Many features in plays and movies contribute to guiding a viewer's attention, whether the audience realizes it or not. Here's everything you need to know about mise en scène, one of Hollywood's most well-known but difficult-to-define concepts.
What Is Mise en Scène?
A term used to describe the setting of a scene in a play or film is mise en scène, which is pronounced Meez-ahn-sen. Everything on the stage or in front of the camera, including humans, is referred to as this. To put it another way, mise en scène refers to everything that adds to a production's visual presentation and overall "looks." It means "putting on stage" in English when translated from French.
Mise en Scène in Film: 10 Components
Whether the spectator realizes it or not, mise en scène generates a sense of place. It accomplishes this by employing the following strategies:
1. Actors: Actors, their performances, and their performance styles are all important components of the mise en scene. When an actor appears on screen, he or she is usually the centre of attention, so their presence has a significant impact on the story's overall aesthetic.
2. The scene's setting establishes the tone and provides support for the action. A domestic location, for example, establishes a very different tone than a public one in a scene in which a guy proposes to his girlfriend.
3. Everything the viewer sees within a scene is referred to as a set design. These facts add to the story's context and serve to flesh out the universe of the setting. Is there anything on the desk that indicates studying if it's a dorm room? Is there a party going on if there are pizza boxes and red cups?
4. Lighting is frequently the most effective instrument for expressing a mood. Hard light is utilized to minimize shadows in high-key lighting, which is common in musicals and romantic comedies. Low-key lighting is easily identified by a high-contrast lighting pattern that brightens and darkens parts of the frame. It is often used in horror films.
5. Shot blocking and camera placement: Blocking entails working with actors to determine their on-stage body positions, gestures, and movements. Blocking in the film also entails figuring out the camera's position and movements, as well as lighting, set design, and other factors. Shot blocking and camera placement are both excellent strategies for conveying information to the audience about the status of people and their connections.
6. The purposeful selection of frames and camera angles that make up a shot is referred to as composition. The composition can be manipulated to emphasize the story's emotional elements and express a feeling of meaning (or lack thereof) to the audience.
7. Space-time depth: The distance between people, props, and scenery about one another and the camera is referred to as depth of space. It can reveal a lot about the tone of the scene and the characters' standing to the audience, similar to shot-blocking. Is the area large or small? Is this a good representation of the story's truth?
8. Stock of film The film stock describes how a film appears on the screen. Is it in colour or black-and-white? Is it a fine-grain film or a grainy one? Whichever it is; each tells its own story.
9. Costumes: The garments that performers wear and how they are fashioned to fit them are referred to as costumes. A costume designer must know which colours look well on a character and reconcile this with the colours appropriate for the actor playing the part and the colour palette of the production design for garments to be effective.
10. Prosthetics, blood, and ageing procedures are all examples of hair and makeup that assist actors to turn into their characters. Hair and cosmetics, like clothes, are essential components in telling the story.
3 Memorable Mise en Scène in Well-Known Films
In movies, there are numerous examples of mise en scene. The following are a few of the most well-known and executed:
1. Citizen Kane: Director Orson Welles was meticulous with composition and depth of space in Citizen Kane during a flashback to Charles Kane's boyhood. He positioned Kane outside, in the snow, amid the grownups debating his future. To direct the viewer's attention, Welles used deep focus, which is a word for when everything in the frame is in focus at the same time.
2. The Graduate: As part of the film's mis en scène, director Mike Nichols used clothing to great effect. Mrs Robinson is dressed as a predator when we see her at the Taft Hotel, wearing a fur animal-print coat.
3. Production design was employed by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet to portray the characteristics of Amélie's character. In the mind of the spectator, her warm and colourful bedroom presents her as a pleasant and playful individual.
Next time you're watching a movie, pay close attention to the aspects of mise en scène. Every prop, viewpoint, and texture was carefully picked to help you get more immersed in the story's universe.
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