Initial Research By Josh Brown
The Assassination of Jesse James
Mise En Scene
- The first shot we see of the first character, he is wearing an olden style white shirt and black waistcoat. This accompanies the old style setting of the house to insist that the opening is set in the past during the era of cowboys. At 01:15, the setting of the cowboy filled bar is very dark, the only in-frame lightsource is from the outside. This lighting has been clever disguised to make the audience think it is the sun. This effect is shown from a long shot and presents all the characters as silhouttes to the audience. This raises questions about who they could be.
-At the first sight of the main character, a slow tracking shot moves in towards him in his rocking chair. This contributes to the relaxed feel of the scene. At 01:26, an extreme close up shows a land being run through a field of corn. The hand is in a shallow depth of field which empahsises the need to focus on the hand, insisting that it is of some importance.
- In the opening of the movie, the combination long takes and few cut transistions create a slow paced, relaxed and calm atmosphere. The very first few clips show the clouds in the sky sped up. This insists the passing of time. In some shots in the opening, a blured effect is used in all four corners of the frame. This gives an indication to the audience that it is a memory.
- Throughout the whole opening, a soundtrack is played by a harp. The slow pace of the music creates a calm effect. There is hardly any on-screen sound in the clip , however there is an off-screen narration spoken by a male. The only occurance of on-scrren sound is at 01:15 in the bar when there are sounds of background banter and pool balls hitting each other.
Mise En Scene
When the audience first meet the main male character, he is shown sitting on a couch with a low amount of light used to present him. From analyzing the shadows and lighted areas on his face, we can conclude that the only light used is a very dim key light shon through a filter for control onto the right side of his face and creating a shadow on the wall. There does not appear to be a fill light because the opposite side of his face is dark, and there definitely no back light because there is a wall directly behind him.
The first shots of the movie are filmed from a handheld camera of a girl's birthday. The handheld effect define
the scene to look like a special occasion. The subject in the shots is viewed from a variety of different distances, ranging from medium shot to a big close up. These shots allow the audience to see the facial expressions of the girl when she receives her birthday present.
Some shots later after the character stands up from the couch, the frame is moved onto a big close up of a photograph in a frame. This shot has been specifically used as a indication to the audience that the figure in the photo is of great importance to the man and the plot.
At 02:05, it shows the man wrapping a birthday present. The shot distances used are extreme close ups that show the character wrapping the present with great detail and precision, folding the paper perfectly. This indicates that the relationship the man has with his daughter is special and he puts a lot of care into her gift.
In the opening of the film, the first few shots taken with a handheld camera, appear to be pixelated and distorted. The editing has disguised this effect to make it look like it is just the quality of the camera and insist it is an older handheld commercial camera. This combination of effects present the clips to be memories to someone we have not yet met. When the memory flashbacks end, the frame flashes to a shot of a man on a couch who suddenly opens his eyes, which backs up the idea that they were his memories.
In the opening, there is a soundtrack being played by a piano softly, accompanied by a high pitched drone. The music gives a sad and depressing feeling which suits the scene being played simultaneously. During the flashbacks, the audience can hear the echoed laughter of the girl seen in the shot.
There are examples of non-diegetic sounds in the opening. The first being the sounds of cars passing after 01:30. There is also sounds of background chat and music at 02:20. This is well suited to the scene as it is a party.
Mise En Scene
00:28, the frame shows a man in a leather jacket with a gun and tights over his head. Criminals usually put tights over their heads to disguise their identity. The fact that the man in the frame has tights on his head and a gun backs up the idea that he is a criminal.
At 00:38, the frame shows a bunch of people smoking drugs. The man shown smoking has long hair with a flower in his hair. In the 60's this costume was a common thing to wear for hippies doing drugs. So this combination of looks ensures the audience of their assumption of druggy hippies.
In this opening, the use of slow tracking shots in every clip create a smooth and calm atmosphere, despite the first clip being a robbery of some type. The shot used is a tracking shot and it informs the audience that all of these actions are being performed in the same location at the same time. If a cut had been used in the duration of the scene, it would not have the same end result. The tracking shot used in the ending clip is very effective as it presents the actions and message being shown to the audience. Because the setting shows shelves after shelves or commercial drugs, it insists the character is walking in a world full of drugs.
