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How to Improve Framing and Composition

Learn about Framing and Composition
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Editing is undoubtedly the most time consuming process of filmmaking. It can make or break a film, which is why it is important to give attention to every frame so you can create a compelling finished product. Unfortunately, it is very common for editors to receive ‘trashy’ footage, which makes it difficult to come up with an impressive film. But, at the end of the day, this is what an editor is supposed to do – tailor trash to make it look good. 

In this article, we’ll talk about composition and framing to ensure your footage looks good. Composition refers to what your camera sees. Remember that whatever you shoot is what your audiences will see. However, not many people realize that while shooting.  It’s worth taking a pause and thinking about what you want to show. There are some rules that can improve composition and the final result:

How to Improve Framing and Composition

#1 The Rule of Thirds

This rule comes down to the basic principle that things look when you put points of interest on the thirds of your frame. 

Divide an image into nine equal parts by two vertical and two horizontal lines, all equally spaced. Place all important compositional elements, such as your actor’s face, along these lines or where they intersect. This will improve the overall feel of the image.

This trick tells people where to look, thus reducing distractions.

#2 Symmetry

This is used when you want to highlight the beauty in a shot or to tell people you want to focus on a specific element, it could be your character as well. Humans tend to like symmetry and this trick can make scenes look better.

But, make sure not to overuse this trick since it’s best utilized when the character is having a moment or has a special point to make.

#3 Leading Lines 

The trick involves using three visible lines to tell viewers where to look at. The lines are formed using elements found naturally in the environment. For example, when someone walks down the aisle, the lines are formed around the person to let people know it’s time to concentrate on the middle of the screen.

Leading Room and Headroom: This is usually used in combination with  the rule of thirds. Headroom refers to the fact that you do not want the top of your character’s head to leave the frame so that the image doesn’t look claustrophobic.

Next, pick the direction that your character is facing or the direction in which their body is turned more. Dedicate more room to the empty space and less to your character to show the context and to give viewers a better understanding of what’s happening and what’s about to happen.

#4 Depth

Every shot has a foreground, a middle ground, and a background. You need to decide what you wish to show or not show.

The key lies in establishing the presence of your character in the world. Wide angles usually do not work well in this situation since they make the objects in the background look distant.

#5 Size Equals Power

If an object takes up a large amount of space then your audience will see it as big and important. This trick is useful in a number of situations, especially when you want to focus on a small element.

Frame the shot considering your character. For example, showing a man in a wide shot standing in the middle highlights that they’re either insignificant or lost.  On the other hand, if you go for a close-up, it will tell users that the man is important to the story.

This simple framing rules can help enhance your frames and improve the output.

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