Understanding Film Terms
Below are some key terms and explanations (with examples) of key film concepts and terms.
Mise-en-scene: staging. Costuming. Props. Everything you see on screen.
Cinematography: the art of the image on film.
Frame: the imaginary border of the film. Think about it like a picture frame.
Shot: a single image of film. Can be any length, but must be unedited.
Editing: the joining together of discrete shots. Controls what we see.
Cut: a movement from a single shot to the next shot.
Scene: a series of shots which make up part of a narrative.
Acts: distinct narrative sections. Traditional films work in three acts.
Characters: protagonist (main character) and antagonist (main opposition character).
Explicit meaning: the surface level of the text. What literally happens.
Implicit meaning: the depth of the text. What we infer through context.