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Questions about placement of subject

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stan welks
Questions about placement of subject
on Jul 26, 2008 at 2:54:19 am

I want to shoot video of myself talking about different topics without any camera movement.

1. Based on the rule of thirds, is the idea that I will be located within either the left or right column, but not the center?

2. What do you use on a camera lcd or monitor to divide the screen into thirds?

Thanks!


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Rick Wise
Re: Questions about placement of subject
on Jul 26, 2008 at 6:08:06 pm

1) Yes
2) Your eye. Or else, take a very thin strip of black paper masking tape (cut to size) and by eye divide the LCD viewer into vertical thirds. If you like, you can also add horizontal lines. But much, much better to train you eye to see the composition.

Remember, all rules a made to be broken when it comes to cinematography. However, it's best to learn the rules before breaking them.

When you are the sole person in the frame, and speaking to camera, you might want to be in the left or right third, or you might want to be dead center. A lot depends on what else is in the frame. If you are in the left third, is there something in the right third to balance you? It could be a receding road, it could be a tree, a flower, part of a house, a painting on a wall, the item you are discussing, etc.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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stan welks
Re: Questions about placement of subject
on Jul 27, 2008 at 12:00:28 am

There will also be a 30-inch display in the background hung on the wall behind me that will occasionally have graphics displayed on it. My idea is to place myself in the foreground on the left side and the display will be in the background on the right side to balance out the other side.

1. How do the horizontal lines come into play with the rule of thirds? How should the composition fit within them?

2. How do you deal with the rule of thirds if there are two people in the camera frame? Just place one person in the left side third and one in the right?

Thank you!



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Rick Wise
Re: Questions about placement of subject
on Jul 27, 2008 at 6:17:21 pm

You keep looking for "rules." Instead, go to a museum for say 5 days in a row. Each day find one painting you really like. Spend an hour looking at it. Look at it up close. Look at it from afar. Look at is as you walk up to it. Look at it as you back away from it.

Look for composition. Look for lighting. Look for color. Try to find "reasons" why you like it.

At the end of the 5 days you will have a much more educated and much more thoughtful eye.

As for your TV screen, remember that TVs are balanced to daylight. That means, if you are lighting with tungsten units, put 1/2 CTB gels on them and set your camera to "daylight" color balance. You will be a little bit warm, but that's usually good. If you light with raw tungsten and set the camera to tungsten or "indoors" the TV will be very, very blue.

Also, if the screen is a an old fashioned CRT you will have scan lines rolling about unless your camera has clear-scan. If the screen is LCD or plasma, you are probably going to be OK. Fire up the camera on the screen, and you will know right away if you have a problem.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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David Coleman
Re: Questions about placement of subject
on Aug 1, 2008 at 5:37:17 pm

It helps to remember that your body doesn't have to line up with a "third zone" as long as your eyes do. That's why extreme close-ups with a persons head cutoff still works--because their eyes are in the upper third. If your eyes are dead center of the screen, or way up on the top edge the shot looks "off". That being said, it is a great rule to break if your looking for quirky.



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