In this post I will be analysing how the use of shots, cuts and framing visually tells a story in the studio programme The Graham Norton Show.
This clip opens on Freeman’s face as Norton begins asking him a question, showing the audience exactly who he’s talking to, before switching back to Norton to show the person speaking. The shot then goes to a wide showing all of the guests and Norton together however the camera is facing Norton and the guests are partially or completely turned away, keeping the audience’s attention on the host. The shot goes back to Norton as he asks Freeman something, quickly switching to his reaction and answer in close-up. When he says something humorous the shot shows the entire couch of guests as they laugh and react before going back to the shot of Freeman as he says something else. This is how the shots usually go during the clip; Norton will ask a question on a medium-closeup and the camera will switch to whoever answers it, switching to a wider shot if they say something funny to show the guests’ reactions. If one person talks for a considerable amount of time the shots will switch between a closeup and a two-shot with whoever’s sat next to them or a wide-shot of all of the guests.
When Smith is recounting a story and he leans down, the director makes sure that the shot switches from a closeup to a two-shot, medium-closeup so that the viewer can fully see what he’s doing and aren’t left wondering what he’s acting out as this might bring the audience out of the action.
The director makes sure throughout that the guests get more screen-time than the presenter. There is also a two-shot of Martin Freeman and Will Smith as they are the most valuable guests on the sofa so even while Freeman is speaking you get to witness Smith’s reactions. There are at least five cameras being used in this one particular section of the show. Norton is kept at a medium shot whereas the guests are usually filmed at a medium-closeup, connecting with the viewer. The guests are usually framed individually, in the centre of the screen and sometimes alongside the other guests however Norton is framed away from them, differentiating him, and with the show’s logo in the background on a screen.
The guests sit on a plain red sofa, so it’s not distracting but is still light and fun. Having a sofa instead of individual chairs unites the guests and encourages a kind of camaraderie or friendship between them, something which Graham Norton is well known for bringing out of his guests. The sofa accompanied with a coffee table and each guest having a drink (often alcoholic) presents the idea of friends sitting around a living room having a conversation, bringing a sense of casualness and intimacy. The presence of alcohol also represents that the show is for adults and will include mature themes but in a light and fun way – again suggesting a ‘casual drink with friends’ kind of atmosphere. Norton is situated in his own seat separate from the guests with the show’s logo behind him showing that he’s the host. The purple colours in the logo and set background along with the glitter and gold give a suggestion of wealth and class, to go along with the high-profile guests, while the orange suggests positivity and friendliness.