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Important Cinematic Techniques and terms table article on films

Great article explaining list of cinematic terms

Source – www.matrix.edu.au/film-techniques-how-to-analyse-a-cinematic-text/


Films take us on journeys; we become immersed in worlds beyond our own. The best films lead us to ask questions about our world as well as ourselves. However sometimes it can be difficult to translate our reactions to film into meaningful English analysis. The table below provides some of the key film techniques for writing about cinematic texts.

Important Cinematic Techniques

Film TechniqueExplanation
AnglesCamera angles refer to the tilt of the camera in relation to the scene and characters. Unusual camera angles can emphasise an action sequence, disorientate the audience, and suggest the relationship between characters.
ColourColour, especially the choice of colour palette or scheme, can reflect the mood of the piece. Colour in a scene can also be enhanced through lighting. For example, in The Great Gatsby (2013), the use of a vibrant colour scheme reflects the opulent lifestyle of New York elites in the 1920s.
CucolorisCucoloris is a lighting technique where an object is placed between the light source and the subject in order to create a patterned shadow. A staple of film noir.
DialogueConversation between two characters is called dialogue. Written by scriptwriters to convey the film’s plot, dialogue is also useful in conveying character.
Editing SequenceThe order of each shot and how they have been put together to create a scene.
FlashbackImages that refer to previous events in the characters` lives. Flashbacks can be used toforeshadow future events.
IntertitleText which is printed on a background and placed between filmed scenes through editing. In silent films, intertitles can convey dialogueand exposition.
LightingLighting contributes to the mood of a film and suggests interpretations of character. Low key lighting emphasises the shadows in a shot, while lighting from above or below can suggest that a character possesses sinister qualities.
Mise en scèneMise en scène translates as ‘what is put into a scene’. This French expression refers to thecomposition of a scene, including placement of characters, costume, makeup and setting.
Montage A montage is a type of editing sequence where a series of shots play rapidly to create a narrative. Often a montage will be accompanied by a unifying piece of music to convey the dominant mood connected with the sequence.
MoodMood refers to the feelings suggested by the combination of all the elements on the screen and the accompanying sound. Another way to refer to the mood is to discuss atmosphere.
MusicMusic can convey the theme, mood andatmosphere. There are different types of music in films. The score is extra-diegetic music composed for the film, designed to evoke the film’s desired mood for the audience. Music heard by the characters in the film is calleddiegetic music.
SettingThe place where the action of the film occurs.
Shot typeShot types indicate how close or far the camera is from the characters. Shot types range from Extreme Long Shot, where the characters may be very small and embedded in a landscape, to Extreme Close Up, where part of the character’s face makes up the whole shot.
SoundThe sound of a film helps to create atmosphere – this can include sound effects,dialogue, music, silences and voice-overs. Like music, sound can be divided into diegetic(occurring in the world of the film) and extra-diegetic (occurring outside the world of the film).
Symbolism An object used to suggest ideas in addition to, or beyond, their literal sense. For example the glass slipper in Cinderella symbolises the opportunity that Cinderella has to live a different life. Watch films carefully to spot symbols and their potential meaning to the plot. If a symbol recurs throughout the film it is a motif.


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