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Laura Heffernan's Peer Review Guidelines

Things to Look For/Questions to Ask Yourself When Watching a Film
How Do Films Create Meaning?

by Laura Heffernan



  1. How/When does the camera create a point of view? (For example, does the camera position the viewer as a participant or a bystander/eavesdropper?)


  2. What is the rhythm of the editing?  For how long is one image on the screen (long take vs. short take)?


  3. When and how are film speeds varied? (slow motion vs. fast motion)


  4. How are any objects or props arranged within a single shot?  Are they given special significance and if so, how?


  5. How are the various characters positioned within a single shot?


  6. How is lighting used?


  7. What is the camera's distance, deep or shallow?


  8. How does the shot move, if at all?  (panning, etc.)


  9. Does the film have a plot development in which there is a logical relation between one event and another?  Is there a sense of closure at the end of the film?  Is the story focused on characters?  Does the narrative attempt to be objective?


  10. What is the relation of sound to the image in specific scenes?  Is sound used to link images together within the film?  Does sound ever become more important than the image?  Is sound related to the narrative at all?  What role, if any, does silence play?


  11. LASTLY, look for repetition of any of the above elements