Mascelli's functional analysis of camera angles versus viewers' interpretations of unconventional camera angles in Avatar and The English Patient
The primary research strategy of this study was to elicit meaningful answers from viewers by means of a focus-group procedure; this is a method associated with qualitative research (see Creswell, 1998; Berg & Lune, 2011) The group consisted of ten adults, whose visual literacy in terms of narrative films, was described as high (they frequently watch films at home, or in the theatre). The researcher acted as the moderator; and a set of semi-structured questions, based on meanings attached to camera-angle codes as defined by Mascelli, were answered by the participants. The codification scheme of Mascelli was applied to the unconventional camera angles in Avatar and The English Patient. These were compared with the viewers’ responses. Finally, the results were interpreted, in order to establish whether a meaningful relationship exists between the viewers’ responses and the interpretation of unconventional camera angles by such a seminal figure as Joseph V. Mascelli. The literature study focused on a media aesthetic explanation of cinematography, which included media aesthetics theory, framing, and composition, as well as the general codes and conventions relevant to cinematography. The literature overview includes a study of books, academic articles, internet sources, legislation, and training videos. A Nexus and EbscoHost search (Academic Search Premier and Jstor) was conducted on cinematography in general, and on camera angles in particular. Chapter 5 indicates the viewers’ overall interpretations of the unconventional camera angles used in Avatar and The English Patient. The graphs in Chapter 5 indicate that the viewers found the unconventional camera angles used in the films to represent the meaning of the shots appropriately, and that they understood why each unconventional camera angle had been used. The viewers’ responses correspond with the meanings of the unconventional camera angles, as stated by Mascelli. To ensure the effectiveness of a film and the accurate representation of the meanings of camera angles and camera sizes, the way it is described by Mascelli should ideally be taken into consideration by all future producers. Mascelli’s descriptions of camera angles and camera sizes, combined with the media aesthetics, as described by Zettl – when successfully applied – could lead to the production of a good quality film and images within the film.
- Humanities