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Glossary

FILMMAKING TERMS


Term: Mise en Scène

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This term refers to everything that is visible within the frame of the film. Key aspects of the mise en scène include the representation of space within the frame, the overall composition in general, aspects of colour, lighting, set and location, decoration and props, costumes, as well as the staging and movements of actors. Mise en scène is French for “placement on stage” and originally derives from the theatre world, where it refers to the arrangement of all visual elements of a theatrical production. In filmmaking it describes how visual materials are staged, framed and captured on film. Whereas cutting, respectively editing, is mainly about the structuring of time, mise en scène is largely about the structuring of space. In line with this, the mise en scène is of particular importance in films that prefer long takes and do not use much editing. Aspects associated with the camera itself, such as camera lenses, camera movements, camera angles or camera distances are not counted as part of the mise en scène, but instead are considered as belonging to cinematography. Nevertheless, given that there is a strong interconnection between aspects of the mise en scène and cinematography, it should be pointed out that this separation originated first and foremost from the distribution of tasks on a film set. Since then, it has also proven to be helpful in describing and analysing film. Despite this, it should be kept in mind, however, that this separation should not be considered as being set in stone and entirely indisputable.

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