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brianluce
08-21-2005, 08:22 PM
I've always heard it's against the rules to show a character move completely out of the frame--is it also against the rules to show a character ENTER an empty frame? or should you always (or almost always) show just a tad of the character entering the frame?

I realize there are instances where it may be advisable to "Break" the rules, but as a general guideline...what is the consensus?

Walter_Graff
08-21-2005, 08:29 PM
Rules. What rules are there? No one taught me. Out of a shot? I have a short where two folks get into an argument. Looking at a living room we see a couple come home. THe camera locked. they walk in and out of the shot, sometimes into the bedroom or kitchen. we hear them fight. It's better than seeing them fight because we have to imagine the fight. Like being a real neighbor listening through the walls except we are in the apartment but can't turn our head. Quite effective. Woody Alan uses the technique quit well.

Robert86
08-21-2005, 08:31 PM
If I understand your question correctly, no it is not against the rules. The names are actually called a clean entrance(the character comes in an "empty" frame after a second or two) and a clean exit(the character leaves the frame for a second or two). So you can be sure you won't get a call from the composition police if you implement this in your shots :)

Ed Kishel
08-21-2005, 09:33 PM
Jim jarmusch's Stranger than Paradise (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088184/) has characters entering and exiting the frame at very interesting times and ways. These would probably have broken the "rules".

brianluce
08-21-2005, 10:53 PM
the thing is, jarmuch and conrad hall can break the rules because they know the rules and have established reputations. even woody allen is experimenting and having some camera fun with that technique. a schmuck nobody like me is better off sticking to basics. i know the "clean exit" is seldom seen, i always look for it, and whether is a person, plane, or car, we never see them totally leave the frame, 99% yes, but always a bit remains. why wouldn't the same rule apply for "most" entrances?

Walter_Graff
08-21-2005, 11:01 PM
Can someone show me this rule and where I might find it?

Moonwind
08-21-2005, 11:18 PM
This is a new one to me, too. I've been a baaaad girl (and the husband a baaaad boy) with that rule. Oh, well, learn something new everyday, huh?

Loki
08-21-2005, 11:21 PM
why is this in the cinematography section?

This relates a lot more to scene blocking... which should probably be in the directing section... anywho..


don't think in terms of that.. There are no "rules" to filmmaking... but there are rules to "filming" if that makes any sense to you.

have a character enter or exit the frame as you see fit... if it has meaning and context and if it works with the story/plot or emotion of the scene. Just don't do it cause it is "breaking" a rule.

Walter had a great example.

There is no spoon.

dudeguy37
08-22-2005, 12:03 AM
Here's the thing...it's always going to be better to have you character both Enter AND Exit the frame (so long as it makes sense for what they're doing) just to have more options in the edit. If you have them walk from one edge to the other but never see them leave, it forces your editor to use a certain section of the clip and makes cutting for continutiy that much harder. Again, to echo what everyone said...there aren't very many rules and those that exist can be broken in certain situations...my suggestion is just based on my experience and previous headaches that you're much better off avoiding.
Peace,

-Harry

brianluce
08-22-2005, 12:58 AM
actually there are rules folks. for example, the rule of thirds or the 180 degree rule. the best place to read about the rules is ummm, well okay I forgot the name of the book but it's the book that has the five C's of filmmaking, or maybe it called the six C's of Cinematography, or is it the 5 P's of Pornography? I forget but it's a famous old book. I wish I had a copy. if you don't like the word "rule" then call it guideline or call it a recommendation. but screenwriting, editing, camera, all have rules---rules one should be cautious about abandoning. yeah yeah chris nolan wrote a great screenplay that broke the most fundamental rule in the book, but unfortunately there's room for only a few chris nolans, and if you're one of those people brilliant enough to reinvent the wheel every time you power up your dvx then more power to you. but a mortal like myself has his hands full just playing within the time tested generic framework of the status quo.

David G. Smith
08-22-2005, 01:08 AM
Here's the thing...it's always going to be better to have you character both Enter AND Exit the frame (so long as it makes sense for what they're doing) just to have more options in the edit. If you have them walk from one edge to the other but never see them leave, it forces your editor to use a certain section of the clip and makes cutting for continutiy that much harder. Again, to echo what everyone said...there aren't very many rules and those that exist can be broken in certain situations...my suggestion is just based on my experience and previous headaches that you're much better off avoiding.
Peace,

-Harry

Absolutly. If there are rules, it has to be for matching action and editing continuity. Having the subject leave the frame and enter the frame is a valuable part of editing continuity. If you cut while they are still in frame, then, in respect to editing continuity, the next shot, must show them with continues action, which is hard to always match when shooting. It is better to cut, IMO, just as they leave the frame and just as they enter the frame, but even that is not a rule, just a personal editing aesthetic choice. Now, not every cut should have them leaving or entering the frame, but then again that is not a rule either.

Get your three absolutly favorite 3 movies and watch them scene by scene and see how they handle charactor movement in the frame, then try that on your projects.


Fuck the rules, you are the filmmaker, does the cut look good to you? Then it is a good cut!

brianluce
08-22-2005, 01:31 AM
hey dave, you said:

"It is better to cut, IMO, just as they leave the frame and just as they enter the frame "

I'm a little confused are you saying then to cut AFTER they leave the frame and the frame is now clean and empty or just BEFORE they leave and keeping a piece of the character in frame?

of course i'm in agreement that the shot should be covered initially with an empty screen, but the question still remains at which point do you cut?

thanks everyone for their input. I do appreaciate the indy spirit here, the screw the rules mentality etc, but for this particular project i have , i want to wear the rules on my shirt sleeve. also, the fact that I need to ask this question shows i'm not particularly well versed in the rules and i only think one should break the rules once he's mastered them.

krestofre
08-22-2005, 02:11 AM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Spielberg. The man is a master at having people move into and out of frame IMO.

