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WJEC GCE AS Film Studies Stuart Grenville-Price

HOWIS THEFILM TELLINGA STORY? EXPLORING NARRATION AND NARRATIVE TECHNIQUES.

The director’s choice of shot is the first and often the main device in telling the audience what’s important in the frame. 1. Whose point of view is being shown – do you see things from a particular character’s viewpoint, or as a detached observer? This can determine how easily the audience identifies with a particular character.

What’s your example? 2. The distance of particular shots – from what distance does the camera show things?

These choices influence mood i.e. If grand settings are important to the story, as they are in Westerns, then long shots are important to show landscape. A film shot mainly in close ups will give the feeling you are getting to know the characters intimately, and they can be very claustrophobic.         

What’s your example?


3. The mix of different shots or the length of time a particular shot is shown can also be significant. Conventional Hollywood dialogue (2 people conversing) involves lots of head and shoulder shots with frequent cutting between speakers.

When Harry Met Sally

What messagedoes this type of shot convey to you?

What’s your film example where you’ve seen this?

4. Different focus – The camera operator can keep everything in the frame in focus (deep focus) or can focus on the foreground, middle ground or background (shallow focus). There’s also a choice between soft focus used to create a romantic mood or hard focus which is more real and authentic.

What messagedoes this type of shot convey to you?

What’s your film example where you’ve seen this?


5. The angle of the shot can be changed. Eye-level shots are most common. High angles make the subject look vulnerable and unimportant whereas low angles, that look up, suggest power. High angle shots are also known as a ‘bird’s eye view’ – it is more omniscient. Low angle shots are also known as ‘worm’s eye view’

What messagedoes this type of shot convey to you?

What’s your example?

6. The camera can be moved on tracks, taking it closer to the subject or moving it away, it can be mounted on a crane and lowered or raised, it can also be strapped to the operator or hand held, some say this adds realism, others say it draws attention to the filmmaking process.

Man with a Movie Camera: Dziga Vertov What’s your example?


How is the Film Telling a Story