Film Studies Language

Here's a list of all the basic film language I needed to know when I studied A Level Film Studies! (A* student) 

These key phrases are essential for clocking up the marks in an exam! 
(Terminology is key!) 

Film Language


Sources of Lighting                                                                                                                  Key Lighting = brightest                                                                                                             Back Lighting = counteracts key                             
Filler Lighting = softens harsh shadows

Angles of Lighting                                                                                                                    Under Lighting = below subject (distorting)                                                                                Top Lighting = above subject  (glamorous)                                      
Back Lighting = behind subject  (silhouette)

Atmospheres of Lighting                                                                     
Low Key = key & back  (contrast)
High Key = more filler  (realistic)


Sound Types
Diegetic on screen = during filming & can see                                             
Diegetic off screen = during filming & can’t see                                                 
Non-Diegetic = added post production

Sound effects                                                                                                         
Sound Bridge = music used over two scenes

Sound Styles                                                                                                       
Parallel = music matches scene     
Contrapuntal = music doesn’t match scene

Film Noir
‘Noir’ = French for black (Black represents film theme)                                                            Low key lighting is used

Camera Framing:
Long shot                                                                                                                                   Mid shot 
Close up 
Extreme close up                                                       
Point of view                                            
Low angle POV                                                                                                                       High angle POV                                                                                                 
Black frame

Camera Movement:
Fixed shot = on a tripod and doesn’t move                                               
Panning shot = camera moves slowly from side to side on fixed axis                       
Tilt shot = camera moves slowly from up to down on a fixed axis                                             Crane shot = mounted on a crane moves around at a distance above                                      Tracking shot = camera follows the action moving along tracks                           
Rolling shot = camera moves diagonally on an axis         
Hand held camera = this can be shaky / realistic

Mise en Scene:
= French for ‘what is put into the scene’

Types of Mise en Scene:                                                                                           
Setting & props    
Costume / hair / make-up                               
Facial expressions & body language                                                                                          Lighting and colour                                                                                                                    Positioning of characters and objects

Straight cut = simple cut to a shot of the same scene     
Fade cut = the screen fades to black                        
Dissolve = where one image is slowly brought under another                                               
Wipe cut = one part of the screen moves to wipe across the other           
Jump cut = the audience’s attention is brought to something suddenly