Look. Listen. Analyze.

I feel that this assignment really helped us see some of the video storytelling techniques actually preformed in real movies. It was interesting seeing what different things you notice when you take away one of your senses. I chose to do this assignment on a scene from my favorite movie, The Dark Knight. I wanted to be able to break down a scene from the movie and analyze it, so I could see new things that I have never noticed before even after watching it so many times. I thought it would be easier to break down a scene I was already familiar with and it would be interesting seeing what I missed. I also haven’t watch the movie in quite some time so having the scene memorized wasn’t really a problem because I forgot about most of it. A lot of the concepts I will talk about throughout this analysis is from Roger Ebert’s article “How to Read a Movie.”


The first time I viewed this scene was with the sound turned all the way down so I could just focus on what I was seeing. As I was taking notes, I count the amount of time the camera changed. It changed 59 times. That was very shocking because the scene is only three minutes long. That is almost one camera change every three seconds. At the beginning of the scene, The Joker enters the scene on the right side of the camera with everyone else on his left. This shows his dominance over the “weaker” mob members. This also shows that he is the person of the present and future (Joker is the future of crime) and the mob members are the people of the past because Batman is stealing all of their freedoms away from them (the mob members are the past of crime). Throughout the scene, the mob members are usually on the left side of the screen when they are shown especially at the end and when The Joker is shown, he is in the center or the right side of the screen. This also shows that he is dominant over the rest of the people there. The last thing I saw while watching it the first time was when the mob member came up to the front for the pencil trick, he was also to The Joker’s left, so that emphasizes even more that The Joker is in charge.


The second time I viewed this scene was with the screen on my computer turned off and my sound on. This was so I could listen to this scene and see if there were any new things I noticed while just listening to it. I was mostly listening for audio techniques that we learned about last week while I was listening to this. I noticed a lot of sound effects that the producer probably had to add after they recorded the scene because they weren’t loud enough to have the microphone pick up on them. The producer might have used foley artists that we learned about last week to make these sounds. There are sound effects when the pencil hits the table and when the chair moves. There is a faint sound going off in the background until The Joker mentioned his proposition. All of the noise going away adds an emphasis on what he is about to say. Music starts playing in the background when he starts to talk about killing Batman to draw the viewer in to see that this is a big moment in the movie. The last thing I noticed is that a different song started to play when The Joker was threatened. This also adds and emphasis on how the mobster just tried to threaten The Joker.


The third time I viewed this scene was with my screen on and my sound up so I could watch and listen to see if there is anything new I notice when I have both of these senses. One of the new things I noticed is why the camera was changed so much throughout the scene. The producer wanted the viewer to be able to see when a new person started talking and the reaction on everyone’s faces while The Joker is speaking. I also noticed that The Jokers voice didn’t change throughout the whole scene because he knew he was in charge at this meeting. The tone in everyone else’s voices change throughout the whole scene to help show their emotions better. The last thing I noticed was another sound effect that was probably recorded later on. After The Joker gets threatened, he opens up his jacket and pulls out a string that is connected to a bunch of grenade pins. The viewer is able to hear the sounds of the pins moving. This little sound probably wouldn’t have been loud enough for the microphone to pick up so the producer might have used foley artists to make this sound after recording the scene, or used another form of creating this sound.

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