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Framing people with hats- headroom


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#1 Gabriela Castanon

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 04:30 AM

Hi everybody,

I work as a camera operator for a business news TV.channel. I am not sure if this is the right forum, but I have a question about framing and headroom, and would appreciate your advice.

Yesterday, we recorded an interview with a musician who was wearing a hat.The director asked me to give him an MCU. What I usually do in this case, is visualise where the subject's head would end if they weren't wearing a hat, and then I adjust the headroom accordingly, which means that I cut off (framing only, not with a pair of scissors!:) some of the hat, so that you see only the hat's brim and the base. In an interview situation, the viewers will see the entire hat in the wide shot, so it is not necessary to see the whole thing in an MCU.Also, that way, the viewers can see a little bit of the subject's facial expressions, and and also body language, but you maintain a distance between the viewer and the subject, so that the viewers pay attention to what is being said. That is how I was trained.

The director disagreed with me and told me that I shouldn't cut off the hat at all. I framed the subject's headroom accordingly, but when we cut to the show's host, it looked terrible.

I would just like to know how you guys frame and MCU on someone who is wearing a hat. I am beginning to think that I should email the director some stills from the internet to illustrate my point!:)

I look forward to hearing from you!

Regards,

Andrea
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:04 AM

I think this is a case by case situation, it really depends how large the hat is and how important the hat is to someone's personae. In the classic hat period of the 1930's to 1950's they often didn't crop the hat in MCUs, of course, this depends on the matching shot and the psychological state of the character wearing the hat in a particular scene. How the hat is cropped in the framing can be pretty expressive.
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 09:05 AM

Andrea, I'd just let it go. Sometimes directors want really bad framing. I've done plenty of things which look horrible, some my own some directors Ideas. Were it me, though, I'd always cut off the hat and go for the face just as you did.
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 09:25 AM

I agree. Cut off the hat and go for the better frame. If the Director wants to see the entire hat, then the shot must widen out accordingly. There are some Directors out there who have no clue.
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#5 Gabriela Castanon

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 11:33 PM

Thanks guys!
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#6 Sean Lambrecht

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 12:17 AM

Already answered, but that director's direction bothered me so much... The subject is the subject, not the hat. As for being part of the persona, would framing for Dolly Parton's breasts be appropriate for a business news program? Viewers probably have a fairly good idea of what lies beyond the frame from the obvious bits they can see, and, unless the hat is the subject of the interview at some point, making accommodations for it is aesthetically disruptive and makes the guest look silly. Not that I know anything about hats...
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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 03:58 AM

Already answered, but that director's direction bothered me so much... The subject is the subject, not the hat. As for being part of the persona, would framing for Dolly Parton's breasts be appropriate for a business news program?


Yes, you can use the hat:

http://www.laureland...autographs.html
ttp://www.gonemovies.com/WWW/WanadooFilms/Misdaad/EnglischMalteseFalcon.asp
http://www.cmalbrech...sdetectives.htm

The difference may be the aspect ratio, but a hat can be part of the framing. Dolly Parton's breasts would have be a part of a MCU, otherwise it wouldn't be a MCU. Although you may also need to factor in her hair if she was wearing it up.
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#8 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 08:59 AM

In most cases, it's best to use the "rule of thirds" when framing a closeup, getting the eyes in line with the uppermost segment. http://photography-t...leofthirds2.jpg If you want to include a frame or breasts in a shot, you would want to widen out in order to keep the eyes at that same point in the frame.
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#9 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 09:55 AM

In most cases, it's best to use the "rule of thirds" when framing a closeup, getting the eyes in line with the uppermost segment. http://photography-t...leofthirds2.jpg If you want to include a frame or breasts in a shot, you would want to widen out in order to keep the eyes at that same point in the frame.


The original question was about a MCU, rather than a CU. so upper breasts would feature.
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