Bordwell's Film Art Terms Flashcards

Terms Definitions
abstract form
a type of filmic organization in which the parts relate to one another through repetition and variation of such qualities as shape, color, rhythm and direction of movement
Academy ratio
the standardized shape of the film frame established by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; the original was 1.33:1; now it is 1.85:1
aerial perspective
a cue for suggesting depth in the image by presenting objects in the distance less distinctly than those in the foreground
anamorphic lens
a lens for making widescreen films using regular Academy ratio frame size
angle of framing
the position of the frame in relation to the subject it shows: above it, looking down (a high angle), horizontal, on the same level (a straight-on angle), looking up (a low angle) [also called camera angle]
any process whereby artificial movement is created by photographing a series of drawings, objects, or computer images one by one
aspect ratio
the relationship of the frame's width to its height
associational form
a type of organization in which the film's are juxtaposed to suggest similarities, contrasts, concepts, emotions and expressive qualities
asynchronous sound
sound that is not matched temporally with the movements occurring in the image
the presumed or actual author of a film, usually identified as the director
axis of action
in the continuity editing system, the imaginary line that passes from side to side through the main actors, defining the spatial relations of all the elements of the scene as being to the right or left
illumination cast onto the figures in the scene from the side opposite the camera, usually creating a thin outline of highlighting on those figures
a pole upon which a microphone can be suspended above the scene being filmed and that is used to change the microphone's position as the action shifts
canted framing
a view in which the frame is not level; either the right or the left side is lower than the other, causing objects in the scene to appear slanted out of an upright position
categorical form
a type of filmic organization in which the parts treat distinct subsets of a topic
cel animation
animation that uses a series of drawings on pieces of celluloid
computer generated imagery; using digital software systems to create figures, settings or other material in the frame
cheat cut
in the continuity editing system, a cut that presents continuous time from shot to shot but mismatches the positions of figures or objects
a general term for all the manipulations of the film strip by the camera in the shooting phase and by the laboratory in the developing phase
a framing in which the scale of the object shown is relatively large
the degree to which the ending of a narrative film reveals the effects of all the causal events and resolves all lines of action
continuity editing
a system of cutting to maintain continuous and clear narrative action; relies on matching screen direction, position, and temporal relations from shot to shot
the difference between the brightest and darkest areas within the frame
crane shot
a shot with a change in framing accomplished by placing the camera above the subject and moving through the air in any direction
editing that alternates shots of two or more lines of action occurring in different places, usually simultaneously
in filmmaking, the joining of two strips of film together with a splice; in the finished film, an instantaneous change from one framing to another
an instantaneous shift from a distant framing to a closer view of some portion of the same space
deep focus
a use of the camera lens and lighting that keeps objects in both close and distant planes in sharp focus
deep space
an arrangement of mise-en-scene elements so that there is a considerable distance between the plane closest to the camera and the one farthest away
depth of field
the measurements of the closest and farthest planes in front of the camera lens between which everything will be in sharp focus
dialogue overlap
in editing a scene, arranging the cut so that a bit of dialogue coming from a shot is heard under a shot that shows another character or another element in the scene
the world of the film's story; includes events that are presumed to have occurred and actions and spaces not shown onscreen
diegetic sound
any voice, musical passage, or sound effect presented as originating from a source within the film's world
direct sound
music, noise and speech recorded from the event at the moment of filming; opposite of postsynchronization
discontinuity editing
any alternative system of joining shots together using techniques unacceptable within continuity editing principles, including mismatching of temporal and spatial relations, violations of the axis of action, and concentration on graphic relationships
a transition between two shots during which the first image gradually disappears while the second image gradually appears; for a moment the two images blend in superimposition
distance of framing
the apparent distance of the frame from the mise-en-scene elements [also called camera distance and shot scale]
one of the three branches of the film industry; the process of marketing the film and supplying copies to exhibition venues
a camera support with wheels used in making tracking shots
