“Someone said to me, early on in film school… if you can photograph the human face you can photograph anything, because that is the most difficult and most interesting thing to photograph. If you can light and photograph the human face to bring out what’s within that human face you can do anything.” – Roger Deakins, Cinematographer
This video portrait was the task for 260MC module. We had to create one-minute long video portrait following these rules:
- The whole minute should be a single shot
- No sound or music
- No text at all (anywhere in the frame)
- Attention to details – no unthoughtful work, no cliché
I found this task challenging in a creative way. How to create something with almost no action and no dialogue to look interesting for the viewer? I knew that I need to find a problem and represent it in a creative way. Child-abuse was the topic that I chose. A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. There are currently over 57,000 children identified as needing protection from abuse in the UK. In my opinion, it’s a very important problem and we need to speak about this more. Children are the future of the world, right?
location: For this film I wanted to create a cosy home atmosphere. Like the place where you can feel safe and relaxed. I filmed at my own house, I chose to film next to the fireplace because I think fireplace represents family and gatherings. I put a horse and few plans to make the shot look full and more artistic. Also, candles and Christmas-lights helped me to create the atmosphere that I wanted.
lightening: I wanted to use burning candles and LED Christmas lights which are light sources itself. It didn’t worked very well with natural light and my LED light so I always had to change the positions of my light sources to get the result that I wanted. Also, I used a small LED light pointing the wall in front of my subject to create a soft lightening on character face.
framing: My frame indicator was the frame of the fireplace. It helped me to “frame” my shot symmetrically. I used a make-up to create a face bruise for my actor. The bruise was representing the violence and brutalism.
action: It’s long video portrait so not much action is happening in the scene. I think sometimes the look is even more powerful than the action.The only movement is her look and candles flames.
a point of view: My point of view is that girl is judging the viewer for what happened to her. Her look tells us that she been disadvantaged. It makes a viewer feel uncomfortable like you did that to her.
time: I wanted to create an “evening” time atmosphere and I think it worked. I chose the evening because I wanted to create safe home atmosphere. I was filming when the sun was going down so the natural light wasn’t that sharp and strong. Also LED light created the warm layer on her face.
mise-en-scene: is an expression used to describe the design aspects of a theatre or film production, which essentially means “visual theme” or “telling a story”—both in visually artful ways through storyboarding, cinematography and stage design, and in poetically artful ways through direction. It is also commonly used to refer to multiple single scenes within the film to represent the film. Mise-en-scène has been called film criticism’s “grand undefined term”. Mise-en-scene is French means “placing on stage” .
This term was absolutely new for me so I had to do a research about that. I think my video fits a lot to this term. The girl has a bruise under her eye so it tells us that something had happened to her. Setting tells us that she’s in “safe” place, where every colour is warm and soft, but her emotion is totally opposite.
Inspiration/research: I took the inspiration from the Child Abuse statistics that I found. It shocked me, I was so confused about how people are ignoring this huge problem. It inspired me to create something related to that topic.
The research that I did was about Mise-en-scene term. It was very useful and now I feel more comfortable with putting this term into practice.
NSPCC (2016) Statistics on child abuse. Available at: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/services-and-resources/research-and-resources/statistics/ (Accessed: 16 November 2016).
Jameson, A.D. (2014) What Mise-en-scène is and why it matters. Available at: http://www.indiewire.com/2014/06/what-mise-en-scene-is-and-why-it-matters-133415/ (Accessed: 6 December 2016).