There is so much buzz about the various technical aspects of filmmaking these days that we almost forgot the reason we’ve jointed the party in the first place. Having the best high-end production camera providing the widest dynamic range is great, however if you don’t know how to frame and light your shots correctly to achieve a unique and appealing visual aesthetics for your film what’s the point of shooting anyway.
The ability to create beautiful images following and breaking the rules of framing and composition is the essence of creating exquisite visual narrative art forms. This is an essential aspect of creating unique and enticing visuals that definitely will mold and enhance your work as a cinematographer making it the only one of its kind. Knowing those rules is the initial and mandatory step in learning the craft of storytelling for every cinematographer. Here are some tips and tricks that definitely will improve your work behind the camera.
Using the rule of thirds is a commonly used asset, however aligning your subject with the guidelines and their intersection points doesn’t guarantee you an instant success. There are many other techniques one can utilize to achieve astounding results still following some geometry rules in framing at the same time. Here is an example.
Creating symmetry and depth in your shots is another important aspect of the process. Symmetry gives your audience a sense of balance whereas depth livens up the shots raising the creative energy of a composition, thus immersing your viewers even more.
No one likes flat, poorly lit shots where everything is in focus, that’s the main reason using shallow depth of field and high contrast lighting are among the other most important filmmaking assets. Using patterns in your frame is also commonly utilized technique not only in cinematography but in photography as well, that creates images with a strong and powerful impact.
Furthermore, avoiding eye level shooting and finding a different, more interesting perspective for your shots will also help you a to create compelling imagery. For instance, placing the camera below the eye level when framing your shots is a great way to empower a character and to bring more of the audience attention to it by creating a distinct visual style that is unique to your film at the same time.
Moving your camera is another great asset that also will add more production value to your work. This is an excellent way to add more dynamic and energy to your shots, keeping the focus and attention of your audience on the story and characters in particular. Planning your camera movements in pre-production is an excellent way to create sophisticated and appealing cinematography that will impress not only your audience but even many experienced DPs as well.
Following these and many other rules strictly don’t guarantee you that your work will be remarkable and exceptional in any way. The important thing is to make informed and conscious cinematography decisions using or breaking those rules based on your story and the emotional experience of your characters. This one along with the talent, experience, and your unique vision will give you the confidence that you are heading in the right direction.