Tim Burton main style of movie is Gothic. There are many different types of cinematic techniques all used to communicate meaning and evoke different emotional reactions with the viewers. In most of his movies he is trying to evoke a gothic feeling. For example he uses sound, lighting, and different types of shots and framing. You can observe some of those techniques in his movies, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Beetle Juice, Edward Scissor Hands and more.
Sound is a main cinematic technique that Tim Burton uses. There are two types of sound, diegetic and non-diegetic.
Those types of sounds are used in different ways. A diegetic sound is one that could logically be heard by the characters in a film. Non-diegetic is one that cannot be heard by the characters but is designed for audience reaction only. Sound also sets the mood for a scene. For example, in Edward scissor hands, when the woman was showing him around their house for the first time a happy upbeat sound was playing to set a happy mood.
Another example is when the woman went up into Edwards’s house; dark sad music was playing to match the scary setting.
In most films sound will match the setting or mood of the scene. However even though sound is a factor in setting the mood of a film, lighting also plays a role. Lighting is a part of the scene. If the setting of the scene is dark and gloomy the lighting will be low key, which is when the scene is flooded with shadows and darkness to portray suspense or suspicion.
If the setting of the scene is a bright flower garden, the lighting will mostly be High key, which means the scene is flooded with light creating a bright mood.
An example of Tim Burton using these would be in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; when everything and everyone was black and white unless it was a part of Willy Wonka. He used low key with everything black and white except Willy Wonka things to evoke the viewer’s emotions to feel as though, if you weren’t apart of Willy Wonka then you were not bright, colorful, and happy. This same technique is used in some of his other movies. A shot is a single piece of film uninterrupted by cuts. In Tim Burton’s movies, you may not notice, but he uses multiple types of shots.
A few are, long shot, which is shot from distance, shows isolation or vulnerability of the person, and Medium shot, which is when the camera is medium distance away from character, and it is usually used to ground the story. An example of long shot is during the movie Beetle Juice; Beetle Juice was sitting on the grave stone alone shot from a long distance, the shot portrayed a sense of vulnerability and loneliness. Also in the movie Beetle juice, when the family and guests dance around the table singing, it is shot at a medium distance, which makes it a medium shot, which grounded the story.
So as you can see there are many different types of cinematic techniques used to communicate meaning and evoke different emotional reactions with the viewers. Sound, lighting, and shot type are only a few; there are many other important cinematic techniques that Tim Burton uses. You can observe more techniques and really notice which ones he uses and understand why in his movies. A couple would be Beetle Juice, Edwards Scissors Hands, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, and many more.