View Full Version : need cinematography, or anyones help on some shots

04-07-2005, 03:09 AM

can someone please have a look at the 4 pictures on that site. could you use those four shots in a row?, i think maybe the shot of the girl is wrong. i'm not sure. i just need some advice. thanxs. is there any books you know that can help with things like that?

04-07-2005, 03:20 AM
: welcome :

I think the last two shots are awkward in my opinion. I'm sure someone else will give a better explaination.. I just feel lazy right now...

I'll quote the dashing and wonderful Clive here:
That's interesting. I'm very fond of Shyamalan as a director, when I first saw "Unbreakable" I was shocked because his choice of framing on that film was so close to my own style that it almost felt like I'd shot it.

The use of movement in The Village was very similar to that of another favorite film of mine "Diva" where the camera flows slowly around the actors in sync with the sound track which is mainly Opera.

I quite like these subtle movements of the camera, the flowing style. It's the shaky hand held NYPR blue style that is becoming passe. It's almost impossible to watch some TV now, even in non-conflict dialogue sequences the camera is is jerking around like the camera op has some neuorlogical disorder which prevents them holding anything steady.
I'm not anti-hand held, in fact I use it in all the flashback sequences of my feature "No Place," but that's a deliberate use of an ENG shooting style to show my protagonist's past life as a war photographer.

I think the thing that isn't so obvious about placement of camera is that it has a language and semantics of it's own. Where ever you place the camera is where you want the audience to be. The closer you get the more intimacy you imply, the futher away the more voyueristic it becomes, if you place the camera above the eyeline of the actor you are putting the audience in a dominate position and obviously if you place the camera below the eyeline you are putting the actor in the dominate position (Watch the begining of any early Arnie movie to see this one hammered home.) There are also conventions, so at the begining of the story you start wide and slowly move into the story and at the end you move away, telling the audience that their time with these characters is over. Most directors do this unconciously, because they've absorbed the languague by being part of the audience, some however consciously manipulate it, the most obvious directors in this category being the Coen Brothers, Roman Polanski and Kurosawa.

Roman Polanski talks about this explictly and I've always used it as a guide. When blocking out a scene he walks around the actors whilst they work, placing himself as the audience within the scene and seeing what is of most interest to him. He then places the camera and picks his shots accordingly.

I like this, because it's not about formulatic reproduction of other people's fancy shots, it's about creating a conscious link between the audience and how the film is shot.

I think the difficulty with a director like Kubrick is that he is the most visual centred director there has ever been. In much of his work the actors are no different to him emotionally than any other prop in the frame. This makes his imagery stunning and his attention to details is about creating a visual ballet, where how things look from second to second must conform to a fairly rigid visual formular. This makes his films both stunning to watch and at the same time difficult to connect to. At the same time, however, his early films Dr Strangelove and Lollita are compelling pieces of film making and seem to have been made before Kubrick could achieve the levels of control he took in later years. I think they are better films for that, but I must admit that Kubrick still has the ability to take my breath away with his capacity for creating visual coherence in a shot and I still wish he had completed A.I. rather than Spielberg, because I think the sentimental elements that pervaded that film were its weak points.

Hope that helps.


04-07-2005, 03:55 AM
I'm not quite sure what you mean.

Can you use the 4 shots in a row? Well sure... you could make that work for a lot of things. I just don't know what your goal is, though.

You could make that a 4 panel comic strip by adding speech bubbles. It might be a storyboard. Maybe it's a single frame in 3d-Max from multiple perspectives, to be animated later.

The only thing I really see really "wrong" is the sudden change of skin colour on the girl, below the neck.

Maybe a brief word on what this about?

04-07-2005, 04:25 AM

:blush: Thanks for quoting my recent rant on the semantics of the camera (spatula) nice to be appreciated, especially this week!

However, unknown232 here's some thoughts

I've looked at your set ups and I think the reason they look odd is because of the mid shot singles. One is straight onto the character (The guy), The other isn't. The way the cameras are set suggests that the couple are being watched by someone else. This is because traditionally you'd place the camera for the midshot on the girl on the guy's side of the room and his midshot on her side. This is because dialogue is shot that way and people are used to that convention.

If your intention is to show them watching TV then your midshots could be from the POV of the TV, which would mean bringing them both straight on and lowering the camera position so that you are below their eyeline rather than above it.

If there is dialogue it would be traditonal to throw in two extra midshots over the shoulder (or in this case past the profile of each character).

Of course all of this changes if there is any specific movement in the scene.

