Project 6: Exercise – Spaces

To play around with mise-en-scene I needed to take some video or stills that had a particular feel to the scene.  I’ve opted to go for stills purely because they are easier for people to see without having to click on the video to watch what will be a static scene.

I needed 4 shots, and made use of a couple of images I already had, along with shooting a couple of new ones for the exercise.

1. An opressive, cluttered spaceOpressive Cluttered spaceAll I could think of to shoot for this one was a cluttered cupboard, but I didn’t really want my cluttered kitchen cupboards on the internet, so thought I would use this one.  It’s an old one I took a few years back, and I’d do a few things differently with the lighting, but I’ve always liked it for the menacing feel to it, as the viewer you feel oppressed by the dentist and his assistant, looming over you ready to get going.

2. An open, honest, simple space containing one intriguing item

An open, honest simple space containing one intriguing object

Okay, so I’m not sure that a snow covered picnic table counts as an “intriguing item” but I like the way it stands out in the scene, reminding the viewer of the summer that’s long gone, but will be back again in a few months.

3. A stark, empty, hostile space

Stark, empty, hostile spaceThe empty expanse of sand can look pretty hostile, it could be a desert, with the sun blazing down on a subject who is lost and alone with no help at all, or it could be (and is!) a windswept empty beach, and as you can’t see the town behind the camera, there’s no way to tell how close to civilisation it is.

4. A warm, friendly, cosy environment.

A warm friendly, cosy space

I particularly liked this scene, with it being at Christmas it adds to the warm and cosy feeling of the mother and her daughter cuddling up together, and you can see that both are very content and happy.  I do feel that had this been shot at night it would have added to the warm feel, as the daylight is a bit cold and overpowering in the background.

Project 6: Mise-en-Scene

I’ve had a bit of a break from my Degree work for the past month, but now hope to get stuck back into it – get ready for a batch of posts!

Mise-en-scene refers to how the items or subjects on screen are placed within the scene, in the same way that props or actors are placed on a stage.  All items are placed for a reason, and all space is created for a reason, whether it is to convey a certain meaning or atmosphere, or a particular relationship with another item or subject.

I needed to look at a number of films and look at how they positioned the items on screen, or how they used the space, and to look at the meaning conveyed by the placement and composition.  I’ve also looked at stills related to the films, as well as getting screen grabs to analyse a single frame rather than the full scene.

127 Hours

127_hours_wallpaper_3-otherThe positioning of the main character stood on the edge of the canyon, backlit by the low sun is a very positive image, giving a feeling of space and freedom, with no clue to what follows.  The stance of the character is also more relevant if you know the outcome of the film, with him stood with his arms slightly held out, making it pretty clear that at this point, looking down into the canyon, he has 2 arms.  When he does finally make it out of the canyon at the end of the film, he only has one arm left.  1299213625_1Although this has lots of dead space with the sides of the canyon wall, those spaces serve to draw the viewers eye down to the orange t-shirt of the trapped guy, looking small and helpless at the bottom of the canyon.127hours2147This scene has a more cramped and  cluttered feel to it as he pulls the contents of his pack out to see what he has, after getting his right arm trapped between a rock and the canyon wall. Although you can see daylight shining behind him, he’s unable to get to freedom and now has to get used to the idea that he may be there for a while, unless he does something to help himself – which turns out to be having to cut his arm off.

The Princess Bride (I love this film!)

large princess bride blu-ray3This is at the start of the film when Buttercup and Westley first get together, and the subjects have been positioned perfectly to frame the setting sun as they have their first kiss.  The whole scene, has an idyllic feel, with the space around them showing the green fields and trees, and gives no hint to the drama and problems to follow in the film.

princess-bride-1The arrangement of the characters in this shot is designed to give a sense of power towards the king, separating him at the front of the group.  As the camera is positioned to be looking up at the characters on their balcony, it also gives them more power, and the impression that they are all looking down on the viewer (and the serfs in his land)


Miracle-Max-and-His-Wife-the-princess-bride-53260_600_331This shot of Miracle Max as he prepares the cure to bring Westley back to life shows him with his wife in his cluttered “lab” where he creates his lotions and potions, and the shot gives the feel of the oppressive cramped nature of his space, you can almost smell the stink!