reading films: a breakdown

Films are multi-medial. They are a visual and auditory platform.

Because our imagination is stimulated by both sounds and pictures at the same time Films take command of more of our senses than most other Art to create special atmospheres, feelings or to bring out emotions.

The Visual and Auditory techniques used to tell the story are things like sounds, music, lighting, camera angles, and editing. Then films can be interpreted by the literary elements such as plot, setting, characterisation, structure, and theme and the text in the screenplay.

What is important is how all the elements are used together in making a good film and how effortlessly they blend together. 

Below are a few of the main things you to look out for when you’re reading a film.

Plot and structure

Plot is the pattern of events arranged to emphasise links between events

Setting

Setting is where and when the story takes place.

Conflict

Conflict or tension is usually the heart of the film and is related to the main characters.

Characterization

Characterisation is how the characters are described.

Narrator and point of view

The narrator is the person telling the story. Point of view means through whose eyes the story is being told.

Genre

Genre’s are a series of socially agreed conventions within the story (or in this case, the film) developed over time.

Imagery

In films imagery are the elements used to create pictures in our minds. They may include:

Theme’s

Theme’s are the universal ideas that shine through in the film (in other words, what is it about, in general)?

Soundtrack

The soundtrack is not only dialogue and music, it is all the other sounds in a film too.

Use of the camera

A camera shot is based on the camera’s distance from the object. A camera angle is how the camera is tilted while filming.

Lighting

Lighting focuses the audience’s attention on the main character or object in a film & it sets the mood or atmosphere.

Editing

Editing is the way in which a film editor together with the director cuts and assembles the scenes. The way the scenes are joined together creates the rhythm of the motion picture. Scenes can be long and drawn out or short and choppy.

Keep an eye out for my next post about reading films….

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