11 November 2013

#10 Textual analysis of opening sequence

Pretty Little liars.

I chose to base the textual analysis on the opening titles of pretty little liars, a TV program, which I believe in some ways, is similar to trust, and the titles contain quite a few things to write about.

I will start with the camera angles/cinematography, as this is quite simple. Almost all the shots are extreme close ups of actions of the other girls getting someone ready to be buried in their coffin. For example, there are extreme close ups of applying mascara to an eyelash, of the lips having lip gloss applied, nails and nail varnish etc., which I think is good because it adds suspense, as if you were to see these titles for the first time, you wouldn’t really understand that the girl having makeup applied to is actually dead, until someone closes the eyes, which again is another extreme close up.

After the series of 5 extreme close ups, we zoom out to a close up, of the arms being crossed, which is a symbol of the end, so this is effective. In the same shot, after no camera movement, the coffin lid is suddenly shut, causing suspense, and fear.

We then zoom out yet again to see a mid-shot containing the 4 main characters in the program where there is a camera tilt from the coffin up to the girls, and then back in to the middle one for her to put her finger to her lips, and say ‘shhhh’.

Next up is the sound. Anyone familiar with the program will instantly recognise the catchy theme tune (called ‘secret’) to the program and be singing it for hours! This has a fairly slow beat, and sounds quite eerie to listen to, as it almost sounds like whispering, like someone is lying, which may be why the show’s producers chose to use it for their show, as it does go with the show very well. It helps to build up suspense for the program when it begins.

As well as the soundtrack, there are a couple of sound effects that really add to the suspense and tension of the sequence. The first sound effect we here is when the coffin lid closes, when we get a delayed, very quiet echo-y thud, which makes it sound like there’s almost a ghost like presence around.

Another sound effect is when the main character says ‘shhhh’ at the end of the sequence (but just before the title comes onto the screen), which the sound then carries on over to the titles, ‘Pretty Little Liars’, which then makes the word liars stand out with the ‘shhhh’, making her seem like the main liar.

            The editing in the title sequence is quite subtle and simple. Between all of the extreme close ups, there’s no fading out, just simple fast transitions, that have been jump cut. We know this because when makeup is being applied, makeup is already on, so there must’ve been a jump. Similar happens with nails, hair, etc.

The shots have been edited to change with the music, so every 3 beats of the music, the shot changes, which helps with the general flow of the title sequence, and means that it’s well paced, so we can see what’s going on, but we aren’t waiting for too long for shot changes.

The only different transition between shots is when after the coffin lid closes, there’s a flash of yellow/gold and then the shot of the girls, which may reflect on the dead person’s personality.

            The Mise-en-scene in this sequence is fairly simple but effective. The lighting is the same most the way through, with dark edges of shots, then illuminated centres in the shots, drawing our eyes to the middle of the screen, making the skin look paler.

The sequence is set in a coffin/funeral parlour, then outside in front of a dark stormy sky, which may portray anger and fear.

All of the girls are wearing dark costumes, to show sadness, and darkness inside. This may create a sense of evil.

Finally the colours used are all very dark, as would be expected with a death scene.

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