Unit 9: Look, Listen, Analyse

Heat – Pacino and De Niro Restaurant scene 

Just into the first 10 seconds of the opening scene, you can already identify the genre through the use of camera technique. the scene begins following an over the shoulder shot, set up of a steady cam. the shot is very close up, only showing half of the character shoulder and not identifying the rest of the body – this creates a mysterious aspect.  The lighting is dark and the camera still follows the back of an unknown character, we get the feeling of the scene being risky and dangerous through the mysterious character.

The following conversation scene tells us also a lot about the characters. usually a conversation scene is filmed with an over the shoulder shot from both angles to elicit both parties of the conversation – however the style of the cutting in a normal conversation scene is quite fast. in this scene, the camera cuts very slow of each character talking – its creates the effect that both characters talk very slow to each other – this tells us that the characters seem very powerful and dominant. as the conversation carries, the shots start from a mid shot and gradually end in close up of the characters face – without hearing the content of the conversation, we can tell by the camera shots the conversation appears to become more dramatic as we are focussed very carefully on the characters facial expressions.

Analyse the audio track

Both characters have very different personalities judging by the dialogue – one character is very forward and personal, the other has a mellow dramatic tone to his voice and speaks in small slow sentences – it gives us the idea that this character is feeling probably threatened and is with holding information the other character wants to know. its helps us again judge the genre of the scene by the native accents both characters have – very New Yorker accents, with a hint of italian – we associate with New York gangsters.

Put it all together

You can only really understand properly what the scene entails now that both audio and visual is put together. by associating what voice is from what character, it helps us understand the context of the narrative. preferably two characters of different level of dominants the way camera favours one more than the other, talking about a risky situation. you really can only get the full perspective with both elements.



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