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Cinematic Language

Satisfactory Essays
Topics: Film, Film editing
Ashley Vietri
FIL-110
Cinematic Language

The term “cinematic language” refers to cinematic techniques and methods employed by film makers to communicate meaning, to entertain audiences, and to produce a particular emotional response in viewers. This “language” is not necessarily referring to terminology or vocabulary, but to the conventions of filmmaking that have been created over time to create filming techniques. As is similar with spoken language, the structures and grammar are often spoken and heard without much thinking involved, which allows our brains to passively experience them without too much conscious interpretation. This is the same result of cinematic language -- an “invisibility” of techniques and strategies employed by the filmmakers. For viewers, this invisibility is most likely what makes a movie entertaining for them, and it is also a significant reason why film is considered to be an art form.
Components of cinematic language include, but are not limited to, shot distances and angles, lighting and contrast, camera movement, editing, and sound. Each of these components blend together to create a seamless environment for the telling of a story. When the language of a film is assembled properly, the viewer will not notice, creating a certain “invisibility”, thus adding to the verisimilitude of a film. Without these techniques, a film may lack this actuality, causing the viewer to be distracted or confused by what is happening in the background of the story.
A very simple example of a component of cinematic film is the angle of the camera and what it can imply. Take the close-up shot, for instance -- it’s a shot which shows a fairly small part of the scene in great detail so that it fills the screen. These types of shots focus attention on a person's feelings or reactions, and are sometimes used in documentaries or interviews to show extreme emotions.
Although cinematic language is important, the conventions within it are not rules. Filmmakers break these conventions all the time for a deliberate effect, however this doesn’t create invisibility effect, being that the viewer will be generally aware of the convention itself. Filmmakers have created this “language” over time in order to turn film into the artform that is it today.

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