Digital Narrative – Week 3

Week 3

More Narrative 

Diegesis-This is how the ‘world’ is constructed.

Constructing the diegesis-It is important to construct a world where the audiences ‘belief is suspended’ to immerse them in that space.

How to construct the diegesis:

 Semiotics: The Study of SignsCinematic Code-These signs communicate meaning through visuals and audio. Everything is an ‘artifice’ (false world) so needs to be constructed to convince the audience that what they are watching is real.

Text-Anything which creates meaning, therefore the semiotics.

Once the diegesis is constructed focus is then put on the narrative.

Continuity errors can break the diegesis eg seeing a camera reflection or change in clothes.


Combinations of Visual Signs-Costumes, characters.

Combinations of Audio Signs-Dialogue,Sound effects.

These two groups almost always support one another.


Visual Signs


The Long Shot

  • Establishes the environment
  • Setting
  • Characters in their environment


The Mid Shot

  • Establishes relationships between characters
  • Also includes more environmental details


The Close Up

  • Important in any diegesis
  • Establishes emotions, motivations and reactions of characters
  • A good actor can totally draw you into the diegesis


Audio Signs

  • Dialogue-explains characters motivations and reactions

-clarifies events in the film

  • Sound Effects-some are diegetic, therefore within the world

-some are non-diegetic, therefore sounds which the      audience can hear but characters within the diegetic may not be able to hear

-Music and soundtracks are completely non diegetic. Real people do not have a sound track following them around.

-Sometimes music can be moved from the diegesis to the non diegesis eg. Character listens to the radio and then it becomes the soundtrack.



Mise-En-Scene: Everything in the scene


This is crucial because:

1) Allows the audience to focus on and be drawn into the narrative.

2) Audience is able to identify with the film and its conventions.

3) It can communicate ideas about the characters and the events through the ‘look’ of the film. Sometimes there can be no dialogue and the visual signs and mise-en-scene tell the story.


Main Elements:

  • Set/props
  • Lighting/colour
  • Costume, hair and make-up
  • Facial expressions and body language
  • Position of characters eg Have a big desk and a character made to look small because they are ‘nobody.


Sometimes there can be problems in creating the mise-en-scene. For example cost or outdoor shoots.


Continuity System


Special Awareness and Narrative-Viewing a scene from a different perspective throws the diegesis off and the audience is made aware that it is a construction. The construction has to be invisible. Without continuity the diegesis is lost.


Rules for Continuity


  • Establishing Shot-Usually the camera does not cross the line into the mise-en-scene.
  • 180 degree axis-otherwise the audience feels like they have gonw behind the characters.
  • Shot/Reverse Shots-Character dialogue from one to another.
  • Cross Cutting-Sound, panning and transition scenes are required if the actor is made to travel from place to place or between time.
  • Eyeline Match-Seeing what the character sees.
  • Graphic Match– eg Clock in one scene dissolves into a round object in a different location.
  • Dissolves-To close gaps in time and space.
  • Bridging sound-Ensure sound is used correctly throughout.

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