the process of replacing part or all of the voices on the sound track in order to correct mistakes or rerecord dialogue
the aspect of temporal manipulation that involves the time span presented in the plot and assumed to operate in the story
in filmmaking, the task of selecting and joining camera takes; in the finished film, the set of techniques that governs the relations among shots
the shortening of the plot duration achieved by omitting some story duration
elliptical editing
shot transitions that omit parts of an event, causing an ellipsis in plot duration
establishing shot
a shot, usually involved in distant framing, that shows the spatial relations among the important figures, objects and setting in a scene
one of the three branches of the film industry; the process of showing the finished film to audiences
the adjustment of the camera mechanism in order to control how much light strikes each frame of film passing through the aperture
external diegetic sound
sound represented as coming from a physical source within the story space that we assume characters in the scene also hear
extreme close-up
a framing in which the scale of the object shown is very large
extreme long shot
a framing in which the scale of the object shown is very small
eyeline match
a cut obeying the axis of action principle, in which the first shot shows a person looking off in one direction and the second shows a nearby space containing what he or she sees
fade in: a dark screen that gradually brightens as shot appears
fade out: a shot gradually disappears as the screen darkens
fill light
illumination from a source less bright than the key light, used to soften deep shadows in a scene
film noir
"dark film"; a type of film, usually in the thriller or detective genres, with low-key lighting and a somber mood
film stock
the strip of material upon which a series of still photographs is registered; it consists of a clear base coated on one side with a light-sensitive emulsion
a piece of glass or gelatin placed in front of the camera or printer lens to alter the quality or quantity of light striking the film in the aperture
an alteration of story order in which the plot moves back to show events that have taken place earlier than one already shown
an alteration of story order in which the plot presentation moves forward to future events and then returns to the present
focal length
the distance from the center of the lens to the point at which the light rays meet in sharp focus; determines the perspective relations of the space represented on the flat screen
the degree to which light rays coming from the same part of an object through different parts of the lens reconverge at the same point on the film frame, creating sharp outlines and distinct textures
following shot
a shot with framing that shifts to keep a moving figure onscreen
the overall system of relationships among the parts of a film
a single image on a strip of film
the use of the edges of the film frame to select and to compose what will be visible onscreen
the aspect of temporal manipulation that involves the number of times any story event is shown in the plot
front projection
composite process whereby footage meant to appear as the background of a shot is projected from the front onto a screen; opposite of rear projection
frontal lighting
illumination directed into the scene from a position near the camera
the positioning of figures so that they face the viewer
the role or effect of any element within the film's form
the width of the film strip, measured in millimeters
various types of films that audiences and filmmakers recognize by their familiar narrative conventions
graphic match
two successive shots joined so as to create a strong similarity of compositional elements
hand-held camera
the use of the camera operator's body as a camera support
hard lighting
illumination that creates sharp-edged shadows
height of framing
the distance of camera above the ground, regardless of the angle of framing
high-key lighting
illumination that creates comparatively little contrast between the light and dark areas of the shot
a relatively coherent system of values, beliefs, or ideas shared by some social group and often taken for granted as natural or inherently true
intellectual montage
the juxtaposition of a series of images to create an abstract idea not present in any one image
internal diegetic sound
sound represented as coming from the mind of a character within the story space; we and the character can hear it, but the other characters cannot
the viewer's activity of analyzing the implicit and symptomatic meanings suggested in a film
a round, moving mask that can close down to end a scene or emphasize a detail, or that can open to begin a scene or to reveal more space around a detail
jump cut
an elliptical cut that appears to be an interruption of a single shot
key light
in the three point lighting system, the brightest illumination coming into the scene
a shaped piece of transparent material with either or both sides curved to gather and focus light rays
the clear motivation of a series of causes and effects that progress without significant digressions, delays or irrelevant actions
long shot
a framing in which the scale of the object shown is small
long take
a shot that continues for an unusually lengthy time before the transition to the next shot
low-key lighting