Every video transition in the opening is used with a graphic match. This accompanied by the constant use of tracking shots, makes the whole opening look like one take. The first transition is from the crime scene to the smoking hippies scene. The transition is a graphic match from a woman's hair into a hippy man's hair. This effect raises two ideas.The effect shows the difference in types of people at the same time in this era and informs the audiences of the acts taking place. In the end of the opening scene, the main character is walking through a shop full of drugs, the setting is very modern. However seconds later, the modern setting steadily changes into a regular drugs shop of today. This could imply that this is what he imagines in his mind or its what he wants it to be. All the drugs seen at first appear to be made by a fashion designer, this gives a sense that in his mind, it is acceptable and a casual thing for him to be doing.
There is very little diegetic sound in this opening. In the first shot of the robbery, there are sounds of screaming and shouting. These sounds are in parallel with the video of the robbery. The only sound is a narration by the main character who we see in the drug shop towards the end. This gives an indication to the audience that the footage they are watching is in the past or a possible memory. There is a soundtrack that plays throughout the opening. The genre of it is techno, which could possibly suggest the opening is futuristic.
Mise En Scene
The opening scene shows two characters that seem to be regular people wearing everyday clothes in a diner. The lighting on the sides of their faces nearest to the camera insists that the main lighting is coming from outside and supposed to imitating the sun. Therefore the scene has a more natural feel and feels more realistic.
The main camera shot used is a low angle, fixed, medium two shot. This shot is ideal as the audience can clearly see the subjects, their movement and even some detail in their facial expressions. However at 00:49, the camera changes to a big close up on the waitresses face when she offers the two main characters more coffee and then changes to a close up of the female main characters face when she replies. This is used to show the audience the expression on her face. It seems to the audience that the woman is innocent by her smile at the waitress.
In this opening, long shots are used to create a calm atmosphere. The lack of cuts naturally allows the audience to focus on listening to the dialogue. Later on in the scene, the shot/reverse shot technique is put into place more often when the subjects are talking of robbing the diner they are currently in. This brings a sense of tension to the audience of what is about to happen.
In the duration of the opening, there is no soundtrack until the titles appear. There is also a very low volume of chatter in the background, on the other hand it is hardly heard over the conversation between the two subjects. The majority of sound is diegetic. This, in cooperation with the other effects, backs up the idea of realism within the scene. At 02:37, a waitress comes into the frame and says 1 line. Although, the camera never moves to see her face. This is an example of off-screen sound.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Mise En Scene
In the first few clips of this opening, people are standing on hill tops. The lighting is very bright to imitate the sun, which is then used to create a silhouette effect on the characters. This quickly generates questions of who they are and what they are doing. Although we cannot see what they are wearing at this time, we can see that they are carrying spears. This narrows down the range of types of people they could be. Either modern day tribal people, or cave people living thousands of years ago. A few clips later the audience see that they are wearing animal skins, this concludes that these people are from a very long time ago.
In the first few shots, the camera distance is very far out from the characters with an extreme long shot. The very first shot works as an establishing shot, confirming that the setting is in some mountains. The next two shots are much closer up to the subjects, but still at an extreme long shot distance. The audience can see that there are people on the mountain tops.
At 00:38, a high angled tracking shot is taken from a helicopter that shows the cave people climbing on the mountains looking at an object far away. The frame first shows the characters, then pans up to reveal the object. This clearly insists that the cave people are looking at the object.
From the start of the opening till about 00:54, all the takes are in slow motion. After, the shots are at a real time shooting pace. The fact that a slower tempo is used at first insists that the cave people's life was much calmer until they were disrupted by the villains. All the video transitions until 00:38 are fade out and out to black. This creates a calmer atmosphere compared to using standard cuts. When the enemy appear, cuts replace the fades and a feeling of danger comes. However, the pace of takes does not seem to change. Usually when danger appear, takes are quicker.
In this opening, there is no clear diegetic sound or musical soundtrack. There is a beat of tribal drums which is in parallel to the tribal characters and suits the theme. When the enemy are in the frame, sounds of computer generated robotic components are used to accompany their looks. Throughout the duration of the opening, a narration is spoken by a deep male voice. This seems appropriate and fits with the theme.