Props in movies

Subject: Art
Pages: 5
Word count: 1395
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Table of Contents

Introduction

The use of props in movies is a common phenomenon that requires critical study and understanding. A prop is considered a property of the theater when it comes to performance. It involves any portable device or object that is totally different from costumes, actors, and scenery among others that assist in driving home the intended message. Notably, in movies the process often entails offering actors and actresses some space to refine the role of their character. Therefore, from a technical perspective, it doubles up the action especially when it comes to entertaining the audience as observed in the films In the Mood for Love and The Notebook.  In both films, the director is enormously creative with props in terms of organizing the storylines and even setting the mood. The phenomenon is notable in the use of Cheongsam in the former film to evoke the feminine identity and even culture. Accordingly, the uses if these props on the viewer are to change their perceptions about what they are watching and make their own interpretations. Overall, as the paper will demonstrate, directors’ selection and use of props is often dependent on the nature of movie and the resultant effect it will have on the targeted audience.

Body

The use of props is a technical area of cinema production. It is a significant aspect usually explored by directors because it of its potential of resonating with viewers depending on how it has been executed. Consequently, movies such as In the Mood for Love and The Notebook are the best examples of how effective use of cheongsam as prop is instrumental and effective for achieving artistic objectives and goals of the director. It means the use of cheongsam, for instance, in the selected movie of the semester accentuates both camera angle and lighting through the expression feminine culture and identity that emerges (Barsam & Monahan, 2010). The phenomenon is evident in Maggie Cheung’s dress code that is close-fitting, but exudes fragile beauty through diverse camera angles such as the low-angle shot and bird’s-eye view. In other words, these views ensure that perception of the subject dressed in the selected prop matches with those of the audience. Accordingly, for lighting in The Notebook, the costume and wardrobe used by the directors demonstrate that the directors’ into of manipulating emotion. On that account, proper editing must follow such a process that is described as mobile framing in cinematography.

Mobile framing, thus, involves the numerous options that the director has when it comes to changing camera angle, camera level, and even camera height when using props such as cheongsam. The intention is often meant to modify camera movement which is distinct the two selected movies. For instance, while In the Mood for Love employs the parameters of camera distance to help set mood and refine the storyline, the scenario is different in The Notebook. The latter is largely concerned with memorabilia used as props to give the narration a linear plot. Alternatively, achieving character in both movies has been made possible the expected effects they have on the viewer (Chow, 2012). It implies that the application of focus and depth of field often attained through different camera angles result to a new exposure realized through lighting changes in cheongsam as observed the movie used in the semester. Briefly, the essence of such divergent views concerning cinematography is to achieve competing effects.

On the same note, in terms of the description of the props used in the selected movies, cheongsam is both artistic and creative when it comes to its intended effects on cinematography. It is because the subconscious cues that the prop evokes are significant in terms of putting the character into proper perspective and situation while also acting as an extension of their personality. For instance, In Mood for Love, the main character called Chow Mo-wan acted by Tony Leung falls in love with his landlady called Mrs. Su Li-zhen. The chance encounter between the two individuals is an artistic masterstroke for the director who offers the female character a feminine identity through various props. Consequently, the most distinct is the cheongsam that usually accentuates the characterization and thematic concern of the film especially in regards to addressing the issue of love (Nelmes, 2012). Contrastingly, The Notebook also displays such tendencies with memorabilia as a form of supportive artistic property crucial in enhancing the performance through the screen objects that act as stage accessories for the benefit of the viewers. Noah and Allie are the main characters who employ various props as a means of achieving their goals and objectives in the film. Therefore, the director’s decision is to use both onstage and backstage materials that help in entertaining the audience. It means aspects of mood setting and characterization become easier since the director is cognizant of the overall demands of viewers. Application of real objects, thus, ensure that mobile framing which is distinct element of cinematography can gain critical attention in both the movies selected for this study.

Mobile framing as aforementioned is a fundamental aspect that differs in the two films since the cinematography used achieves diverse goals and objectives. It is a case of circumstance especially when trying to give a context of place and time that defines the narrative. In other words, the concept is a product of camera level that will definitely vary according to the changes that emerge when props are changed. Consequently, while In Mood for Love explores the numerous possibilities that shots can take for the purpose of setting a feminine mood, it is a different scenario in The Notebook. Accordingly, a comparison approach has the intention of the artistic nature of films when cinematography is improved through professional lighting and editing via camera angles and shots appealing the audience’s sensibilities. Conversely, issues of camera movements realized through the hand held shots, dolly shots, and crane shorts while they play an instrumental role in the movie watched this semester when it comes to use as props, it does not in the other one (Barsam & Monahan, 2010).

However, there exist also technical differences of cinematography that influence the mobile framing of props such as the use of cheongsam in In the Mood for Love and memorabilia in The Notebook. For example, while the former is concerned with camera angles that capture feminine identity and culture through lighting and editing, the latter is not. Instead, the director uses the prop with the objective of representing the conflicting themes pitting Noah and his partner in their quest to maintain their love affair that is great importance to the audience. Additionally, the effects on the viewer in the movie watched during the semester differs in regards to the technical perceptions it provokes with emphasis to editing which targets only the female characters in order to give the cheongsam prop artistic prominence at the expense of others. Contrastingly, such a situation is not evident in the other movie where memorabilia as a cinematic motif is recurrent and demonstrates the different intentions for both directors. The angle undertaken, hence, is significant because the audience is able to understand the contradictions of issues such the selection of frame rate and presentation that potentially will contribute to creation of new meanings (Nelmes, 2012). Another big dissimilarity when it comes to effects is that of reverse motion techniques that present diverse images of self-motivating nature in each of the films. It means construction of reality is dependent on director’s character setting and mood creation for the purpose of entertainment.

Conclusion

Overall, the idea of props such as the use of cheongsam In the Mood of Love or even memorabilia in The Notebook demonstrate that technical manipulation through special effects is important for the viewers. Therefore, the issue of props is understood from the context of other aspects such as editing, lighting, frame selection, and camera angles that help to achieve the objective of mobile framing in accordance with the director’s intention. In other words, such aspects and techniques show that film is an artistic endeavor that can be constantly improved through the use of different props in accordance with the audience’s expectations. Such expectations must be met within the confines of cinematic rules of using props to enhance the performance as noted in the two movies discussed in the paper and their eventual long-term effect for everyone.

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  1. Barsam, R. & Monahan, D. (2010). Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film. Mason, OH: Springer.
  2. Chow, R. (2012). Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films: Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility. New York, NY: CUP.
  3. Nelmes, J. (2012). Introduction to Film Studies. New York, NY: SAGE.
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