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Framing Good Shots

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Framing Good Shots

Postby Black Lab » Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:19 pm

I fancy myself as a pretty good shooter of video. As we see on YouTube, everyone is an editor today. :shock: But the thing that can set you apart is how you shoot the video in the first place. Besides using a tripod whenever possible, the other rules that have improved my shooting are the Rule of Thirds and Lead Room.

Rule of Thirds:
A basic rule of composition is the rule of thirds. This guideline gives you ideas on where to place your subject within the frame. Though your tendency may be to position your subject dead center on the screen, the rule of thirds will give you a more compelling picture.

First, imagine that two vertical and two horizontal lines divide your viewfinder into thirds. (Think of a slightly elongated tic-tac-toe board). The rule of thirds suggests that the main subject in your shot should fall on one of the points where these imaginary lines intersect. The resulting image will be much stronger than if you simply place your subject in the crosshairs.

Lead Room:
Lead room, or look room, is the space that you leave in front of someone's face on the screen. This space gives the person room to breathe, as well as gives the impression that the person is looking at or talking to someone just off screen. If you don't leave enough look room, your subject will appear to be boxed-in and confined.

Be aware that the amount of look room necessary is dependent upon the angle of the subject to the camera. A person looking directly toward the camera will require less look room than someone shot in full profile.

Moving objects such as cars require a similar buffer. Allow extra space in front of a moving car so that the viewer can see that it has someplace to go. Without this visual padding, the car's forward progress will seem impeded.

Headroom is another element you should consider when framing your subject. Headroom is the amount of space between the top of someone's head and the top of the frame. If you leave too much space, the person will appear as if sinking in quicksand. If you don't leave enough room, the person will seem in danger of bumping his head. By positioning the subject's eyes on the top third imaginary line, you will be building in the proper amount of headroom.


More information on these techniques can be found at Videomaker.com.
More: The Divine Proportion: Balancing the Golden Rule
Last edited by Black Lab on Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sjj1805 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:26 am

One more point about "Headroom" that is often overlooked.
When a video - or a still placed into a slide show - is played back on a Television you lose the tops bottoms and sides to what is termed the over scan area. Even the Professionals get this wrong and sometimes you see a film on the television where the Titles and credits are wider than the screen.

Remember to allow for that border if you intend to show your work on a television set.

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Postby sjj1805 » Mon May 04, 2009 10:59 pm

Further tip about framing. One of the most noticeable aspects about any picture is if it seems to be straight or slanted - what we Brits term "c ock eyed". Providing the photo is reasonably in focus and reasonably exposed - nothing can spoil a shot more than not getting things level.

I use the viewfinder and look for something straight to align with.

Image

Buildings and other uprights tend to slope inwards as the building rises - rather like a pyramid. For this reason it is better if possible to find a horizontal plane to align with such as a wall, the top/bottom of a doorway or window, the eaves of a building.

In this shot the image is sloping downwards to the left
Image

Here is the same image after being straightened with PhotoImpact using the steps as a guide
Image

If you can get it straight at the time of taking the shot you save time by not having to later edit the shot in an image editor.
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