Reading: Composing and framing

The use of the frame is pivotal to a good film.

‘A frame cannot be just a representation of just what’s in front of you. It’s got to have three-dimensionality. It’s got to mean much more than what is shown.’

Ask yourself:

  • How can I make this image more poetic?
  • How can I say more about the emotional state of that character in this film?

For example, in the film ‘An Education’ there’s a scene in which a girl is being driven by an older man. She finds him very exciting. He stops the car, gets out and goes across the road and sees a black family. She’s observing all of this.

      

This could have been shot very conventionally. But instead, it is shot in a more poetic and simple way. The scene is really about her and what she’s reflecting on who this man is and what he is doing. The scene cuts from outside the car and a view of the street to her in the car looking at the scene. The car window is closed. So it’s just a reflection of the black family with the man reflecting in the glass. She is just behind it, thinking about it, creating a superimposition.

It’s just a question of using the focus puller to create the poetry of the shot – looking one way, looking the other way, and back again. It’s all done in one image – simple, concise, effective.

It can happen through the choice of locations.

‘It is absolutely important to find ways of actually creating scenes that imply more than the scene itself.’

You can over edit a scene – where you are telling the audience what you are thinking about, as opposed to leaving it and letting the viewer decide which part of the shot they want to look at – are they looking at the background, the foreground, what exactly their emotion is and who they are with.

 


List of references

John de Borman (2015) ‘Composing and Framing – Cinematography Masterclass’ CookeOpticsTV https://youtu.be/W8V6GJdT_Bg (Accessed on 20 November 2018)

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