Learn 15 Key Elements of Mise-en-Scène from This Handy Infographic
What the hell is mise-en-scène and why is it important to filmmaking?
If you're just starting to study the craft of filmmaking you've probably come across a strange word you've never seen before: mise-en-scène. This French term, which translates to "placing on stage", is used to describe the design elements of a frame, or as one of my film professors says, "everything within the frame that makes up the frame," and she meant everything. This includes lighting, costuming, camera placement, camera angle, props, blocking, lenses, even film stock—literally everything—I mean it.
Admittedly, mise-en-scène is kind of a convoluted and overly-complicated concept to understand, but it's necessary to look at what your camera is capturing from a wider perspective. In other words, it's a concept that helps you look at the shot as a whole, not just with the cinematographic elements (lighting, camera angle, etc.), character elements (blocking, wardrobe, etc.), or set design (props, decor, etc.) alone.
To get a better grasp on what mise-en-scène is, check out this helpful, and very detailed infographic created by Michael and Christopher of ShoHawk that details 15 of its most important concepts.
[And for the record, it's pronounced "meez-on-sen"...or mēz ˌän ˈsen for all of you dictionary nerds.]
To learn more about mise-en-scene, be sure to check out ShoHawk's blog post here.