1002: Sound

For sound analysis I decided to feature a scene from Jos Whedon’s 2012 film The Avengers. The particular scene is the introduction of Tom Hiddleston’s character Loki and is embedded below-

The music is diegetic as the source is shown in the scene- the characters interact with it and the orchestra playing it is featured. However the scene uses the particular music piece and the echoes of the set in a way that changes how the music and scene interact.

The piece the band is playing is from Der Ring des Nibelungen and is the leitmotif of the character of Loge who was heavily based around and inspired by Loki.. This choice leans on the fourth wall of the film and creates an almost theatrical tone to the scene with how the music introduces the character.

This scene is an interesting example of how sound can form narration to the scene, in the opera the leitmotif plays whenever Loge enters the scene, and in the film it’s doing the same. It’s almost as if the sound is non-diegetic and is narrating the scene.

The music isn’t kept at a steady volume, it instead plays at the volume Loki would hear it and the volume changes in each frame in relation to the height of the ceiling or placement of the POV character. This not only used to immerse the audience in the scene but also highlights how Loki is the focus of the sound, as as well the frames the music is also centred around him.

It helps create a tense feeling and I think it was an interesting way to involve music in a film series that’s noticeable for it’s lack of musical identity.

 

References-

The Avengers (2012) [Film] Directed by JOSS WHEDON. USA: Marvel Studios

Every Frame A Painting. (2016). The Marvel Symphonic Universe. [Online Video]. 12 September 2016. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vfqkvwW2fs. [Accessed: 17 November 2016].

tvtropes. 2012. Trivia:The Avengers. [ONLINE] Available at: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/TheAvengers2012. [Accessed 17 November 2016].

1002: Cinematography

Cinematography is the art of photography and camerawork in film-making. It’s also been described as writing in light as a large section of cinematography involves contrast levels and colour.

I’m going to analyse the below frame from Guillermo Del Toro’s 2009 film Pacific Rim for the way it has used colours and focus/ frame depth effectively.

pacific_rim_wondercon-e136728553923511111

Shallow Focus

This frame is a good example of shallow focus. Shallow focus is when only one plane of the image is in focus. In this frame only Mako and the right of the frame is in perfect focus whilst Raleigh and the background is blurred.

Making Mako focus of scene establishes her as the main hero and tells the audience that it is her that is the character to focus on and is the one that will move the scene forwards.

The scene isn’t shot with Mako at the direct centre, she’s instead coming in from the right. I think this is a really interesting cinematographic choice as the very act of changing the focus of the scene from a deep shot to shallow focus on the right of the frame. By doing this the film reinforces to the audience that it is Mako that needs to be focused on and is taking action to move the plot forwards.

I also like how colour is used to emphasise Mako and draw attention to her expression and hand movement. Most of the background is shades of dark blue which means Raleigh blends into it easily and doesn’t draw the audience’s attention.

In contrast Mako’s face is surrounded by bright lights, whether the lights in her helmet, the ones on her arm or the blue from Raleigh’s arm and the light behind her. Every bright colour in the frame seems to of been designed around Mako.

Bordwell and Thompson’s Film Art (2008) describe how in colour usage patches of colour or trigger ideas and emotional responses. I think this can be seen in this still as the yellow highlights and bright blue aspects create an atmosphere of hope and make the audience realise something positive is about to happen. The bright lights in this scene are emerging from a dark background which fits with the films idea of emerging more hopeful from hard situations.

This film has really interesting cinematography and it particularly focuses on positive moments and ideas of hope in its shots using colours or framing on faces. Unlike similar films released in the past few years Pacific Rim is happy and colourful, I think this is what make it stand out so much for me.

 

References-

Bordwell, D. and Thompson, K. (2008). Film art- An Introduction. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill.

Pacific Rim (2013) [Film] Directed by GUILLERMO DEL TORO. USA: Warner Bros.

 

1002: Mise-en-Scene

Mise-en-Scene refers to the arrangement of all the design aspects of a film or theatre production.
For this blog post I’m going to be analysing the frame below from Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 film Pacific Rim in terms of selected Mise-en-Scene features used.

mise-en-escene
Characters L-R Mako, Raleigh, Stacker

Costuming

In this scene, the type and clothes and colours play into showing characters’ motivations and alliances. Lathrop and Sutton (2015) write that any costume can become a prop, and I think in this scene that idea is demonstrated well.

I want to particularly focus on Mako’s outfit. Although she is wearing the same outfit as Raleigh, the colour matches Stacker’s. Black often represents formality and power, so while the she may have matched outfits with Raleigh (Tank top) which shows a forming relationship, the fact she still is wearing the same colours as Stacker shows her allegiance still lies with him and she is still thematically tied to him

Matching the costumes also works to link the characters and motives together. Not only does the main plot of the movie start in this scene, but the character’s relationships start to link and become more positive. By having them all be connected by their outfits the audience starts to see the characters as a conjoined unit and see that their actions are now connected.

Framing

This shot is framed in a way that demonstrates status as well as the tense atmosphere of the scene.

The frame is also stretched to accommodate Stacker and makes the other characters almost look off centre. By having him a head higher than the other two characters, along with him being the only character to comfortably show his full body in the scene shows his power and high status. This also put the characters in a diagonal line going left to right across the scene, which i really like the composition of.

The horizontal lines of the pipes and steps also frame Stacker, ensuring that even though he is the smallest figure in the frame the audience is still drawn to him and aware of his importance.

The pipes and steps being on the edge of the frame also helps make the scene look smaller. This scene is part of a last-ditch attempt by all the characters to get their plan to work, so by making the room dark, highlighting the small size of the room and having the camera’s POV look over the shoulder of one characters helps highlight and increase the emotional and tense nature of the scene.

References-

Lathrop, G and Sutton, D.O (2015) Elements Of Mise En Scene. Abstract (Retrieved from http://www.cantonschools.org/ via wayback machine) p2

Pacific Rim (2013) [Film] Directed by GUILLERMO DEL TORO. USA: Warner Bros.