English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: cinematography (Page 2 of 4)

Capturing Comfort

Every episode of Murphy Brown follows a similar setup in its composition. Most notable is the intro. Each episode begins with a focus on an individual character and is sound tracked by a famous soul song. This is the title sequence which plays the actors names. Many episodes have a meta component with the song choice as the characters sing along and the lyrics give the viewer a glimpse into what the show will be about. This important sequence shows the camera following the character around the room and highlighting the do mundane actions they take. The actions manage to display the characters emotions without any need for dialogue. In this particular episode (season 1 episode 21, “The Bickners”) Frank sits on elevator as doors open and close without exiting, when he finally moves he gets a muffin and throws away the edible part, only keeping the wrapper. In the background “This is A Man’s World”. As the camera often does when a viewer is supposed to perceive the actor’s emotions, the camera goes up close to face.  These scenes always end with a fade out of music and dialogue begun by another character entering.

Murphy Brown is a sitcom, and thus it follows the trend of having a laugh track. This is to aid in the humor. Whenever a joke is made at the expense of someone it zooms into their reaction. The show features many long shots, yet occasionally adds short ones to keep an interesting flow and follow conversations. In between major scenes, the show fades out to a video of the office building and then zooms into top floor, this is possibly to suggest the importance of their work and give the audience a concept of location.

The show has three settings, Murphy’s house, the bar (even though Murphy is a recovering alcoholic), and the office. It only strays from these when following a specific story. This creates a comforting feel. As with the similar settings, all episodes have generally subdued tones, with earthy browns, grays, and pastels. The way episodes parallel each other make Murphy Brown an enjoyable and easy show to watch. One that takes on issues yet manages to not be too aggressive about it and keep viewers comfortable.

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1/3 settings: Phil’s Bar and Grill

Lights. Camera. ACTION!

As the acclaimed actress Julianne Moore once said, “People think that the directors direct actors. No. Really, what the director’s doing is directing the audience’s eye through the film.” As members of an audience, we often focus more on the actors and actresses that we see on screen rather than the directors and cinematographers that make the movies and tv shows we watch. These people are an integral part in creating the mood of a show while also engendering feelings and deciding how the audience will perceive the things that happen on the screen. To explore this idea further, let’s look at episode six from season one of Supergirl.


One thing that is evident from the very beginning is how quick the shots are. We see the camera changing viewpoints every time someone talks. Also, any time that someone moves or changes position within the scene the camera will move with them. During scenes like the ones in the coffee house at the beginning, the camera is constantly jumping back and forth between the two people talking, Kara and James. The camera is almost never still unless it is in moments when we are given new crucial information that we need time to process. An example of this is when Alex finds out that her boss knows something about her father’s death, and we can see how still the camera is in this moment.

The placement of the camera is also something that should be noted. The quick moving takes are often shot as a close-up of the person talking, or over the shoulder of the other person in the conversation. Throughout the episode, we feel as if we are up close and personal with the actors rather than far away. It is extremely evident that the director wants to make us feel like we are a part of the action that is happening on the screen. They want us to dodge the punches along with Kara and feel the wind on our face just like she does.

In regards to the lighting, the show as a whole is very brightly lit. The only things that are shown in a darker light are places like the DEO and people such as Kara’s evil aunt because these things are shrouded in mystery or evil. Because of the nature of the genre, it wants to convey a very clearly defined difference between good and evil, light and dark. It also wants to give the audience a sense of hope and optimism that good will win in the end which cannot be achieved with depressing and dismal lighting.

In conclusion, the director and cinematographer of a show have a lot of power in deciding how characters are perceived and how the plot of a show progresses. Through the use of lighting and the many different styles of camera angles, the audience can gain key insights into the different characters and what is going on around them.

They’re in jail for a reason right??

Sometimes, when watching this show, I forget that these girls are actually criminal masterminds so them manipulating the law confuses me at times; but then I remember these girls are in jail for a reason right? Chocolate Chip Nokie is episode ten in season six and in the first couple of minutes of the episode the directors do a great job at showing how easy it is for our beloved criminal masterminds to get away with running a “multi-million dollar” business.


