Macro and Micro elements of Film Language
Micro Elements Macro Elements
Mise En Scene, Costumes, Makeup,
Props, Location and Lighting
Camera angle and movement Genre
Micro Elements –Mise En Scene
• When applied to the cinema, mise-en-scène refers to everything
that appears before the camera and its arrangement—
composition, sets, props, actors, costumes, and lighting. The “mise-en-
scène”, along with the cinematography and editing of a film,
influence the realism of a film in the eyes of its viewers. The
various elements of design help express a film’s vision by
generating a sense of time and space, as well as setting a mood,
and sometimes suggesting a character’s state of mind. “Mise-en-scène”
also includes the composition, which consists of the
positioning and movement of actors, as well as objects, in the shot.
These are all the areas overseen by the director. One of the most
important people that collaborates with the director is the
Micro Elements – Camera Movement
• Dolly - The camera is mounted on a cart which travels along tracks for a
very smooth movement. Also known as a tracking shot or trucking shot.
• Dolly Zoom - A technique in which the camera moves closer or further
from the subject while simultaneously adjusting the zoom angle to keep
the subject the same size in the frame.
• Follow - The camera physically follows the subject at a more or less
• Pan - Horizontal movement, left and right.
• Pedestal (Ped) - Moving the camera position vertically with respect to the
• Tilt - Vertical movement of the camera angle, i.e. pointing the camera up
and down (as opposed to moving the whole camera up and down).
• Track - Roughly synonymous with the dolly shot, but often defined more
specifically as movement which stays a constant distance from the action,
especially side-to-side movement.
• Truck - Another term for tracking or dollying.
• Zoom - Technically this isn't a camera move, but a change in the lens focal
length with gives the illusion of moving the camera closer or further away.
Micro Elements – Diegesis
Diegetic Sound - Sound whose source is visible on the screen or whose source
is implied to be present by the action of the film:
• voices of characters
• sounds made by objects in the story
• music represented as coming from instruments in the story space ( =
Diegetic sound is any sound presented as originated from source within the
film's world. Digetic sound can be either on screen or off screen depending
on whatever its source is within the frame or outside the frame.
Non Diegetic Sound - Sound whose source is neither visible on the screen
nor has been implied to be present in the action:
• narrator's commentary
• sound effects which is added for the dramatic effect
• mood music
Non-diegetic sound is represented as coming from the a source outside story
Micro Elements - Editing
There is an old adage that films are edited, not made. Much important work
is done in the edit suite. While a good editor may not always be able to
salvage a bad film, a bad editor can certainly ruin what might otherwise
• continuity - continuous action shown in sequence
• montage - a series of seemingly unrelated shots that the audience must
work to connect.
Hollywood movies tend to go for continuity editing, a style also known as
transparency (ie you don't notice it). Actions flow smoothly from one frame
to another, and the audience simply follow the dialogue. Oppositional to
this, and the style employed by many art-house films is framed editing,
where the audience are continually reminded that they are viewing an
artificially created text. Jump cuts, sudden stoppages of sound,
When shots are placed next to each other in a sequence the link between
them is known as a transition. The simplest of these is a cut, ie a straight
splice from one section of film to another. There are many others - fades,
dissolves, wipes, plus those offered by sophisticated digital software
Macro Elements - Representation
• Representation refers to the construction in any medium (especially the
mass media) of aspects of ‘reality’ such as people, places, objects, events,
cultural identities and other abstract concepts. Such representations may
be in speech or writing as well as still or moving pictures.
• The term refers to the processes involved as well as to its products. For
instance, in relation to the key markers of identity - Class, Age, Gender and
Ethnicity. Representation involves not only how identities are represented
(or rather constructed) within the text but also how they are constructed
in the processes of production and reception by people whose identities
are also differentially marked in relation to such demographic factors.
Macro Elements - Genre
Genre is a tool used particularly by Hollywood producers who like to repeat
generic formulas that are commercially successful.
Genre helps audiences build up expectations about a film. Macro elements
ask how genre and narrative are used to create meaning and generate a
response in the viewer; how do these two areas work to create meaning in
Genre, is also a way of putting texts into categories which share similar
characteristics, such as props, costume, setting, characters and language.
These codes are repeated so that over a period of time, audiences learn how
to instantly recognise the ‘type’ of text they are reading.
Macro Elements - Narrative
Narrative is the art of storytelling, something we all do every day. It is an
important part of our lives and something that we value highly, if you
consider the amount of time we all spend in front of television and cinema
screens receiving narratives.
Narrative can be organized in a number of thematic and/or formal/stylistic
categories: non-fiction, fictionalized accounts of historical events (e.g.
anecdotes, myths, and legends); and fiction proper. Narrative is found in all
forms of human creativity and art, including speech, writing, songs, film,
television, games, photography, theatre, roleplaying games and visual arts
such as painting (with the modern art movements refusing the narrative in
favour of the abstract and conceptual) that describes a sequence of events.
Macro Elements - Audience
• An audience is a group of people who participate in a show or encounter a work of
art, literature, theatre, music, video games or academics in any medium. Audience
members participate in different ways in different kinds of art; some events invite
overt audience participation and others allowing only modest clapping and criticism
and reception. The biggest art form is the mass media. Films, video games, radio
shows, software (and hardware) and other formats are affected by the audience
and its reviews and recommendations.
• Real Audience - In rhetoric, particular audiences depend on circumstance and
situation, and are characterized by the individuals that make up the audience.
Particular audiences are subject to persuasion and engage with the ideas of the
speaker. Ranging in size and composition, particular audiences can come together to
form a "composite" audience of multiple particular groups.
• Immediate Audience - An immediate audience is a type of particular audience that
is composed of individuals who are face-to-face subjects with a speaker and a
speaker’s rhetorical text or speech. This type of audience directly listens to, engages
with, and consumes the rhetorical text in an unmediated fashion. In measuring
immediate audience reception and feedback, one can depend on personal
interviews, applause, and verbal comments made during and after a rhetorical