English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: #quickshots

The Thinking Behind the Shots of Grey’s Anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy has a lot of cinematographic elements that I think are important to be mentioned. Why? Well Grey’s Anatomy makes use of so many different elements with each having a purpose and relevance to the show that when pointed out, make it much more fun to watch the show. Let’s start with the shots.

Each shot in the TV show is carefully planned. Some shots show a wide view of the scene while some shots zoom in to the action. During very intense parts of episodes, the shots are very short to simulate action and a constant shift of focus. Contrary, if the characters are having long discussions, shots are long and steady to give the audience the feeling of being part of the conversation. The length of each shot invokes a certain feeling in the audience along with background music, dialogue, and the position of the shot.

The lighting is also a key element that’s hard not to notice. The entire show seems to be a bit saturated, especially in shots where there is more blood present or more sadness. Most bright shots in the episodes come at the end where Meredith narrates some lesson that she’s learned as an intern. This is to signify a happy ending or “a rainbow within the rain”. These endings normally also show the sun in some way or another to bring a bit of happiness and sunshine into the episode and the show. The dialogue of the characters fades out, grey’s analogue starts, the music fades in, and the episode ends.

The episode of this blog post’s concern is the 2nd episode in season 1. Most lighting effects/shot styles that are present in this episode also play a role in the majority of the other episodes of the season. These tricks are used by the show’s production team to allow for a stronger connection between the audience, the characters, and the show.

Saturated colors in season 1 episode 2 of Grey’s Anatomy

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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