The episode starts with our “don” Daya using heroin which flows into the showcase of  how she got it in Litchfield Maximum Security (emphasis on maximum). She convinces her mom to work with her by getting into the prison heroin business after her lover-Daddy-messes up how they bring in the contraband. After disguising the heroin packs at the bottom of an extremely unsuspicious container of Chocolate Chip Nokie protein shake, a guard brings it in unknowingly and as the containers are tossed in the trash the contents are obtained. GENIUS right?

In this very short 2 minute clip, the directors seem to capture every time the heroin is seen on screen very closely. From the time Daya uses it first to when her mom is placing it in the canister, heroin is the main focus. These camera angles emphasize the reason some of these girls are in jail. There is such a strong sense of trouble in these few seconds and it just reminds the audience that this is the reason we are watching the show. However it is amazing how these girls maximum their skills and run a full out business better than some of the businesses in their real world (cough cough Red).

The lighting stays consistently bright throughout these two minutes however it gets noticeably darker when the drugs are being transported. I think the directors added this hint of darkness because again the audience needs to remember that although doing it extremely well, a crime is being committed.

In these few minutes of an episode, angles, lighting, and an emphasis on strategy can make the audience in awe of the characters which also establishes a “reader-character connection”.

Long Takes and Heartaches


Camera Crew with Kerry Washington on the set of ScandalS

Season 1, Episode 6, of Scandal dives into the story of how Olivia and Fitz’s notorious affair began on the campaign trail. The episode is the most fitting to study cinematography within the show because very distinct cinematic strategies and elements are used to tell the backstory and current status of the relationship.

The show is shot very methodically and has a few captivating cinematic characteristics I would like to specifically point out. For example, opening scenes and occasional transitions are shot with pans through the background setting or behind an unfocused blocking object before focusing on characters. In addition, Scandal is filmed with extremely close-up shots. A large majority of the scenes in this episode and others are purely facial. Scenes with two or fewer people hardly ever show below the shoulders of the actors.

Another factor in the cinematography and filming direction of the show is the length of takes. The most notable length of cuts are the very long scenes of just Olivia and Fitz. This episode, in particular, emphasizes their alone time through lengthy takes with only their faces in the frame. For example, twice in the episode, Fitz asks for just “one minute” of silence with Olivia and the cameras grant him both of those moments in full. The only short takes with these two characters are during sensual scenes. During the sex scene, the camera spends very little time on each frame and there are nearly a hundred different takes within the two-minute scene. The intro itself is a flash of multiple images within two seconds with a clicking noise, which imitates the paparazzi cameras.  I believe the directors wanted to stay true to the theme of the theme of the show, its namesake, scandal. The longer scenes with Olivia and Fitz are more romantic and pure. Meanwhile, the sex scene being more inappropriate (since Fitz is married) is much shorter and filmed like the intro, insinuating the scandal that it is.

In regards to lighting, the show uses it to reveal mood and dictate morality. Olivia and Fitz’s scenes are always dark with a few warm colors, indicating romance and a sensual tone.  During interviews, debates, and other campaign events, the scenes are very bright. I believe this is to show how the darkness attempts to hide the affair, but the lights used during the campaign events follow the old narrative that where there is light, there is truth. Thus, a brightly lit campaign demonstrates a candidate of truth. However, the darkness tries to hide reality.

The use or lack of color may be the most distinguished cinematic element in the episode.  The directors choose to desaturate the frames in order to reveal flashback moments. This specific episode, “The Trail” explores the Grant campaign trail of two years prior and details the evolution of Olivia and Fitz’s affair. Therefore, the lack of color in certain scenes is what tells viewers that this happened previously.

The Cinematography of “Merry Christmas Season”

The episode “Christmas Eve Eve” on New Girl is the sixth season’s Christmas episode. It begins with a scene of Jess, Cece, Nick, Winston, and Schmidt worn out and tired after a long Halloween. The cinematography follows the same halloween vibe: it is dimly lit and the characters are in costume. This somber and spooky scene sets the stage for Winston to announce the news that Jess dreads most: no one wants to celebrate Christmas at the loft. A dreary background for dreary news.

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Jess is ready for Christmas Eve Eve!

