INI 115Y: INTRODUCTION TO FILM
TERM TEST STUDY AID: LIST OF IMPORTANT TERMS
(Note: all definition starting with a * is not on the Exam. Footnote at the very end.)
Preproduction: The phase of filmmaking that prepares for production on the basis of a screenplay,
design, and financing.
Production: One of the tree branches of film industry: the process of creating the film. (The shooting
Postproduction: The phase of film production that assembles the images and sounds into the finished
film. (Picture editing, special effects, sound editing, special versions)
Filmic convention: Elements that are common to a movie (narrators, music, sound, setting, camera shot)
1 *Film form: The overall system of relationships among the parts of a film:
Function: The role or effect of any elements within film form.
(Living in Oblivion: color changes, which represents the personality of characters
In the Mood for Love: repetition of 3 types of music)
Similarity and repetition (parallelism/motif): An element in a film that is repeated or similar in a
(Living in Oblivion: repetition of dream sequence and similarity with slate
In the Mood for Love: use of objects like smoke, telephone, clocks)
Difference and variation: The return of an element with notable changes within film form.
(Living in Oblivion: each of the takes (x4) get screwed in the first dream, and so differs
In the Mood for Love: Taxi scene, Ms Chow’s workplace)
Development: The patterning of similar and different elements during the progression of the film.
(Living in Oblivion: the representation of two dreams and then having them engaging in
making/filming a dream)
Unity/disunity: The degree to which film’s part relate or not systematically to one another and
provide motivations for all the elements included.
2 Narrative: A chain of event linked by cause and effect and occurring in time and space.
Three-act structure: Turning points from the beginning >> equilibrium; to the middle >>
disequilibrium; to the end >> equilibrium’.
(In the Mood for Love: Mr Chow and Ms Chang become aware of each other’s knowledge: their
spouses are cheating on them >> they decide to end the relationship >> incomplete closure)
Story: Entire narrative of the film, including event depicted and inferred, what we construct by the plot
(Citizen Kane: from the parents giving Kane away as a child and the burning of the sled)
Plot: Event as they occur or are presented in the film, what we see and hear directly.
(Citizen Kane: around 65 years, from the sled to Kane’s death)
Diegesis: The world of the film’s story (non-diegetic music/things not included)
Order: How the sequence in which chronological events of the story are arranged in the plot. Use
of flash-forward or flashback.
(Citizen Kane: begins with Kane dying, and then mostly in chronological order until the end
with a few back and forth in time Pulp Fiction: starts with the robbery at the Diner and ends with the same/rest of the Diner
Frequency: The number of times one action is shown, redefining its significance.
(Citizen Kane: Kane’s time at the inquirer in shown at first and explained several times later on)
Duration: The time presented in the plot vs. the story. Usually duration of plot> completely controlled environment, the figures and camera
movements are completely choreographed and controlled = limited since camera can’t do ELS;
and very artificial.
Alice in Wonderland: a lot done on sets >> use of green screens and figures; synthetize setting
made real with technology.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: set >> externalise internal states (rooftops).
All the President’s Men: set >> looks like a real location (bureau and work space))
(Breathless: deep space, very spontaneous; location is more realistic and naturalistic in feel
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg: location >> looks fake and like a set)
Quality of light:
Hard lighting: Illumination that creates sharp-edged shadows.
Soft lighting: Illumination that avoids harsh bright and dark areas, creating a gradual transition
from highlights to shadows.
Direction of light: It shapes the figure >> frontal, back, side, top, and under lighting.
Source of light:
Key light (primary light source): Very bright illumination.
Fill light (primary light source): A source less bright and soften deep shadows in a scene.
Three-point lighting: A common arrangement using three direction of light on a scene:
from behind the subject (backlighting), from one bright source (key light), and from a less
bright source balancing the key light (fill lighting).
High-key lighting: Illumination that creates comparatively little contrast between the light
and dark areas of the shot. Shadows are fairly transparent and brightness by fill light.
Low-key lighting: Illumination that creates strong contrast between light and dark areas
of the shot, with deep shadows and little fill light.
Stylization and individualization in acting: Movies can be highly choreographed, or more naturalistic.
(Ex: comedies and silent film >> stylised >> exaggerated performance)
Symmetrical, balanced, and unbalanced composition
Deep-space composition: Arrangement so that there is a considerable distance between the plane
(“layer”) closest to the camera 1nd the one furthest away. Any or all of these planes may be in focus.
