Video Composition

Video Composition
Media Concepts
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Video Composition
Composition has many different, though related meanings.
In video, composition is the purposeful arrangement of the
components of a visual image.
Composition is absolutely essential in video because it helps
images communicate with viewers more quickly, efficiently,
and powerfully.
Composition does this by:
• Organizing pictorial elements so that viewers can quickly sort
them out and identify them.
• Adding emphasis to direct attention to the most important
elements on the screen.
• Creating an illusory third dimension in a two dimensional
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Organization in Composition
Composition organizes the elements within
an image, to help viewers decode it.
Figure 5-1.
• Simplicity – eliminating unnecessary objects
from the image, so that the viewer has fewer
things to identify.
• Order – arranging objects in the image.
• Balance – distributing the objects in a way that
gives about equal visual “weight” to each
section of the image. Figure 5-2.
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Emphasis in Composition
Emphasis is any technique that attracts
the viewer’s attention to one part of a
composition. Techniques include position,
relationship, significance, and contrast.
• Position – the upper left quadrant attracts the
eye first, because that is where we
automatically look to start reading a new page
of text. Figure 5-3.
• Relationship – emphasizing an element by
placing it in relationship to other elements in
the composition. Figure 5-4.
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Emphasis in Composition
• Significance – Compositional elements that
attract attention simply because of the
significance to the audience. Figure 5-5.
• Emphasis through Contrast – technique of
emphasizing one element in a picture by
making it look different from the other
Size – Figure 5-6.
Shape – Figure 5-7.
Brightness – Figure 5-8.
Color – Figure 5-9.
Focus – Figure 5-10.
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Depth in Composition
Depth-enhancing techniques play an important
role in pictorial composition – Perspective.
Perspective – a group of techniques used to
suggest the presence of depth on a twodimensional surface.
• Size – the closer an object the larger it appears. Figure
• Overlap – One object will mask part of another if it is in
front of it. An object that overlaps another is perceived
to be closer. Figure 5-12.
• Convergence – parallel lines seem to gradually come to
together as they recede into the distance. Figure 5-13.
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Depth in Composition
• Vertical Position – the father away objects are,
the higher they usually appear in the field of
view. Figure 5-14.
• Sharpness – The farther away objects are, the
more indistinct they appear for two reasons.
First, their fine details are smaller and harder
to distinguish. Second, distant objects are
softened by the amount of air between them
and the viewer. Figure 5-15.
• Color Intensity – The same atmosphere that
softens the appearance of objects also reduces
the intensity of their colors. Figure 5-16.
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Composing Video Images
Compositional Schemes
• Asymmetrical Balance – visual elements
are not equally opposed, but distributed
less formally to give an overall
impression of balance. Figures 5-17, 18,
and 19.
• The rule of Thirds – Create compositions
in which the important elements match
lines and intersections on the grid.
Figures 5-20, 21, and 22.
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Composition for Widescreen Video
Widescreen Advantages – works well
whenever the image is strongly
horizontal. This is usually the case
with actions scenes and scenic
panoramas. Figure 5-24.
Widescreen Disadvantages – Closeups more difficult, difficult to display
on traditional TV screens. Figures 525, 26, and 27.
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Composing Widescreen Images
Exploiting horizontals – Figure 5-28
and 29.
Using Rule of Thirds – Figure 5-30.
Composing at the frame borders –
Figure 5-31.
Framing subjects – Close ups and
Lead Room. Figure 5-32 and 33
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Directing the Viewer’s Eye
Placing the attention of the viewers
where you want it.
• Emphasis can be added by adjusting
position, relationship, significance,
contrasting size, shape, brightness,
color, and/or focus. Figure 5-35.
• Leading Lines – simply point to a
subject using one or more lines in the
composition. Figure 5-36 and 37.
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Controlling the Third Dimension
Staging Depth - Figures 5-38 and 39
Exploiting Perspective – Figures 5-40
and 41.
Framing the image – Figures 5-42,
43, and 44.
Working on the picture plane –
Figures 5-45 and 46.
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Composition and Movement
Professional-looking camera moves
should be planned so that they both
start and end with strong
• Panning and Tilting – Figures 5-47, 48,
49, and 50.
• The moving camera – rehearse both
ending and starting compositions, then
make the move, adjusting camera angle
and lens focal length setting as needed.
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