shots and composition

Shots and Composition: A Breakdown

by David E. Elkins

A film is made up of a series of photographic images and each image in the film is commonly referred to as a frame. Each frame contains objects and shapes arranged in a composition. A sequence of frames together is commonly referred to as a shot. Visual productions, whether they are movies, television shows, music…

Photo by Nina Matthews

Don’t Let Mother Nature Ruin Your Shoot!

by David E. Elkins

Shooting in Extreme Cold Weather If you will be working in extreme cold weather situations for an extended period, leave the camera equipment in the camera truck at night so that it remains at a consistent cold temperature throughout the production. If it is necessary to bring the camera equipment inside after being in a…


Successful Story Topics

by Ken Kobre

Josh Meltzer-Photojournalist-in-residence at Western Kentucky University, formerly with The Roanoke Times Not every topic lends itself to a videojournalism story—some are better suited to being told in print or on the radio. So how do you pick a topic that will compel viewers to watch your video? Ironically, poor people or people touched by war…

Photo by Kristaps B.

The Basics of Lighting

by Cathrine Kellison

Lighting is an essential tool for enhancing the video image. The subtle use of light creates atmosphere and mood, dimension, and texture. It can help to convey a plot line, enhance key elements such as set color or skin tone, and signals the difference between comedy and drama, reality and fantasy. Hard versus Soft All…

Photo by Digital Bolex

Shooting Raw with the Digital Bolex at Venice Beach

by Kurt Lancaster

When I first saw DSLR footage on Vimeo just about four years ago, I got really, really excited about the possibilities. Looking at Philip Bloom’s Skywalker Ranch and Vincent Laforet’s Reverie—I wasn’t getting shots like those on my Panasonic DVX100 nor on prosumer HD video cameras. I remember being on set of Po Chan’s The…

Figure 31-3

The Divine Proportion: Balancing the Golden Rule

by Mastering Film

The Divine Proportion: Balancing the Golden Rule Nature created it; visual artists follow it. From sea-shells and leaves to flower petals, and yes, a Gecko’s tail, using aesthetically-pleasing framing creatively draws your viewer into your shot composition. It’s All in What You See Whether dealing with ancient subject matter or the dozens of soccer goals…


Slate the Head of Your Shots

by Christopher J. Bowen

Organization is a key factor in successful filmmaking. Even a small project can produce a large amount of video and audio files and keeping track of them through post-production is a big deal. It is very beneficial to identify the beginning of each take, and a slate can help with this process (see Figure 7.1…

Ghosting 2

2 Visual Sins of 3D Movies

by Bruce Block

There are three main factors that contribute to the negative effects the two Visual Sins can have on the audience: 1.) Where is the audience looking? The Visual Sins can’t cause problems if the audience doesn’t look at them. Every shot has a subject and a lot of non-subjects. The audience spends most of its…

Photo by Popturfdotcom

Making Digital Video Look Film-like

by Douglas Spotted Eagle

Notice that this heading says “film-like” and not “like film.” Video cannot look just like film. It’s a different medium. Video can be made softer, with adjusted gamma, grain, and color saturation, but it still will not look the same as 16 or 35mm film. I’ll preface this section by saying that if you are…

Dion Beebe

Cinematography: Interview with Dion Beebe

by Tim Grierson and Mike Goodridge

Born in Australia but raised in South Africa, Dion Beebe returned to Australia to study cinematography at the Australian Film Television and Radio School from 1987 to 1989. He started his career in features shooting Alison Maclean’s Crush in 1992, moving onto other notable local films including Clara Law’s Floating Life (1996), John Curran’s Praise…

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about MasteringFilm

MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Focal Press authors and industry experts, features tips, advice, articles, video tutorials, interviews, and other resources for aspiring and current filmmakers. No matter what your filmmaking interest is, including directing, screenwriting, postproduction, cinematography, producing, or the film business, MasteringFilm has you covered. You’ll learn from professionals at the forefront of filmmaking, allowing you to take your skills to the next level.