Framing in cinematography is the art of presenting objects and subjects in a complementary temperament. It’s the technique of highlighting objects and subjects to increase aesthetic appeal while making the viewer focus more on the framed item. Cinematographers use framing to add two-dimensional viewpoints to a scene, making it more perceptible. Filmmakers mostly use frames with the same thematic value as framed objects to increase the chosen image's interest and depth. For filmmakers, there are multiple framing in film techniques, which aren’t skill-intensive.
Why Do Filmmakers Use Film Framing?
The reason behind using film frames is to manipulate a selected photo object to increase its inbound eye traffic. The framing adds composition to an image within a film, creating meaning, increasing focus and attention, and directing more viewers to it.
In short, the role of a frame in a film is to accentuate sensations, ideas, thoughts, and emotions. These types of photo compositional elements work by adding feeling and weight to a moment or scene.
Common Framing in Film Techniques You Can Use
Filmmakers have a lot of options when selecting which framing techniques to use. Below, we will list the most popular and used film framing techniques.
Rule of thirds
The first technique cinematographer use often is the rule of thirds. The technique emphasizes putting fascinating parts of a scene or moment in a frame’s thirds. The best way to achieve better-looking shots using this technique is to divide the film screen into nine blocks containing three horizontal and three vertical sections.
The third rule is proven to work because it creates multiple contrasting centers of attractions and eradicates distractions. Filmmakers use this technique to describe the feelings and views of the character. Notably, the thirds rule intuitively balances the film’s context to enable viewers to enjoy watching such scenes.
The addition of lines to direct viewers to certain scenes or objects makes watching the film more interesting. Cinematographers use lines to emphasize railways, stair railing, roads, picket fences, rivers, and many more. These lines direct an audience to the targeted content alongside giving the footage deeper meaning.
Not every scene or section in a film can be highlighted using leading lines. You may have to learn the art of using lines in photo framing and composition to make your framed scenes or objects more attractive.
Size equals power technique
One straightforward and fun technique to add composition to your films is the size equals power technique. The purpose of this powerful technique is to add context and emphasize a scene or object. It involves making one item bigger than others within the frame to highlight its value and direct viewers.
The rule can only be used when emphasizing characters or lifeless objects. It’s widely used alongside framing to pinpoint objects, without disvaluing the live subjects present in the picture. In framing and composing a scene or object this way, you make it look more important, making viewers want to see it.
Creating symmetry is another punchy way to add composition to films. Naturally, people respond positively to symmetry. The reason being, it creates a sense of balance and harmony while making scenes and subjects more striking.
Cinematographers use symmetry when describing a scene’s beauty or directing viewers to a target subject. It’s possible to highlight subjects and scenes in a film using this technique by quickly adding a dead center inside the framing. In most instances, cinematographers use symmetry when highlighting a character experiencing more powerful moments.
There are only several exclusive instances when you may want to use this composition rule in a film. Overusing it could create some confusion making the audience unable to differentiate between different scenes.
Using the depth rule
Each film shot features a background, foreground, and midground. It’s your responsibility to decide which of these parts of the film should have more attention. Before you choose to emphasize the background, midground, or foreground, remember that what you emphasize will determine how viewers assess the contents of the film.
Viewers want to connect the film’s world with the chosen characters easily. The best way to describe the relationship between the character and the world while giving the character more limelight is to use depth.
Don’t forget that scenes or subject's depth will be affected by the lens you use and your chosen shooting location. You want to give your character or subject more depth of fields, and that’s why you should use a wide-angle camera lens. You must as well keep the distance between the background and subject shot.
Consider using cameras with an ideal focal length to achieve a shallow field’s depth and give the subject more limelight. Don’t ever forget that adding more depth to a scene or character is a great way to create emphasis and make viewers easily differentiate the character and the surrounding world.
Framing in film Techniques: Breaking the Rules
The whole idea of using framing techniques in films is to accentuate certain scenes or subjects to give them more focus. The strategies mentioned above have been used and confirmed to work super efficiently. That doesn’t mean that you should be held back to the tricks and suggestions recommended in these techniques only.
You can be as flexible as you wish, using any trick you think will work to your liking and emphasize the character's message or story as per your expectations. It’s all about being creative and utilizing any compositional element at your disposal. You can also be creative enough to adjust the details and features recommended by any of these techniques to achieve the focus you want your selected scene or subject to have.
Filmmakers are never afraid to break the game rules, provided they add superior compositions to their images that achieve the desired feelings, outcomes, and atmospheres. Everyone who watches your videos will have certain emotions, ideas, or feelings about your content.
The most effective way to achieve the best results and woo your audience is to be unique and smart whenever adding compositions to scenes and subjects.