The scene then shifts to a flashback of a past Christmas, which is happy, colorful, bright, and merry, but then Jess plugs another Christmas tree in, which cuts out the power, and all the Christmas Joy ends. Flashbacks are utilized many times in this episode, often accompanied by elevator-type music, so that the audience can tell it was a flashback rather than current times.

The remainder of the episode takes place two months later than the first scene when it is two days before Christmas, or as Jess says, “Christmas Eve Eve.” Everything from now on is jolly and bright. There are Christmas decorations around the loft, all the characters are wearing Christmas colors, and Jess is pumped for Christmas.

There is an interesting cinematography move that provides comedic effect when Nick puts on his new sunglasses and makes a joke. The show cuts directly to Jess unwrapping the gift she got for Nick- the same exact pair of sunglasses. It is unfortunate for Jess, but a great call on the film side.

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Nick bought himself a lil Christmas gift

Another interesting scene is when Nick is in the bar, and it is bright and filled with joyful Christmas elves, but he is just stressed about going through all the receipts. It is a clever juxtaposition. Another well placed sequence of events is when Nick and Schmidt enter the mail truck and it is filled to the brim with boxes, but when they go to the actual store it is empty. This has the effect of showing the change of the times from when people used to actually shop in stores to the shift towards online shopping.

The episode ends with Jess sad in her room because she accidentally left her name out of the secret Santa drawing. However, the scene brightens up when Nick comes in to talk to her, and then brightens even more when Ferguson comes in with a Christmas hat on. This foreshadows that something bright and happy is about to happen. Nick brings Jess out to a snowy and jolly winter wonderland with singers and elves and happiness. This ending scene and Christmas theme throughout really sets this episode apart from the others because of the many allusions to Christmas and the cheers brought because of it!

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A happy ending featuring Darlene Love

Everyone’s Sad and Dramatic, and You Can Definitely See It

The cinematography of Grey’s Anatomy seemed ordinary at first. It’s a hospital drama, not an action movie or romance show. But, at a closer look, the show’s camera angles, quick cuts, and close ups provide a clear way to view these interns’ and doctors’ lives.

Much of the show is focused in Seattle Grace Hospital, with some time spent in the bar and Meredith’s home. Most of the camera shots in all three settings are of characters’ faces and expressions, which highlights their emotions and reactions to the many dramatic situations they are involved in. These shots are often shown at different angles too, and this helps to provide different views into their expressions. Other common hospital shots are of doctors and interns walking down hallways, doctors and patients, and doctors during surgical procedures. The shots are choppy and quick, switching from one character to another to show their reactions as soon as they can react. It also reflects the fast pace of the show; a lot happens in a short period of time, and there’s no time for panning around settings or long, sweeping shots, unless they’re of an important patient or doctor.

The lighting differs in each setting. In the hospital, the light is stark white and harsh, as is expected with hospital lighting. It’s unforgiving, just like the environment. However, the lighting at the bar is darker, as the interns often visit at night. But, this also sets the stage for more personal talk. Finally, at the home, the lighting is warmer and less harsh. The moments that occur in Meredith’s home are usually more homey, and they act like a family (a dysfunctional family, yet still a family).

Each episode has a bit of a different theme and focus, but the episode I analyzed was the Christmas Episode. It didn’t have large differences; however, the lighting reflected the Christmas theme. In the hospitals, families had trees and decorations. In Meredith’s home, Izzie decorated the house with as much Christmas related things as she could.

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Christmas cheer, right?

How Shallow Depth of Field Builds Intimacy in the Bold Type

One constant element of The Bold Type is its use of shallow depth of field in nearly all of its shots. Many of the scenes in the show have a sharp focus on the characters while blurring out their surroundings. This film technique seems prominent in most tv shows today, but it specifically serves as an important tool in shaping The Bold Type’s overall premise. I was inspired to analyze The Bold Type’s use of shallow depth of field after watching a video essay by Evan Puschak of Nerdwriter on how The Handmaiden’s Tale uses shallow focus to convey the oppressive nature of Gilead. The Bold Type, likewise, not only uses shallow depth of field for aesthetic purposes but also to build intimacy within its character conversations. The show places a heavy emphasis on the daily details of its three lead women. While the show is set in the big city of New York, it is clear that the character’s lives are given a larger spotlight. Conversations are a huge factor in the show, and the use of shallow depth of field creates the illusion of a more intimate relationship between the viewer and the show’s characters. Character’s facial expressions and body language are given spotlight during a conversation. This extra focus helps draw the viewer into the discussion.

