Within this session we’ve been researching Theory. In particular, we’ve been researching into mise-en-scene – what it means and what it does/shows.
Firstly – the question most commonly asked is “What is mise-en-scene?”. Mise-en-scene in basic terms means “everything in the scene” or “everything within the shot”. Everything that is used within a shot and a scene of a film is there for a specific reason, it’s not there by mistake. We mainly look at 7 different ways that mise-en-scene is used within Film & TV:
- Props (or accessories)
All of these are used to make it easier for the Film or TV program to be decoded by the audience, which makes it very important as it will allow the audience to know more about the characters/film/show itself just from a certain scene.
Props can include anything to do with what is used within the scene or there for a specific reason, for example, a cigarette is a prop, as well as guns, cars, documents, money, pets, phones, furniture, art, etc.
Art can include anything to do with paintings on the wall or posters, for example, maybe there’s a specific painting that would be in the shot to show what type of person lives in the house – if it was some form of a musical person, they would most likely have a lot of band posters/paintings on the wall, and then depending on the artist or band within the poster/painting, it would show more about the specific character.
Locations within films are very important. In particular, you need the right location to fit with the certain genre of film, or even to show the wealth of some people and how much they could be making. These could include anything to do with houses, flats/apartments, bungalows, towns, countries, maybe it’s close to the seaside, urbanised, etc.
The location is eccentric to the scene, as it would seem a bit peculiar to have someone that is clearly shown as being very rich be stuck in a tiny shack in the middle of nowhere unless there was a specific reason that is shown somewhere in the episode itself, for the audience to decode and show more about the character that is living in that house.
Sound is very important within Film & TV. This can be anything to do with spoken words from the actors/actresses or even voice overs, as well as Foley sound, Ambient Sound and finally Diegetic and Non-Diegetic Sound. Diegetic sound is the music that you can actually hear whilst recording – for example, somebody turning on the “radio” within that scene and saying something such as “I really like this song”, whereas Non-Diegetic sound is the sound that cannot be heard and is edited in afterwards.
Bohemian Rhapsody Wayne's World HD (Jaroslav Jaro, 2013)
As shown above, this is a famous scene that is known for having a great use of Non-diegetic sound within it, where the characters in the film “Wayne’s World” can “physically” hear the music within the specific scene.
Costume and Clothing is very important for mise-en-scene – it allows the audience to decode a lot about the character just by looking at them. If they’re looking scruffy, maybe have a slight beard and ragged/ripped clothing, you’d generally think of someone that is homeless for example, whereas someone with a suit on, a fancy watch etc. you’d think they’re more of a business person that is quite wealthy.
The actors that are used within specific films are used to be able to fit the role that was seen by the writers of the film, without them, well, there wouldn’t really be much of a film except more a very strange time-lapse. The actors have to fulfil their role in as many different ways as possible, through body language mainly: if they were playing a character about a mime, they would need to look up and research as much as possible to do with mimes to try and fulfil that role properly, as well as practising as much as possible.
Lighting is a key element. The main way to speak about it is it shows you instantly how you can decode what type of film it is, the time of day, the warmth of the specific rooms etc. An example is if it’s something to do with horror, you’re generally going to expect dark and mysterious/gloopy lighting rather than bright and colourful.
Finally, editing is another key aspect to do with mise-en-scene. It makes what has been created into the best it can possibly be, which in this case would show all of the different aspects in as much detail as possible, for example, getting the perfect shot on something in focus could easily show something about the character within the specific shot: if there was a plate of food that was focused on and it was mouldy, you’d easily be able to tell that it’s been there for a couple of days!
First Minute within Two TV Shows
Within this part of the post, I will be writing about the first minute of two different TV shows (old or new). In particular, I will be writing about Bottom (1991) and also Friends (1994).
Bottom Tv Series Season 1 Episode 1 Smells (Bottom Tv Series, 2016)
Within the first minute of this, we can gather that there is a variety of mise-en-scene. Starting off we can instantly see the location of where the program is set – which seems to be in a slightly busy town/city. We can also get an idea of their costume instantly, which seems to be smart, but more casual as well, with a different use of suits. We can instantly see as well that this program will involve two different actors as the main characters with the location they live in – which seems to be some form of a flat. The outfits of the characters create an idea on what the characters will be like as well, which creates an idea on their voices as well before we even find out about them in more detail. They seem to not be that wealthy, as we can clearly see they have clothes hanging up in their house, and it seems very bland, however, we can see that they have quite a bit of space in the place that they live in.
Friends season 1 episode 1 part 1 (Blue Berry, 2015)
Within the first minute of this clip, we can instantly see that the location is set. It’s in “Central Perk” which seems to be a Coffee Shop. The outfit of the characters create an idea of who they are and what they act like in a way as well. We instantly get to see two men and two women within the clip (who we know as Joey, Chandler, Monnica and Phoebe) and instantly we can get the idea that Joey and Phoebe are the characters that don’t really understand everything like most people would, and we can gather that Phoebe is more of a “caring” person. As this is set in a coffee shop, at the start of the scene we can see someone with a prop: the coffee! We can also see cups on the table, and that they’re sitting on different types of furniture: Joey is on a chair that is backwards, as well as the other three are on the sofa together, Chandler on the arm of the sofa. On the table around thirty seconds into the clip, we can see there are a lot of magazines or newspapers, which could show that they keep updated on the news within the coffee shop a lot of the time. We can see Phoebe also has Origami, which could be a way of showing that she likes to be creative, and that she’s a creative character. The way their outfits look as well show they all have some form of “comedy” side to them, mainly from hairstyle or just the clothing that they’re wearing.