89 terms

Film Studies Vocabulary

Film studies vocabulary

Terms in this set (...)

One uninterrupted run of the camera. A shot can be as short or as long as the director wants, but it cannot exceed the length of the film stock in the camera.
A series of edited shots characterized by inherent unity of theme and purpose.
Long shot
Shot taken from a distance. Shows full subject. A shot that shows the full human body, usually filling the frame, and some of its surroundings.
Establishing shot
Sets the scene or emphasizes setting
Close up
Image being shot takes up at least 80% of the screen
Medium shot
Subjects seen from waist up
Low key lighting
Darkness and shadows. Often create suspense/ suspicion
High key lighting
Light, bright, open looking. Creates warmth and happiness
Neutral lighting
Lighting is not intentionally manipulated.
Bottom/side lighting
Direct lighting from below or side. Associated with secrecy, dangerous or evilness, moral ambiguity, slit personalities
Front/rear lighting
Direct lighting from front/ behind. Angelic and innocent expression
Soft focus
Intentional edge blur. Innocence, new life
Rack focus
When the director shifts the focus from one object to another in the same scene. Changes attention. Signifies power or significance.
Deep focus
When the foreground and background are in the same focus.
Low angle
Shooting subject from below. Makes them look important and powerful.
Eye level
Natural angle.
Dutch angle
Tilted sideways on a horizontal line. Adds tension to static frame. Sinister/distorted view of character.

"Also known as Dutch Shot or oblique-angle shot. A shot in which the camera is tilted from its normal horizontal and vertical positions so that it is no longer straight, giving the viewer the impression that the world in the frame is out of balance."
Ex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTPE81N7EFs
Dolly shots
Camera moves with action on a track. Often used in "walk and talk"
Camera pivots along the horizontal axis left or right. To take in scenery.
The camera is stationary and rotates in a vertical plane (up/down rather than left/right). Results in a motion similar to someone nodding their head "yes". Often used to emphasize setting or do a slow reveal of a subject.
Lens moves, but not camera. Object appears bigger or smaller depending on focal length. Often used to create an intense mood and develop characterization.
Abrupt transition of visual content from one shot to the next.
Scene fades to black. Often implies that time has passed.
One image fades into another. Creates connection between scenes.
Cut between 2 scenes that are happening simultaneously.
Movement into action that happened in past.
Eye line match
Shot of a person looking, cut to what they're looking at.
Single shot is inserted into a sequence of shots that momentarily interrupt the action. It is usually, although not always, followed by a cut back to the first shot.

Examples: For example, if the main shot is of a man walking down an alley, a possible ___ may include a shot of a cat on a nearby dumpster or a shot of a person watching from a window overhead.
Reverse cutting
Over the shoulder shot showing different people speaking.
Sound that can logically be heard by the characters. Noise in the film.https://youtu.be/XKO_O6WlrhI
Sounds that aren't heard by characters in the film. Theme music, voiceover, etc
overhead shot
this depicts the action or subject from high above, sometimes looking directly down on it
one single object, person, place, etc. that represents an abstract idea. Helps get across the theme.
a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work
verbal irony
occurs when what is said contradicts what is meant or thought
static character
a character that does not change from the beginning of the story to the end
dynamic character
A character who grows, learns, or changes as a result of the story's action
a reference to something literary, mythological, or historical that the author assumes the reader will recognize
A literary work in which characters, objects, or actions represent abstractions. Multiple layers of meaning.
Linear Narrative
a narrative that goes in chronological order.
Nonlinear Narrative
a narrative that goes out of chronological order.
frame story
a secondary story or stories embedded in the main story
catalyst event
the event in the first act that is the "domino" that starts all the action
The techniques which have to do with how the camera is positioned and moved, and how the film stock is manipulated
The concluding section in a traditional Hollywood narrative
diegetic sound
Any voice, musical passage, or sound effect presented as originating from a source within the film's world.
The process by which the editor combines and coordinates individual shots into a cinematic whole; the basic creative force of cinema.
The second part of a traditional Hollywood narrative wherein the situation and setup are complicated further, prompting the need for resolution
a major category or type of film
A real-wold place where a film is shot
mise en scene
All of the elements placed in front of the camera to be photographed: the settings and props, lighting, costumes and makeup, and figure behavior.
non-diegetic sound
sound that can be heard by the audience only, not the characters.
objects used by the actors in the production of a film
The third part of a traditional Hollywood narrative wherein the problems established in the previous sections are resolved.
a constructed backdrop for a film production
a subcategory within a particular genre
the story of a film
The chief electrician on a movie production set.
The director of photography on a movie shoot. Example: because his films are so visually stunning and complex, director Baz Lurman must work hand in hand with his director of photography (also known as this term), Donald McAlpine.
someone who finds financing for and supervises the making and presentation of a film
the manager and leader of the artistic aspects of a film production
a French term meaning a filmmaker who has a personal style and keeps creative control over his or her works.