In the finale of season one of The Bold Type, Jane is tasked with writing a piece on a rape survivor’s art and activism. This episode is filled with deep conversations and plenty of extended close shots of the women talking.  During the final scene when Jacqueline takes the weights from Mia, the use of shallow depth of field is especially clear. Arguably it adds to the inspiring nature of the scene. Although the moment is between Mia and Jacqueline the focus still shifts from woman to woman. We see each woman’s facial expression at that moment, especially Jane’s. It’s a subtle effect, but this transition of focus works wonders within a show which revolves around character conversations. The shallow focus and the position of the camera cradled between the women’s’ shoulders gives the viewer a feeling of intimacy within the conversation. However, while the camera is constantly mobile, it remains looking over the women’s shoulders and never breaches their little circle, helping maintain a feeling of privacy within this crucial scene.

The camera looks over Sutton and Kat’s shoulders and focuses on Jane’s reaction to the moment.

The focus is on Jacqueline as she enters the circle.



Work Cited

Puschak, Evan. ” One Reason The Handmaid’s Tale Won Emmys Best Drama. ” Youtube, 31 August 2017, https://youtu.be/cY4aCnfrqss. 

Cinematographic effects used to show Derek’s dark death :( and one of the saddest moments of my life

Grey’s Anatomy, season 11 episode 21… an episode that I think will always stay remembered in our hearts and our minds. This episode, in charge of showing the death of one of the most loved characters, Derek Shepherd, used different cinematographic techniques that made our hearts teared apart little by little.


The episode starts with a bunch of  vanished quick shots that show some of the most important moments of Meredith and Derek Shepherd’s life. In addition to this, there’s a shattering image of police sirens in the background that indicate us, since the beginning, that something is for sure going to be wrong. As the episode goes on, shots go back to normal, some of them tend to be a little longer than others, but they are all shown through different angles (in the case of the car crash we are able to see through both the inside of Sara and Winnie’s car, and through the overall scene of the accident), which makes it interesting and captivating. The first half part of the episode is shot during the day, including bright and natural colors (like blue, green and yellow). However, when Derek (one of the primary characters) gets tremendously injured in a moment that we never expected, the screen goes all black and the cinematography of the episode starts to change immediately after that.

This is one of the quick throw back shots shown at the beginning, middle, and end of the episode  :(

Although it is exactly at the half of the episode that Derek’s accident happened, the transition in cinematographic effects goes back to the same they used at that beginning (a bunch of quick shots that showed some of the most important moments of Meredith and Derek’s life with the shattering image of police sirens in the background), indicating us that since that moment things will just go darker and darker. After this happens, the time of the day changes too, it passes from morning-noon to night, which makes all of the shots darker and sadder. The shots continue to transition from different angles, focusing on the face of Derek when he’s thoughts are being played in the background, and on the general image of the hospital when other important things were going on. Finally,  there are other two important cinematographic moments: when the police goes to Meredith’s house and tells that there’s been an accident (showing again a shattering image of police sirens on top of Meredith’s overwhelmed and shocked face), and when it comes the moment for Derek to pass away (ending the episode again with the remembrance of quick shots that show some of the best and happier moments of Derek Sheperd).


In general, this episode’s cinematographic use is not like all of the others because it is suppose to be a much more dramatic, sad and emotional moment for the show. As sad and resentful fans may feel about this, there’s no denial that lights and special cinematographic effects stand out through the entire episode.


Nothing to See Here – Cinematography in Fresh off the Boat

After watching many episodes of “Fresh off the Boat,” it’s still hard to decide if there any elements of its cinematography that distinguish it from its counterparts. For the most part, the show follows similar shoot patterns as other ABC comedy shows (except for “Modern Family,” which mostly uses shaky shots to simulate a reality show). Conversations are shot with quick cuts between the talking characters, and with most of the show being conversations, we rarely see any continuous shots. For a show that is so unique, it’s a shame that its editing is essentially a carbon copy of its channel-mates.

