Investigations: Mise en Scene

What is Mise en Scene?
This is the most recognizable attributes of a film. From setting to actors to costumes and makeup, to props and all the other natural and artificial details that characterise the spaces in film, we are presented with mise en scene.

“Mise-en-scéne” french for “placing on stage” is a term used to describe the design aspects of theatre or film production. It is here we can see visually see a story developing through cinematography, stage design and storyboarding.

When applying this to cinema it is often referred to everything that appears before the camera. Composition, sets, props, actors, costumes and of course lighting. We look at mise en scene as a visual representation of film in the eyes of its viewers. It’s seen as a way to express various film elements mostly in time and space as all as it sets and overall mood. Everything that is in shot through mise en scene is there for a reason. It is there to tell a story and enhance the overall vision of the whole film.

The key aspects it represents is 

  • Set design – the entire setting of the scene, establishing a place
  • Lighting – can influence the audiences understanding of characters and moods through texture, shape, mood, time of day or night season and glamour
  • Space – the depth, proximity, size and proportions of places and objects through the camera.
  • Composition – the placement of objects and a balance of symmetry
  • Costume – what the characters wear, distinguishing the narrative and make clear distinctions between characters.
  • Makeup and hair – to establish time period and reveal character traits
  • Acting – historical and cultural representations
  • Film Stock – black and white, colour
  • Aspect Ratio – size of the films image

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