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Re: Proper Framing

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Re: Proper Framing
on Jan 29, 2002 at 10:00:52 pm


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", the same is true regarding "proper" framing! The difference between being a filmmaker and a technician is that the filmmaker "frames" and makes every other decision regarding the "film" to please him or herself. A technician must conform to accepted "standards" (which do exist regarding frameing) and supervision by superiors, namely the director and/or producers you work for.

Some people instinctively make pleasing frames and other consciously study the great works of art and films to immitate or copy what they think is pleasing and successful; both are allowed!

Framing really comes down to the size of objects in the frame and the relative balance of them to the foreground and backround. Some pictures, although they are two-dimensional by nature exhibit a three-dimensional quality; this is often done by frameing "correctly". We've accepted over time that when a person speaks in close-up, what they are saying is more important. These and many other "conventions" make up the vocabulary of cinema composition.

In television and cinema, as opposed to the fine arts of painting and photography, the objective is always to frame in a predetermined area; in tv it's presently a 4x3 aspect ratio but will shortly become 16x9. Both these offer particular possibilities. The same is true in the cinema, but there are even more options available; known as 1.33, 1.66, 1.85, 2.2 etc. Filmmakers often choose one aspect over another for feeling of intimacy or alternately spaciousness.

To become a skilled visual artist or technician requires an ability to observe the world carefully, in order to pick the elements out of the confussion that will tell the story or convey the information which is desired. There is no predetermined perfection, but rather only the discovery of what really works, and it is almost certain that the persuit is a lifelong experience.

On the road of that discovery you will find methods and techniques that work for you; you'll know it by the sound of the audience in the movie theater, or by the remarks of people overheard the next day in the street after your tv show has aired. The great danger is to think that you've discovered a "patented" method and repeat it over and over; for despite the fact that we're usually hired on the basis of what we've already done ("the reel"), our continued success is really based on an ability to adapt and bring new meaning with pictures for each new project.

So if you actually discover there are some "rules" for proper composition, the first thing I'd recommend is that you break them!

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