illumination that creates strong contrast between light and dark areas of the shot with dark shadows and little fill light
an opaque screen placed in the camera or printer that blocks part of the frame off and changes the shape of the photographed image, leaving part of the frame a solid color
stretches of black fabric that frame the theater scene; can be adjusted according to the aspect ratio of the film to be projected
match on action
a continuity cut that splices two different views of the same action together at the same moment in the movement, making it seem to continue uninterrupted
matte shot
a type of process shot in which different areas of the image are photographed separately and combined in laboratory work
referential meaning
allusion to particular items of knowledge outside the film that the viewer is expected to recognize
explicit meaning
significance presented overtly, usually in language and often near the film's beginning or end
implicit meaning
significance left tacit, for the viewer to discover upon analysis or reflection
symptomatic meaning
significance that the film divulges by virtue of its historical or social context
medium close-up
a framing in which the scale of the object shown is fairly large
medium long shot
a framing at a distance that makes an object about 4 or 5 feet high appear to fill up most of the screen vertically
medium shot
a framing in which the scale of the object shown is of moderate size
all of the elements placed in front of the camera to be photographed: the settings and props, lighting, costumes and makeup, and figure behavior
combining two or more sound tracks by recording them onto a single one
mobile frame
the effect on the screen of the moving camera, a zoom lens or certain special effects
monochromatic color design
color design that emphasizes a narrow set of shades of a single color
a synonym for editing; an approach to editing that emphasizes dynamic, often discontinuous, relationships between shots and the juxtaposition of images to create ideas not present in either shot by itself
montage sequence
a segment of a film that summarizes a topic or compresses a passage of time into brief symbolic or typical images; dissolves, fades, superimpositions and wipes are used to link the images
an element in a film that is repeated in a significant way
motion control
a computerized method of planning and repeating camera movements on miniatures, models and process work
the justification given in the film for the presence of an element
the process through which the plot conveys or withholds story information
narrative form
a type of filmic organization in which the parts relate to one another through a series of causally related events taking place in time and space
nondiegetic insert
a shot or series of shots cut into a sequence, showing objects that are represented as being outside the world of the narrative
nondiegetic sound
sound represented as coming from a source outside the space of the narrative
nonsimultaneous sound
diegetic sound that comes from a source in time either earlier or later than the images it accompanies
normal lens
a lens that shows objects without severely exaggerating or reducing the depth of the scene's planes
offscreen sound
simultaneous sound from a source assumed to be in the space of the scene but outside what is visible onscreen
offscreen space
the six areas blocked from being visible on the screen but still part of the space of the scene: to each side and above and below the frame, behind the set, and behind the camera
180 degree system
the continuity approach to editing dictates that the camera should stay on one side of the action to ensure consistent left-right spatial relations between elements from shot to shot
the aspect of temporal manipulation that involves the sequence in which the chronological events of the story are arranged in the plot
a cue for suggesting represented depth in the film image by placing objects partly in front of more distant ones
overlapping editing
cuts that repeat part or all of an action, thus expanding its viewing time and plot duration
a camera movement with the camera body turning to the right or left
a form of single-frame animation in which three-dimensional objects are made to move in staccato bursts through the use of stop-action cinematography
plan americain
a framing in which the scale of the object shown is moderately small [also known as the medium long shot]
a scene handled in a single shot, usually a long take
all the events that are directly presented to us, including their causal relations, chronological order, duration, frequency and spatial locations
point-of-view shot
a shot taken with the camera placed approximately where the character's eyes would be, showing exactly what the character would see
the process of adding sound to images after they have been shot and assembled
process shot
any shot involving rephotography to combine two or more images into one to create a special effect [also called composite shot]
one of the three branches of the film industry; the process of creating the film
racking focus
shifting the area of sharp focus from one place to another during a shot
in shooting, the number of frames exposed per second; in projection, the number of frames thrown on the screen per second
rear projection
a technique for combining a foreground action with a background action filmed earlier
