Understanding and Deconstructing Television
Critical Analysis Two: Analysis

The two critical analyses for this course will focus on a TV program you choose. They will require you to apply the analytical principles presented in class and in Television.

In specific, Critical Analysis Two will cover chapters 7-11 in Television—including concepts such as mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, and sound. (The final exam will draw from chapters in Television not covered in the two critical analyses.)

Due via TurnItIn on Blackboard by 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, October 20th.

Remember: Screenpedia.org contains the discussion questions we covered in class. Specific Screenpedia pages are linked to from the BUI 301 Outline of Topics: bit.ly/b301f20.


Based on the preparation work you turned in previously, analyze the single scene you chose.

A. Mise-en-scene and Cinematography

  1. Pick one shot from your scene:
    1. Does it use three-point lighting? To answer this question, discuss what three-point lighting looks like. Then, imagine you're a cinematographer and describe how you might change this shot's lighting to achieve a different effect.
    2. What is this shot's aspect ratio? Discuss the impact a different aspect ratio might have.
    3. Describe this shot's depth of field. Discuss the impact a different depth of field (shallow? deep?) might have.
  2. Does your scene use predominantly high-key or low-key lighting? Explain briefly by referring to one or two specific shots.
  3. Define the term "iconography" in the context of analyzing TV shows and use an example from your scene to illustrate the concept.

B. Editing: Découpage

  1. How is the scene's space, the area in which the action takes place, introduced to the viewer? Does an establishing shot occur at the start of the scene (or later in it)?
  2. Do the scene's camera angles adhere to the 180° rule? Explain your answer by referring to your editing diagram. Identify an axis of action. Is screen direction maintained? If not, why is the viewer not disoriented? Or if the space is ambiguous, what narrative purpose does that serve?
  3. Is an alternating editing pattern used? Is shot-reverse shot used?
  4. How does the camera relate to the character's perspective? Are there point-of-view or subjective shots? If so, how are those shots cued or marked? That is, what tells us that they are subjective or point-of-view shots?
  5. Is match-on-action used? Are there jump cuts?
  6. How does the last shot of the scene bring it to a conclusion? Or, is it inconclusive?
  7. Your program was created using the single-camera mode of production. How would it look different if it were shot in multiple-camera?

C. Sound

  1. Write dialogue and/or specify sound effects that illustrates how sound editors can manipulate sound perspective to alter our understanding of a scene (somewhat like the sound editor of Ugly Betty did in the textbook example, but do not copy it). Briefly discuss how your new audio does so.
  2. Illustrate how sound and time could be manipulated in this shot, creating new dialogue and/or other audio to lay over the image (as in the textbook's example from Damages). Briefly discuss how your new audio does so.
  3. Finally, describe new audio for the scene that illustrates the difference between diegetic vs. intradiegetic sound. Briefly discuss how your new audio does so.


Copyright © 1994-2024 Jeremy G. Butler.
Email contact: jbutler@ua.edu
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Last revised: 30 October 2020 18:58:12

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