YALE FILM STUDIES
Guide to film analysis
YALE FILM STUDIES
Guide to film analysis
YALE FILM STUDIES
Guide to film analysis

While FILM IS PRIMARILY ABOUT THE VISUAL it is not the whole story as sound is also vitally important. It is a great rarity to encounter films which offer lengthy periods of absolute silence.In life diegetic sound is always present so your storyboard should reflect this.

Over the years cinema has developed a large number of technical terms; terms which describe, among other things, camera movement, transition styles and sound design.

While one would not expect a film studies student to absorb all these technical terms in the first weeks of the course it is, nonetheless, essential that a film studies student should start to build a useful technical  vocabulary to aid him/her in the analysis of film.

The Yale film analysis site is an excellent place to start in that it offers a comprehensive overview of most of the technical terms currently in use as well as providing illustration of how these terms are employed.

Mrs Symons, out of the goodness of her heart, has designed a test which will help you check out your knowledge and understanding of these terms.

This test will be administered in class and serious students should expect to score at least 80%. All students will want to score 100%.....Students scoring under 50% will then be painfully aware that they have a half baked, inadequate, and incomplete knowledge of the essential language of cinema.

The big film studies TEST.

Explain the following terms:

 

1. Flashback.

2. Deep focus.

3. Racking focus.

4. Zoom Shot.

5. Canted framing.

6. Following  shot.

7. Extreme close-up.

8. Crane shot.

9. Pan.

10. Tilt.

11. Tracking shot.

12. Whip Pan.

 

Editing terms.

 

13. Cross cutting, parallel editing.

14. Cut in, Cutaway.

15. Dissolve.

16. Establishing shot.

17. Jump cut.

19. Shot/reverse shot.

 

Sound terms.

 

20. Sound Bridge.

21. Non-diegetic sound.

22. Voice-over.

 

Mise en scene terms.

 

23.Decor.

24. Costume

25. Back projection

 

All questions are worth 4%

 

YALE FILM STUDIES
Guide to film analysis

Josh Sheppard

Film Storyboard Sample Page

 

Below is an example taken from Josh’s excellent website.While Josh uses drawings not photographs as you will be doing his style of annotation suggesting movement, camera angles and even sound could be incorporated into your designs.

Check out his excellent site H E R E

Notice that Josh’s story board does not suggest musical possibilities or other possible diegetic sounds.

These might be expressed as

 

Music:

 

Powerful orchestral music suggesting increasing menace menace or actual titles like,

Lead in and lead out to Dire Straits’ ”Private Investigations”

 

Diegetic Sound might be expressed as:

 

Throughout this scene the relentless sound of rain is heard as well as distant urban sounds,traffic, even police sirens..the swish of tyres on water and the sound of the shell case are important but the visceral crack of gunfire must be prominent in the sound track with plenty of reverb to suggest the alley’s acoustic.

Camera Movement.

 

While Josh uses arrows to suggest camera movement you should be more specific where necessary.

You might specify travelling shot or zoom into or jump cut to or as Heller crawls away specify 20% slow motion to suggest his difficulty moving or 70% slomo when the glass blows.

 

All josh’s transitions are cut and when there is no cut to let us know the scene flows on he uses CONTD.

 

You can use abbreviations like ECU (extreme close up) or CU ( close up) to help the examiner see the shot as you do.

 

Josh has some nice touches (the sort that tell the examiner he can SEE cinematically

and deserves marks.

The hub cap reflection shot is one such nice touch as is the falling shell case.

Josh uses 25 frames to tell his story, it is powerful and you just know it would work on the screen.

Josh is a professional and an excellent graphic artist but really you could, with a little help from mates, shoot this as a photographic sequence in under four hours....a further 10 to 15 hours with photo soft ware should get you an excellent first draft.

Serif Page Plus would be the ideal software package to finalise after processing for that look in Adobe Elements.

For further help with technical terms click film glossary below

CLOSE UP

Close-up/extreme close-up (CU/ECU) The subject framed by the camera fills the screen. Connotation can be of intimacy, of having access to the

mind or thought processes (including the subconscious) of the character.

