Examples of filmmaking techniques utilized in the film. Read the attached Notes on Film, which describes a number of common filmmaking techniques, then read the attached Characteristics of Alfred Hitchcock’s Style in filmmaking. Then view the classic film North by Northwest, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is available on HBO (you can get a free 10-day subscription), Netflix and several other streaming services. It is also available free on Youtube scene by scene, but not as a continuous film.
2-Provide an analysis of North by Northwest in which you identify and describe five examples of filmmaking techniques utilized in the film, and also identify and describe examples of all of the characteristics of Alfred Hitchcock’s style.
3-This may be in either a narrative or bullet point format.
See Characteristics of Alfred Hitchcock’s Style.docx (11.651 KB)
Types of films:
Narrative – tells a story (many sub-genres such as Western, detective story, science fiction, horror, romantic comedy, etc.) which may be fictional or true
Examples of filmmaking techniques utilized in the film
Documentary – sociological or journalistic approach; based on reality
Absolute – film for its own sake; does not tell a story; built piece by piece using a variety of techniques; film as visual art
Editing & Terminology
Film is rarely shot in the order in which the film will finally take. The pieces are shot separately and put together like a jigsaw puzzle. The success of the final product depends on the editing process used, the manner in which the director handles the camera, and the lighting and movement of the actors before the camera.
Plasticity is the quality of the (celluloid) film that allows it to be cut, spliced, and ordered according to the needs of the film and the desires of the filmmaker.
The editing process builds the film, joining shots or scenes together to make a whole.
Cut – joining together two shots during editing
Jump cut – a cut that breaks the continuity of time by jumping forward from one part of the action to another part that is separated from the first part by an interval of time, location, or camera position. It is often used for shock effect, or to call attention to detail.
Form cut – One scene ends with a particular shape or image and the next scene starts with a similar shape or image. This makes for a smooth transition.
Montage – utilizes many short clips or scenes edited together to act as a compression or elongation of time, or as a rapid sequence of images to illustrate an association of ideas. It is considered to be the most aesthetic use of the cut in film.
Camera position and viewpoint
The shot is what the camera records over a particular interval of time and forms the basic unit of filmmaking. The master shot is a single shot of an entire piece of action.
The establishing shot is a long shot introduced at the beginning of a scene to establish a time, a place, an interrelationship of details, etc., which will be elaborated in the subsequent scene.
The long shot is a shot taken at a considerable distance from the subject.
The medium shot is taken nearer to the subject.
The close-up is taken with the camera quite near the subject.
A two-shot is a close-up of two people with the camera as near as possible while keeping both subjects in the frame.
A bridging shot is inserted in the editing of a scene to cover a brief break in the continuity of the scene.
Framing is the amount of open space within the frames. The closer the shot, the more confined the figures will seem. This is called “tightly framed”.
Subjectivity and Objectivity
An important variable of camera viewpoint consists of whether the scene reflects an objective or subjective viewpoint.
Objective is an outside point of view, showing all that is taking place, similar to third person in literature. In this, the director allows the viewer to watch the action through the eyes of a universal spectator.
In subjective viewpoint, the scene is presented from the viewpoint of a particular character (often the main character, but now always). This is analogous to the first person point of view in literature.
Cutting within the Frame
This technique is used as a way to avoid the editing process. It is created by a movement of the actors or of the camera, or a combination of the two. It allows the scene to progress smoothly and is often used in television.
Dissolves are added during the printing of the film negative as transitional devices. They usually indicate the end of one scene and the beginning of another. The scene fades into black and the next scene fades in.
A lap dissolve is when the fade out and fade in are done simultaneously and the scenes momentarily overlap.
A wipe is a form of optical transition in which a line moves across the screen, eliminating one shot and revealing the next.
See File Notes on Film.docx (13.282 KB)C
Includes a cameo (brief appearance) of himself in every film
Plot twists (things are not always as they seem)
Casts platinum blonde women as leading ladies. According to Hitchcock, blondes show up better on screen when you splatter them with blood.
An ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances
Extreme attention to detail
Music is specifically written for each film in order to enhance each scene
Use of both subjective and objective point of view (sometimes within one scene) to enhance the suspense of the scene
Inserts comedy into dangerous or tense situations
Often follows a dangerous or tense scene with a comic one
Creative and unusual chase scenes
Uses the long shot featuring architecture or nature to show that the main character is caught up in something bigger than him/her/ self