Mise en scene is an expression used to describe the design aspect of film production, which essentially means “visual theme” or “telling a story”. It is usually expressed through storyboarding, cinematography and stage design. Mise en scene applies to everything that is placed in front of the camera and its arrangement. This includes the composition, props, sets, costumes, lighting and actors. It is sometimes considered as all visual style. This includes both elements on the set as well as aspects of the camera.
Set design within mise en scene helps amplify character emotion, or the dominant mood of the film, or to establish aspects of the character. This is often seen within many of Tim Burton’s films where the sets and characters are quite dark and brooding giving the overall look of the movies as haunting.
The intensity, direction, and quality of the lighting have a profound effect on the way an image is perceived. The light can emphasize texture, shape, distance, mood, time of day or night, season, glamour. Lighting that is artfully portrayed is often prominent within in noir films. There is heavy shadowing is unmistakable. Characters are often portrayed within dark lighting. Like and shadow appear to clash constantly, giving the scene both really bright and dark appearances.
Using certain colors or designs, costumes in narrative cinema are used to signify characters or to make clear distinctions between characters. This is portrayed quite drastically within the Lord of the Rings films. The races costumes are given certain characteristics in order to allow the races to appear bold, elegant, strong or even loyal. The dwarves are portrayed as strong and bold as they wear stocky armour while the elves clothing is more elegant and graceful suggesting that their race acts that way.
It is through these aspects of cinema that we see that mise en scene is very distinguished with in film.