To the left you can see a classic example of a modern close up. This is one of the most dramatic scenes from American Horror Story, and I chose it as an example because I like the bokeh-esque effect that is going on in the blurred background. The reason that the director would have taken this particular shot exactly the way she did would have been to emphasize both the emotion on the characters face, and the skull makeup that he is wearing. As you can see, his face is shown to be almost completely devoid of emotion, which is then reinforced by the makeup he is wearing – a projection of the dead, who can’t physically feel anything. The black of the makeup is both to illustrate the shading of a skull and the ideology of death being imminent. It is a very dark scene, and by having this close up, you can imagine what kind of event is going to happen next. The background is blurred so that the audience focuses on the subject, almost in a way that disregards the other characters – another suggestion that this is what the main character will do also, ignore the other students. He is dressed in black, which is commonly a good portrayal of death, destruction and darkness, which again considering the makeup is rather fitting. The scene is very dramatic and high-tension, and so by drawing in this monochrome colour theme with the idea to blur out everyone else, the director is able to get this effect to a maximum.
To the right you can see another classic scene from American Horror Story, but this time in the form of a long shot. It is featuring six different characters, four of whom are sitting down, and is almost a complete high angle shot, as it is being taken above everyone. Everyone is dressed in black, which, like the above example, is a signifier for death, destruction and darkness. The room is made up of monochrome colours, often with black outlining the white – suggesting that the death is overtaking the pureness and innocence of the colour white. As the episode continues, you begin to learn that the characters seen wearing the most white are often the more vulnerable, with the ones wearing black are more than likely the ones who partake in negativities. This is a very important factor in establishing the roles of the characters, and I think that that was what the director was going for. The room looks very plain and bare, giving off a feeling of emptiness and even that this is an emotionless room. By going for a long shot, the director is giving us the opportunity to see all of the characters at once, so we can see their reactions to the following scene. This kind of shot makes the empty mainly-white chair blatantly obvious, and with the chair having a mainly colour of white, you realise that one of the most innocent characters are gone, which builds suspense (you later find out that said character has a dark side, which could definitely be linked to the black outlining of the empty chair in these initial scenes). The fact that the shot is taken above the characters gives us a feeling of just being onlookers, and detached from the scene playing out. It makes us feel as if we are merely watching it, and that the characters are doing their own thing, without being able to be open to any persuasion from the unbiased outside. It gives off the portrayal that nobody with impartial sense over the scene can help them, and in that way, they are helpless.
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