When I started out I picked up two books that helped me out greatly. One was a very thin book on composition that I picked up out of the handy how to book bin at an art store. It was very basic, but really discussed the rule of thirds and the use of the golden mean in artistic composition. I used to keep the book with me and just study it when ever I had a few minutes (All that it took to read it all). I think that really helped me out.
The other book was called "Lighting for Photography" and was published in the 1940s. It also was a thin book covering the basics and I got it second hand. The book went through photographic lighting wit very simple lights (Scoop lights with photoflood type bulbs) and detailed the importance of light placement to the look of the shot.
I lost the books several moves back, but I am glad I studied them.
I think that those two, composition of the frame and the lighting, are the very bread and butter of cinematography. One without the other is not enough, in my opinion. The book "The Five "C"s of Cinematography" covers composition also.
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07-28-2012 12:48 AM"The enemy of art is the absence of limitations"
"To me the great hope is... people that normally wouldn't be making movies will make them and suddenly some little fat girl in Ohio will be the new Mozart and will make a beautiful film using her father's camera-corder and the "Professionalism" of movie making will be destroyed forever and it will finally become an art form."
-Francis Ford Coppola.
07-28-2012 12:52 AM
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
- cornwall UK
Charles, Thanks for taking the time to comment
I terms of blocking I think I was more refering to 'micro blocking' my 'mr shirt image' (above) does not sing, and could have by placing mr jacket 6 inches to the left
It sounds like your process is a little more basic or brutal in that you are commenting to the director about major coverage issues rather than micro framing
I call that one 'check mate' an actor in a corner and all of a sudden the camera needs to be in the wall to shoot OTS
This is as I guessed
I think it is those inches that make images 'sing' or have mojo
As for using a zoom , Im a cinematic periah in that I think primes offer poointless restriction to camera position (while obviously offering some technical advantage - speed cost etc) Id pick a zoom any time
As for a dolly I could not agree more - Ill pop round to Mssrs Fischer and pick one up (!)
Back to Mr Tarantino I think we can see that he has worked well with the camera department to arrange the blocking for the lens camera position in the three shots .. possibly too well
IMO Mr Deakins in Shawshank (roof scene) sometimes makes it too perfect which can take the viewer out of the illusion..
Last edited by morgan_moore; 07-28-2012 at 12:56 AM.
07-28-2012 05:10 AM
Perfect composition has its own emotional and intellectual impact. It can take you out of the movie, but it can also complement or even carry the movie.
Cinematography books are often very basic when it comes to composition, they preoccupy themselves with practical matters of continuity, cuts and storytelling. IMO, one should study paintings and photography to improve compositional skills. Both in images and some compositional theory.
Good introductions in these fields: Pictorial Composition and The Photographer's Eye (links to short reviews I've written). I believe the OP meant the second book even though the title seems a bit wrong.
Some good classic references in movies: Kurosawa and Kobayashi; Tarkovsky (great deep compositions), Urusevsky (probably the best handheld camera in the history of cinema),