Media language investigation

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  • Media Language Investigation Leila Alimadadi
  • For this investigation, I will be analysing 3 different horror trailers in the following headings: Cinematography Sound Mise-en-scene Editing
  • The Woman In Black Trailer
  • Cinematography: The trailer starts off with an establishing shot of the surrounding location to give theaudience a look into where the action will take place and familiarize the setting to the audience whenthey come to watch the film in a cinema. Additionally, tracking shots are also used to give theaudience an insight of the haunted house that is the main setting of action of the film, which enforcesthe feeling of anxiety and fright about this house. Throughout the trailer they are cuts betweenestablishing shots and close ups which are important in the genre of horror as the facial expressions ofthe characters are the central focus in reaction to the setting. By using close ups to show charactersfaces, the fear and distress they feel is emphasized to the audience. Close ups are additionally used tofocus on scary objects that play a role in the actions and disruption of the film. (Disruption linkinginto Todorovs theory of narrative.)Two shots are used in the trailer to display conversations that arehad by the characters and are effectively used in this trailer as we tend to hear a conversation that isfollowed by an insert cut of what they were talking about, in this case the house and who may be in it.Editing: As a film of a horror genre, we would expect that most of the editing would have been donein the post production stage. A typical convention that has been used in the trailer is the fade outsbetween each scene to create a tense and spooky atmosphere. The use of the colour black for thesefade outs also adheres with the horror genre as it is a typical colour that is commonly used andassociated with horror. The face past editing of the shots towards the end of the trailer has beendone in order to build on the tension created through the narrative of the ghost of a young woman.
  • Sound: The overlapping of sound at the beginning of the trailer creates tension for the audience asthey are anxious to find out what that particular sound is, in this case it is ambient sound of the engineof a train along the tracks, within the field of vision. This technique is a typical convention used inhorror film trailers in order to create tension and build fear within the audience watching the trailer.Sound is of huge importance in horror trailers as it is used to draw on the anticipation of something badabout to happen and adds tension to the watching of it. In this trailer, a non diegetic sound of a nurserylike song is played in the build up of the disruption, creating a tense atmosphere before the music turnsto a more series down beat rhythm that fits with what is going on in the narrative, after the disruptionhas began, in this case the protagonist has learnt of the spooky events happening. In particular parts ofthe trailer where the scenes are cut through either an action or motivated cut, the non diegetic soundstops for a few seconds before speeding up again making the audience jump or panic as they watch..The sound of a childs voice is also used in the trailer which enforce the scary and eerie atmospherecreated as we can hear the voice but not see the child. The use of childrens voices and nursery likemusic is a stereotypical convention of horror film trailers.Mise en scene: the different elements of mise en scene including location, characters and props areall evidently of the horror genre. For example, the chosen setting of the isolated surroundings andthe scary/haunted house are stereotypically associated with horror and scary films. The overall feeloft he trailer connotes old age, death and fear which has been effectively portrayed through eachelements of mise en scene. Symbols such as the Cross are typically associated with the genre ofhorror. The use of dark colours and shadowing of figures and objects creates a tense and spookyatmosphere. In addition, the stormy like weather is also a typical convention of horror films that wesee in many films. The use of such elements make the audience feel nervous and frightened.
  • Paranormal Activity Trailer
  • Cinematography: The camera shots in the trailer are ones that look like they were recorded on ahand held video camera. This relates back to the narrative of the film being like a home made videothat looks realistic to the audience. The use of the hand held camera gives the shots a more shakyfeel, making them look distorted. The trailer sees the film being shown in a pre-release screening to alarge cinema audiences. Master shots and close ups are used to show the scared expressions of theaudience whilst they watch the trailer, conveying the film genre of horror. In particular, the parts thatmake the audience scream or jump are shown to evoke the emotion of fear.Editing: During post production, a lot of editing has taken place to effectively convey the genre ofhorror. Shots have been edited to look distorted by adding in a blue/green tint. Additionally, shots ofthe bedroom have been edited to look as if it were from a night vision lens. The transition from thecuts of the actual film to the shots of the audience watching it have been edited using motivated cuts.The black fade outs and fuzz shots are common convention of the horror genre that are evident inthis trailer. The fast pace editing towards the end of the trailer show the narrative reaching its climaxpoint and has been done to build up the viewers tension as they watch. Text/copies have also beenincluded of film critic opinions that warn the viewers of what to expect from the film. The languageused in the other copies help create suspense and enigma to the films narrative.
  • Sound: A mixture of diegetic and non-diegetic sound has been used from the dialogue between thetwo characters to the screams of the audience watching the film in the pre-release screening.Ambient sounds have been added to create an eerie and tense atmosphere. Non diegetic soundsincluding boom sound effects have been added towards the end of the trailer as the plot isbeginning to build up in tension and fear for the audience watching. Sound stings synchronised withpulsing moments of the trailer. We hear the females voice over a sound bridge as the shotstransition from one to another. This adds further nervousness to the audience.Mise-en-scene: Regular cinema screening makes the trailer look realistic - the use of the darklighting. Suburban location of household looks realistic and relatable to audience. The use ofnormal day to day clothing and home video cameras make the trailer realistic to theaudience. This further emphasises the scariness of the film as the audience will believe thatthis could happen to anyone. The use of a Ouija board as a prop involved in the narrative alsoconnotes the horror genre as it is typically associated with the communication of spirits andparanormal genre.
  • Fright Night Trailer
  • Cinematography: the opening of the trailer sees a two shot of a male and female character sharing aromantic moment when the male receives a call from his mother. At this point the narrative appears tobe one that would be of the comedy genre due to the young teenage characters used and the awkwardphone call he has with his mother. We cut to an establishing aerial shot of the city, which displays atypical normal everyday setting to the audience. Similar to the previous two trailers, we tend to hear aconversation between two character followed by an insert cut to what they were talking about, in thiscase the neighbour who acts as the films villain. The close ups of the protagonists face present the fearhe has as he learns more about his new neighbour who has been behaving strangely. The tracking shotsare used to the audience an insight into the house and enforce the feeling of fear and anxiety about whatreally goes on in the house.Editing: The use of the colour black for the fade outs between the shots adheres with the horror genre.As the plot evolves, the transitions between each shots is of a much faster pace which has been done inattempt to create tension and anxiety as the audience watches the trailer. The shot of the hand againstthe window has been edited to look distorted and as if it we are seeing the hand from a night visionlens, relating to the genre of horror. Editing is a essential part of making the trailer look like a horrorhybrid , such as making the villains eyes red and the fire explosion scenes. The final shot of the villaincrashing into the back of car with the victims is an example of a shot in the trailer that was editedeffectively to make the audience jump.
  • Sound: Dialogue is typical of both horror and comedy genre, however this type fits more into thecomedy genre as the conversation between the two characters may make the audience laugh. Thesound transitions from the dialogue to the diegetic sound of a bell ringing, as a sound bridge as wehear the bell before we see the setting of the classroom. The volume of this soundtrack varies as ittends to decrease in volume when we get dialogue between the two characters. At certain points ofthe trailer the music stops which creates a dramatic pause and signifies the