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Composition & Framing

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

Movies string together images to tell a story, and how each shot is framed or composed can influence your audience’s reaction to what’s shown. And if your shooting video in Tokyo, the best place for Tokyo Camera Rentals is Temple Studios.

Many of these visual techniques are used in photography and paintings and have been around for a long time. They affect you on a subconscious level, and the better the artist, the less you realize how you are being mutilated. In this article, we will discuss what these techniques are and how they are used.

Here are some ideas to consider to help explain how the image you are looking at is influencing your emotion.

Field Of View

The field of view is everything in the frame, including the distance from the subject and the focal length. For example, a wide-angle lens close to the subject is different from a wide-angle lens far away from the subject.

Wide-angle Lenses

Wide-angle lenses exaggerate depth, making things look further apart. A wide lens can make things look fast, powerful, and exciting.

Telephoto Lens

A lens with a long focal length gives you a narrow view making close-ups possible from far away. Focusing on objects with this kind of lens makes everything behind it blurry.

Subject Distance

If the person in the frame is far away from the camera or small, we feel like we are in the same location as them. A shot very close to the subject makes us feel the same thing as them.

Wide Shots

Some wide shots are used as establishing shots or shots of the setup where the movie takes place. In Star Wars, it would be of a planet. In family guy, it’s a shot of the Griffins house. When the camera is distant from the subject, we are usually emotionally distant; it makes us, the viewer, only a spectator.

Close-up Shots

Close shots tend to be intense. The bigger an object, the more we pay attention to it. When we are close to a character, we feel what they feel. A close-up of someone’s eyes tells us everything.

The Rule Of Thirds

This is a fundamental rule of composition. Subjects on the left-third or right-third of the frame focus and put things on the other side of them and create a balanced image. It helps draw the viewer’s eye into the image and places more emphasis on the subject. Ideally, the empty space left should use “leading lines” in the direction the subject is looking or heading.

Leading Lines

Leading lines are usually imaginary lines that go from one object to another to draw our attention to the main subject. They’re also an excellent means of creating depth and symmetry.

Balance And Symmetry

Balancing the left and right sides typically gives a feeling of harmony. Sometimes completely symmetrical framing with the object of interest can be highly effective. Some directors are masters of symmetry, and their images can be highly effective. Check Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick for examples of this.

Depth Of field

Depth of field can either be deep, meaning everything’s in focus, or shallow, meaning few things are in focus. Having part of the image out of focus can make your image look more visually appealing and professional. This technique requires special care, especially with moving subjects.

Look Around You

The best way to study composition is to watch movies. Pause the movie, look at the image. Do they have any of these traits? Next, shoot a video! How closely can YOU follow these rules? And ask yourself WHY? Why am I using this lens or framing the image this way? If you can answer these questions before you get to your shoot, you will be ahead of the game.

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