“Notorious” Video Essay

Doing this video essay was more difficult than I anticipated. Choosing a scene to analyze was the simple part, but put my notes into words for the audience was tricky. I chose the final scene of “Notorious” since I felt it contained interesting editing technique. There were distinctions I made between the first part of the scene and the end. In the beginning of the scene, Devlin and Alicia are having an intimate moment together as he holds her close and tells her he has loved her from the time they met. With regards to editing here, there were minimal shot changes and this was to slow down the pace for the audience so they could really take in this moment of shared love between the characters. This is different from the next section of the scene because the shots are much shorter, some one or two seconds in length. This creates the suspenseful effect between Devlin, Alicia, Alex/Sebastian, his mother, and the men at the doorway. Also, having the editing pace can allude to the notion of how the most action-full moments of our lives go so fast; we often hear of how “everything went so fast” when there was a moment full of action. On a side note, in the shower killing scene in Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” the editing is very fast; many jump cuts that create suspense build-up throughout the scene, which may be a signature of Hitchcock and other directors to follow. Regarding cinematography, the first section contained many medium close up and close up shots of Devlin and Alicia, playing with the idea of being in this intimate moment with the characters. In the second section, I noticed that there were mostly medium, long, and extreme long shots of all the characters. This may suggest a distance between them and there is tension between them since they aren’t so close with one another. With mise-en-scene, the main setting in within Sebastian/Alex’s house where Alicia is being held against her will. The lighting was mostly high key and this allows for each actor’s facial expressions to be seen. It is slightly darker in Alicia’s room since the main source of lighting seems to come from the bedside lamp. This can held build the intimate close moment the two share together as they hold one another since it is soft lighting as opposed to the hard lighting of the second section of the scene. With sound, there is no background music playing as Devlin and Alicia are talking softly to one another and this allows the audience to pay more attention to this moment since it is the first time Devlin declares his obvious love for Alicia. Suspenseful music plays when Devlin opens the door and begins to descend the stairs with Alicia, Alex/Sebastian, and his mother towards the men at the bottom. The music becomes more boisterous as Alex/Sebastian walks back into the house to meet his fate.

For the reading this week, I remembered to take note of how characters don’t always tend to be in the central 3rd of the shot, and if they were it gives the appearance of a mugshot. Alex/Sebastian was in the center of the shot when he was being seen as guilty of something, for example when the two men call him back into the house. I also watched the Tarantino video and noticed how he uses low angle shots repeatedly to establish a dominant and weak character relationship, for example when Aldo Raine is standing over-top a Nazi general he is put into a position of power. “Top 20 Amazing Cinematic Techniques” was very interesting to watch since I had seen a few of the movies selected, such as the graphic match in the first part of “2001 A space Odyssey” and the long establishing shots in “Star Wars.” I didn’t get to use this knowledge in this film essay, but they were definitely enlightening. I also watched “Camera Angles and Techniques” and I remembered that fast, quick editing can make an action scene more dramatic and this came into play when everyone was descending the stairs in “Notorious.” This built up so much suspense and this editing technique helped enable that feeling more. I will be taking into account other facts from this video for when I film my episode for next week: varying camera angles create more depth and emotion.

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