Visual communication of mood through an establishing shot



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Texas A&M University


Visual storytelling has come a long way since primitive man began creating colorful, narrative cave paintings. In this new age of technology, motion pictures have become a prevalent medium for visual storytelling throughout the developed world. Filmmakers have the added advantage of being able to create more and more fantastic settings and stories with the introduction of computer generation images (CGI). They also gain a fine degree of control over the visual elements of the final product. The ultimate goal, though, has always been the same: to create a visual story with a distinct mood that will captivate the viewing audience. In film, the first shot of a scene, known as the establishing shot, is used not only to set the time and place of the story, but also introduce the mood. This thesis involves the study of establishing shots from five contemporary films to determine how to manipulate specific visual elements that promote mood, specifically a dark and ominous mood. Through this study, an original computer generated establishing shot will be created that successfully communicates a similar dark mood. The visual analysis used to achieve this goal can be adapted to various other genres of film and can serve as a guide for future artists to create comparable work.