183 terms

Looking At Movies E3

vocab from the text book Looking at Movies: an intro to film Edition 3
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Terms in this set (...)

cinematic language
The accepted systems, methods, or conventions by which the movies communicate with the viewer.
shots
One uninterrupted run of the camera.
editing
The process by which the editor combines and coordinates individual shots into a cinematic whole; the basic creative force of cinema.
fade out/ fade in
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
A continuity editing technique that smoothes the transition between shots portraying a single action from different camera angles.
implicit meaning
Lying below the surface meaning this is closest to our everyday sense of the word meaning.
explicit meaning
An association, connection, or inference that a viewer makes on the basis of the given story and form of a film.
formal analysis
Film analysis that examines how a scene or sequence uses formal elements to convey story, mood, and meaning.
theme
(aka Motif) A shared, public idea, such as a metaphor, an adage, a myth, or a familiar conflict or personality type.
dolly in/ dolly out
Slow movement of the camera toward or away from a subject.
duration
The time a movie takes to unfold onscreen.
point of view
The vantage point from which the story is told.
low angle shot
A shot that is made with the camera below the action and that typically places the observer in a position of inferiority.
cut
A direct change from one shot to another; that is, the precise point at which shot A ends and shot B begins
close up
A shot that often shows a part of the body filling the frame—traditionally a face, but possibly a hand, eye, or mouth.
mise-en-scene
The overall look and feel of a movie—the sum of everything the audience sees, hears, and experiences while viewing it. Also known as staging.
narrative
A cinematic structure in which content is selected and arranged in a cause-andeffect sequence of events occurring over time.
form
The means by which a subject is expressed. The form for poetry is words; for drama, it is speech and action; for movies, it is pictures and sound; and so on.
content
The subject of an artwork.
cel
A transparent sheet of celluloid or similar plastic on which drawings or lettering may be made for use in animation or titles.
persistence of vision
The process by which the human brain retains an image for a fraction of a second longer than the eye records it.
phi phenominon
The illusion of movement created by events that succeed each other rapidly, as when two adjacent lights flash on and off alternately and we seem to see a single light shifting back and forth.
critical flicker fusion
shutter breaks light once when image arrives in place and once when it is held in place (i.e. each frame projected twice); older films 'flicked' b/c they were shot at lower rate (16-20 fps); today it's 24 fps
apparent motion
an optical illusion of motion produced by viewing a rapid succession of still pictures of a moving object
mediation
An agent, structure, or other formal element, whether human or technological, that transfers something, such as information in the case of movies, from one place to another.
scene
A complete unit of plot action incorporating one or more shots; the setting of that action.
sequence
A series of edited shots characterized by inherent unity of theme and purpose.
freeze-frame
Also known as stop-frame or hold frame. A still image within a movie, created by repetitive printing in the laboratory of the same
realism
An interest in or concern for the actual or real; a tendency to view or represent things as they really are.
anti-realism
A treatment that is against or the opposite of realism. However, realism and antirealism (like realism and fantasy) are not strict polarities.
verisimilitude
A convincing appearance of truth; movies are verisimilar when they convince you that the things on the screen—people, places, and so on, no matter how fantastic or antirealistic—are "really there.
factual films
A documentary film that, usually, presents people, places, or processes in a straightforward way meant to entertain and instruct without unduly influencing audiences.
persuasive films
A documentary film concerned with presenting a particular perspective on social issues, or with corporate and governmental injustice.
propaganda films
A documentary film that systematically disseminates deceptive or distorted information.
direct cinema
An approach to documentary film making that employs an unobtrusive style in an attempt to give viewers as truthful and "direct" an experience of events as possible.
stream of consciousness
A literary style that gained prominence in the 1920s in the hands of such writers as Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Dorothy Richardson and that attempted to capture the unedited flow of experience through the mind.
genre
The categorization of narrative films by form, content, or both. Examples of genres are musical, comedy, biography, Western, and so on.
generic transformation
The process by which a particular genre is adapted to meet the expectations of a changing society.
digital animation
Animation that employs computer software to create the images used in the animation process (as opposed to analog techniques that rely on stop-motion photography, hand-drawn cels, etc.).
treatment / synopsis
Also known as synopsis. An outline of the action that briefly describes the essential ideas and structure for a film.
story conferences
One of any number of sessions during which the treatment is discussed, developed, and transformed from an outline into a rough-draft screenplay.
rough draft screenplay
Also known as scenario. The next step after a treatment, the rough-draft screenplay results from discussions, development, and transformation of an outline in sessions known as story conferences.
