Module 1. Expressive resources used in audiovisual productions.



Evaluation criteria:

Critically analyze the expressive resources used in audiovisual productions, relating the functional and typological characteristics with the achievement of communicative objectives.

 Evaluable learning standards:

1.1. Being able to identify the type of film genders, the communicative intentionality and the expressive codes used in the realization of different audiovisual products, based on their viewing and critical analysis. 1.2. Being able to recognize the expressive characteristics of the fixed and mobile image and its plastic, functional, semantic and technical qualities, in photographic compositions and multimedia and new media audiovisual products. 1.3. Being albe to evaluate the communicative consequences of the formal and expressive use of the frame, the angle of the camera and its movements in the resolution of various audiovisual situations. 1.4. Being able to relate the expressive and communicative value of the spatial concepts of the image, such as the field, the off-field and the internal and external movements of the shots, with the interpretation of the audiovisual story.


Characteristics of the cinematographic, videographic and television genres.

Many things we owe to the Greeks. And to the Romans. For example, the passion for fiction and theater and there comes the typical dichotomy of classical theater: comedy and drama.

Aristotle studied the theater and presented this first great division between works with a happy ending and works with a tragic end. The light works and those of serious character. In short, those that made people laugh and those that made people cry.

I would like you to see clearly that what we are talking about when we refer to genres is really a "label", a classification. After the title of the film we find the classification, as well as the recommended age that helps us choose if we are going to see it or not. As in a library, a video store or a specialized store, the viewer chooses which shelf to visit to get the title that interests him or her the most.

We may want to be original and not be guided by any label, but before doing that, it will be better to know genres in depth, because it will be the code internalized by the spectators, for better or for worse.

The genres help the viewer to understand the film, even when there are mixes. He knows what to expect and that helps make the work he is seeing more "digestible".

These labels group both the narrative element and the effect on the viewer. In this aspect, the cinematographic genres are related to literary criticism and its cataloging.

Cinematic genres according to the effect it produces on the viewer (tone or style).

Drama Comedy Action Adventure

Cinematic genres according to theme or setting.

Historical Police or Noir Cinema War West (Western) Science fiction Fantasy Sports Espionage Martial Arts Zombies Catastrophist Terror Romantic Musical Melodrama Thriller, Suspense or Mystery Erotic Gore Superheros Pirates Mountain or climbing Folk live Slapstick Black Comedy Lawyers Tragedy Melodrama Psychodrama

The hybrids:

Horror comedy Docudrama Found footage (Blair Witch Project) Romantic comedy Action comedy

By audience:

Children Teens / Youth Family Adults

By production:

Animation vs real image Silent cinema vs Talk (sound) cinema 3D cinema vs 2D cinema Superproduction (high budget) vs Series B or Series Z Original movie vs. Mockbuster Blockbuster vs Independent (author movie) Cinema art vs consumer cinema Cinema study or independent Basic catalog or cult Original (serious) vs Parodia

...And ultimately:

Fiction or Documentary

You can go deeper into these catalogs by viewing the genres in Wikipedia (in Spanish or in English)

Characteristics of multimedia genres and video games.

Some of the genres of cinematographic works coincide with the genres of multimedia works and videogames, but we are going to focus on the peculiarities of these other two leisure media. When we talk about multimedia, we are talking about a single audiovisual product that includes text, audio, image, video, animation and, in some cases, interactivity. There is a new version of multimedia works that are called hypermedia, referring to the possibilities offered by its use on the internet and the possibilities that there are to modify them, both as a web page and because of its interrelation with social networks. It is so related to "marketing" that a large part of multimedia works are considered products rather than art. A separate case is that of video games, which increasingly take center stage, with multimillion-dollar benefits, which are allowing the entry of true artists in consumer products, raising their quality and intrinsic value.

Let's think now about the styles. A multimedia work is not very different from a movie, but it adds other aspects such as interaction and hypertexts to extend the experience. In the cinema we have Sound and Image, but here we also have texts, audiovisual explanations, links to web pages, etc. The main genres are: Formative: Deepening a cultural theme (about art, cities, history, etc.) Educational To help with different disabilities Advertisers: Commercial Broadcast Informative: Traditional media in digital format (press, television and radio)

Professionals: Doctors Engineering Scientists Video games add the interactive factor to the classification by genres, being the mechanics of the game what makes the difference between them. The system of game and the advances in the programming derived from the improvements in the diverse machines that have been existing, has allowed that the designers could advance in very diverse ways at the time of creating their games. From Arcades to Virtual Reality, the spectrum of leisure that has been created for video games is so broad that there is almost a genre for every taste and for every person. The genres are the following:

