Filmmaking 101: Framing terms

Filmmaking 101: Framing terms

Welcome to Brading images. We are a Photography and Videography studio in Manchester, Salford, Irlam. We primarily do music videos and family photoshoots in the studio. We particularly enjoying doing: Newborn photoshoots, one year old photoshoots, toddler photoshoots, kids photoshoots, fairy photoshoots, mother daughter photoshoots, maternity photoshoots and siblings photoshoots, here, in manchester!

Outside the studio, we run a film club called The Stage and Screen Academy, where we teach filmmaking 101.

Let’s say you had two characters talking to each other.

You might start off showing the 2 of them. This would be referred to as a 2 shot.

Once this is shot, you’ve established the “line”. This is referred to as the 180 degree rule.

Imagine an invisible line linking the 2 characters. Think about which side of that line the camera is. 

Once you’ve worked that out, the camera should not go on the other side of that line. If you do, the viewer will feel very lost, and not know where they are in relation to the characters.

So staying on the correct side of the line, when your characters start talking.

Over the shoulder is the term used when you are shooting over someone’s shoulder.

For a dialogue, you would have the face of the person talking and the shoulder of the person who is listening. 

When the other person starts talking, you show the opposite.

You can film this with the shoulder in the shot, which has the benefit of helping the viewer know where the recipient is in relation to the person talking, but you don’t have to.

You can also do, what is called a “clean shot”. This just involves removing the shoulder from the shot, but keeping the rest of the framing the same. If this is a clean, shot, then you might have guessed that when the shoulder is in the shot, it is called a “dirty shot”.

Now let’s take a closer look at where we have positioned our character in our shot.

We’ve put them slightly to the side. This is called the rule of third, and we are using this to create talk space. Talk space is the space that we leave in the direction the character is looking in.

We are also not shooting fully profile, but in between. You could choose to shoot this profile, but may miss out on some of the facial expressions.

The opposite of a profile shot, is a shot from the front.

This is a great camera angle when filming a presenter who is looking straight down the lens. This is very engaging for the viewer, and makes them feel like the presenter is speaking to them directly.

For this sort of shot, you would want to frame your character in the centre.

Finally, there’s the POV, the point of view shot.

Imagine you want to show what a cat can see for example. For this, you would have the camera close to the ground, and following the movement a cat would make and showing anything a cat would see, out of it’s own eyes.

POVs are often used in horror movies, so we can experience the scene the way the character is experiencing it.

So let’s recap. 

When doing a 2 shot, you should respect the 180 degree rule.

Other terms that a film maker should know and that we’ve gone through are: the rule of thirds, clean shot, dirty shot, talk space, over the shoulder shot, profile shot and POV.

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