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HOW DID THE DIRECTOR

USE CINEMATOGRAPHY,
MISE EN SCENE, SOUND
AND EDITING TO
ESTABLISH CHARACTER
IN BACK TO THE
FUTURE?
By Reece Slater

#
1

Cinematography:-

throughout the opening scene of ‘Back to the
Future’, the movement of the camera adds to the physical clutter of the scene: as
there is no single line or height that the camera follows. This can alternatively just be
in effect to get everything in shot, but a different camera angle could’ve been used
to create this effect. Furthermore, the camera movement also allows the audience to
fully understand the extent of the amount of clocks on the wall, with zooming out as
the scene progresses to expose more clocks. Also slowing down when certain clocks
are in shot, so the audience can digest what they’re seeing.

Mise en scene:-

the scene is solely focused on the amount of clocks with
timeof
displayed,
thisbe
symmetry
the normal
set comes
with or
many
reasoning. First of all it could be becausethe
thesame
residents
this roombut
could
different,throughout
to most other
people,
that
different
interpretations
of
the
they are all part of a sequence that is within the persons routine: as discovered later on. The lighting also adds to the effect
when the alarms go off, as it shows that its early morning, with only natural light being shed on the set. Also with the
additions of the different coloured and shaped clocks, as shown in the bottom right corner, it shows that this person could
have a funny personality.

Sound:-

the scene consists of constant ticking from the clocks, with the ticks being out of time with each other it builds
up suspense throughout. Also you can tell that during this opening scene that the noise is diegetic: with the inclusion of all
the clocks.

Editing:-

there wasn’t any editing during the opening scene, with the shot being free flown throughout. Until the first
character is introduced. The sounds of the clocks could be edited in, but that would risk the authenticity of the shot: wanting
it to all run
as smooth as possible.

#
2

Cinematography:-

the camerawork throughout this still image
is very similar to the first slide. The camera is free flowing- making sure that the
audience can digest everything that is going on in the scene, which the necessary
breaks at points as well. The clocks now have meaning, as shown by the coffee
machine turning on due to the clock hitting a certain point, simultaneously turning
the TV and a dog feeding machine on.

Mise en scene:-

within this still image we learn about the character. The
fact that whoever it is, they’re very organised: as they have everything running
through
clocks.
the other
order hand,
of events
it backs the
idea
this is morning
being poured, TV turning on to the news and
the dog
beingAlso
fed.with
On the
the character
may
bethat
organised,
but it
rituals:
with
the
radio
on,
coffee
also shows that they could be very lazy- with everything automated and in a certain order with delays. Again, most normal
people wont find a problem in manually opening a can of dog food- but this character has a specific machine to do this.

Sound:-

within this scene, sound is used to more effect. With the toast constantly springing up and down- it adds
evidence that the home owner is not present: and that EVERYTHING is automated. Furthermore, the sounds within this scene
lead on from each other, for example: when the empty can hits the pile of others the door opens, this adds pleasure to the
audience as the audio isn’t broken up.

Editing:-

the still image doesn’t have any editing in as the camera work is free flowing, changing levels and zoom: but
still no visual editing. The sound editing could be involved as the door opens parallel to the can hitting the pile: to make it
precise.

#
3

Cinematography:-

the camerawork within this still image works
very well as it explains a lot about the character. With the close up of his shoes and
legs, we gather that this character dresses like a teenager. Also with the skateboard
in the shot it gives us further indication that this person is not old enough to drive.
Also this shot allows us to get a lot of information, without looking at the characters
face. Throughout this scene the skateboard fits another purpose by showing us some
hidden ‘plutonium’ which was shown on the TV previously.

Mise
within
this stilllived
image
a lotthis
canscene
be picked
this
that he is not the character that lives there
either.en
For scene:example, if the
character
within
then out
theyabout
wouldn’t
andtheir own set of keys. Furthermore, this character must know the
leave a key under the mat to get in: theycharacter
would have
person that lives here, as he knows that there is a key under the mat to get in: only someone that knew the home owner on a
personal level would know this. Another thing to add, is the perfectly placed plutonium, which the skateboard hits after this
still image: which also adds another depth to the description of the home owner. This suggests that they are a criminal, as
stated on the news article, the plutonium was stolen from the government.
Sound:-

this still image includes the first bit of speech, by one of the characters (not the radio/TV) with the character
asking “Hey Doc? Doc? Anyone home?” this indicates that somebody should be here- also showed by the things been left
untidy and spilling over. All other sound cuts out, to add emphasise to the skateboard rolling: in anticipation as to what its
going to hit into.

Editing:-

this scene is the first time we see a piece of visual editing, as the scene cuts from the plutonium under the
bed, to a shot of the young man plugging in a cord. This shot is very abrupt and completely differs to the past 3 minutes of
smooth, slow camera movement.

#
4

Cinematography:-

the camerawork within this shot are well put
together, as they show a perspective of the dials that clearly sates what they all
are. For example, if they did a PoV shot then the audience may not understand
what the character is doing, so placing the camera at this angle works very well.
Furthermore with the zooming in when the character is reaching the final dials,
adds suspense to whatever the final scene will be.

Mise en scene:-

this scene is made up of dials and switches being put into
action by the first character we are introduced to. The dials are all labelled and the
are led
to believe
that thisdoing.
looks On
likethe
a control
panelwith
to anthe
elaborate
‘override’ and ‘primary driver’ it looks likeaudience
the character
knows
what they’re
other hand,
character
car etc.
with for
dials
labelled
asking if anyone is home to begin with, torocket,
then head
straight
this
piece of equipment: it could be seen as if he is not
supposed to use it. Also then backed uyp with the fact that he is turning everything up to full volume.

Sound:-

within the still image and what happens afterwards, sounds is used to great effect. By the dials being turned, the
sound gets louder and higher frequency: add to the anticipation as to what the character is powering up. With every click of
the dials meaning it gets closer and closer. Ultimately the sound equates to a big pulsation of noise coming from a huge
amplifier: knocking the character flying.

Editing:-

the editing within this piece was well put together, as every transition from dial to dial, switch to switch added
more anticipation as to what would happen next. Also slow down the speed in which the character was turning the dials
worked along with that. Finally, when the whole scene pans out to see the whole picture it becomes apparent what the
character is doing. If there wasn’t a good transition there then it could have been a bit of an anti-climax: the transition made
the scene a lot more understandable.

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