Action: Fight Beat 'em Up Arcade Platforms Shots: First person Third person Shoot 'em Up Strategy: Real time Turn based Wargame Building empires MOBA Time management Simulations: Driving (cars and planes) Construction (worlds, farms, cities, bridges) Life Biological Combat Sports: Socer
Football Basketball Olympic Fitness Races: Formula 1 and variations Rallies Adventure: Conversational Adventure game Mixed (action and adventure) Survival Horror and Stealth

Roleplaying: Collaborative Competitive (MMORPG) Videoconference (Hangout) Others: Sandbox Musical Mental agility (puzzle) Party games Educational We can also consider whether it is a single-player game or multiplayer, if it is for a platform or is for a browser, You can expand this section by visiting the Wikipedia for the genres within the multimedia works (in Spanish and English), the videogames (in Spanish and English) and as I have commented the genres of the Comic, you can also see more in the version in Spanish or in English.

The new media genres: Internet, mobile phones and other screens.

We have already talked about the Internet in the other sections, but for New Media, we can only count on the Internet, so we must master and understand what this new version of multimedia products is.

With New Media we refer to products contained in Web pages, which are consumed on demand by the user and which use online social networks. The best example is the Blog, but we can also count on web pages of press media and magazines, wikis, forums and anything else that we can find on the web that requires interaction between users and between creators and users. Notice that We do not speak of "spectators". They are fully active (interactive) at your leisure and is another element to consider that we will see in the next section.

We went from the broadcast in which audiovisual products were broadcast without other criteria than that of a team of professionals who decided the programming grid, to a selection of active content by the viewer (for the consumption of "classic" products such as cinema, series or television or radio programs) or by the Internet user (who participates in the audiovisual product with his comments, his "likes", his memes, etc., always being possible the answer to and the deferred enjoyment of the products that are now digital objects, ready to be enjoyed on mobile phones, tablets, computers and Smart TVs.

These works require not only aesthetic and artistic aspects (as is the case of cinema), but also control of the software for which they were created and a series of algorithms that manage the user's interactivity. Their messages are so powerful and their dissemination is so enormous that they are sometimes able to become "viral" and reach a large part of the world population, allowing social changes in an increasingly globalized world. Regarding the genres, we have difficulties to close them in a series of categories. We must attend to that triple element that characterizes the New Media; art + programming + interactivity. That is why genres are going to be more "container" than "contents": Apps for mobile phones and tablets / Computer programs for personal computers: All Multimedia genres can be added here, because what matters is how they work in those media

Social networks associated with a function: All social networks can be included here, but not in its basic form (ie, not in Facebook or in Twitter) but how they "embed" (embed) in other products like Blogs to create or attend a certain function. Advertising: As in multimedia, but with greater interactivity and with a certain feeling of a closed object.

Techniques for creating messages based on the study of the basic characteristics of the image.

The basic theory of communication tells us that there is an speaker, a receiver and a message between the two directed from the sender (speaker) to the receiver (listener). As we havd already seen, that directionality has been broken with the new audiovisual works and cyberspace. For that reason we are going to base in this section in the message and how we manage with images to maintain this communication between author and public. There are two possibilities that an image has to transmit a message. The first, the Symbolic, is one in which the image is valid for itself without another reference other than itself. For example, a photo of a landscape, whose concrete information is simply the image we see. The second is Semantics, in which the image is being added a value that is not only in it. An example of this can be found in a traffic signal. There are codes that we have learned to be able to "read" it. In many cases, this meaning will be independent of the language of each viewer, since there are certain conventions that have become universal. That said, let's see the characteristics of the image and then know how to use them when creating messages in our audiovisual works. We will see them in pairs of opposites:

Iconicity / Abstraction An image is iconic if it refers to and reflects external reality, being more or less faithful to what it represents, while abstraction creates a reality of its own, which can be a work imagined by the author's fantasy or with arbitrary and incomprehensible relationships. The message that we transmit with this dichotomy is the proximity or distance with an existing reality, being able to open up to new worlds of the imagination. Originality / Redundancy When the image achieves the surprise of not being "seen" or simply because it is new, it highlights the stereotyped and assumed image. With the originality, we are pretending an extra complicity on the part of the receiver, while with the redundancy, we are making use of the conventions that we have assumed. Monosemia / Polysemy The images that have only one meaning are monosémic and they are common places that are not difficult to understand, while the polysemous ones use the confusion in the spectator to create messages that incite to think. The messages that we will emit will be of greater or lesser complexity as we make the images more concrete. Denotation / Connotation What we see in an image that includes all the elements of the message is a denotative reading, while the connotative reading of the image implies staying with what your viewing suggests, which are usually emotions.

