Week 3 Moving Image Screenshots – Scene 1

Film: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2013).

Director: Wes Andersen

Scene: (40:19 – 40:40) Hotel servants receive a letter at supper time from their director, who had been wrongfully jailed. The servants conversations/meals were interrupted for the addressing.

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The colour composition of the scene is very light and stark, but with contrasting highly saturated uniforms. This contrast is strengthened by the high value of the interior of the room, with the low value of the purple uniforms. By contrasting these two elements, the viewer is drawn to the people at the table and what they are doing as opposed to the scene they are sitting in.


This scene is very brightly lit by artificial lights, which adds to the effect of the bright room. The staff members themselves are also then lit well so that the viewers are able to see their expressions well.


Spatial Composition:

The scene has a long depth of field which allows all of the servants towards the end of the table to be in focus. The scene is also set up in a very structured and purposeful manner from the producer, each servant being placed purposely with the cooks at the back to not detract from the people a the front. The use of perspective is also a large contender in the composition, with the scene at a 1:3 ratio looking down the table in a cramped room. The lines of the ceiling to the wall lead the viewers focus down the table towards the servants at the back, as well as the table itself having the same effect.

When looking at the servants, the camera is positioned on the same level so that the viewer is looking down the table as if they are sitting right there with them. By viewing the scene on the same level, there is no power play involved as there might have been if the camera was looking down towards the servants.

budapest 1 perspective


Alternatively, after the camera spins to view the announcement pedestal and the lobby boy, the camera is on the same level as the servants but the pedestal and speakers are elevated. This gives the impression that the viewer is sitting with the servants and viewing from their perspective, giving power to the speakers.

budapest horizon 2




In terms of the mis-en-scene the screen ratio, screen frame, shot distance, focus, point-of-view as well as camera movements are all utilised to add effect to the scene.

As mentioned in the spatial composition the screen ratio is 1:3, not a typical movie theatre screen ratio. This screen ratio was used because of the small width of the room, by using a smaller screen ratio the perspective of the small room is more effective. This 1:3 ratio is also good for close ups of faces, which is used on the lobby boy in the later parts of the scene.

Initially, the screen frame is closed as the servants look towards one another down the table. As their focus is directed down towards each other, there is no reason for the viewer to be distracted by anything that could be happening outside of the scene. After their attention has been taken away from each other and directed towards the speaker at the pedestal, who is situated behind the camera, the scene immediately becomes an open screen frame as the focus is now out of picture.

The shot distance of the image is long when it is faced towards the servants and table, which was touched on in the spatial composition. This changes when the camera spins to show the speakers, where the shot distance is full as it shows the speakers from head to toe. After the lobby boy begins to speak, the shot is again then cut down to a head and shoulders distance to focus on him speaking the dialogue.

The scene has a deep focus while showing the servants as they are all visible right down to the end. This changes while showing the speakers as they are more in focus than the background, indicating a shallow focus.

As touched on in the spatial composition section, the angle when facing the servants is at eye-level but changes to a low-angle when facing the speakers to indicate their authority over the servants.

The camera movement when switching between viewing the servants and the speakers is a fast horizontal pan, replicating the quick movement of the heads of the servants when their attention is called. This quick spin of the camera makes it seem as if the viewer is a part of the room and was also required to direct their attention towards the speakers.


Derived from the colour, light and spatial composition of the scene, a quirky yet serious atmosphere is portrayed.



Moving Image 2

Film: The Wind Rises

Producers: Studio Ghibli


Context: A scene from The Wind Rises, where the young boy is pictured laying on the roof of his home in a sour mood staring up at the sky. He is then joined by his sprightly younger sister who begins to point out stars in the sky while the scene moves towards the stars to show a scene of planes flying in the sunrise.

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The colours in this scene are largely low value (due to the fact it is night time), leading to a high-value scene ending of the clouds with the planes. Although it is night time, the colours used for the roof-top and their clothing is still quite dull and desaturated. Again, when moving to the end of the scene the image changes and the saturation of the colours increases. The colour palette consists of dull greys, maroons and yellows before opening up to a space of bright blues, yellows, pinks and greens.


During the beginning of the scene, the subjects are lit by moonlight, creating a soft silver shade of light. By the end of the scene, the moonlight is replaced by the natural light of the sunrise on the clouds, creating a dramatic effect on the cloud shapes and highlighting the planes flying by.

Spatial Composition: 

This scene is quite simple with little subject manner, but there are some visual queues which direct the viewers gaze towards a certain focal point. Throughout the scene, the young boys eyes direct the viewer towards the stars (which are outside of the scene) as well as towards his young sister when she is introduced to the scene. Shown in the third screenshot, the young girls arm is also a focal indicator, directing the viewers eyes towards the sky.


At the beginning of the scene, the image depicts a relaxed, thoughtful and imaginative atmosphere with the use of stars and space. By the end of the scene, the imaginative atmosphere becomes fantasy like with the beautiful pastel colours and transition to the flying planes.


In terms of the mis-en-scene the screen ratio, screen frame, shot distance, focus, point-of-view as well as camera movements are all utilised to add effect to the scene.

The screen ratio is a typical HDTV/movie frame of 1.8:1. This wide screen ratio is the most effective way to showcase the beautiful animated artworks that studio ghibli produce, in particular the rolling clouds and planes at the end of the scene.

This scene rolls through several different shot distances as the camera angle changes according to the subject matter. Initially, the camera is at a medium shot distance as most of the boys body is visible. This camera distance then moves to a head and shoulders distance, before finally moving out to a long and then extreme long shot as it tilts towards the sky.

Throughout the scene, both the foreground and background remain in focus indicating the use of a deep focus. In particular when the camera shows the children pointing up towards the sky from behind, both their arms and the stars far in the distance are in focus.

The camera angles used throughout the scene vary from looking down onto the children, to viewing from behind them and more. These viewpoints do not signify a power play, simply that the children were laying down at an angle and this was the best angle to address the scene.

There are multiple camera movements and continuity cutting throughout this scene to show different angles. The camera cuts to the different viewing angles of the children within the scene, before using a vertical tilt to look up towards the sky. This vertical tilt impersonates the movement of a person slowly looking up towards the sky and also works as a soft transition to move into the next scene.


Comparison of Images:

These two movie scenes have extremely different styles but are both wonderfully professionally produced. The most obvious difference is the animation vs real movie style – but each have their own unique way of telling a story through the mis-en-scene. Grand Budapest Hotel camera movements are very fast paced and whimsical in comparison to studio Ghibli’s slow, fantasy like effects. This is of course due to the scenes selected, but the difference in colour, lighting and camera movements all have their own roles.

Relation to my Own Work: 

Personally, I do not ever film moving images as a part of experimentation or university work – but that doesn’t mean I can’t take the mis-en-scene techniques as well as colour choices into consideration for photography or future film purposes (just in case!).