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Mise en scene

April 21, 2013

The term “mise en scene” is a French term meaning ‘putting in the scene’ or ‘placing on stage’, and refers to the design aspects of a production. Mise en scene was first used in theatre and the production of plays, however, it is also a technique used in film/cinema. The main aspects of mise en scene are setting, props, costumes, lighting, and actors.

Settings or ‘sets’ are the backgrounds for a film. They can serve the film simply to state the time and place, or be used for a deeper purpose such as to invoke different atmospheres and emotions upon the audience.

Property or ‘props’ refers to objects or items that actors interact with and are used in the action being displayed on the stage or screen.

Costumes refers to what the actors are wearing in the production and are used to portray various things such as protagonists, antagonists, time period authenticity etc.

Lighting refers to the varying degrees of lighting solutions and how it lights the scene. It is used to add an atmosphere or mood to a scene by using ‘highlights’ and ‘shadows’.

Actors refer to the people in the production playing the characters and how they move and the expressions they portray.


“Film Art: An Introduction”, by David Bordwell & Kristin Thompson 9th Edition


“Cinematic Storytelling”, by Jennifer Van Sijll


From → Screen Studies

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