These shots can be used to stress the importance of a particular character

at a particular moment in a film or place her or him as central to the

narrative by singling out the character in CU at the beginning of the film. It can signify the star exclusively (as in many Hollywood productions of the

1930s and 1940s). CUs can also be used on objects and parts of the body other than the face. In this instance they can designate imminent action (a

hand picking up a knife, for example), and thereby create suspense. Or they can signify that an object will have an important role to play in the

development of the narrative. Often these shots have a symbolic value, usually due to their recurrence during the film. How and where they recur is revealing not only of their importance but also of the direction or meaning

of the narrative.

MEDIUM CLOSE UP

Medium close-up (MCU) Close-up of one or two (sometimes three)

characters, generally framing the shoulders or chest and the head. The

term can also be used when the camera frames the character(s) from the waist up (or down), provided the character is right to the forefront and fills the frame, (otherwise this type of of shot is a medium shot).

EXTREME CLOSE UP

AKA: ECU

A shot in which the subject is much larger than the frame. Provides more detail than a close-up. The abbreviation is often used in a slug line.

MEDIUM

Medium shot (MS) Generally speaking, this shot frames a character from the waist, hips or knees up (or down). The camera is sufficiently distanced from the body for the character to be seen in relation to her or his surroundings (in an apartment, for example).Typically, characters will occupy half to two-thirds of the frame. This shot is very commonly used in indoor sequences allowing for a visual signification of relationships between characters. Compare a two-shot MS and a series of separate one-shots in MS of two people. The former suggests intimacy,

the latter distance. The former shot could change in meaning to one of distance, however, if the two characters were separated by an object (a pillar, table or telephone, for example). Visually this shot is more complex, more open in terms of its readability than the preceeding ones. The characters can be observed in relation to different planes, background

middle ground and foreground, and it is the inter-relatedness of these planes which also serves to produce a meaning.

MEDIUM WIDE

Medium long shot (MLS) Halfway between a long and a medium shot. If this shot frames a character then the whole body will be in view towards the

middle ground of the shot. A quite open shot in terms of readability,

showing considerably more of the surroundings in relation to thecharacter(s).

WIDE

Long shot (LS) Subject or characters are at some distance from the

camera; they are seen in full within their surrounding environment.

EXTREME WIDE SHOT

Extreme long shot (ELS) The subject or characters are very much to the background of the shot. Surroundings now have as much if not more

importance, especially if the shot is in high-angle.  

directed by the camera  

North by Northwest - 3.crop duster sequence

A very interesting sequence which repays study,Hitchcock’s use of wide shots,medium close ups and travelling shots is exemplary.

It might be interesting to time the duration of individual shots and work out why some are held so long.....timings for each shot are some thing you should work out for your storyboards too. If you get timings right it tells the examiner you understand pace and rhythm.

T I M I N G   O F   E A C H   S H O T

North by Northwest - .tunnnel sequence

Sound bridge,time jump and symbolic cutaway....

Storyboards from last year.

This is interesting work employing a touch of magic realism to a rather quirky narrative. The academy aspect  ratio is fine though 16,9 is useful with two characters. What the sequence lacks is reaction shots and it probably need a close up on the book. The photography is strong. Sadly these images are copies of copies. The shots are crisply presented and the thorough explanations and cinematic detail underneath  keep the examiner aware just how the sequence is to be filmed.

The sequence below was quite charming and full of lovely ideas and demonstrated to the examiner that the candidate could manage narrative and construct mise en scene in an attractive manner. The alien was as cute as you could wish. However the failure to pay any attention to aspect ratio and the inability to get the images squarely on the page is a tad sloppy. Too many candidates from last year forgot about aspect ratio when they were at the photographic stage, and all were left wishing that they had taken more shots from more angles.

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Shot no .....

Action: ................................................................. ................................................................. ..................................

Dialogue: ................................................................. ................................................................. ...........................

Diegetic sound:   .............................................................. ..

Non diegetic sound:  ................................................................

Shot duration:  ..........................

Test of Imagination.

Below are a series of photographs, your task is to construct them into a story board narrative. Your story board can be the opening of a film or a section within the film. It is always easier to write the story board for the opening of a film as you have no back story to concern you and your task is clear you have a (genre?) narrative to begin as well as a deal of establishing work like character and situation as well as tone and mood. Music will be important as will dialogue,voiceover (perhaps?) and captions?  You are only limited by your imagination.

The Board’s Advice

 

There are plenty of good web based resources, and good professional examples of storyboards.

