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Lecture 4

ENGB70H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Key Light, Focal Length, Shallow Focus

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A Maurice

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Friday, January 29, 2016
Citizen Kane
Life and Art
Screen play [by Herman Mankiewicz] originally titled "The American"
Based on the life of Willian Randolph Hearst
o Built media empire, Hearst newspapers; known for sensationalism or "yellow
o Ran unsuccessfully for Governor of NY and President of the U.S.
o Threatened Hollywood; wages campaign to shut down the release of film
French for "put into the scene" : everything in front of the camera
Includes all elements cinema shares with theater
o Props, sets, costumes, lighting, actors
o Closely connected with sense of "realism" and verisimilitude; establishes place and time
Three point lighting
o Key light, back light, fill light
Low-key lighting creates strong contrast between light and dark areas of shot; accentuates
o Expressionism
CK: The Cinematographic Plan
"deep focus cinematography; long takes"
"The avoidance of conventional intercutting through such devices as multi-plan compositions
and camera movement" [less cuts]
"elaborate camera choreography"
"lighting that produces high contrast tonality; expressionism in certain scenes"
"low-angle camera set ups"
An array of striking visual devices, such as composite dissolves, extreme depth of field effects
and shooting directly into lights
Focal length: distance from 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
Telephoto Lens: lens with focal length with at least 75 mm; capable of magnifying and flattening
distant objects
Wide Angle Lens: lens with a short focal length (typically less than 35 mm)
Depth of Field: the range or distance before and behind the main focus of a shot within which
objects remain relatively sharp and clear
Rack or Pull focus: a dramatic change in focus from one object to another
CK: Deep Focus and Long Take
Deep Focus: focus in which multiple planes in the shot, close and distant are all in focus
simultaneously; usually achieved with a wide angle lens and narrow aperture
Long take: a shot of relatively long duration
When Welles made CK, this was not the typical style of Hollywood films
Realism and CK
Andre Bazin: French critic who preferred shooting in depth and long takes (as opposed to shallow focus
and multiple cuts) he claimed:
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