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Overview of film

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is about a boy who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and holds exceptional magical powers of his own. He is asked to become a student at Hogwarts which is a boarding school for wizards. At Hogwarts, he meets several friends who become his closest supporters and help him discover the truth about his parents’ unexplained death.

Film techniques

Film techniques used throughout this film are camera shots, camera angles, lighting and color, music and sound, and costume and make-up. This is to make the audience interested in the film. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is an example of a film where all of these things are being used. These techniques are used to influence how the audience reacts to different characters and scenarios in the film.

Language of Film:

Every film has a story to tell just like each novel, play, and short story. The camera shots, camera angles, music, and costumes are used to influence how the audience reacts to a scene or the film in general.

Camera Shots

The movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone uses a lot of different camera shots to tell the audience the story.

Close-up: Close-ups are used when the camera zooms into a character’s face to highlight a facial expression. An example of this is when Harry gets sorted into his house at Hogwarts. This emphasizes his worries about being placed into Slytherin, however, is showing hope as he would like to be in the same house teams as his friends.

Medium shot: Medium shots show a character from the waist up. An example of this type of shot is the scene when Harry is looking at the Mirror of Erased and sees his mother and father standing behind him. This emphasizes what Harry sees in the mirror by giving them an equal presence on screen.

Long Shot: Long shots are used in films to show characters from head to toe with the location shown. An example is when the director shows Harry on platform nine and three-quarters with the Weasleys; showing Ginny from head to toe and the platform as the location. This emphasizes where they are and about to run through the wall between platforms 9 and 10.

Establishing Shot: Establishing shots are used to show the audience the setting; establishing shots are often used in opening scenes to show the location of where the story takes place. An example of this in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone is when the director shows Hogwarts for the first time. This emphasizes all students arriving at Hogwarts showing where most of the scenes will occur.

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Camera Angles

Directors also use different camera angles to tell the audience the story.

Low angle: Low angles are used to look up at a character and emphasize power. An example is when Harry is talking to Professor Quirrell for the first time. This is used to make Harry seem respected and in a position of authority. This emphasizes that Harry has power as people are happy to finally meet the one and only Harry Potter for the first time in public in the magic world after 11 years and being the first person to survive Voldemort.

High angle: High angles are used to look down at a character or scene. An example of this camera angle is when the camera looks down at the wizard chessboard. This makes Ron Weasley seem weak and in a vulnerable position. Ron will need to play this real-life version of chess to help Harry get to the Philosopher’s Stone and save Hogwarts. This emphasizes the life-threatening situation that he is in and shows how small he is compared to the chess pieces.

Lighting and Colour Light:

In the film, lighting creates a suitable mood in a scene. The director adds light to a scene in lots of ways; scenes can be backlit, front-lit, or side-lit. Some use natural lighting and others use artificial lighting. An example of when the director uses light is when Harry gets his wand. They use yellow/gold light to make the wand look as if it is strong.

The director uses color to tell the audience the story. Color can be used to influence the audience’s impression of a character. In some films, certain colors may be associated with certain characters. An example of where color is used is in the Slytherin quidditch robes. The characters that are in Slytherin are linked with green because their team color is green.

Music and sound


Music is used in films to create the correct atmosphere and moments like happiness, suspense, danger, and conflict. These are often complemented with music. An example of music used in Harry Potter is the music played when owls come to deliver a letter to Harry from Hogwarts. v

Sound Effects:

Sound effects are used to make things seem realistic. Examples of sound effects used in Harry Potter is when spells are cast. Sound effects are added to make whoever is making the action sound powerful or weak.

Costume and make-up

Every person on the screen wears a costume and make-up. This is to show the audience who people are and their role in the film or story. The audience gets an impression of a character by the clothes they see them wearing. Examples of different costumes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone are the Hogwarts school robes and the Quidditch robes that students wear during school.

The different types of make-up used in films are special effects make-up which is used to give actors scars or bruises. An example of make-up that is used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is the make-up used to make Harry’s lightning bolt scar seem much more real.

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