The use of color, however, is a bit more interesting. Most of the show is filmed in well-diffused daylight. The walls are always a pastel color, and this combination of color and light create a constant “warm” feel to the scenes. This mundane warmth could be representative of their new, cookie-cutter life in the American suburbs. It could also represent their new comfortable lifestyle thanks to the restaurant’s success. Another interesting color scheme difference in the show is not quite related to cinematography but is still interesting enough to be noted: clothing. Throughout the show, the white women in the neighborhood are always shown wearing brightly colored clothing with very unique patterns, a trademark of the early 1990s. In contrast, we see that Jessica almost always wears plain, light-colored clothes. This is likely a note of the cultural difference between the two parties; a direct symbol of the Huang family’s conservative values. It also shows that in spite of how well the Huangs have immersed themselves in their surroundings, they still remain different and not entirely a part of the community yet. This is especially apparent in S2E2 (my current episode), during which the neighborhood women (Honey included) make several more appearances alongside the Huangs than a typical episode.

Note how Jessica stands out from her neighbors. A clear example of color scheme differences used in the show.

I am far from a cinematography expert, so it’s safe to say that I am missing something, but as far I can see, “Fresh off the Boat” does not attempt to be unique in terms of cinematography. I believe the show-makers are aware that a majority of their audiences take cinematography for granted (myself included), so they focus more on the uniqueness of the plot. While it’s a little disappointing that the show does not innovate in this aspect, it doesn’t take away from it as a whole. “Fresh off the Boat” makes it place with unique writing and casting, not with camerawork.

Shoot to kill (demons)

Wynonna Earp is by no means a cinematically impressive show – never have I ever watched it and actively thought that the shots were stunning or greatly transitioned. However, through looking carefully, it should be noted that it is presented much better than people give it credit for, allowing the viewer to watch the show with some level of satisfaction.

The show is shot mainly in short to medium length takes, alternating between close ups of character dialogues, sometimes with all characters involved in one shot and other times switching singular face shots between the characters in the conversation, and long distance shots, which can involved a shot of the characters with their dialogue as a voiceover (those typically are very short) or nature focused shots of the Calgary wilderness. And of course, as an action/supernatural/western show, Wynonna Earp includes its fair share of impressive strut shots, with demons blowing up or nature themed scenery in the background. By including a variation of shots, Wynonna Earp is able to really present their genre as a supernatural western, with the fancy fighting and disgusting demons, as well as give the viewers in depth perspectives on the relationships between the characters outside of the action.

No one thinks of happy, bright colors when they think of demon hunting, and the cinematographers of Wynonna Earp agree. Most of the lighting throughout the show comes in dark, blue – yellow – gray hues as opposed white or pink. The writers are great at manipulating or associating colors with individual characters. For example, Waverly Earp, the bubbly sweet younger sister of Wynonna, tends to be in vivid colors while Doc, the gun slinging immortal, tends to be in dark, underworld themed apparel. This use of color greatly adds to the ambiance of the show and often times sets the occasion for the viewers.

Action shot after killing a demon

The episode I am referencing for this blog post, Season 2 Episode 1: Steel Bars and Stone Walls, is not statistically different in cinematography or direction than any other episode. No one is at fault for this, but rather, Wynonna Earp does its best to conform to its genre, and I commend it for that.

The Cinematography of “Fresh Off the Boat”

