The 15 Basic Elements to Know to Better Your Film’s Mise-en-Scene
Improving Your Craft With Mise-en-Scene
a guest post by Michael Hall
While making a film, a lot of minute details are considered which means that tremendous amount of effort goes into making one. To send the right message across the audiences, even a single scene goes through a number of phases to ensure that people grasp what the director is trying to say.
This includes not only getting the right kind of props but also setting them in the best possible way. Choosing the right costumes for the actors. It even includes the camera angles, lighting, and ambiance. After all this is taken care of, the particular scene also passes through a number of checks in the post-production including tuning the colors, highlighting the desired part, applying filters and much more.
All this is done keeping a number of things in mind. For a director or a filmmaker, it is not just important to find the right kind of script and make the best actors play the roles for him. His actual duty and success lie in the fact that the audience gets to grab the underlying message of the movie. Your accomplishment is not making the people see something but making them see what you want them to see and infer from it.
For film experts, the term Mise-en-Scene holds immense importance and has been in use since it’s advent in the 1950’s by the French critics. The idea was borrowed from the French theater where it referred to everything that would appear on the stage.
In films, everything that is captured by the camera in a specific scene is referred to as Mise-en-Scene. The setting, the lighting, the actors and their costumes, the props, and even the arrangements is included in it. We can also refer to the term as being synonymous with the composition of a shot to sound more technical.
There are certain problems associated with this term in films. Firstly, the image is framed with the help of a camera and secondly, the final product has cuts and edits. This is contrary to the theater where people see real life people and objects. The camera can only see to a certain point. If a person is actually present in that place he gets a wider view, therefore, it is not possible to incorporate the entirety of all the aspects.
For the reasons mentioned above, critics have changed their definition of Mise-en-Scene in films. It is more about what the camera can show you in a picture rather than what is actually present in the whole area. This leads to the inclusion of further aspects like color values, lens/filter/stock, density, composition, and framing of the scene.
A Mise-en-Scene can actually help you out in determining the feel of a particular scene and also helps in inferring the underlying facts. This facilitates in understanding the concept and idea of the director and can also be considered as a test to conclude whether the director has been able to deliver what he wanted to in the right way or not.
There are 15 key points to Mise-en-scene, which I’ve outlined in this infographic — as a filmmaker, learning these points can vastly improve your craft:
About the author: Michael Hall runs the production company ShoHawk, with director Christopher Sakr. From their childhood beginning, there was never a choice: we would make movies together. Whether we were off at separate colleges, traveling, working respective jobs and trying to climb the industry ladder, it worked. This is the power of dreams, and the foundation of ShoHawk.