reestablishing shot
a return to the view of an entire space after a series of closer shots following the establishing shot
short panning or tilting movements to adjust for the figures' movements, keeping them onscreen or centered
rhetorical form
a type of filmic organization in which the parts create and support an argument
the perceived rate and regularity of sounds, series of shots, and movements within the shots; include beat, accent and tempo
a machine that projects live-action motion picture frames one by one onto a drawing pad so that an animator can trace the figures in each frame
a segment in a narrative film that takes place in one time and space or that uses crosscutting to show two or more simultaneous actions
screen direction
the right-left relationships in a scene, set up in an establishing shot and determined by the position of characters and objects in the frame, by the directions of movement, and by the characters' eyelines
the process of dividing a film into parts for analysis
a moderately large segment of film involving one complete stretch of action
shallow focus
a restricted depth of field, which keeps only one plane in sharp focus; opposite of deep focus
shallow space
staging the action in relatively few planes of depth; opposite of deep space
in shooting, one uninterrupted run of the camera to expose a series of frames [also called a take]; in the finished film, one uninterrupted image
shot/reverse shot
two or more shots edited together that alternate characters, typically in a conversation situation
side lighting
lighting come from one side of a person or an object, usually in order to create a sense of volume, bring out surface tensions or fill in areas left shadowed by other lights
simultaneous sound
diegetic sound that is represented as occurring at the same time in the story as the image it accompanies
size diminution
a cue for suggesting represented depth in the image by showing objects that are farther away as smaller than foreground objects
soft lighting
illumination that avoids harsh bright and dark areas, creating a gradual transition from highlights to shadows
sound bridge
at the beginning of one scene, the sound from a previous scene carries over briefly before the sound from the new scene begins; at the end of one scene, the sound from the next scene is heard, leading into that scene
sound over
any sound that is not represented as coming from the space and time of the images on the screen
sound perspective
the sense of a sound's position in space, yielded by volume, timbre, pitch and, in stereophonic reproduction systems, binaural information
most minimally, any film displays a 2D graphic space, the flat composition of the image; in films that depict recognizable objects, a 3D space may be directly depicted or suggested
special effects
various photographic manipulations that create fictitious spatial relations in the shot
all the events that we see and hear, plus all those that we infer or assume to have occurred, arranged in their presumed causal relations, chronological order, duration, frequency and spatial locations
tool used in planning film production, consisting of comic-strip like drawings of individual shots or phases of shots with descriptions written below each drawing
the repeated and salient uses of film techniques characteristic of a single film or group of films
the exposure of more than one image on the same film strip or in the same shot
synchronous sound
sound that is matched temporally with the movements occurring in the images
the shot produced by one uninterrupted run of the camera
any aspect of the film medium that can be chosen and manipulated in making a film
telephoto lens
a lens of long focal length that affects a scene's perspective by enlarging distant planes and making them seem close to the foreground planes
three point lighting
a common arrangement using three directions of light on a scene: behind the subjects (backlighting), from one bright source (key light), and from a less bright source balancing the key light (fill light)
a camera movement with the camera body swiveling upward or downward on a stationary support; scans the space vertically
top lighting
lighting coming from above a person or object
tracking shot
a mobile framing that travels through the space forward, backward or laterally
the actor's appearance and behavior are presented as typical of a social class or other group
illumination from a point below the figures in the scene
the degree to which a film's parts relate systematically to each other and provide motivations for all the elements included
the return of an element with notable changes
viewing time
the length of time it takes to watch a film
whip pan
an extremely fast movement of the camera from side to side which briefly causes the image to blur into a set of indistinct horizontal streaks
wide angle lens
a lens of short focal length that affects a scene's perspective by distorting straight lines near the edges of the frame and by exaggerating the distance between foreground and background planes
a transition between shots in which a line passes across the screen, eliminating one shot as it goes and replacing it with the next one
zoom lens
a lens with a focal length that can be changed during a shot
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