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File:UnderstandingComics AspectMontage 8073.gif

The Aspect Montage is a camera device, though it can appear in print mediums as well. Rather than show one wide establishing shot, a montage of environmental scenes are used to establish mood and location. The details chosen allow a director to bring some aspect of the setting into sharp focus, allowing a complex scene a bit more direction.

For example, to establish that a scene is set in a kitchen, rather than just show a wide Establishing Shot of the kitchen, a director will show a close up of a pot on the stove, a table, a sink full of dishes, other details that make us think "Kitchen". This device adds a distinct flavor to the location, and makes it feel less generic.

By revealing smaller sections of an image the same image may be displayed longer. This spares the animation budget for higher-intensity scenes.

Examples of Aspect Montage include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Once an Episode opening scene of Serial Experiments Lain establishes its city location by a montage of power lines, crowds crossing roads, and the familiar Japanese "Don't Walk" sign. This gives a sense of tension and mundanity at the same time.
    • Well, part of that tension might be because the viewers remember what happened during the opening of the first episode, intermixed with these same establishing shots.
  • Kare Kano made good use of this trope.
  • This was how you knew the cast had arrived in a new Adventure Town in Slayers.
  • Used often by Makoto Shinkai in The Place Promised in Our Early Days

Live-Action TV

  • A version of this is used on the American cop show NYPD Blue.
  • Could be used to describe the scene-setting montages used in The Apprentice.
  • Frequently used in television newscasts as a way of establishing location when the news segment is about a specific activity or one that tends to occur at a specific location.

Video Games

  • Also somewhat used in the video game Ape Escape and its sequels.
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