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Re: Cinemtography Exercises

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Mark Suszko
Re: Cinemtography Exercises
on Jan 11, 2010 at 5:09:31 pm

Composing a meaningful frame is something they don't just wake up knowing how to do. Start with exercises on the rule of thirds and in identifying how it is applied in some famous paintings, photos, and films. Easy and cheap to do with some cardboard framing squares to look thru.

just last week I viewed "The Grapes of Wrath" for the first time in ages, and the grid system and rule of thirds just jumps out of most every shot there ( Greg Toland was the DP on that, he taught Orson Welles everything Orson knew about the camera and lenses, and was the DP on Citizen Kane) You could do an exercise with a densely populated still life in the classroom using three students standing around, or perhaps a still photo, and play with how framing changes the inferred relationships in the scene.

The next exercise might be the line of action, how you do and don't cross it.

An important one my school profs tried to impart but failed at, is to really demonstrate the differences between a shot made by zooming in versus one done by a dolly-in. How the spatial relationships are changed or compressed, how distance is shortened or enhanced.

And show an exercise showing how to control depth of field, using the relationship of lens opening, camera distance, and zoom factor.

It goes without saying to show these kids how to use a tripod:-)

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