Composition in Storytelling

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Composition in Storytelling

Every single shot in cinema uses composition, but those images that hunt us evoke such deep emotions, not only because they’re beautiful, but because they carry meaning.

This is what this extraordinary 16min length video is all about. It shows how composition can be used to attract our attention, but also mostly to affect us on a psychological level.
What emotions can we display? How can we convey our message?… This is how we should think when composing images.

– Written and performed by Lewis Bond.

The Pivot and the Orbit

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The pivot and the orbit

In this video you will learn about “the pivot and the orbit” (two camera moves that involve tracking the camera pass or around the character or subject), their different effects on the audience, as well as when it is best to use each one of them with respect to storytelling.

– Written, narrated and edited by Adam Schnitzer.

The Pullback

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The pullback

In this video you will learn about “The pullback” (any camera move that backs away from the subject of the shot). The video touches on the different types of pullback (Retraction and Reveal), as well as the purposes and effects of each one of them.

– Written, narrated and edited by Adam Schnitzer.

The Push-in

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The Push-in

This video is about “The Push-in” (camera move where the camera dollies forward toward the subject of the shot), along with the different psychological effects that come with this camera move’s variations.

– Written, narrated and edited by Adam Schnitzer.

The Centered Subject

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The centered subject

This video is about “The centered subject”, the meaning of positioning a character dead center in frame (either the character is vulnerable and weak or exactly the opposite; they’re strong and dangerous), as well as the variety of emotions that centering a subject can express.

– Written, narrated and edited by Adam Schnitzer.

The Over the Shoulder

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The over the shoulder

This video is about “The over the shoulder” (framing strategy where the shot is composed “over-the-shoulder” of a character in the foreground, using his or her head and shoulder as a framing device), its variations and the emotional impact that each one of them has.

– Written, narrated and edited by Adam Schnitzer.

The Oner

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The oner

In this video you will learn more about “The oner” (long take with no cuts where the camera adjusts its position to find the best framing for each story moment as the character moves within the scene), the different techniques to accomplish them in a natural way, and the purposes of using them.

– Written, narrated and edited by Adam Schnitzer.

Brad Bird – Playful Cinema

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Brad Bird - Playful Cinema

This is an analysis of Brad Bird shooting style.

Rather than focusing on composition or lenses choices, the emphasis on staging and how, why and when the camera is moved in order to mix multiple shots in one master shot.

– Written and Edited by Andrew Saladino.

Channel Criswell – Youtube Channel

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Channel Criswell

Another great youtube channel about film. It goes by the slogan “Art Manifest” because according to his creator (Lewis Bond) the aim of this channel is to teach everyone (including himself) about the art of cinema and hopefully give us a better understanding of the medium that we love.

CG Layout – Youtube Channel

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CG Layout Channel

This is an incredible youtube channel created by Adam Schnitzer (ILM Senior Layout Artist). He uses footage from some of the most popular CG animated features to explain the fundamentals of camera movement and framing, from the point of view and artistic thinking of the CG Layout Artist.

Resources for Layout Artist

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Books:

– “5 C’s of Cinematography”, Joseph Mascelli
– “The Visual Story: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, TV and Digital Media”, Bruce Block
– “Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from concept to screen”, Steven D. Katz
– “Film Directing Cinematic Motion”. Steven D. Katz
– “The Filmmaker’s Eye: Learning (and breaking) the rules of cinematic composition”, Gustavo Mercado
– “The Filmmaker’s Eye: The Language of the Lens: The Power of Lenses and the Expressive Cinematic Image”, Gustavo Mercado
– “In the Blink of an Eye” – Walter Murch

Videos:
– “Hollywood Camera Work: The Master Course in High-End Blocking and Staging”
– “Hollywood Camera Work: The Science of Awesome”
– “The Gnomon Workshop: Camera Fundamentals for Layout”