(Citizen Kane 3 plane image ) Shallow-space composition: Staging the action in relatively few planes of depth.
Formality: In staging, the position of figures so that they face the viewer. th
(Personna: when the little boy looks at faces the camera >> breaking of the 4 wall)
4 *Cinematography: A general term for all the manipulation of film strip by the camera in the shooting
phase and laboratory in the development phase.
Shot: One uninterrupted image.
Scene: A segment in a narrative film that takes place on time or space (usually multiple shots).
Shot ≤ Scene
(Touch of Evil: shows how a Shot > Scene)
*Sequence: Designated, large segment of a film, involving one complete stretch of actions (=scene)
Scene ≤ Sequence
Contrast: The difference between the brightest and the darkest area within the frame >> high-contrast
and low-contrast (more greyish) cinematography
Chiaroscuro: Very high contrast effect. Extremely dark and light region within the image.
Saturated color: Of the highest intensity of hue (tint), free from admixture of white.
Desaturated color: Formed by mixing a color of the spectrum with white.
Underexposure and Overexposure: Insufficient or excessive exposure.
Fast-motion: Fewer frame per second (>24) than the projection rate, the screen action will look speed
(Requiem for a Dream: fast-forward during party in apartment)
Slow-motion: More frame per second shot, the action will look slower.
(In the Mood for Love: Ms Chow and Mr Chang pass by each other coming/going from the noodle
Picnic at Hanging Rock: 3 girls in white on rocky hill in slow-motion >> dream like effect)
Wide-angle lens: A lens of short focal length that affect a scene’s perspective by creating an illusion of
depth and distorting figures; character seems further from the camera and the movement back/forth seem
a lot faster.
Normal lens: A lens that shows object without severely exaggerating or reducing the depth of the
Telephoto lens: A lens of long focal length that affect a scene’s perspective by flattening and reducing
space; movement seem very slow
Zoom lens: A lens with a focal length that can be changed during a shot.
Renaissance perspective: Makes a 2D image look 3D >> illusion of depth. All the lines converge to a
vanishing point, and the background plane is smaller than the foreground plane.
Depth of field: A range of distances within which object can be in sharp focus.
(Citizen Kane 3 plane image ).
Deep focus: A use of the camera lens and lighting that keeps objects in both close and distant planes in
Selective focus: Focused on only one plane and letting the other planes blur.
Rack focus: Shifting the area of sharp focus from one plane to another plane during a shot.
Superimposition: The exposure of more than one image on the same film strip or in the same shot.
(Dog Star Man: Prelude: superimposition of images and light)
Mask: An opaque screen placed in the camera or printer that blocks part of the frame off and changes the
shape of the image, leaving part of the frame a solid color.
Iris: A round, moving mask.
(The Mothering Heart: women and her baby is in focus using an iris) Split-screen imagery: The screen is split into different imagery to let us see different scenes at the same
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); below it, looking up (low angle).
(How They Get There: shoe flying from a low angle)
Canted framing: A view in which the frame is not level; either the right or the left side is lower than the
other, causing object in the scene to appear slanted out of an upright position.
(Meshes of the Afternoon: stair case?)
Extreme long shot: The human figure is lost or tiny. (Ex: Landscape, bird’s-eye view of cities,
Long shot: The human figure more prominent, but background still dominates.
Medium long shot: Human figure framed from about the knees up.
Medium shot: Human figure framed from waist up.
Medium close-up: Human figure framed from the chest up.
Close-up: Shot showing just the head, hand, feet or a small object.
Extreme close-up: Shot singling out a portion of the face or isolate an object.
Pan: A camera movement with the camera body turning to the right of left; mobile framing that scans the
(How They Get There and The Conversation)
Tilt: A camera movement with the camera body swiveling upward or downward on a stationary support;
mobile framing that scans the space vertically.
(The Magnificent Ambersons)
Tracking shot: A mobile framing that travels through space forward, backward, or laterally (right/left).
(How They Get There and The Shinning)
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.
(Singing in the Rain)
Hand-held camera: The use of the camera operator’s body as a camera support.
(Y tu Mamá También)
Reframing: Short panning or tilting movements to adjust for the figures movement, keeping them
onscreen or centered.
(How They Get There)
Long take: A shot that continues for an unusual lengthy time before the transition to the next shot (<30s)
(Touch of Evil or Rope by Hitchcock which is only 11 shots)
5 *Editing: (1) In filmmaking, the task of