Micro Analysis – 28 Days Later

The purpose of scene analysis is to identify narrative, visual and sound elements and to establish the link between minute detail and broader patterns of development in a film’ Pramaggiore, M., 2011

So, let’s get down to the micro…

This is a process of analysis that you should be familiar with:

  1. Identify specific examples of production techniques:
    1. Cinematography
    2. Editing
    3. Sound
    4. Mise-en-scene
  2. These examples should be named with a technical term
  3. Analyse the impact that technique, in combination with others, on the audience?
    1. How do ‘we’ read the text?
Group Essay

How does the scene, ‘Invasion of Jim’s Family Home,’ use film elements to explore the themes in the film and develop the character journey of Jim & Selena?

In this essay you will be working in groups of four. Each member of the group will be responsible for one paragraph as well as the quality of the essay as a whole. It is expected that you comment on and make suggestions for each others’ work.

This is an important opportunity to practice and refine your scene analysis skills, as well as to learn from each other.

You will be responsible for one of the following paragraphs:

  • An introduction
  • Analysis of cinematography
  • Analysis of sound design
  • Analysis of mise-en-scene
  • Analysis of editing
  • A conclusion

Collectively you will be responsible for the introduction and conclusion, which you will write last.

In total the essay should be a maximum of 1,750 words.


Horror Cinematography & Sound Design

Today we are considering cinematography & sound design that is conventional (typical) of horror films.

We will watch Suckablood (BC Horror) in class and use this to consider how the cinematography & sound is typically ‘horror’.

We are seeking to understand how German Expressionist cinematic techniques were the blueprint for horror films.


In pairs, one of you will be exploring cinematography:

  • Framing
  • Compostition
  • Angle
  • Movement
  • Lighting & Colour

Whilst the other considers sound design and music:

  • Diegetic
    • Foley
    • Dialogue
  • Non-diegetic
    • Music
    • Sound Effects
The Video.

Make a short montage in Premiere Pro, which uses titles to identify specific features of cinematography and/or sound, which are conventional of horror.

  • You should aim to find 3-5 examples of sound and 3-5 examples of cinematography

This means the video should be either silent, showing a feature of the cinematography. Alternatively the video should show a still of the scene or a title card and analyse the sound which you are describing as conventional of horror and/or influenced by German Expressionism.

Advancing your Cinematography

The creative intention for the week

‘To develop my cinematography skills and practice advanced techniques which can be used for expressive meaning in film.’

Session 1 – Filming with Canon DSLR cameras

Menu & Settings

  • Setting the White Balance
  • Grid display
    • rule of thirds / composition
  • Auto and Manual Focus
  • Recording Mode – (movie rec size)
    • 50 fps, 1280×720 (frames per second / resolution)
  • ISO (light sensitivity)
    • darker environment – higher light sensitivity & ISO number
    • lighter environment – lower light sensitivity & ISO number
  • Aperture (quantity of light coming into the lens)
    • low number (eg F1.8 = larger amount of light let in = shallow depth of field)
    • high number (eg F8 = less light let in = deeper focus) 

Different types of lens

  • 18-55 mm kit lens
  • Prime 35 mm lens
  • Telephoto Lens
  • Macro Lens

Session 2 & 3 – Play Time

Choose a minimum of  four techniques to research and practice this week. Two from each list:

List 1
  • Depth of Field & Pulling Focus
  • Filming in Macro
  • Impact of different lenses
  • The Trombone Shot
  • Bokeh
List 2
  • The Rule of Thirds
  • Frames within the Frame
  • Symmetry & Leading Lines
  • High Contrast Lighting (Low Key)
  • The Quadrant System

You will need a clear example of what you’re trying to achieve and also a tutorial video or web page on how to achieve it practically.

For each technique you should aim for either a shot of about 10-15 seconds or two to three different shorter examples of the same technique being used in different ways.

Session 4 The Edit

  • Use WeVideo to edit.
  • Upload your footage
  • Create a montage of cinematography techniques,
  • Name the kit / technique in a caption at the start.
  • At the end use a caption to suggest a potential meaning or impact of the technique on the audience

Reflective Journal

A short 1-2 minute video of your various experiments with composition. This will have been exported from WeVideo to YouTube – which should be possible directly.

A reflection on how it is possible to use camera to communicate meaning.

Batman Essay

Task – A textual analysis essay.

Essay title

Complete a textual analysis of the denouement of The Dark Knight and answer the following question.

‘Analyse and evaluate the representation of Batman in the final scene of the The Dark Knight (2008) Nolan.’ You should use specific examples of mise-en-scene and cinematography to discuss how Nolan highlights and underlines the messages and values of the film.

Advice and Guidance
  • The essay will be assessed in how it shows your ability to demonstrate…
    1. …an understanding of the cultural context.
    2. … an understanding of how the extract makes use of film elements to create meaning.
    3. …an understanding of the ways in which the cultural context of the film and the identified film elements relate to each other, as well as to the chosen film text as a whole
  • The essay should be 1,000 words long (+/- 10%). 
  • You should use screen shots of key moments from the sequence that are the subject of your close textual analysis.
  • You should refer explicitly to the Crash Course YouTube video on, ‘The War on Terror’.
  • Quote from the article we discussed in class, Dark Knight, Dark Ideas by Chris Turner. 
    • This article and the Crash Course YouTube Video should be credited and referenced at the end of the essay.

