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Old March 16th, 2004, 03:50 AM   #1
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The art of framing.

I rarely see much about info or discussion about framing. If there are standards that everybody just "know" I'd love to know them too! ;-)

Please help me with all the "rules" that you take for granted.
Eyes of a talent 1/3 from the top et.c.

Thanks.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 04:10 AM   #2
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Just to state the obvious. I don't follow any rules. I just do what
looks / feels good to me. If you want to show a reaction of someone
it might be better to show a closeup than a wide shot etc.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 05:37 AM   #3
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I took a lot of fine art and drafting when I was younger, so I guess that helps; and then there's my photography experience, which helps also. I would suggest reading some photography books. That would certainly give you some ideas for framing.

Watching movies, looking at published photographs would also give you some good ideas.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 06:10 AM   #4
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This applies to about everything involving art.

First, learn the rules. Next, ignore the rules, it is art.

For example, there are all of these forms and 'rules' involving bonsai (baby trees :) ). But the best statement I heard from an American master was to find some way nature could have created that as the explanation for what you plan. Really kind of simple.

In video, the best rule is make sure your subject is in the frame. All the rest are not important (said with an Italian accent as seen in Gumball Rally.)

After that, I try to follow the rule of thirds, but find it cumbersome and sometimes distracting while filming events. It seems to work better when you have lighting and planned shots.

Stepping into nature, I like to fall back on the still technique of framing with some natural structure to open, but after that, it is a pain to drag a tree around to keep that going. ;)
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Old March 16th, 2004, 06:46 AM   #5
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Rules are good to follow unless you have reason to break them. The rule of thirds has been around for centuries and for good reason. It is pleasant to the eye and it works.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 07:25 AM   #6
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I always try to give my shots direction. If you have a close up of one person talking to another or telling a story don't shoot them front on in the middle of the frame. Position them so you have a slight profile and then frame so they are slightly to one side of the shot looking into the frame. The same can be used for action with the, lets say snowboarder, trailing the centre of the shot. What this does is give a sense of direction or some place to go to the shot.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 09:54 AM   #7
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Adrian is talking about a rule or rules. Famous painter Robert Bateman breaks those.

Jeff is totally correct.

Everyone who talks about art in 'framing' has the right idea. Framing is the same as 'composition'. Where to place objects within the frame.

The best books I've seen on the subject studied art. Few photography books do a good job discussing this, though there are some.

The rule of thirds, the golden mean, geometric abstraction, etc. They all work well and should be followed most of the time. What's good enough for Renoir and Michaelangelo is good enough for you.

At least till you get comfortable with it. Many people would, correctly, place a horizon in the upper third of the frame but Andrew Wyeth might give you only a sliver at the top edge. Bateman's main subject might be in the upper third but is only a small object compared to the whole while giving you a huge foreground.

I see more and more "point and shoot" films at the theatre nowadays. No artistic composition at all. If you are shooting a story, nothing helps more than storyboarding with an artist who understands these things.

I could go on and on and most of what I said about art applies more to stories than interviews but that doesn't prevent anyone from using them.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 10:00 AM   #8
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Thanks for your replies!

"the golden mean, geometric abstraction"??

What are they?
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Old March 16th, 2004, 10:17 AM   #9
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As Rob alluded to the rules I spoke about are basic rules that can be broken but you have to know the rules and how to break them, that is the art. Anyone can break the rules but you need to know when to break them and how far to go and that only comes with experience and experimentation.

As for my use of rules I like to bend them rather than obviously break them. If you set out to break the rules your work will generally look like it, ie disjointed and reaching, especially if you go too far as many people often do. "Less is more" I think some kinda famous artist once said.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 11:13 AM   #10
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There is a very good book that covers the rules of Hollywood movies. It expains the frames and the relationships of people and objects in the frames.

"Understanding Movies"
Louis Giannetti
Prentice Hall

That I found invaluable. I was already making commercial videos when I decided I lacked training in the Art of making video. This book was the text for the introductory Cinema class at the local community college.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 11:44 AM   #11
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These are the rules I remember:

The hero always comes from the left of the frame and the villain from the right.

Never frame the horizon so that it splits the frame in half, always have the horizon positioned below the mid point.

Position the single character off to one-side, rather than in the center (unless the character or subject is coming straight on).

Follow movement logically. If a character walks off to the right, in the next scene, he should walk in from the left. This is the opposite for villains :)

Try and keep the boom mic out of the framing :)
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Old March 16th, 2004, 11:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
The hero always comes from the left of the frame and the villain from the right.
From now on, I'm always entering a building from the West side.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 11:52 AM   #13
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One thing may be useful to consider when discussing composition as it relates to moving images; with a still image (photograph, painting) the eye has time to take in the whole image and absorb the composition at its own pace. With a moving image, the observer is "brought along" with the flow of the presentation to a greater extent. This means that what would simply be an interesting composition for a photograph could create a whole different tension in the context of a long form motion picture.

As an example; imagine a scene where an assailant stalks an innocent character. If the innocent is then shot standing around quietly on the edge of the frame, say the right edge and looking out to the right, the audience expects and anticipates something terrible to happen from the left. That same composition reprinted as a still photo may not convey the same emotion. The observer might sense that there is a tree on the left which balances the frame and move on. The observer of the film version might never see the tree, or wonder if the assailant is behind the tree, etc.

For this reason, there is a different responsibility in framing when one is telling a story. Being aware that the viewer can be led or misled purely by framing choices means that the photography should complement the mood, whether that be pleasing or jarring, and service and advance the story being told.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 12:36 PM   #14
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If you want to see some great composition/framing, rent Tarkovsky's "Mirror". Well scripted, deep focus, moving camera images. Astounding to say the least.

Turn the sound down and don't read the subtitles. Just watch.
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Old March 16th, 2004, 12:36 PM   #15
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"the hero from the left... villain from the right.."

When they are introduced? Is that right?
Never thought of it..
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