scenario
aka rough-draft screenplay. The next step after a treatment, the rough-draft screenplay results from discussions, development, and transformation of an outline in sessions known as story conferences.
storyboard
A scene-by-scene (sometimes shot-by- shot) breakdown that combines sketches or photographs of how each shot is to look and written descriptions of the other elements that are to go with each shot, including dialogue, sound, and music.
shooting script
A guide and reference point for all members of the production unit, in which the details of each shot are listed and can thus be followed during filming.
exposition
To provide some background and inform the readers about the plot, character, setting, and theme of the motion picture.
rising action
The development of the action of the narrative toward a climax.
climax
The narrative's turning point, marking the transition between rising action and falling action.
falling action
The events that follow the climax and bring the narrative to conclusion (denouement).
denouncement
The resolution or conclusion of the narrative.
diegesis
The total world of a story—the events, characters, objects, settings, and sounds that form the world in which the story occurs.
diegetic element
An element—event, character, object, setting, sound—that helps form the world in which the story occurs.
nondiegetic elements
Something that we see and hear on the screen that comes from outside the world of the story (including background music, titles and credits, and voice-over narration).
plot
A structure for presenting everything that we see and hear in a film, with an emphasis on causality, consisting of two factors: (a) the arrangement of the diegetic events in a certain order or structure and (b) added nondiegetic material.
subplot
A subordinate sequence of action in a narrative, usually relevant to and enriching the plot.
backstory
A fictional history behind the situation extant at the start of the main story.
order
The arrangement of plot events into a logical sequence or hierarchy. Across an entire narrative or in a brief section of it, any film can use one or more methods to arrange its plot: chronological order, cause-and-effect order, logical order, and so on.
summary relationship
A time relationship in which screen duration is shorter than plot duration.
real time
The actual time during which something takes place. In real time, screen duration and plot duration are exactly the same. Many directors use real time within films to create uninterrupted "reality" on the screen, but they rarely use it for entire films.
stretch relationship
A time relationship in which screen duration is longer than plot duration.
cinematic time
The imaginary time in which a movie's images appear or its narrative occurs; time that has been manipulated through editing
familiar image
Any image that a director periodically repeats in a movie (with or without variations) to help stabilize the narrative.
round characters
A character that is three dimensional, unpredictable, complex, and capable of surprising us in a convincing way; may be major or minor characters.
flat characters
A character that is one-dimensional and easily remembered because his or her motivations and actions are predictable. these characters may be major, minor, or marginal characters. Compare round character
major characters
One of the main characters in a movie. these characters make the most things happen or have the most things happen to them.
protagonists
The major character who serves as the "hero" and who "wins" the conflict.
antagonist
The major character whose values or behavior are in conflict with those of the protagonist
minor characters
A supporting character in a movie. they have fewer traits than major characters, so we know less about them.They may also be so lacking in definition and screen time that we can consider them marginal characters.
marginal characters
A minor character that lacks both definition and screen time.
characterization
The process of the actor's interpreting a character in a movie. differs according to the actor, the character, the screenplay, and the director.
cinematic conventions
Accepted systems, methods, or customs by which movies communicate. They are flexible; they are not "rules."
setting
The time and space in which a story takes place.
narration
The commentary spoken by either off screen or onscreen voices, frequently used in narrative films, where it may emanate from an omniscient voice (and thus not one of the characters) or from a character in the movie. There are two main types of narration: first person narration and voice-over narration.
omniscient
Providing a third-person view of all aspects of a movie's action or characters.
restricted
Providing a view from the perspective of a single character. For example, restricted narration reveals information to the audience only as a specific character learns of it.
first person narrative
Narration by an actual character in the movie.
voice over narration
Narration heard concurrently and over a scene but not synchronized to any character who may be talking on the screen. It can come from many sources, including an objective narrator (who is not a character) bringing us up-to-date, a first-person narrator commenting on the action, or, in a nonfiction film, a commentator.
design
The process by which the look of the settings, props, lighting, and actors is determined. Set design, decor, prop selection, lighting setup, costuming, makeup, and hairstyle design all play a role in shaping the overall design.
composition
The process of visualizing and putting visualization plans into practice; more precisely, the organization, distribution, balance, and general relationship of stationary objects and figures, as well as of light, shade, line, and color, within the frame.
