Style and the Camera (Discussion)

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Review topics from Television

Group 1: Depth of field

  • Explain what depth of field is -- using the illustrations from chapter 9.
  • What is the difference between deep focus and deep space (as described in the mise-en-scene chapter) -- using the illustrations from chapter 8 and chapter 9?

Group 2: Focal length

  • Explain what focal length is -- using the illustrations from chapter 9.
  • How does a zoom in/out look different from a track in/out?
  • How does the Vertigo effect illustrate the impact of focal length on the illusion of depth in an image? View clip (starting at 35 seconds; password: tcf123abc!); also on YouTube.

Group 3: Aspect ratio

  • Explain what aspect ratio is -- using the illustrations from chapter 9.
  • Also explain letterbox and pillarbox.

Group 4: Framing, height, and movement

  • Explain the significance of camera framing, height, and movement -- using the illustrations from chapter 9.
  • When might movement be used that does not follow a character?
  • How is a Steadicam shot different from a handheld shot?

DP exercise

If you were a DP reshooting shots from Stranger Things and Young Sheldon (see screenshots below), how might you change those shots' cinematographic aspects?

  1. Describe a cinematographic element's use in the moment shown in these two screenshots. I.e., start by describing the screenshot's depth of field (Group 1), focal length (Group 2), aspect ratio (Group 3), and framing/height (Group 4).
  2. Imagine changing that element's use in the moment captured in the screenshots.
    • Groups 3: Which aspect ratio(s) do these shows use--as shown in the screenshots? What if the DP choose to shoot them in a different aspect ratio? How would that change the impact of the shot?
    • Group 2: how might a zoom lens (a variable focal-length lens) be used in this shot?
  3. How would such a change affect the scene's impact or the viewer's understanding of it?


  1. Butler, Jeremy G. Television: Visual Storytelling and Screen Culture. New York: Routledge, 2018.

External links