Today we have been learning about mise en scene theory.

What is mise en scene?

Mise en scene is a French term used to mean setting the scene, and the arrangements of certain props, colours and clothing used in certain scenes to tell the audience about the character or story in just one second or more. Mise en scene is used to set the scene, as well as give off the character’s personalities in any frame and this gives us clues about the story in every frame used depending on what genre it is.

How do we analyse it?

To analyse mise en scene, we have to notice every little detail and certain parts of every scene in every film. We can pick out different personalities by the use of lighting, location, props, hair, makeup and body language; used to give the audience, and viewer some information on what the story is about. The mise en scene is used to give the viewer an idea of the story. It also gives the audience other information such as what era it was set in, and where the story is taking place. Clothing, makeup and scenery are the most important semiology that give the audience a huge amount of information about the characters, and how the reaction is going to be to the other characters; for example elegant outfits in the desert western film The Dressmaker (2015) shows the audience that the character is an outcast, and wants to make a big impression on people.



The different areas that are used in mise en scene are:

  • Lighting
  • Setting
  • Props
  • Hair
  • Makeup
  • Body language
  • Expressions
  • Casting

Analyse 2 scenes from a tv show or film and use semiology to analyse certain props, clothing and colours that are noticed in these scenes.

Trailer for The Dressmaker (2015):

From the first 9 seconds, they scene is already set with the story being based in the old deserted looking town. At 11 seconds in the introduction of one of the main characters with her briefcase saying ‘singer’ on it which is an old sewing machine made during the 50’s era already gives the audience information about her personality, and what era it is set in. It then goes on to her opening a pack of cigarettes with white leather gloves and the camera focuses on her which shows that she is already a powerful character. The trailer shows the location setting i.e trees with no leaves and little huts in the middle of nowhere.

Trailer for Juno (2007):

From the first 2 seconds, the scene has already been set to being at the sunset in the middle of a small village with medium sized houses. It then begins to introduce the main character to us, and it shows her drinking Sunny D. She then rushes to the shops which shows the audience that she is either craving something or in a rush. The semiology within the first 9 seconds already shows that she has a youthful character because of her clothing decisions, and drinking juice. It then goes onto her actually going to the shop to buy a pregnancy test instead of some more juice. She then goes home and tells her parents that she is pregnant by a boy that she was seeing, but was never serious about since it happened. The trailer then goes on to show that the two characters end up falling in love with each other, but in a very youthful way.


College Film and Media Studies Guide (no date) Accessed on 5th of October 2016

NewsReporter Available at: (Accessed on 5th of October 2016)


outube  Available at: (Accessed on 5th of October 2016)

 outube Available at: (Accessed on 5th of October 2016)

Youtube Available at: (Accessed on 5th of October 2016)

FilmSound Available at: (Accessed on 5th of October 2016)