Simple Rules of Film Making
|THE GOLDEN MEAN |
Golden what? It’s more or less the same as the rule of thirds, and you read about that in almost every photographic manual. The ancient Greeks discovered that if you take a stick and paint half black, half white it looks… well, odd. But if you paint (roughly) one third black and two thirds white it looks somehow more attractive.
THE EYES HAVE IT
|If your subject is alone in the picture, looking straight ahead, he or she will probably have equal space left and right. However, if there’s a plant or car or something on one side that’s relevant to the person, you might even frame the shot so that he or she is one third of the screen width from left or right.|
|Sometimes, of course, we don’t look at the eyes!|
|The rule of thirds is so important that some camera manufacturers have started offering a grid that splits up the frame into thirds each way.|
|It’s not just people that get photographed, of course; have a look at a good landscape. Chances are it has the horizon one third of the way from top or bottom. It might have a tree or a house one third of the way from left or right.|
Speaking of landscapes, I ought to mention perspective. Film and television have height and width, but the screen is blank. There’s no depth to the picture. But add the illusion of depth by showing a road that goes off into the distance and you’ve immediately added another dimension. Of course, with moving pictures, you can have a car, horse, person, space ship, whatever move from far to near, again adding depth and interest.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
That’s enough theory for a long while. Film-making is, above all, a practical art. It’s all very well knowing the script of Citizen Kane off by heart, but you only really start to learn to direct when you shoot and edit something. So why don’t you do just that?