production designer
A person who works closely with the director, art director, and director of photography, in visualizing the movie that will appear on the screen. They are both an artist and an executive, responsible for the overall design concept, the look of the movie—as well as individual sets, locations, furnishings, props, and costumes—and for supervising the heads of the many departments (art, costume design and construction, hairstyling, makeup, wardrobe, location, etc.) that create that look
art director
The person responsible for transforming the production designer's vision into a reality on the screen, assessing the staging requirements for a production, and arranging for and supervising the work of the members of the art department.
on location
Shooting in an actual interior or exterior location away from the studio.
set
Not reality, but a fragment of reality created as the setting for a particular shot in a movie. Sets must be constructed both to look authentic and to photograph well.
decor
The color and textures of the interior decoration, furniture, draperies, and curtains of a set.
properties
Also known as props. Objects such as paintings, vases, flowers, silver tea sets, guns, or fishing rods that help us understand the characters by showing us their preferences in such things.
sound stage
A windowless, soundproofed, professional shooting environment that is usually several stories high and can cover an acre or more of floor space.
chiaroscuro
The use of deep gradations and subtle variations of lights and darks within an image.
costumes
The clothing worn by an actor in a movie (sometimes called wardrobe, a term that also designates the department in a studio in which clothing is made and stored).
video assist camera
A tiny device, mounted in the viewing system of the film camera, that enables a script supervisor to view a scene on a video monitor (and thus compare its details with those of surrounding scenes, to ensure visual continuity) before the film is sent to the laboratory for processing.
figures
Any significant thing that moves on the screen—person, animal, object.
framing
The process by which the cinematographer determines what will appear within the borders of the moving image (the frame) during a shot.
kinesis
The aspect of composition that takes into account everything that moves on the screen.
re-framing
A movement of the camera that adjusts or alters the composition or point of view of a shot.
point of view
The position from which a film presents the actions of the story; not only the relation of the narrator(s) to the story but also the camera's act of seeing and hearing. The two fundamental types of cinematic point of view are omniscient and restricted.
viewfinder
On a camera, the little window that the cameraperson looks through when taking a picture; the viewfinder's frame indicates the boundaries of the camera's point of view.
offscreen space
Cinematic space that exists outside the frame.
onscreen space
Cinematic space that exists inside the frame.
open frame
A frame around a motion-picture image that, theoretically, characters and objects can enter and leave.
closed frame
A frame of a motion picture image that, theoretically, neither characters nor objects enter or leave.
blocking
Actual physical relationships among figures and settings.
cinematography
The process of capturing moving images on film or some other medium.
take
An indication of the number of times a particular shot is taken (e.g., shot 14, take 7).
setup
One camera position and everything associated with it. Whereas the shot is the basic building block of the film, the setup is the basic component of the film's production.
camera crew
Technicians that make up two separate groups—one concerned with the camera, the other concerned with electricity and lighting.
camera operator
The member of the camera crew who does the actual shooting.
assistant camerapersons (AC's)
Member of the camera crew who assists the camera operator.
first AC
oversees everything having to do with the camera, lenses, supporting equipment, and the material on which the movie is being shot.
second AC
prepares the slate that is used to identify each scene as it is being filmed, files camera reports, and feeds film stock into magazines to be loaded into the camera.
slate
The board or other device that is used to identify each scene during shooting.
gaffer (aka chief electrician)
The chief electrician on a movie production set.
best boy (first assistant electrician)
First assistant electrician to the gaffer on a movie production set.
grips
All-around handyperson on a movie production set, most often working with the camera crews and electrical crews.
film stock
Celluloid used to record movies. There are two types: one for black-and-white films, the other for color. Each type is manufactured in several standard formats.
gauges
Also called formats. The dimensions of a film stock and its perforations, and the size and shape of the image frame as seen on the screen. Formats extend from Super 8mm through 70mm (and beyond into such specialized formats as IMAX), but they are generally limited to three standard gauges: Super 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm.
speed
aka film-stock speed. The rate at which film must move through the camera to correctly capture an image
colorization
The use of digital technology, in a process similar to hand-tinting, to "paint" colors on movies meant to be seen in black and white.
widescreen aspect ratio
Any aspect ratio wider than 1.33:1, the standard ratio until the early 1950s.
focusable spotlights
A lamp that produces hard, mirror like light.
floodlights
A lamp that produces soft (diffuse) light
reflector board
A piece of lighting equipment, but not really a lighting instrument, because it does not rely on bulbs to produce illumination. Essentially, a double-sided board that pivots in a U-shaped holder. One side is a hard, smooth surface that reflects hard light; the other is a soft, textured surface that reflects softer fill light.
