For this week’s blog tasks I am have been asked to view a short clip from a studio-based program and analyse the production methods including camerawork, set design, and lighting. I chose this clip from The Graham Norton Show, in which John Boyega, Orlando Bloom, Amy Schumer and Goldie talk about dating as a celebrity.
It’s a little hard to tell how many cameras are used in this production as there is a wide variety of shots used in quick succession, but I plan to break it down.
Four different types of shots are used in different ways in this clip: wide shot, two-shot, mid-shot and close-up.
Two different wide-shots are used throughout the video, one showing the entire set and one focusing on just the guests. Both of these shots remain the same when shown throughout the clip and can be seen cutting to a variety of the other shots used, suggesting that both of these shots have their own dedicated camera. (Cam count= 2)
Three different two-shots are used throughout the video showing the four guests as 3 distinct pairs. The pairs in the two-shot shift from right to left as the clip progresses, showing John and Orlando > Orlando and Amy > Amy and Goldie, with no cuts from one two-shot to another, suggesting just one camera is used for this. This progression reflects the narrative of the questions Norton asks his guests as first he addresses John, then Orlando, then Amy and finally Goldie. The camera moves between the guests to focus on the person currently speaking and the person who will speak next. (Cam count= 3)
A mid-shot of Graham himself is cut to throughout the video at various points, cutting from a variety of different shots, suggesting this shot has its own dedicated camera. Graham is not shown as often as the guests, this shot is mainly used to put the focus on him when asking the guests questions. (Cam count= 4)
The same visual storytelling is used for the close-ups as for the two-shots, with three different close-ups being used throughout, shifting from left to right, John > Orlando > Goldie, putting the focus on the guest currently speaking. The close-up highlights one person more specifically than the two-shot, directing the viewer to focus on their words. Like the two-shot, the close-ups seem to have just one camera which moves between the guests. (Cam count= 5)
That amounts a total of five different cameras used to create nine different shots in this short clips. No camera movement is used in this clip, likely to avoid reminding the viewer that they are watching something that is being filmed and make the audience feel more relaxed and connected to the people on-screen as if they are taking part in the conversation in real life.
Set Design and Lighting
The set design of The Graham Norton Show seems to be trying to give off the idea that the show is taking place in Norton’s lavishly furnished living room. Primarily warm colours are used, most of the set is red and orange with an accent of purple on the walls and a purple floor. These warm colours create a bright, extravagant, fun vibe, and the very red sofa on which the guests sit is reminiscent of a red carpet, reinforcing their celebrity status. Reflective surfaces are very prominent in the set as well, with the metallic edge of the strange, round table, and mosaics of mirror tiles being used on the wall in the upper-half of the background as well as on a structure reminiscent of a bar which sits behind Norton. The use of these reflective surfaces, particularly the mirror mosaics which are reminiscent of a disco ball, add a sense of glamour to the set, fitting the celebrity guests. The “bar” structure has several coloured glass vases sat on top of it too in place of alcohol bottles which make it look even more like a bar, which makes the vibe more fun and social, suggesting everyone is drinking.
The “bar” structure has several coloured glass vases sat on top of it too in place of alcohol bottles which make it look even more like a bar, which makes the vibe more fun and social, suggesting everyone is drinking. The bowl of fresh-looking fruit on the table as well as the fancy glasses the guests drink from further give off this vibe of being in a fancy living room. The set may have been styled this way to create a welcoming, fun, at home atmosphere while having a sense of wealth, celebrity and glamour to impress the audience without alienating them from the guests.
You can see from the shadows coming from the round table that multiple overhead lights are being used to light this set, pointed in multiple different directions, and it looks as if there’s three exactly as there are three distinct shadows visible. Overhead, three-point lighting would be very useful here as lighting the guests and Norton from above and from multiple sides reduces the appearance of wrinkles in the face and enhances the appearance of contours in the face, such as on the cheekbones, by placing the shadow underneath the bone.
If I had to come up with an improvement to the show I’d say that the show’s logo and title could be used more prominently around the set as it’s only used on one small TV screen which sits behind Norton who is not shown on screen as often as the guests. Having it in the background behinds the guests would make the logo and name of the show much more prominent and reinforce the iconography of the show to make it more memorable and recognisable, although they may well be trying to achieve a more subtle, less try-hard approach.