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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 2

Technical elements

The camera terms may be familiar to mainstreamed students from visual language work in the English curriculum. These terms are essential vocabulary for all students. Students could make themselves cards with the name of the camera shot on one side and the explanation on the other in L1 or L2. However many are fairly self- explanatory and do not seem to cause problems to ESOL students. The editing techniques would be best explained with examples from a video clip. ESOL students find it more difficult to remember new technical vocabulary than native speakers of English as they have fewer known words to relate the new words to. Cultural references, such as those in Episode 2 referring to painters, will be missed by ESOL students, and need to be explained. This applies to the music too. Follow the links below to find out about being technical. You will find pages on camera shots, special effects and other technical elements of the show.

Camera shots

Extreme long shot or Establishing shot (ELS)
This shot includes the landscape and it helps to establish the location (where the film or video programme is set) as well as establishing the atmosphere of the programme. It is often at the beginning of the film and may be a "bird's eye view" of a place.

Long shot (LS)
This also includes some landscape but the people in the shot are recognisable as human or as male or female.

Camera team on location.

Full shot (FS)
This shot includes the whole height of a person in the frame. If there's more than one person the shot is called a "two shot" or a "three shot' depending on how many people there are in the frame.

Medium shot or Mid-shot (MS)
There's less background in this shot and the people are only seen from the waist up. These shots can also be "two shots" or "three shots". The shots are often used when understanding the dialogue is important to the storyline.

Close up (CU)
This shot is most often the face of a human or an object. The purpose in television is to draw attention to the detail and to create a feeling of intimacy between the viewer and the actor.

Extreme close-up (ECU)
This shot is designed to show the detail of a face, for example, an eye or the detail on an object. Often used to draw attention to something that needs to be seen by the audience for a mystery to be solved or to emphasise the emotions.

Tracking shots
Being Eve uses tracking shots a great deal where the camera follows Eve in the manner of an investigative reporter. This is designed to emphasise her qualities as an amateur anthropologist. She invites us to follow her to find out the truth.

Camera angles and point of view

The choice of camera angle can have an impact on the viewer. There are five basic angles.

On location filming Being Eve.

Overshot or overhead shot
The camera directly faces down in this shot. The effect can be to make objects or figures look small, or vulnerable. It can make moving things look mechanical.

High angle shot (H/A)
The camera is looking down on an object but not from directly above. This will usually make the person or objects look insignificant or vulnerable.

Eye level shot
This is the most "normal" angle where the camera is on the same eye-line as the person or objects being shot. It is meant to give a feeling of real life. This is the most commonly used shot in drama. In Being Eve a direct-to-camera (DTC) shot is often used as a close up where Eve talks to the audience.

Low angle shot (L/A)
In this shot the camera is below looking up at the object or person. The main effect of this shot is to make the person or objects look powerful or dominant.

Undershot or oblique
This shot is taken where the camera is directly beneath the object or person. This is used when the idea is to suggest the person or object is in extreme danger and is powerless.

Point of view (POV)
The programme is mainly shot from Eve's point of view. You can tell this because she is in the frame a great deal. Sometimes there is a reverse shot where the view point shifts to that of the other person in the scene. These shots are designed to give us a feeling about the reaction to the action of the scene.

Editing techniques

Pace (speed at which things happen)
The editing in a video or film has a great deal of influence over our understanding of the story line. In "Being Eve", the scenes are kept very short to create feeling of a fast pace, which goes with the idea that a teenage life is "action packed".

Side wipes
The editor uses side wipes, accompanied by a rushing noise, a great deal to make a transition from one scene to another. The side wipe not only signals the end of a scene but also tells us how the central character is feeling. In a sense it offers a type of punctuation to support a punch line in a scene.

Voice over (V/O)
Another common technique of bridging from one scene to another is to use a voice over where the voice of the new character in the next scene is heard as we view the last frames of previous scene. In this way the editor avoids a sudden jump and prepares us for the transition. The voice over can be out of context and can add to the humour of the programme.

Musical themes are another device used by the editor to introduce new scenes or characters and to convey mood or atmospheric changes. The words of the songs often underscore what is happening on the screen. We are able to hear the dialogue and the words of the song at the same time. Audiences are cued to begin to "read" these theme tunes, such as horror music, and recognise the different styles of music as belonging to particular characters or locations. In Being Eve the music is a compilation of original New Zealand songs and theme tunes written by Victoria Kelly and Joost Langerveld.

The editor can also heighten the colours digitally in a scene. The art director uses bright fluorescent lollipop colours a great deal on clothes and objects to emphasise the youthfulness of the characters and the garishness of them from Eve's point of view.

Special effects

Being Eve uses special effects that have been created by combining material shot by the camera and material that has been digitally rendered by computer during the editing process.

Wibble wobble
Some of these effects include a "wibble wobble" where the shot is wobbled to create the effect that the emotions are in a turmoil.

Spinning world
Eve often finds herself stationary in a spinning world. Filmed objects are be wrapped up and spun digitally into "outer space".

Scenes can dissolve, one into the other in the traditional manner or in a "send up" of the traditional way of dissolving scenes to highlight or make fun of the emotional intensity. Being Eve is constantly drawing on the known traditions of other film and television genre or shows and making fun of them. This is known as parody.

The Being Eve series makes use of animation, which relates directly to the world of cartooning. The animation is created digitally using computers. This is part of the humour of the series. In episode 2 Eve's neighbour, Mrs Sparrow, talks about famous people who have lived independent lives. The images of the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo; Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh; and New Zealand aviatrix, Jean Batten come to life in this segment of the programme in an unexpected way.

Lighting and blurred lens
Being Eve creates other fantasy worlds that exist mainly in Eve's daydreams. A key method of indicating this change is the use of a blurred lens and a contrast in lighting from the real world. These effects are created chiefly in post-production using the computer.

Slow motion
In television, the action is slowed down through editing techniques after the shoot, often with sound effects added to heighten a moment of impact. In theatre, the use of slow movement accompanied by such things as strobe or laser lighting effects may achieve these things.

Published on: 09 Jan 2018