Simplicity / Complexity When an image is simple, it means that it only has one message to transmit, while the complex one leads to a multitude of accumulated messages. It is similar to monosemia and polysemy, but here we make the message more or less simple to understand and more or less resounding. In some cases, the image will send subliminal messages, of which the viewer is not fully aware of what they perceive, but will make an idea (unconscious, but will be present in their appreciation) of what the hidden message wants to offer. In some cases, this message will go unnoticed and, therefore, will be completely ineffective. There is one more option to these hidden messages that are studied by steganography and consist of ciphers that are only known by the senders and receivers, so only those authors and those spectators will understand the message, the true meaning of that work, being overlooked by the rest of the public.


Camera angles, shot, scene and sequence.

These four terms refer to the viewer's point of view. These are aspects of film, painting, photography and comics that try to achieve the best way to convey a message in an aesthetically satisfactory way. The Angle is the perspective (field of the image) in which we are going to frame all the elements of the scene, regardless of whether there is movement or not. And this perspective is what we are going to offer the spectator, getting in turn to place him in a virtual and emotional place that makes him participate or not in what happens in the work. The shot does not change as long as that virtual and relative distance between what is seen and the viewer does not change. An Angle of a shot is the minimum semantic unit with meaning within the cinematographic narrative. A shot is the equivalent of a single shot without cuts. In painting, photography and illustration, where duration is not one of the most important elements, it refers to the point of view that is going to be offered to the viewer and in comic it is equivalent to the set of frames (or vignettes) that form a unit when drawn from the same framing Within the sound there are also shots that create distance (distance or closeness) with respect to the viewer's point of view. It is called the presence shot and it is the depth of field of the sound. It is achieved by means of dynamics (usually confused with volumes) that put the sound in the foreground, in a flat medium, in the distant or in the background (sound background).

The shot is what is recorded, regardless of the support, since the record button is given until it stops recording. In cinematography he captures movement and in photography the moment. But this small definition of mine, does little justice to the complexity of what is actually a shot. Think of a scene that has to be "shot". Think of the actors on stage and several cameras filming the momentum. At that very instant of time, the director or the person in charge of the clapperboard, shouts "take one, action". The actors play their roles and when they finish they hear "cut". What the cameras have registered is called "shot" or "Take". If it is not satisfactory or it is considered that some aspect can be changed, a second take or a third take or those that are needed. The taking of sound is similar to the cinematographic one in as much as they are diverse recordings of a dialogue or a music that are made of consecutive form until obtaining the correct one. In some cases they will be alternative shots, which will be analyzed in the montage (edition) to select the most suitable one.

A scene is a part of a play and comes from the divisions of theatre plays. If we take this reference, we are talking about what happened in a work of fiction in the same location and at the same time, creating a unit of meaning and content linked by the same space-time coordinates - continuously and without cuts. There are times when two or more scenes develop in parallel, alternating in the film and giving way to each other. And a sequence would be the greatest unit of meaning within what is an element of a movie. It can consist of a single scene (or even be smaller than this), but the best way to understand it is to see it as a collection of scenes interrelated by a unit of time or a unit of space. For example, a criminal-police chase sequence may include a car chase scene, a police scene in a surveillance unit receiving images of the helicopter chase, a scene of the cops organizing a barricade with patrol cars. All this will create the persecution sequence. As you can see these elements fit like "matrioskas". We can even intersperse sub sequences within sequences, for example, if in the previous case we made a presentation sequence of the main participants in the persecution, if we told something about the private life of the members of the surveillance unit or show how it has been the morning for one of the policemen who are going to cut off the criminals. These complex structures should receive the theatrical name of acts.

Typology and characteristics of the shot.

The Field Size Shots can be:

According to the size of the shot:
Extreme long shot
Long shot
Full shot
American shot (3/4)
Medium shot
Medium short shot
Extreme Close-Up or Italian shot
Detail Close-Up

Visual angle:
Neutral or natural angle
Bird-angle shot
Low-angle shot
Aerial shot
Nadir shot
Zenith shot
Dutch shot (45º)
Point of View (POV) shot (subjective)
Over the shoulder shot (semisubjective)
Reverse shot
"Two-Shot" or split screen

Over shoulder
Bird-eye or High

Special plans:
Freeze frame shot
Master shot or uncut shot
Insert shot (needs audio and video)
Establishing shot
Detail shot

Scene planning techniques.

The planning of the scene starts from a script that in turn has been generated by an idea. But it is not the synopsis part of the story that will interest us in this planning, but the escaleta, a picture that, omitting the dialogues, describes the action and divides the script into scenes. Once you have the script, it is easy to create the technical script that will be used to design the scenes focusing on two aspects; create the narrative style that will be used in the filming and plan the filming (budget, coordinate and organize all the technical tasks of recording, lighting, props, makeup, decorations and sound recording). This whole process is usually called preproduction and consists of defining the technical, artistic and human resources that we will need to have them all planned before starting, with a corresponding breakdown of needs, the work plan that we will have to follow and the budget with the what should we tell?


