Learn 15 Key Elements of Mise en Scene from This Handy Infographic
What the hell is mise en scene 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 scene.
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.
The mise en scene definition could also be "the look and feel" of the movie. How do those elements come together to create a 'feeling', or better yet an experience?
Why should you know about, or even think about mise en scene?
Because it'll make you a complete filmmaker. This is one of those things that doesn't require you to spend money. It just requires you to think wholistically about your creative process, and the end result.
Admittedly, mise-en-scène(if you prefer the accented on the "e" and hyphens) 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.
The best thing you can do with this concept is bringing awareness to each element you put on the screen, and how it affects the end result.
To get a better grasp on what mise-en-scène is, and use it to make your content better, 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.