But students really need to look at films and list the shots used in a 15 shot sequence.

 

This is useful as students often assume they know how to construct a film storyboard sequence but do not include the range or number of shots that a real film would.

 

Students also think that every shot has to be massively different from the last, rather than the more subtle shot changes that real films include.

 

Students should be aiming to cover as many different shot types as possible in their 15 frames as the task is ultimately about showing their knowledge of film storytelling (not artistic ability).

 

This works best when candidates focus on a pivotal scene rather than a conversation between two characters which relies heavily on shot-reverse-shot.

 

There are also plenty of templates available online for students to use. They should be encouraged to use wider frame ratios as some templates use 4:3 which is more suited to television.

 

The most important features of a storyboard for showing their knowledge of film storytelling are the technical directions and instructions on how the storyboard would translate to the screen.

 

 

Storyboards should include the following:

 

Shot Duration (make sure this is realistic)

 

Camera Distance (is this an accurate description of the shot?)

 

Camera Angle (is this correctly labeled?)

 

Dialogue

 

Sound Effects (has this been carefully considered? – Films are very rarely completely silent!)

 

One good way of getting students to assess the quality of their storyboards (and to see if they make sense) is to transfer the images onto PowerPoint slides and get the student to present them to the group

 

This will highlight any problems with the sequencing of shots and is a good way of gathering information for the self reflection.

 

 

Other Resources:

 

Exploring Storyboarding (Tumminelo, W. 2004)

http://www.exposure.co.uk/eejit/storybd/ has a couple of tips but is useful for its downloadable storyboard templates in different aspect ratios.

http://www.steponline.com/everest/Everest_lesson_1. pdf class exercises on creating photo storyboards, this includes lesson ideas based around conflict, and the tasks can be easily adapted.

You Tube www.youtube .comprovides plenty of examples of storyboastoryboards from professionals as well as the occasional storyboard from films students will be familiar

The WJEC have been concerned about the quality of candidate storyboards finding some candidates still drawing their storyboards rather than submitting appropriately cropped photographic images. The cinematic ratio is also one of their concerns as is candidates’ failure to exhibit a proper understanding of TIME in the cinema. Their advice below is “spot on” as well as being highly valuable in terms of mark generation.

SHOT NO……………………

PLACE and TIME……………………………………………..

CAMERA DISTANCE…………………………………………

CAMERA ANGLE …………………………… …………...

CAMERA MOVEMENT……………………………………

SOUND Diegetic………………………………………………

SOUND Non Diegetic….............................................................

MUSIC………………………………………………………….

 

ACTION………………………………………………………

…..............................................................................................

…..............................................................................................

DIALOGUE/VOICE OVER…………………………………

…....................................................................................................

…....................................................................................................

SHOT DURATION………………………………………………

OTHER FX,slomo,colour change, fast motion,freeze frame,split screen etc

….................................................................................................

….................................................................................................

TRANSITION TO NEXT SHOT………………………………

….................................................................................................

OTHER………………………………………………………..

 

Here is a useful template which incorporates all the WJEC guidelines.

SHOT NO1…………………

PLACE and TIME Countryside, midday, Summer

CAMERA DISTANCE Medium shot, tracking forward and left

CAMERA ANGLE Perfect horizontal

CAMERA MOVEMENT Tracking slowly forward and left towards cross

SOUND Diegetic Country sounds, summer birds, gentle breeze

SOUND Non Diegetic Voice over and pastoral music

MUSIC  Vaughan Williams’  “The Lark Ascending”

ACTION Just the forward tracking movement towards the cross and the poppy

DIALOGUE/VOICE OVER Edmund(faintly ironic) “The past is a foreign country they do things differently there… the summers for instance… and the sunshine too… oh yes…”

.SHOT DURATION 17 seconds………………………………

OTHER FX, slomo, colour change, fast motion,freeze frame,

split screen etc…..

Colour highly saturated, moderate slomo on breeze tossed wheatfield

TRANSITION TO NEXT SHOT As poppy fills the shot slow dissolve to large flowing blood stain on a white linen blouse

 

OTHER………………………………………………………..

 

S T O R Y B O A R D   S C R E E N   R A T I O:  16  B Y  9

 

Below is an example of how this template might be used when placed alongside a 16 by 9 still

H O M E