• Grant Ellis

Four Tips for Good Composition While Shooting Videos

Here at POP MKTG, composition is always on our mind when shooting videos. We have put together a list of 4 tips for good composition while shooting videos! Let’s get started...

1 Rule of Thirds:

When shooting video you always want to follow this rule, it’s called a rule for a reason. “The Rule of Thirds” splits the shot into thirds, which ends up looking like a grid.

During an interview or talking head shot, you want to place the subject either in the right most third or the left most third.

This all depends on whether the subject is talking to the camera or someone off to the side of the camera. If the subject is talking to someone off to the side of the camera, you want to give them enough “lead room”.

The most satisfying shots to a viewer will be the ones that follow “The Rule of Thirds”. Following the rule will give the shots more balance and make the viewer focus more on the subject.

2 Head Room

Headroom refers to the amount of empty space to leave above the subject’s head. If you leave too much space, it will make the subject seem short or crammed. For interviews and talking head shots, you typically want to place the eyes of subject on the top line of “The Rule of Thirds”. This will usually give you the right amount of space between the frame and the top of the subjects head.

3: Depth of Field

If you’ve been working with cameras for awhile you know a camera can only truly focus on one spot at a time with perfect focus. You have the exact spot that has perfect focus and as you get farther away from the spot you start to lose focus. Depth of Field is referred to as the distance between the nearest and furthest subject in the frame. So a longer depth of field will have objects farther away in focus and a shallow depth of field will have a smaller plane that appears in focus.

There is no set rule on depth of field, it’s more of a creative choice. That being said, say if you are shooting a wedding and you want to get an insert shot of the wedding rings in front of some flowers. You are going to want a shallow depth of field, this will keep the rings in focus and make the flowers in the background out of focus. Having a shallow depth of field will give the viewer a sense of importance of the subject in focus. On the other hand if you are shooting a time-lapse of a city, you are going to want most of the buildings in focus. To do this, you will use a longer depth of field.

4: The 180 Degree Rule

Here is another rule that is very important to keep in mind while shooting. This rule doesn’t apply to one shot but to multiple or a series of shots. When watching a movie or a TV show and two characters start having a conversation with each other, you tend to see the camera cut back and forth from each character.

These images are from the movie The Dark Knight, which does an excellent job of demonstrating “The 180 Degree Rule”. “The 180 Degree Rule” means the two characters in a scene should maintain the same left/right relationship to one another. I have attached an image to help you understand it better.

It simply means keeping the camera on the same side of the characters so the viewer doesn’t get confused on which way the subjects are looking. It’s poor composition to break “The 180 Degree Rule”.

Having good composition can make or break your video. In the recent HBO series “Euphoria”, I was really intrigued by the composition in every shot. That show is a must watch.

If you have any questions about using a camera, contact us at POP MKTG and we would be happy to help!

Grant Ellis

Creative Producer