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Final Year Project: How's my framing?

framing composition student dissertation

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#1 Matt Salmon

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 09:10 AM

Hello there,

 

I am new to this forum so hope everyone is okay. I am in my final year at university and my topic of focus is Cinematography. More in depth my focus is Cinematography: How framing and composition can convey a narrative/emotion. 

 

I have been doing some research into different styles of art and photography express emotion and their techniques to draw an audience into their work. For example I have been looking into the work of expressionist art work, moving on then into German expressionism which then led to Film Noir (that's all i have got so far in my research). I also have my personal favorite films/tv programs which inspire me with their visual styles and just the general way they shoot. These consist of BBC's Luther, Channel 4's Utopia, La Haine, Lost in Translation, BBC's Sherlock, Ginger and Rosa and The Road. 

 

I basically want to open a discussion looking at this topic and get personal opinion off of other cinematographers and just people interested in visual elements. For example, does breaking the rules of composition help create a distorted image, and does that show a characters emotion at that point in time? 

 

I shot some rough tests on a C100 looking a lot at how the camera operates etc but also different styles of framing that i have seen on programs and films before. Please check this out and leave me feedback on what you felt the framing gave to the scene and if it worked, if it didnt, or just a general comment (leave it on vimeo if you want). 

 

Many Thanks,

 

Look forward to hearing from people.

 

Here is the link: https://vimeo.com/81618367


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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 02:19 PM

If your project was all about composition & framing, why did you seem to be more focused on digital grading?  That's an entirely different part of the aesthetic.

 

As for the framing, I wasn't crazy about the compositions - and I feel that is one of the most important concepts to nail down as a visual storyteller.  You need to learn how to convey a character's emotions while working within the rules before you start breaking them.  Otherwise, it just looks like you don't have a handle on the fundamentals.

 

Your very best composition was the wide shot at 00:58.  I liked the way the graphic weight seemed to slope downwards (looking to screen-left) from his position.  In the context of a narrative, that one shot could tell A LOT about what the character is going through.  And the fact that it seems to be in a "cold" environment and that he is completely isolated indicates the beginning of a downward spiral.

 

That shot also had a subtlety to it, whereas the others were trying to say something a little too forcefully.  Less is more.


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 02:45 PM

I liked the widescreen framing, but it is out of context, the framing has to be reinforcing an idea.  I also get a bit nervous when the subject is too close to the edges because I worry about some theaters trimming a bit off of the sides.


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#4 Matt Salmon

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 05:02 PM

Hey guys, thanks for the feedback. Bill Your comments did make a lot of sense and it did help me to understand what needs to be looked at more with composing an image. To be fair I have only started experimenting with these things in my project. As for your question to start your reply, I completely forgot to say ignore the grading, that was mainly too see how much i could push the C100 in post for future reference, the grades pretty bad I accept that, but yeah I know out of context and i forgot to mention that in my previous post. 

 

David, thank you for liking the widescreen framing, however I'm not fully understanding your comment, could you expand on that for me?

 

Many thanks guys!


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 05:16 PM

I'm just saying that it is hard to judge composition outside of a narrative context that drives it, especially more extreme framing which may seem wrong when viewed without any context but make sense if it were part of a visual structure to convey a mood or story point.

 

I remember years ago a complaint about Geoffrey Unsworth's anamorphic shooting of "Superman", to the extent that he shouldn't have pushed important information to the "bad" edges of anamorphic lenses, and I think they were talking about scenes like this:

 

superman32.jpg

 

superman33.jpg

 

But I think this is a good example where putting Ma Kent on the far edge of the frame makes sense because it reinforces the notion of her impending separation from her son.


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#6 Matt Salmon

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 05:28 PM

Ah yes I see what you mean about finding it hard to judge to composition without a narrative context, I suppose thats where my testing fell quite a bit, because I was focusing on composing a image with no idea on what the story was of this person and what has happened. I was literally looking at the framing. The visual example you posted where Ma Kent is on the edge of the frame really helps me understand and see how a narrative can create a composed image and give it context to an audience, which is really what my project will hopefully do when testing is done and I start shooting it. 

 

Have you anymore examples like this? If you have watched Luther before, what would you say about that programs composition, as some of those shots really look at placing characters right on the edge of the frame. 

 

Thanks


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#7 Brett Bailey

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 02:47 PM

I, too, thought it was a reel about color grading.  Always remember the rule of thirds.

 

 

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Christopher Doyle always has some really interesting compositions in his films with WKW.  Particularly, "In the Mood for Love."  If you haven't seen them, check them out.


Edited by Brett Bailey, 14 December 2013 - 02:51 PM.

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#8 Brett Bailey

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 02:58 PM

I'm just saying that it is hard to judge composition outside of a narrative context that drives it, especially more extreme framing which may seem wrong when viewed without any context but make sense if it were part of a visual structure to convey a mood or story point.

 

I remember years ago a complaint about Geoffrey Unsworth's anamorphic shooting of "Superman", to the extent that he shouldn't have pushed important information to the "bad" edges of anamorphic lenses, and I think they were talking about scenes like this:

 

superman32.jpg

 

superman33.jpg

 

But I think this is a good example where putting Ma Kent on the far edge of the frame makes sense because it reinforces the notion of her impending separation from her son.


 


Still, imho, one of the best, if not the best, super hero films ever made.  It had such an "epic" feel to the movie.  The score by John Williams was fantastic.  The direction by Donner, top notch.  And Unsworth... just spot on.


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#9 Tom Mangelschots

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Posted 11 February 2015 - 06:53 AM

I'm just saying that it is hard to judge composition outside of a narrative context that drives it, especially more extreme framing which may seem wrong when viewed without any context but make sense if it were part of a visual structure to convey a mood or story point.

 

I remember years ago a complaint about Geoffrey Unsworth's anamorphic shooting of "Superman", to the extent that he shouldn't have pushed important information to the "bad" edges of anamorphic lenses, and I think they were talking about scenes like this:

 

superman32.jpg

 

superman33.jpg

 

But I think this is a good example where putting Ma Kent on the far edge of the frame makes sense because it reinforces the notion of her impending separation from her son.

 

Just saw this scene again on blu-ray (The Superman Anthology), I loved this shot so much it even brought tears to my eyes ;-)... By the way the HD transfer on these BDs is magnificent! Looks very good for a 1978 movie.


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The Slider

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Technodolly

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