DÉCOR/Visual Design
 Usually
used to combine foreground
action, often actors in conversation,
with a background often shot earlier,
on location.
 Can
be used to illustrate symbolic
meaning (e.g. The Sixth Sense)
 As part of the narrative organization (e.g.
Malcolm X)
 Psychological mood and tone (to
augment and intensify the emotion)
 More
of a focus on brightness levels
 Film noir a specific style of film that
creates a darker, moodier look
 Three-point
standard lighting scheme
for classical narrative
cinema. In order to model
an actor's face (or another
object) with a sense of
depth, light from three
directions is used, as in the
diagram to the right.
 Light
on screen is cast by one or more
specific sources
 Practical light-actual light on the set that
works for the exposure of the film
 Stresses
purely pictorial or visual values
that may be unrelated to strict concerns
about source simulations
 Many films use both
Technical acting-focused on a more
traditional dramatic mode similar to
the theatre focused more on body
language and facial expression
Method-focused more on inner
emotions and personal experience (a
more modern style)
Typage-refers to the selection of actors
on the basis that their facial or bodily
features readily convey the truth of the
character the actor plays
 Stars
(usually lead actors/actresses who
receive top billing)
 Supporting Actors (secondary and
supporting roles in films)
 Extras (performers who appear
incidentally or in the background)
 The Star Persona – collective screen
personality that emerges over a star’s
 Personality
Stars – stars whose
personality changes only slightly from
film to film (Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts,
John Wayne, Bette Davis)
 Character Stars – plays a greater range of
roles and is known for being “lost” in the
character (Robert DeNiro, Dustin
Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Christian
4 different ways to accomplish this:
 Emphasizing unique body language:
- John Wayne’s walk in The Shootist
- Charlie Chaplin
 Regulating Intensity of Emotion:
- how does the film regulate
- Chaplin’s face at the end of
City Lights
 Maximalist
Performance Style:
- going to the opposite extreme (not
naturalistic or plausible, but over the top)
- either very emotional or very
unemotional: Al Pacino vs. Clint Eastwood
 Typage:
- performers are visually stylized, often to
the extreme
 Visual
Mediation of Performance:
- connecting a performer to additional
visual elements within the film
- Citizen Kane
deliberate distortion imposed by
artists upon the linear perspective cues
within a model or painting
 Used
to create effects by erasing visual
information from the frame (Gary Sinise’s
legs in Forrest Gump)
 Building entire images inside the
computer and then integrating these with
live-action photography (The Lord of the
Rings, Jurassic Park, etc.)

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