three point system
Perhaps the best-known lighting convention in feature filmmaking, a system that employs three sources of light—key light, fill light, and backlight—each aimed from a different direction and position in relation to the subject.
key light
Also known as main light or source light. The brightest light falling on a subject.
fill light
Lighting, positioned at the opposite side of the camera from the key light, that can fill in the shadows created by the brighter key light. Fill light may also come from a reflector board.
lighting ratio
The relationship and balance between illumination and shadow—the balance between key light and fill light.
low key lighting
Lighting that creates strong contrasts; sharp, dark shadows; and an overall gloomy atmosphere. Its contrasts between light and dark often imply ethical judgments.
high key lighting
Lighting that produces an image with very little contrast between darks and lights. Its even, flat illumination expresses virtually no opinions about the subject being photographed.
backlight
Lighting, usually positioned behind and in line with the subject and the camera, used to create highlights on the subject as a means of separating it from the background and increasing its appearance of three-dimensionality.
production values
The amount of human and physical resources devoted to the image, including the style of its lighting.
lens
The piece of transparent material in a camera that focuses the image on the film being exposed. The four major types of lenses are the short-focal-length lens, the middle-focallength lens, the long-focal-length lens, and the zoom lens.
aperture
Also known as gate. The camera opening that defines the area of each frame of film exposed.
iris
1. A circular cutout made with a mask that creates a frame within a frame. 2. An adjustable diaphragm that limits the amount of light passing through the lens of a camera.
focal length
The distance from the optical center of a lens to the focal point (the film plane that the cameraperson wants to keep in focus) when the lens is focused at infinity.
long-focal-length lens
Also known as telephoto lens. A lens that flattens the space and depth of an image and thus distorts perspectival relations.
short-focal-length lens
Also known as wide angle lens. A lens that creates the illusion of depth within a frame, albeit with some distortion at the edges of the frame.
middle-focal-length lens
Also known as normal lens. A lens that does not distort perspectivalrelations.
zoom lens
Also known as variable-focal-length lens. A lens that is moved toward and away fromthe subject being photographed, has a continuouslyvariable focal length, and helps reframe ashot within the take. A zoom lens permits thecamera operator during shooting to shiftbetween wide-angle and telephoto lenses withoutchanging the focus or aperture settings.
prime lenses
A lens that has a fixed focal length. The short-focal-length, middle-focal-length, and long-focal-length lenses are all prime lenses; the zoom lens is in its own category.
depth of field
The distance in front of a camera and its lens in which objects are in apparent sharp focus.
planes
Any of three theoretical areas—foreground, middle ground, and background—within the frame.
rack focus
Also known as select focus, shift focus, or pull focus. A change of the point of focus from one subject to another within the same shot. it guides our attention to a new clearly focused point of interest while blurring the previous subject in the shot.
aspect ratio
The relationship between the frame's two dimensions: the width of the image related to its height.
mask
An opaque sheet of metal, paper, or plastic (with, for example, a circular cutout, known as an iris) that is placed in front of the camera and admits light through that circle to a specific area of the frame—to create a frame within a frame.
iris-out
begins with a large circle, which contracts to a smaller circle or total blackness.
extreme long shot (XLS or ELS)
A shot that is typically photographed far enough away from the subject that the subject is too small to be recognized, except through the context we see, which usually includes a wide view of the location, as well as general background information. When it is used to provide such informative context, the extreme long shot is also referred to as an establishing shot.
long shot (LS)
Also known as full-body shot. A shot that shows the full human body, usually filling the frame, and some of its surroundings.
medium long shot (MLS)
Also known as plan américain or American shot. A shot that shows a character from the knees up and includes most of a person's body.
two shot
A shot in which two characters appear; ordinarily a medium shot or medium long shot.
medium shot (MS)
A shot showing the human body, usually from the waist up.
medium close up (MCU)
A shot that shows a character from the middle of the chest to the top of the head. provides a view of the face that catches minor changes in expression, as well as some detail about the character's posture.
close up (CU)
A shot that often shows a part of the body filling the frame—traditionally a face, but possibly a hand, eye, or mouth.
extreme close up (XCU or ECU)
A very close shot of a particular detail, such as a person's eye, a ring on a finger, or a watch face.
blimp
A soundproofed enclosure somewhat larger than a camera, in which the camera may be mounted to prevent its sounds from reaching the microphone.
deep-space composition
A total visual composition that occupies all three planes of the frame, thus creating an illusion of depth, and that is usually reproduced on the screen by deep-focus cinematography.