Unfortunately I don’t have much expertise on cinematography and direction of television production, so I hope to critique to the best of my ability. “Fresh Off the Boat” does well in avoiding the harsh lighting of the sun. It is great at diffusing the sunlight to ensure that everyone is softly lit at all times, so that us, viewers, can always have a good view of the characters’ features and attire. However, the constant soft lighting does make it seem unrealistic as it makes the entire production seem to either constantly be morning or evening. “Fresh Off the Boat” has a lot of moving shots keeping the select character in view making it easy for audiences to follow along with the show. However, the show does seem to have a slightly shaky camera sometimes; that I’m unsure if it’s intentional or not. It does seem to make it perhaps slightly more realistic, if intentional; however, if unintentional, it would make the production seem slightly less professional. Conversions are framed with the speaking character in focus to allow audiences to keep their eye on the target character as well as switching to the listening character for reactions allowing the audience to feel as if they understand each character at every moment. When there are two characters in the same shot that both have lines, the camera focuses in on the character that is currently talking; this allows the viewer to unconsciously change focus to the current subject. The show ensures that audience don’t get caught up with backgrounds by using mostly beige, soft browns, and low intensity yellows. I do admire the close-up of character faces, especially during reaction shots, as it allows the audience to see and understand the emotion of the characters. Each shot is fairly short often changing frames every few seconds; this is likely due to the short attention spans of current audiences that expect to be entertained at every second. These quick back and forth changes are a bit much for me, but it’s what many audiences expect of new shows and films. Something specific that’s done nice are Jessica’s flashbacks which are dulled out to represent the contradiction between her words and her memories. In the first episode, Jessica has a flashback to her time at the Taiwanese markets back in DC; her describes the memory lovingly, but when we’re shown the memory, it’s appears to be rather overwhelming with Jessica screaming and pushing.

In this shot, the camera is focus on Jessica with Eddie’s face slightly in focus so that we can see his reactions. The lighting outside seems to say it’s at least late morning, yet inside the car lighting is still soft.


The Visuals of Elaine’s Big Day

For the second Blog Entry, I am focusing on the Cinematography and direction of the “Elaine’s Big Day”, the last episode of season 2 of New Girl.

In this episode, there are a lot of major plot twists. For example, Jess’s best friend, Elaine cancels her wedding, and Jess and Nick decide to call their relationship off. These big changes are well represented by the cinematography and direction.

This episode is shot in lots of quick cuts. These quick cuts allow the show to jump from one scene to another in a short time. It matters because these sudden switches of scenes allow two plots to proceed at the same time. This means that the quick cuts add to the dramatic effect of the two huge events, sabotaging the wedding and the conflict between Jess and Nick, that are occurring in this episode.

The color scheme of this episode is red and gold. Since it tries to portray a traditional Indian wedding, it has bright colors involved. Especially the red color indicates passionate love or anger. It correlates with the fact that Elaine admits that her true love is Schmidt and the feeling that Jess or Nick felt when they decided to break up.

Elaine walks down the aisle. The main color is red.

I believe this episode stands out because it had many different bright colors such as red and gold. It defines the importance of the finale of this season and indicates the major changes in their relationships. Also, the lighting of this episode stood out from other episodes of this season. When the wedding was in process, the lighting was very bright. However, after the wedding, the lighting became dull in the scene where Jess and Nick ended their relationship. This dull lighting was also observed when Nick goes to the bartender for a beer. This lighting helps the viewer to interpret the feelings of characters.

Nick is depressed after the break up. Dull lighting is noticed.

Fresh Cinematography in Fresh off the Boat

This blog review is about the cinematography and direction of episode “Success Perm” from Fresh off the Boat. The show starts off with a conversation between the mom and dad and when they are expressing their love for each other the directors used a close up shot of their hands and then panned up to show the children’s reaction in the background which really helped the viewers feel the vibe of the scene. The montage in this episode implements a bunch of quick shots and then is immediately juxtaposed by the long shot of the parents when they finished and got perms. The lighting in this episode is mostly bright lit to reflect the warmth of the house that was prepared for the visitors. The show also uses zoom effects in order to show intensity and seriousness in particular scenes. This episode, compared to the previous ones uses a lot more pans to show the shift in reactions from the parents to the children. Every time the parents express their love for each other the camera pans to the children showing disgust. Whenever the grandmas come into the scene, they are shown from a low angle shot to express their dominance and wisdom over their children and grandchildren. During the restaurant shots, the scene was introduced with a wide angle of the whole restaurant to show that the restaurant was actually completely empty. And during the conversations between the people sitting at the dining table, there would be quick shots going back and forth so that the viewers actually felt as if they were part of the conversation. Overall, the show does a great job of direction and cinematography in the sense that the viewers always feel immersed in the show.