Composition in Film

The Rules of Composition in Cinematography are described and exemplified in this video:


Create a class slideshow which defines, explains and exemplifies the following rules of composition:

  • Symmetry
  • Contrast
  • Depth of field
  • The rules of thirds
  • Leading lines
  • Balance
  • Lead space
  • Frames within the frame

Please edit one slide on this slideshow:

Reflective journal

Embed this document in your reflective journal in the Cinematography page.

Great Cinematographers

Textual Analysis of The Dark Knight

Textual Analysis Task:

In small groups or pairs analyse Christopher Nolan’s use of cinematography & mise-en-scene in one of the six sequences below.

Embed the sequence and your typed up notes into your reflective journal.

Write 200-250 words on your findings with regard to how the Joker is represented using camera and mise-en-scene as a ‘new’ kind of villain for uncertain and unpredictable times.

Scene 1

Scene 2

Scene 3

Scene 4

Scene 5

Scene 6

Lighting and Colour

Lighting is an element of Cinematography.

If a shot is not well lit it’s almost useless.

The lighting department work closely with the cinematographer to create the right look for each shot.

  • The chief lighting designer and on set engineer is called The Gaffer
  • The assistant to the Gaffer is called The Best Boy

This week we are going to explore the fundamentals of film lighting.

Analysing Lighting

Using Three Point Lighting in a Studio.

Colour in Storytelling


Creative Intention:

‘To explore a range of lighting set ups in a studio setting.’

In Adobe Premiere create a playlist of 8 different lighting states that we shot in class.

Before each on a black slate (title card) identify the lighting setup and the impact that you feels it communicates.

Reflect on the impact different lighting states can have on the meaning communicated.

Reflecting on your Cinematography

Reflective Journal Post
  1. Go back to our creative intention which was:
    • ‘To discover how you, as a novice cinematographer, can use framing and movement to communicate meaning.’
  2. Review your footage, with this in mind
  3. Create a slideshow which includes two examples of framing and a short commentary on…
    • One clip (or photo), which you are pleased with and think that the framing communicates meaning.
    • One which you are unhappy with and feel doesn’t really work, why not?
  4. Then two more examples, with commentary on…
    • One for camera movement which you are happy with and what message does it communicate.
    • One which you are less pleased with, why doesn’t it work?

Place this in your reflective journal, under the cinematography page under the sub page heading ‘Exploring Basic Cinematography’

Still got time? Then watch this video on…

Telling stories through images (a masterclass)

Remember the reflective journal is yours – not just a dictate from your teacher. If you have found these (or other videos) on cinematography inspiring then embed them into your journal and reflect on what they have taught you, and how you want to explore cinematography later in the course!

Moving the Camera

Lesson 3

So in this lesson you are going to need to move the camera, whilst filming.

So, smoothly does it…here is your list of shots for today…

Shot No Shot Size Camera Movement Descriptions
1 MLS Pan Character walks into frame and pan to follow through a door, keep lead space.
2 MCU (High Angle) Tilt Character sits down (slow and nervous) camera tilt follows
3 MS Crab Character leans against wall looking bored. Start and end with character out of frame.
4 MCU to LS Dolly / Track Out Character sits on wall, looking anxious
5 LS to MCU Dolly / Track In Character sits on wall, looking anxious
6 LS to MCU Zoom In Character sits on wall, looking anxious
7 MCU Ped Down Car / Truck
8 LS Roll Person staggers from one side of corridor to another, along with camera roll.
9 CU (low angle) – ELS (high angle) Crane Character sitting in corner, looks off frame and then down at the ground, when head down start crane.

As in yesterday’s lesson, you must return in time, to move the footage from your camera to the teachers’ computer in 73 (The D Drive):

Some examples of amazing cinematography for you to enjoy during independent study

Basic Composition

Lesson 2

Framing (distance)

Your mission for today’s lesson is to direct and shoot the following images. For this you will have to alternate taking the images and being the subject for your partner. You will have to take on the role of director and of cinematographer to ensure you get the shots you need.

Once you have completed your mission you should return to the classroom where you will upload your treasure to your masters computer (teachers’ machine D Drive). You then need to collate the data.

This message will self destruct in…

Shot No Shot Size Camera Movement Descriptions
1 MS Static Back to camera, character bored
2 Wide angle Static The front of the SFC or Main School Entrance
3 MCU (Low Angle) Static Traffic sign or door
4 ELS Static Character sits on a step (relaxed)
5 LS (Canted Angle) to MCU Static Character walks towards camera (confident)
6 ECU Static Eyes look nervously off to one side
7 CU Static In profile character looks thoughtful
8 MLS (High Angle) Static Character stand waits outside door (nervous)
9 Over the shoulder to LS Static See the shoulder and head – object in background
Independent Study

Here is a follow up video for you to watch on another 5 best shots of all time: