To the audience the camera is the voyeur displaying the plot. The film Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released in 1960 from Paramount pictures had interesting camera elements; they perceptively assisted in twisting the plot. The narrative consisted of a young woman named Marion Crane who wants to escape her life, which leads her to escape with a stack of cash and visiting the Bates Motel. However, Marion ends up murdered in the shower by Norman Bates, the Hotel owner. Marion’s sister Lila and boy friend Sam try to disassemble what happened to her. In Psycho (Paramount, 1960) when Lila Crane and Sam Loomis talk to Sheriff Al Chambers and his wife Mrs. Chambers, it appears that Mrs. Chambers is two characters. Hitchcock uses depth of field to explain power, applies attention-grabbing camera angles, types of edits, and lighting to communicate the idea of the shadowy and abnormal world of “Psycho”.
Each camera used in this scene from Psycho uses depth of field to illustrate authority. The first camera on Lila, Sam, and Mrs. Chambers has Sam in the foreground and Mrs. Chambers in the background. Having Sam in the foreground conveys the authority his character has. Mrs. Chambers seemed farther away in the background, which explains her non-authoritative character. The other camera has Sheriff Chambers in the foreground and Mrs. Chambers in the background. In this shot Mrs. Chambers is still farther away, but Sheriff Chambers appears bigger because he is closer to the camera, demonstrating the power he has. Conversely, the camera angles exemplify a sense of confusion.
The camera angles in this scene suggest a sense of perplexity. The scene begins with an establishing shot of all four characters. Expressing the existence of placement of the characters in the space. There are two cameras that are angled next to each other. The establishing shot illustrates to the audience that all four characters are standing close to each other. Nevertheless, the way the cameras are angled makes it seem that the characters are standing farther from each other. This is possible because of the types of edits used. This technique made it seem that Mrs. Chambers is two people because of the camera angles and the editing between the two shots. The rapid cutting between the two cameras and the space made it appear that Mrs. Chambers was not in continuity with each shot. Her head is turned differently sometimes from one shot to another, which can look as if she is two characters. The use of lead room in the shots assists in the distortion. In the three shot frame Mrs. Chambers has no lead room. On the other hand, in the two shot frame Mrs. Chambers does have some lead room. Conferring the uncertainty that Mrs. Chambers seems to be two characters. Providing these shots of different lead rooms bestows a feeling of perplexity. This gives us a distorted view of perception, which helps support the idea of the dark and twisted world of “Psycho”. Lighting in this scene also sustained the technique of misrepresentation.
Lighting in the whole film was low-key lighting. Low-key lighting in Psycho gave the movie a film noir style. However, I feel the lighting in this scene was used to distort the perception of where Mrs. Chambers is in relation to the space. In the two shot frame with her husband the light is brighter on her and coming from a right angle, providing an understanding of her aerial position. In contrast, the reverse three shot frame showed a darker light on Mrs. Chambers. This misconception makes the audience have mistrust in the shots continuity, leaving the viewer mystified about the reality of the world of “Psycho”.
The film in its entirety gives you a scared and baffled understanding of the world of “Psycho”. The use of depth of field in this scene demonstrates control and compelling camera angles, editing, and the lighting communicates the dark and twisted world of “Psycho”. The techniques that were used in the whole motion picture help support a sense of uncertainty.