Typology of camera movements.

Until now we had placed the camera, framed the image and started to shoot or take an image. Now comes the action and the movement.

Camera movements can be of four types:
Horizontal panning on its own axis (right-left)
Vertical tilt (up-down)
Travelling (over a Camera Dolly) (right-left and front-back - dollying in or out)
Zoom (zoom-in or zoom-out)

The first three (panning, tilts and travelling) are real, physical movements, while the fourth (Zoom) is an optical effect that also produces movement. Zoom will be studied in another module.

Panoramic, travellings and sweeps.

The panorama consists of a camera movement on a two-dimensional axis (X or Y). To do this we can do it with a steady-cam, but it is best to use the tripod and it serves to discover a scenario that is not possible to see from a stopped point of view, either by unattainable or by narrative criteria. The panorama can be:

Horizontal (right-left) to follow a character, to show the stage or some detail of it, to create a movement that stops, focusing our attention on something and sweeping (blurred image) to join two discontinuous elements.

Vertical (up-down) with the same type of possibilities as the horizontal, so I do not repeat them.

Of balance that can be used to simulate the presence also of the spectator in a boat on the water.

The traveling varies with the movement the position of the axis of the camera. The camera is placed in a "dolly" (usually a platform with a tripod on top) on rails or in a crane. The effect, without a doubt, is an accentuation of the message. The types of traveling are:

Approach or recession The first case reinforces the expression and the second relaxes it.

Ascending or descending. Accompany the action of a character or show Y axis.
Side movement. Parallel to the movement of the character, the camera chases the subject without losing detail.

Circular or arch It allows to see something from different points.

The sweep is used to make more or less clear an element (a character, a vehicle) that is in motion and blurred in the background. If we realize it is the reverse of what normally happens. A car, if we see it moving from the sidewalk, will be blurred the more the faster it goes and the buildings on the street, if we move our eyes to see them, will appear clear.

To achieve this, we will let the shutter speed of the camera be slow, then move with an object at the same speed while advancing on a shot. The other option is that the shutter is very fast and capture the moving element, but in that case, the background is also likely to come out clearly.

Expressive value of angulation and camera movement.

The camera angles (the placement of the same to shoot a scene) make that a same scene that in principle can be even emotionally neutral, affect the viewer in different ways. In the top position, the character is seen from above, clearly showing the ground; in the bite (superior oblique) the character is in an inferior position and his personality will be shown as weak; in the contrapicada (lower oblique) the character demonstrates the opposite, strength and superiority; in the Dutch shot (called "aberrant") the frame is crooked, with the instability it represents; in the subjective we see what the character sees.

The in-field and the out of field.

The concept of field and off-field does not present too many complications if it were not for the implications that it has for the spectator. Field and out of field refer to what the image shows and what remains outside it, respectively. But in an audiovisual work, field makes reference to what is shown and outside of the field to what the viewer does not see but supposes that it is there, so it has a function in the scene. What is hidden can be more disturbing than what we see more clearly, however terrible it may be.

Out of the field there is both what gets out of the frame, what remains behind the camera and what the stage hides. If we add to this the movement, for example when walking a character and being followed by a camera traveling, many things will be out of the field, but the viewer, unconsciously, will "fill in" with their expectations. With this we achieve that the public gets involved in recreating the virtual and fictional space of the film without having to recreate everything.

Composition techniques applied to the realization of audiovisual products.

In this section we will see functions that have to do with the work of the director. Mainly they are techniques that serve to maintain the continuity of the narrative discourse of an audiovisual product. Among these techniques we can highlight the narrative, perceptual continuity, the formal raccord, movement, action, direction, lighting, costumes and props.

For example, as we have seen before in off-field, the creation of "suggested geographies" is another technique of narrative composition.

Methodology of analysis of audiovisual products.

There are many methods that we can use to analyze an audiovisual product. Then I propose one that focuses on its commercial value. We identify the chosen audiovisual medium and contextualize it. We focus on the authors: director, scriptwriters, actors, producers, realiazadores, illuminators, designers, etc. We see how it conforms to the genre it comes from and in what situations it has broken the established canons. We analyze the techniques of production, of composition, including the use of new technologies for their realization. We focus on what techniques have been used to maintain the attention of the viewer; music, empathy and emotional appeal, shapes and colors, lighting, camera frames, interpretation of the actors, script, stage and costumes. Possible interpretations of the message. Different points of view according to the culture from which the viewer comes. Is there a message that can be learned? What different ways of being are represented in the audiovisual product and what kind of people can be excluded? Reasons the authors had to create this message. Who are the promoters and who benefits this product?