In film criticism, the ___ theory holds that a director's film reflects the director's personal creative vision. Despite the production of the film as part of an industrial process, the director's creative voice is distinct enough to shine through all kinds of studio interference and through the collective process. EXAMPLES: Martin Scorsesi, Tim Burton, Woody Allen.
a quick succession of images or impressions used to express an idea, often one not indicated by the individual shots themselves
the first part of a traditional Hollywood narrative where the world of the film and the characters are established
A large corporation specializing in the production of movies, such as Paramount, Warner Brothers, and so on
independent film
A film not made by the major studios, often sourcing their finances privately
Fade-in vs. Fade-out
Transitional devices in which a shot fades in
from a black field on black-and-white film or from a color field on color film, or fades out to a black field (or a color field).
Cutting on action (editing technique)
One of the most common editing techniques designed to hide the instantaneous and potentially jarring shift from one camera viewpoint.

Example: man opens a ladder in a wide-shot, but then mid-action, there's a cut to a close-up of that man opening the ladder. The result is a smooth motion so you don't notice the cut.
An abrupt transition between shots, sometimes deliberate, which is disorienting in terms of the continuity of space and time.

Compare to cutting-on-action, which functions to create natural, smooth, and "invisible" motion.
A shot taken from a library of film footage, usually of famous people, places or events.

Example: Home Alone's "Merry Christmas, you filthy animal."
Ambiguous time
Within the context of a well-defined time-scheme sequences may occur which are ambiguous in time. This is most frequently comunicated through dissolves and superimpositions.
Universal Time
An included shot that disrupts the pace of the movie.
Accelerated Time
The effect is that the film is sped-up.
Compressed Time
When a film is manipulated with editing dissolves to show only the important parts of a sequence.

Example: actor walks to the bottom of stairs, then a dissolve or cut to his walking up the middle of the stairs, then at the top: there was no need to show the entire sequence because it's unimportant.
Simultaneous Time
When two events in different places are shown in one shot. Two types of simultaneous time:
PARALLEL EDITING: The shots indicating two things happening at the same time are ALTERNATED. Classic examples: the suspenseful fake-out at the end of Silence of the Lambs.
SPLIT SCREEN: Two scenes happening at the same time set next to each other side-by-side
High angle shot
Camera is above. Makes things look small, even weak and powerless.
An act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.
Closed Frame
A director chooses the ____________ frame when the characters in the story are restricted (受限) in their movements, often due to outside forces, such as social or economic forces. Often used in horror, thriller, dramas, or anything not wishing to refer to the real. Typically features the exaggerated and stylized depth, the distorted light and shadow, and distorted shadow. In the _______ frame, the design elements call attention to themselves and may be more important than the characters.
Open Frame
A frame around in film in which characters and objects can enter and leave. The world of the story is based on reality; the frame is a window on this world.
Film lighting technique using a bold contrast between light and dark
Method Acting
Actors often spend long periods of time trying to 'live' the role they are playing, in order to create a convincing performance on stage. Actors emphasize psychological intensity, extensive rehearsals to explore a character, emotional believability rather than technical mastery, and "living" a role internally rather than merely imitating the external behavior of a character. Opposite of classical acting.
Classical Acting
An umbrella term for a philosophy of acting that integrates the expression of the body, voice, imagination, personalizing, improvisation, external stimuli, and script analysis. Opposite of method acting.
Distancing Effect
Acting: also known as the alienation effect: Also known as distancing effect. A psychological distance between audience and stage for which, according to German playwright Bertolt Brecht, every aspect of a theatrical production should strive by limiting the audience's identification with characters and events.
Chameleon Actor
Actors who seem to be different in every role. Similar to a character actor, but may ALSO be the lead actor (a character actor is by definition not the lead actor).
Character Actor
A supporting actor skilled at playing distinctly unusual, interesting, or eccentric characters, such that they are "almost unrecognizable from part to part, and yet play many, many roles convincingly and memorably."

Similar to a Chameleon Actor, but is NOT the lead actor (a ______________ is by definition a side character or the villain).
the process by which an actor is strongly identified with a specific character, role, or trait
Director and Actor Collaboration
Both actor and director collaborate in the film-making process.

Key examples: Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, Spike Lee and Denzel Washington.
Long Take
___________-____________s provide the opportunity to create scenes of greater-than-usual length and encourage actors to act with deeper intensity.
Personality Actor
Actor who takes his persona from role to role (similar to typecasting, but with a more positive connotation).