Long shots and bright lighting like this exemplify the success that the parents are trying to project.

The many views from Portland: diversity in cinematography and what it conveys about Portlandia

Good ol’ fashioned patriotism at Portlandia’s “Allergy Pride” parade

Being a show made up of numerous bits that say something different about life in Portland, Portlandia must be analyzed for its individual stories rather than as an episode in its entirety. This remains true for cinematography, as different stories throughout the episode require a different means of expression since they are trying to convey different things. As such, I will analyze the cinematography in Season 2, Episode 2, but I’m going to focus specifically on two bits within the episode: one at Portland’s fictional “Allergy Pride” parade, and one where Brownstein and Armisen’s characters become addicted to Battlestar Galactica.

The opening scene of the episode occurs at an “Allergy Pride” parade in Portland, where Brownstein and Armisen are announcers for the event. As is shown in the image above, the scene is shot to look like a patriotic setting with red, white and blue in the background. The camera also slightly points up at the two announcers, indicating their authority in the scene. There are relatively short takes, going between the commentary by the announcers and visuals of what is going on. The quick shots point to the chaos and absurdity of the event, as many people walk by with posters like “tolerate the lactose intolerant.” This scene is very well lit, as the goal is to make it look like an official event rather than something in an informal setting.

Conversely, a scene later in this episode shows Brownstein and Armisen’s characters procrastinating many duties as they waste away a week of their lives by watching every episode of Battlestar Galactica. The cinematography of this scene is noticeably different, namely because it is trying to convey a different theme to the viewer at home. Whereas the first scene needed to be seen as more formal, with more complex and well-lit shots, this scene’s humor is derived from the messiness of the characters’ situations. The lighting is darker, showing a lack of hope for their situation, and everything around the room is a mess. There is a rapid pace cutting between scenes, with occasional time stamps showing just how long they had been watching the show for comedic effect. The colors in this scene gradually get darker and less diverse as the scene goes on and they spend more time watching the show. Using different strategies, Brownstein and Armisen are able to convey different moods to the viewer in these two scenes.

However, I wouldn’t say that this episode’s strategy when it comes to cinematography is drastically different than any other episode simply because each episode has such a diverse array of strategies. This is truly a very visually interesting show to watch, and I enjoyed how the cinematography (and diversity of it within a given episode) reflected the diverse nature of the show.

The Quick Cuts and Cinematography Choices in Grey’s Anatomy

The cinematography and filming style across the first season of Grey’s anatomy is uniform. In the third episode, particularly, the same themes are evident. Since there are so many plot lines occurring throughout Greys, there are many, many quick scene cuts. Everything is shot in the hospital and makes use of a very blue and gray kind of color scheme. Additionally, foreground shots create a more relationship-oriented feel.

This episode takes place during a dangerous bike race that sends many people into the hospital. The interns take the chance to argue with one another over who will be able to deal with the nastiest injuries. Because of this particular plot line, shots are quick and cut in and out of each other. Therefore, the opening sequence being a long shot of Meredith in her house (not the hospital) makes it all the more impactful. This contributes to the differentiation between Meredith’s life as a surgical intern and her personal life, particularly her relationship with Derek.

After the first scene in Meredith’s house, Grey’s transitions to the typical quick sequences in the hospital. As the interns hurry to deal with the excess of patients, the cinematography style tends to also hurry through the different shots. A consistent thread throughout these quick scenes is the color scheme.

All the interns wear blue scrubs. The intendings and surgeons also wear different shades of blue. The hospital walls are a dusky blue shade of white/gray. The stark whites definitely fit into the realm of a hospital. Blue is also thought to be a calming color. It helps to create a consistency of cool colors and continuity throughout the changing scenes.

All the characters wear shades of blue.

Also, the director makes use of foreground shots all throughout this episode, along with the others. Such as, when Izzie and Cristina are discussing how to deal with a brain-dead patient, as Izzie talks to Cristina, the side of Izzie’s face is close to the camera and blurred out. This creates an atmosphere of connections and relationships in such a stark environment. The cinematography techniques in this episode are consistent throughout, except for the opening with long shots in Meredith’s home.

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