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What's open and closed frames? And how do i apply them to my shots?


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#1 Fuad zulkifli

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:52 PM

I'm current a student. I was reading a book "The filmmaker's eye - Gustavo Mercado" and i don't understand about closed and open frames. So how do i apply them to my shots?


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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:08 PM

What context was he using these terms? I can think of meanings for these terms in framing, but it mightn't be the same as his.


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#3 Fuad zulkifli

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:33 AM

As quoted from the book "Closed frames refer to shots that do not acknowledge or require the existence of off-screen space to convey their narrative meaning, since all the information necessary for this purpose is contained within the edges of the frame. Open frames do not contain all the necessary information to understand their narrative meaning, and therefore require and draw attention to the existence of elements off-screen. Many compositional techniques are designed to imply the existence of off-screen space, since it acknowledges that the frame does not contain the entire world of the story, but instead acts like a window through which a larger world exists. However, there are benefits to using both of these types of frames depending on the needs of your story. Off-screen space is also exploited to create tension and suspense, particularly in the thriller and horror genres. In the two examples on the previous page, from Uli Edel’s The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008), a closed frame (top) is used to emphasize the isolation Ulrike (Martina Gedeck), a member of a German terrorist organization, feels while serving time in jail. The open frame used in the second example adds tension to a shoot-out between Petra (Alexandra Maria Lara), another member of the organization, and the German police trying to apprehend her after she broke through a roadblock"
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 04:36 AM

Ok, that's what I thought it meant. Basically, if you've got a CU and the character is talking to an unseen character, that's an open frame. If you've got both character's in a two shot that's a closed frame. In story terms the 2 shot is complete with in it's self, whereas the CU needs another shot, e.g. a CU of the other character to complete the story., In this case the CU is designed to be open to a connecting shot to continue the narrative.


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#5 Fuad zulkifli

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:56 PM

So basically open frames is about having one subject in one shots that leads to the next shots?


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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 02:02 PM

Think of it like this. An open frame is a frame which only has a context/understanding based around proceeding or subsequent shots.
For example; in the close up. Sure, it's a photo of a person, but you are going to derive the meaning of the shot based upon the shot which has come either before, or the shot which is coming after.


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 04:12 PM

These are concepts more used after-the-fact to describe a shot sequence. Filmmakers constantly make decisions on how to best cover a scene and what to add or exclude in the frame to best tell the story... but generally don't discuss this on the set in film criticism terms.
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#8 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 04:37 PM

In practise it's quite possible for a shot to change from a closed to an open framing, but as David says it's unlikely a scene will be discussed in these terms.  


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