Mise en scéne is French for everything that would be on a film or play set and what would be seen by the audience in the film’s frame. To create a successful set you need all the obvious equipment in place such as lighting, scenery, cameras, costumes and where the actors are placed on the set. This creates an atmospheric state of mind for the viewer and the illusion that it is playing in real time, when in reality several takes of a shot would have been taken during the course of filming and then the preferred clips would be then put together through editing. Editing film was traditionally done by hand using a pair of scissors and tape, creating a physical montage of film pieces, whereas today computers would be used for editing film.

To make a film successful, you need to make the viewer “believe” in the story that is being presented to them is in what appears to be a consistent movement, as if it were all in the same time frame. The Mise en scéne would need to be kept the same, and factors such as the characters appearing to be maintaining eye contact or moving around the set (even on separate shots by separate cameras) would need to be kept fluid. In the film Psycho, the famous scene of the female character being stabbed in the shower, is made up of several different compositions that does not show any violence, but certain elements (such as dramatic sound effects to go with clips of a dark figure behind the curtains, a blade, woman’s face screaming, the shower head and blood flowing down a drain) makes up for not being able to show what could otherwise be graphic imagery, but still creates the illusion of action taking place in a fluid space of time.

The Kuleshov effect is a film-making concept by film editor Lev Kuleshov, where an actor’s face (that appears to be looking at the objects in question) can be recycled and edited to look like the actor is looking at different objects that are on a separate clip, but the viewer would believe the clips even though they should not belong together or did not originally belong there. This creates an illusion of a consistent movement through time and also how a character can be changed depending on the situation (character could be looking at food on a plate and react with a smile (character appears hungry), or could be looking at a woman lying provocatively and react with a smile (character appears lustful).

The Kuleshov Effect, showing images of a grave, a bowl of food and a provocative female




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