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Author Topic: Video composition  (Read 5207 times)
marcmccalmont
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« on: March 31, 2009, 12:02:48 AM »
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I've noticed that over the last few years movies, videos and TV are cropping people through the forehead, It came to mind while watching the latest LL video journal. Is this a modern technique/style? It seems to be more prevalent now with wider aspect ratios. It doesn't really bother me just different
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
dalethorn
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2009, 07:04:26 AM »
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Quote from: marcmccalmont
I've noticed that over the last few years movies, videos and TV are cropping people through the forehead, It came to mind while watching the latest LL video journal. Is this a modern technique/style? It seems to be more prevalent now with wider aspect ratios. It doesn't really bother me just different
Marc

It's inevitable, with wider, shorter screens becoming the norm. The subconscious urge to get closer can only mean one thing - more cropping at top and bottom.
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walter.sk
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2009, 09:04:21 AM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
It's inevitable, with wider, shorter screens becoming the norm. The subconscious urge to get closer can only mean one thing - more cropping at top and bottom.

This has also been a trend in advertising photography.  I don't think it has only to do with a change in video format, but an attempt to place the eyes and other expressive facial elements more at the viewing "sweet spot."  It also may have something to do with trying to achieve a "different" look.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 09:04:36 AM by walter.sk » Logged
dalethorn
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2009, 02:06:14 PM »
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Quote from: walter.sk
This has also been a trend in advertising photography.  I don't think it has only to do with a change in video format, but an attempt to place the eyes and other expressive facial elements more at the viewing "sweet spot."  It also may have something to do with trying to achieve a "different" look.

My un-favorite example would be two characters standing and talking in one of those 2:35-to-1 widescreen films.  That format works OK for *some* of the landscape scenes in those films, but it's painful to watch at times, and they tend to crop badly in closeups due to the extreme loss of vertical information.  Billboards in the city work well with wide views, but most magazines don't.
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k bennett
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2009, 05:25:11 PM »
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I shoot a lot of very tight portraits that way, simply because horizontal compositions dominate the web. If I want a tight photo for maximum impact, I end up cutting heads. Actually, I kind of like it. Here's an example.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2009, 05:16:23 PM »
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This is absolutely the norm in 'nice work'

Interesting to me learning video composition I started with all my shots 'locked off' - static tripod - I am now becoming quite a fan of vertical pans up/down a subject - the same battle with representing the scene that one would compose as an upright with a still camera - you need a fluid head though

S
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2009, 06:56:12 PM »
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"Headroom" is a criterion monitored and controlled with great care by camera operators everywhere.  Unfortunately for them, one of the oldest sayings in the film business always takes precedence:

"The projectionist has final cut"  

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bill t.
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2009, 09:46:14 PM »
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Part of the rationale for clipped cropping is that camera movement during a shot and wider framings before the tight shot establish in the viewer's mind the presence and nature of that which is later clipped...a single scene need not try to wholly describe the subject.  The modern cinematographer sees full head cropping as a sort of stills thing.

The best that can be said for tight cropping is that it does hugely concentrate on the eyes, aka windows of the soul blah blah blah.  Crop all you want, just don't loose the eyes!  But on movie sets with full frame 4:3 monitors it is sometimes quite striking how much more appealing the scene looks without the extreme cropping of wide screen format.
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smthopr
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2009, 01:35:21 AM »
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Quote from: marcmccalmont
I've noticed that over the last few years movies, videos and TV are cropping people through the forehead, It came to mind while watching the latest LL video journal. Is this a modern technique/style? It seems to be more prevalent now with wider aspect ratios. It doesn't really bother me just different
Marc

Marc,

There is really no hard and fast "rule" about headroom except that there's always someone who will say it's wrong:) In my camera operating career I've heard many comments like "never cut off the hair!" Or "Never cut off the chin" or, just the opposite.  You have to use your own artistic judgment keeping in mind the purpose of the shot in your story, and sometimes, what shots will intercut with it, and how they were shot.

My favorite story is from years ago when I was operating on a major network cop show and we had a scene of hundreds of singing "homeless" people.  I moved in for a close-up at the climatic moment on one of the "homeless" and ... cut off not only the hair, but the eyes, focusing on his open mouth.  Boy did I get yelled at! Horrible things about how stupid I was, that it was AGAINST THE RULES OF COMPOSITION!  I went to the studio to see the "dailies" the next day (back when even tv was projected on film in a theater).  When my shot came up, the producer jumped up and exclaimed "That's the shot!"

The series was cancelled after just 6 episodes were aired:)

One thing to consider though, is the size of the screen. An image shown in IMAX or a large movie theater usually needs a little more headroom than a frame meant for the small screen or the web.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 01:38:43 AM by smthopr » Logged

Bruce Alan Greene
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