• Charles Breach

Term 1 - Week 1 - Film Language

Our first day back at university started with a chill theory lesson on film language. It as perhaps less of a lesson and more of a recap/ touch on the different elements of film and animation, depending on whether or not you were familiar with them yet or not.

The main idea we needed to understand was that film language consisted of different components that make the film, or rather tools for the film maker to use. the film is purely a construct, nothing is real, and everything is a decision made deliberately at some point by someone making the film, utilising one of the tools, the tools being:

- Story

- Genre

- Cinematography

- Lighting and colour grading

- Mise-en-scene

- Performance

- Editing

- Sound and score

We covered what each of these entails, and how they are utilised, although some seem more inherent than others, such as perhaps story and genre, which seem like they might just come with the film. All can be utilised as effectively as one another to establish feelings and emotions in the viewer. Story after all doesn't have to be just that, it can be cut up and reordered, and subvert the audiences expectations. It could also follow a more traditional and common 3 act structure, a method I feel is what creates the implicit go to idea of a linear story when conceptualising, or perhaps as a movie goer, films becoming similarly samey. This common method of storytelling doesn't make it less of a tool, however, and clearly makes for stories people want to watch, as it is so effective.

We then watched 3 minute clip from the beginning of Wall E. In groups we were given one of the tools of film language to analyse from the clip. My group was given cinematography. We concluded that the contrasting scales of framing, post the introduction of Wall E, help established context and location, that he was a small robot alone amidst a world of junk and waste. Following Wall E through a clever utilisation of tracking shots, we learn from the environment this is because humans have left Earth. The way the camera is utilised naturally provides context to the situation, instead of perhaps a separate scene where we see the cause happening, it is fed to us through snippets of information that the viewer can piece together themselves. A good all around conclusion, after listening to the other groups, would be that each tool is most effective when attention is given to the others, to sew into the fabric of the film what the film maker intends for us to experience.

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