The only other thing you might look at is your framing. The eyes in a mid shot should be higher up the frame, closer to a third from the top rather than in the centre (Try it, you'll see it looks better)

04-07-2005, 04:29 AM
sorry, i'll try to explain furthur. its just like a storyboard. its just a scene from a movie and i'm trying like a kinda establishing shot and there working out shots after that. i would just like some advice on those shots.

some advice from another forum:

" For starters... too much headroom. You will also need to move in or out on the fourth shot because as it stands, it looks like you will be cutting off below the knees which is a cruel thing to do."

just things like that, sorry i'm 15, just trying to learn filmmaking and any, ANY advice would be so much appreciated

oh and the color change in the girls kneck, that just got to do with the storyboard program i'm using, i didn't animate it or anything.

04-07-2005, 05:55 AM
can anyone else help, i know clive practically said it all but does anyone else have anything, anything at all to add?

Mikey D
04-07-2005, 09:47 AM
Can't seem to get the pictures from your link. I most likely didn't have anything constructive to add anyway.

Now your question of a book however. Try "Grammer of the shot" by roy thompson ( its a great primer of basic camara shots to complex camara moves with some ideas on how to maintain visual continuity. The last chapter is basically a list of do's and don'ts. Its is a little on the pricey side but worth every penny, IMHO.

If you are looking for a more extensive list try this thread ( or this thread too (

Edit- Links working now, must a been glitch on my end. Computers can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

04-07-2005, 10:00 AM
thanxs for your post Mikey D

Will Vincent
04-07-2005, 10:11 AM
The two books from Steven Katz are excellent for learning shot setup:

Film Directing: Shot by Shot (
Film Directing: Cinematic Motion (

It looks like you're using Frameforge for your storyboarding, can you give us an image of the 'blueprint' view (the overhead view looking straight down that shows camera placement, etc)

04-07-2005, 09:03 PM

i was wondering if you thought this one was better? please tell me how i could improve it. do u think i should cut to the POV shot between dialouge? and i was told in another forum that i broke the 180 rule have i in this pic. thanxs for your help, awesome forum!

04-07-2005, 10:16 PM
The thing is, we have no idea what you are trying to accomplish.

Is this a conversation? Are we supposed to feel something emotional from this conversation? Is it a comedy moment where they are watching something funny on TV?

Depending on what and where you want your audience's involvement to be, and what you want the impact to be, is the best way to show it.

There is no shot except for the wide shot, that will be satisfactory for every situation.

04-07-2005, 10:30 PM
Yeah- I don't GET anything from those shots... maybe put lines of dialogue below each shot?
That would help a little more...

04-07-2005, 10:39 PM
In the singles you need to move the camera down. There's too much head room and you are cutting them off at chest level. Also, you are changing screen direction in the wide shot that shows the TV.

04-07-2005, 11:01 PM
ah i can't do this :huh:

"Is this a conversation? Are we supposed to feel something emotional from this conversation? Is it a comedy moment where they are watching something funny on TV?

Depending on what and where you want your audience's involvement to be, and what you want the impact to be, is the best way to show it."

how can i learn do this, how to show emotion, comedy...etc. its all to hard

"and you are cutting them off at chest level"
also i seem to cut off at the wrong places, can someone explain furthur on cut off points.


08-10-2005, 03:53 PM
Here is Kodak's quick guide to better photographs. If you are putting the camera on a tripod and keeping it still...these are very relevant:

And, this may feel too rudimentary, but the basics are always a great place to start:


Rule of thirds...Eye level/head space:

08-11-2005, 03:54 PM
Here is my first tutorial dealing with framing, blocking and lighting:

I hope to be adding more as I get time. I found an extreme lack of direct answers when I was learning this, so I'll share what I've found in a way that beginners can understand and implement quickly.

08-12-2005, 03:46 PM
what program did you use? I'm horrible at drawing :(

08-12-2005, 04:08 PM
I did the drawings on my whiteboard at work and took pictures with my cell phone, then put them together in photoshop, but you could use anything at that point.

10-02-2005, 05:58 PM
Shot 1 and 4 look like they could be a contiuation of the same shot if 1 is a moving dolly shot.I don't see any major rules being broken here,although the fact that they are all medium to wide shots looks a little boring.I would have to know something of the story line here to make a judgement.If shot 1 is a dolly following the movement of the guy as he walks in and sits down,then cutting to the MCU's as the couple converses with shot 4 being the end of the dolly move,then the shots work.Here again,I would have to know the motivations behind the sequence.The shots look a little bland,which would be OK if that's the message you're trying to convey(are they a boring couple stuck in the rut of a routine marriage?Wife stays glued to TV ignoring hubby who is stuck in his rut of suburbian hell,his ho hum job,the high point of their day is watching Survivor?Then this sequence works).70's TV comes to mind here.Not enough info to make a judgement.