Robert86
08-22-2005, 02:18 AM
The whole "clean entrance" and "clean exit" thing is not a rule, it is just an aesthetic decision made by the director/editor and most of the time you would use a clean exit to emphasize time, from that cut to a jump in time(the next scene) or for the viewer to take in the previous actions. By no means do you HAVE to cut before or after the character leaves frame. And it is always good just to have the character make a clean ent. or exi. due to continuity issues in the cutting room. And if you are going to break any "rules" make sure that you fully appreciate(not necessarily master) the use of those "rules" and break them for the better of the story telling or "story showing" as Richard D. Pepperman puts it. Not just because it looks "cool" and "indie".

krestofre
08-22-2005, 02:22 AM
Well said.

David G. Smith
08-22-2005, 07:44 PM
hey dave, you said:

"It is better to cut, IMO, just as they leave the frame and just as they enter the frame "

I'm a little confused are you saying then to cut AFTER they leave the frame and the frame is now clean and empty or just BEFORE they leave and keeping a piece of the character in frame?

of course i'm in agreement that the shot should be covered initially with an empty screen, but the question still remains at which point do you cut?

thanks everyone for their input. I do appreaciate the indy spirit here, the screw the rules mentality etc, but for this particular project i have , i want to wear the rules on my shirt sleeve. also, the fact that I need to ask this question shows i'm not particularly well versed in the rules and i only think one should break the rules once he's mastered them.

Sorry for the confusion. Watch the end of the clip where the person leaves the frame, I like to cut, just as there is a little bit of the person still in the frame and on the coming in to frame I like to cut on the first frame where there is a bit of the person just entering the frame. This sometimes works and sometimes doesn't work. Make the cut and watch it to see if the cut is smooth (does not call attention to itself). If not, scrub forward and backwards on the tails of of the first shot and the heads of the second shot and find the cut point that you like the best. You'll quickly learn what is a good cut and what is a bad cut. Sometimes the difference is one frame.

I guess if there is any rule for continuity editing it would be, "is the cut smooth?". In other words, does the cut call attention to itself? But even this rule can be broken. Jean-Luc Goodard made a career out of breaking that one...

Gills
08-22-2005, 09:44 PM
actually there are rules folks. for example, the rule of thirds or the 180 degree rule. the best place to read about the rules is ummm, well okay I forgot the name of the book but it's the book that has the five C's of filmmaking, or maybe it called the six C's of Cinematography, or is it the 5 P's of Pornography? I forget but it's a famous old book. I wish I had a copy. if you don't like the word "rule" then call it guideline or call it a recommendation. but screenwriting, editing, camera, all have rules---rules one should be cautious about abandoning. yeah yeah chris nolan wrote a great screenplay that broke the most fundamental rule in the book, but unfortunately there's room for only a few chris nolans, and if you're one of those people brilliant enough to reinvent the wheel every time you power up your dvx then more power to you. but a mortal like myself has his hands full just playing within the time tested generic framework of the status quo.

I don't think that's necessarily to dictate that there are rules that everybody should stick to. If one director wants to do everything "by the books" and stick with the "rules," and another director wants to mix it up and go crazy (ala Shinya Tsukamoto, breakin' all 'dem rules), I say go for it. It might not be pretty, but if you can get it to work for you, it becomes part of the style that makes you distinguishable.

SBT7000
08-26-2005, 08:59 PM
Just edit it however it looks and feels best with the rest of your scenes! Since time is being dealt with, a rhythm is produced and thats all that matters. Jarmusch is da man and he makes his own damn rhythm however he wants.

Loki
08-27-2005, 12:04 AM
ahh.. "rules" you speak of refer to eyeline mainly... ala the 180 rule...

these are by no means set in stone... hitchcock manipulated the 180 rule often in his films. The term guideline is more appropriate indeed.

Characters entering and exiting the frame is a purely on set detail unless it is actually part of the story/storyboard.

Like others have said, it does help with editing a great deal. But isn't something that is always necessary..

ok time for me to leave I am repeating my self.

cheers

bikefilms
08-27-2005, 01:20 PM
I'd say that the "rules" are really set by the viewer. They have ciertain expectations ingrained. If the viewer sees something as being unacceptable, they may snap outta their trance.

I think the viewer is trained too, by the filmmakers who follow said rules.

A viscious cycle!

pmark23
08-27-2005, 08:23 PM
The main reason for these "rules" is so the audience doesn't get confused. Viewers are a lot more sophisticated these days, and you can get away with a lot more than you could of twenty or fifty years ago.

In the introduction to "The 5 C's" (which is more about directing than cinematography) the author points out that there's an important sixth "C" -- "Cheating"!

SPZ
08-29-2005, 08:06 PM
Watch a Lars Von Trier movie and you see many of these rules broken. I suggest "Breaking The Waves".

rsbush
08-31-2005, 05:22 AM
Filmmaking has it's "grammar". How you use or don't use that grammar is your "language".

MarcM
08-31-2005, 09:32 PM
Clean entrances and exits are a continuity technique. If a car leaves a parking lot and doesn't leave the frame, then the next shot the car is instantly in another location then (the theory goes) viewers will wonder how the car got to the new location so fast. One clean exit of the car leaving the frame at the parking lot OR, one clean entrance of the car in the next shot arriving at the new location creates a passage of time. A disolve will do the same as will many other continuity techniques. That's the theory but everybody seems to toss this out the window these days. Including bigtime Hollywood flicks so if you want to be safe shoot the shots with clean entrances and exits and decide in editing if you care to keep them.

wbfish
08-31-2005, 09:39 PM
there are no rules