deep-focus cinematography
Using the short focal-length lens to capture deep-space composition and its illusion of depth.
rule of thirds
A principle of composition that enables filmmakers to maximize the potential of the image, balance its elements, and create the illusion of depth. A grid pattern, when superimposed on the image, divides the image into horizontal thirds representing the foreground, middle ground, and background planes and into vertical thirds that break up those planes into additional elements.
shooting angle
The level and height of the camera in relation to the subject being photographed. The five basic camera angles produce eye-level shots, high-angle shots, low-angle shots, Dutch-angle shots, and aerial-view shots.
eye-level shot
A shot that is made from the observer's eye level and usually implies that the observer's attitude is neutral toward the subject being photographed.
high angle shot
Also known as high shot or down shot. A shot that is made with the camera above the action and that typically implies the observer's sense of superiority to the subject being photographed.
low angle shot
Also known as low shot. A shot that is made with the camera below the actionand that typically places the observer in a positionof inferiority.
dutch 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.
aerial view shot
Also known as bird's-eye-view shot. An omniscient-point-of-view shot that istaken from an aircraft or extremely high crane and implies that the observer can see all.
scale
The size and placement of a particular object or a part of a scene in relation to the rest—a relationship determined by the type of shot used and the placement of the camera.
pan shot
The horizontal movement of a camera mounted on the gyroscopic head of a stationary tripod; like the tilt shot, the ____ shot is a simple movement with dynamic possibilities for creating meaning.
tilt shot
The vertical movement of a camera mounted on the gyroscopic head of a stationary tripod. Like the pan shot, the _______ shot is a simple movement with dynamic possibilities for creating meaning.
dolly shot
Also known as traveling shot. A shot taken by a camera fixed to a wheeled support called a dolly.
dolly
A wheeled support for a camera that permits the cinematographer to make noiseless moving shots.
dolly out
Movement of the camera away from the subject that is often used for slow disclosure, which occurs when an edited succession of images leads from A to B to C as they gradually reveal the elements of a scene.
tracking shot
aka dolly shot.
dolly in
Slow movement of the camera toward a subject, making the subject appear larger and more significant.
zoom in
A shot in which the image is magnified by movement of the camera's lens only, without the camera itself moving. This magnification is the essential difference between the zoom in and the dolly in.
crane shot
A shot that is created by movement of a camera mounted on an elevating arm (crane) that, in turn, is mounted on a vehicle that, if shooting requires it, can move on its own power or be pushed along tracks.
Steadicam
A camera suspended from an articulated arm that is attached to a vest strapped to the cameraperson's body, permitting the operator to remain steady during "handheld" shots. The Steadicam removes jumpiness and is now often used for smooth, fast, and intimate camera movement.
omniscient pov
The most basic and most common point of view.means that the camera has complete or unlimited perception of what the cinematographer chooses for it to see and hear; this point of view shows what that camera sees, typically from a high angle.
single characters pov
A point of view that is captured by a shot made with the camera close to the line of sight of one character (or animal or surveillance camera), showing what that person would be seeing of the action.
group pov
A point of view captured by a shot that shows what a group of characters would see, but at the group's level, not from the much higher omniscient point of view.
slow motion
Photography that decelerates action by photographing it at a filming rate greater than the normal 24 frames per second so that, in cinematic time, it takes place at a slower rate than the real action took place before the camera.
fast motion
Photography that accelerates action by photographing it at a filming rate less than the normal 24 frames per second so that, in cinematic time, it takes place at a more rapid rate than the real action took place before the camera.
long take
Also known as sequence shot. A shot that can last anywhere from one minute to tenminutes. (Between 1930 and 1960, the averagelength of a shot was 8-11 seconds; today it's 6-7seconds, signifying that directors are tellingtheir stories with a tighter pace.)
special effects
Technology for creating images that would be too dangerous, too expensive, or, in some cases, simply impossible to achieve with traditional cinematographic materials. The goal of special-effects cinematography is generally to create verisimilitude within the imaginative world of even the most fanciful movie.
in camera effects
A special effect that is created in the production camera (the regular camera used for shooting the rest of the film) on the original negative. Examples of in-camera effects include montage and split screen.
mechanical effects
A special effect created by an object or event mechanically on the set and in front of the camera.
laboratory effects
A special effect that is created in the laboratory through processing and printing.
iris shot
Optical wipe effect in which the wipe line is a circle; named after the iris of a camera. iris in / iris out