Cinematography and sound plays a very critical point in the overall “look” of the film. Cinematographers are sometimes taken for granted and are not given much credit for the entirety of the finished movie. They are often referred as Director of Photography or PDs. They are responsible for the lens that are to be used, the lighting setting and makes sure that all scenes involving the same location and time of day has the same light setting through out the entire shoot. They are also responsible for the movement of the camera, and the placement of the cameras surrounding the shoot.
The cinematographer works closely with the director to make sure that the director’s vision of the film is achieved. While the sound used in films usually accentuate the cinematographer’s idea of the scene to make it more expressive and that through sound it reaches out to the audience the mood or feeling the script wants to convey. In the film Pan’s Labyrinth (2006, El Laberinto El Fauno), a Spanish film by Guillermo Del Toro. The overall aspect of the film was not disturbed because they kept the original sound and voices when they showed it internationally, they just placed English subtitles.
This factor was very important since the primary language of the film, which was Spanish, added to the artistic feature of the film, the original voices of the actors were perfect and it matched the background sounds that were used. The musical score was perfect and haunting in way that it gave you shivers listening to it and watching the young Ofelia (the main character) go through her adventures. The sound effects were used strategically to make you feel the moment as it plays out in front of you.
It was slow and lullaby-like, to convey the sadness of the situation and the predicament of the little girl when she lost her mother. The mood of the film was somber and somehow dark corresponding to the story of the film, nonetheless, even though some scenes included a dark room or not a well-lighted location, the images were vivid and easily seen through strategic light positioning that allowed the viewers to completely see what was happening yet maintaining the mood of the scene. Most of the pivotal scenes included close-ups of actor’s faces but in this case it was not overly used.
Also, it successfully achieved the historical background of the Spanish Civil War. Due to these reasons and more, Pan’s Labyrinth won Best Cinematography on the last Academy Awards. In The Queen, the opening sequences were made documentary style to show that what was in the film actually happened in real life. In general, the whole mood of the film was sort of a documentary about Queen Elizabeth’s reaction to the death of Diana. They achieved this look by inserting real life footages of the late Princess Diana’s interview, and then zooming up with a close up to catch the Queen’s reaction at that moment.
The sound effects that were used in relation to the cinematographer’s style was utilized accordingly to have that documentary-style look. Most of the scenes were pure conversation and no background sound or music was used. The sounds were matched accordingly to the location, like for example when conversing in a large hall, the voices were dubbed to have an echo. Overall, the film accomplished its goal of showing the human side of the Queen of England. Both films are fine example of the combination of sound and cinematography to make a very good and artistic film, loyal to the shooting script and accordingly to the Director’s vision.