Cinematography - Framing and Composition

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  • This course is open for 12 weeks
  • 13 lesson series
  • 3 hours, 11 minutes of video


Cinematographers can drench the entire world in sadness, leave characters in a haze of confusion and even show us the manic feelings of a first love. Cinematography isn’t just about understanding the techniques of lighting or effectively using the lens, but the art of how to craft the image within the frame.  Designed for both directors and cinematographers, the Arts & Business Center Cinematography Technique Course teaches you how to craft the details of the frame such as the actors’ eye lines, shot types, and composition.  Learn the differences between film and video, as well as analog and digital, before delving deeper into the frame itself from aspect ratio conversions to maintaining screen direction.
Beautifully taught on set by Emmy and Oscar-award winning filmmakers, you will learn the techniques used by working professionals so you can enhance the look of your own productions in the Arts & Business Center Cinematography Techniques Course.
The lessons
  • Film vs. Video

    Learn the differences between shooting on film versus shooting on digital video.
  • Shooting Film

    Learn the process of shoot, buying, and processing film.
  • Shooting Digitally

    Learn how to select and shoot on the proper digital format for your project.
  • Using a Clapboard

    Learn how to properly use one of the most iconic tools in the film industry.
  • Using a Monitor

    Production monitors are used on practically every set.  In this module you will learn how to properly calibrate a production monitor to ensure that the image you see on screen is what is actually being recorded.
  • Analog vs. Digital

    Learn the differences between the analog and digital video signals.
  • Composition

    Learn compositional techniques including the rule of thirds, how the great painters used mathematical principals like the golden ratio to create the perfectly composed images, how to balance line, color, and shape, and then how to break these rules.
  • Creating Depth

    Learn techniques for crafting foreground, midground, and background elements, how to manage depth or flatness as a narrative tool, techniques used in network television shows to cheat depth, and the ways the camera lens can affect depth.
  • Eye Lines

    Learn how to choose the best eye line, directing techniques for ideal camera placement, how to overcome challenges when working with visual effects, and how to fine tune actor’s eyelines within mere inches to achieve the desired emotional impact.
  • Framing People

    Learn techniques for framing people from lead room to headroom, how networks and major studios influence framing choices of their programs, how to use single and dirty shots to convey connection or distance between characters, and how directors and cinematographers decide on common guidelines for each production.
  • Shot Types

    Learn the intricacies of framing, the basic shot types, advanced variations on these shot types, how to quickly communicate your vision to the cinematographer, and the emotional responsive invoked by various shot types.
  • The Frame

    Identify and work with different aspect ratios, manage conversions from film to HD, NTSC to HD, title safe requirements, and how various aspect ratios are adjusted for different exhibition and broadcast formats.
  • Rule of 180

    Learn the core fundamentals of screen direction, how to establish the line of action, the rule of 180, exceptions to the rule of 180, instances where the line of action doesn’t apply, how to shoot multiple character with an ever-moving line of action, and how to prepare your shot lists to avoid catastrophic editing problems.