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Communications & Media
Research Paper
English (U.S.)
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Video Scene Analysis: Cinematography & Mise en Scene (Research Paper Sample)


Choose a 2-3 minute scene: Choose a scene from a film or television show of your choice. If have trouble making a decision, choose a scene from a film that we're watching in class this semester. Make sure that (1) the overall Mise en Scene is interesting to you and you can discuss how the various elements of Mise en Scene contribute to the scene (2) Make sure there is a variety of cinematography techniques used in a short clip (camera distance, angles, movement, and possibly changes in focus)
*Find the clip on YouTube
See My Example from The Shawshank Redemption: (Link to external website.)
You need to correctly identify and describe elements of the mise en scene and the cinematography. Aim to notate every shot type and camera movement. Describe the mise en scene early in the analysis and note any significant changes as the scene progresses. Think about how these elements work together. As you move through the scene, you should be able to make interpretive claims in addition to your descriptive analysis. In my example, I note the significance of the repetition of the same shot sequence to introduce the prisoner and then the guard.
In the final note, make a longer comment about the significance of the scene as a whole and how the formal elements (of mise en scene and cinematography) contribute to the meaning and emotional effect of the scene. If your clip is longer than required, you may choose a stopping point after the 2-minute mark that makes sense (as I did) as a point of closure.
How I will grade these:
Meet the minimum with correctly identified elements and some analysis for a B
Meet the minimum with little analysis for a C. You may also receive a C if you provide interpretive analysis but miss some key elements of cinematography or mise en scene.
If you do not meet the requirements, you will receive a D or an F. This would be an annotated video that misses many elements that you should be able to identify and/ or provides little to no interpretive claims.
If you want an A you must meet or exceed the minimum requirements listed by (1) correctly notating each camera movement and frame change (2) providing a detailed description of mise en scene AND (3) make solid interpretive claims


Video Scene Analysis – The Polar Express
Your Name
Your Institution of Affiliation
February 16, 2018
The Polar Express has been one of the most watched films of the previous decade. This movie features two kids who dreamt of being on a train trip to the North Pole to go visit Santa's workshop. While this is indeed a movie to watch, the focus of this article would be a 2-minute clip that shows a scene where the train got off its tracks due to the freezing of the lake where the tracks go through. During this particular scene, the protagonists barely saved the train and made their way out of the lake to continue on this journey. By looking at this film's particular mise-en-scene it shows how each individual frame was strategically utilized by Zemeckis, to show the intensity of the happenings.
In the beginning of the scene (0:03), the director utilized an over the shoulder shot to show the conductor's perspective as they see the ice cracking. In the next frame (0:06), the conductor was then portrayed to give instructions to the train's driver. In this particular frame, the director framed the conductor with the opening of the train above. The lighting in this frame shows a combination of the color of the flame from the chamber and a dark background. The combination of both of these elements let the viewers know how tiny the individual is as compared to the predicament that they're in. This combination would be repeatedly utilized throughout the whole film.
Another shot that is recurrently utilized in

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