TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

FILM STUDY GUIDE FOR TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
SEEING THE FILM THROUGH THE LENS OF MEDIA LITERACY



INTRODUCTION

FRAMEWORK FOR ANALYZING FILM

MEDIA LITERACY

USING TKAM  
ON DVD


CORRELATION TO
TEACHING 
STANDARDS


LANGUAGE OF FILM

SYMBOLISM

LIGHTING

CAMERA SHOTS

EDITING

MUSIC

SOUND EFFECTS

SCREENWRITING

SCREENPLAY

SETTING & 
ART DIRECTION

SCENE ANALYSIS

MOVIE REVIEW

GLOSSARY

MOVIE MARKETING

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LIGHTING
Lighting can be hard, soft, or any gradation in between. Hard lighting creates 
strong shadows, while soft lighting is shadowless. The type of lighting depends 
on the type of story to be told. Lighting can be manipulated to achieve a desired dramatic effect…..Depending on its context, lighting can signify truth and wisdom……Dark or harshly lit pictures can trigger feelings of fear, tension and a sense of impending evil in the audience.” 
1


"Lighting creates atmosphere. A mixture of dark shadows and pools of light may 
create a sense of unease, as in a thriller; if the lighting makes everything bright, 
the atmosphere may seem more relaxed. The filmmaker can use lighting to draw 
our attention to, or hide, a person or object."
 2

"Soft lighting and a low level of color contrast (many gray tones) help give many
of the shots in To Kill A Mockingbird (1963) a soft, romantic, nostalgic feeling."
3



        
DVD Chapter 10 "A Look At Boo" Running time ( 23:44)


Consider this scene in regards to lighting. Have students consider the following:

- what time of day is portrayed in the scene?
- where (from what direction) does the lighting emanate?
- what might be generating this kind of light?  (i.e. moonlight; streetlight)

- notice how half of Jem's face is in the light, the other half in the dark

- notice the shadows on the wall created by the column on the porch and by 
the rocking chair on which Scout is perched

- notice the other shadows, for example, running along the length of the house wall, perhaps generated by trees in the distance

- in what ways does the "dark or harshly lit pictures (in this scene) 
….trigger feelings of fear, tension and a sense of impending evil " ?

Recommended links
Lighting As Storytelling 
(full chapter from the text: Cinematography: Theory Into Practice)

Film Language: Use of Lighting


Recommended book
Painting With Light by John Alton

Recommended VHS/DVD
Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography

For a list of recommended books about using motion pictures in the classroom, go here.


See bibliography for all source material cited here

2003  Frank Baker