Journal

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Preparing for the Journal:  Read and review the “CH 06 Screening Checklist” (provided at the bottom of this unit), and go through the required tutorials to help you focus your eye and analytic tools on cinematography.  Be sure to go through these resources before viewing Pan’s Labyrinth

The Journal Prompt:  As you watch Pan’s Labyrinth… be aware of a stand-out moment (one shot or short sequence) – consider a moment when the images are conveying information that is not reflected in characters’ action or dialogue.  These moments are often crucial to the development of a movie’s themes, narrative, and meaning.  Analyze that moment focused on the cinematography.  Use the “CH 06 Screening Checklist” to help guide and focus your analysis – you don’t need to answer all of the checklist questions or incorporate every aspect of cinematography in your analysis.  You can focus your analysis on any one or more of the “CH 06 Screening Checklist” questions (e.g. you can focus specifically on the shot choice, or the use of lighting, or camera movement, or…). Keep your analysis focused on cinematography, and edit/focus your analysis within the targeted word count.

(target 250 words)

The shot is the basic unit of film language. Whenever you write or talk about a film in an academic setting, you will be expected to describe individual shots accurately and thoroughly. Chapter 6’s primary purpose is to give you the vocabulary necessary to do so.

The cinematographic aspects of a shot that you will be expected to describe in almost any analysis are: its color qualities (remember that black and white are colors), the nature and source of its lighting, the implied proximity of the objects and people photographed in the shot, the angle and height of the shot, the nature of camera movement, if any, the point of view (POV) of the shot, and the speed and length of the shot. In order to have the necessary jargon at your disposal, you will need to memorize the terms used to describe these various aspects of the shot.

Framing is another important facet of the cinematographic process. By using the boundaries and dimensions of the moving image to determine what we see on the screen, cinematographers can highlight specific characters or objects, limit the viewers’ knowledge of certain events, and imply a specific point of view.

The chapter also looks at the use of special effects, or technology used to create images that would otherwise be too dangerous or expensive, on the movie viewer’s experience. Special effects, both physical and computer-based, help communicate cinematic language by creating illusions that preserve a film’s invisibility.

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