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Structuring Your Frame

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Chris Lantinen

on 27 February 2018

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Transcript of Structuring Your Frame

Unbalanced Screen Space
Object Framing
Facilitating Closure
Viewers want to arrange visual content into simple geometric forms.
Below, you'll see content arranged in a rectangle.
Purposefully creating an unbalanced screen space can be startling to a viewer, can gain attention because of this.
You cannot stay with bad composition for too long, though, as the effect is gone soon after.
Will look like unintended chaos.
Golden Section/Rule Of Thirds
Stages of Balance
Off Center
"Structuring the two-dimensional field means making the screen forces work for you rather than against you."
Unlike still images, you're not dealing with structural permanence (Once such an arrangement is achieved, the composition is finished), you're dealing with structural change.
No longer dealing with singular frames, but of a sequence.
"One of the most basic ways of stabilizing the two-dimensional field is to bring into balance the forces of graphic mass and the magnetism of the frame."
How do they structure the series of scenes below? What placement and balance do our characters occupy in the scene?
When a graphic mass is in the center, it neutralizes magnetic forces, provides maximum stability.
Reporters often sit center screen to establish an objective nature and stability as a source.
Screen Center
When we talk about balancing a shot, we should remember images and the index vectors (pointing or looking in a direction). Magnetism also comes into play.
As you'll see in the example below, vectors can override Gestalt laws such as proximity.
Balancing Index Vectors
Structuring Your Frame
"As soon as you move the object to one side, however, the graphic weight increases and the magnetism of the frame comes into play."
The more the object moves off-center, the greater the pull of the frame (and off-frame forces, especially if direction is pointed off screen). Picture begins to look off-balanced.
Unbalanced positioning can increase tension, but it's not useful if you're "framing a single object in a commercial display or a single news anchor."
You can fix an off-center frame with a counterweight (another object or graphic element), while the attraction between an object on left and right will pull them to screen-center.
"The closer the objects are to each other, the more apt you are to perceive them as belonging together and having a single graphic weight." The law of proximity.
In stable images and direction, you can also find yourself dealing with the frame edge.
Noseroom — "The space in front of a person looking or pointing toward the edge of the screen."
In motion it's leadroom. "The space in front of a person or an object moving toward the edge of the screen."
Balance — Relative structural stability of objects or events within the screen. Specifically, the distribution of vectors and graphic weight into static (stable and unlikely to change) and dynamic (asymmetrical and less stable) pictorial structures.
Static balance — Extremely stable setting, not about to move.
The extreme is "more or less identical picture elements appear on the left and right sides of the screen." Magnetism, vectors, graphic mass identical, not readily in motion.
Tension is low.
Dynamic Balance — "An asymmetrical balance where the graphic weight and the vectors are not the same on both sides of the screen (but are equal). The aesthetic energy is increased because the asymmetrical distribution of graphic elements and vectors causes some tension."
Referred to as a tug of war of sorts.
Still balanced, you just are not seeing two sides being exactly the same. Instead, balance comes with vectors or some other graphic element. In the next photo, the rock is balanced out by the vector pointing to the upper right of the screen.
Much like the rule of thirds, the golden section (or golden ratio) attempts to find a spot on the screen that does the following:
The side of the screen that has the object isn't quite able to outweigh the non-figure side.
The figure does not give in to the magnetic pull of the frame edge.
Results in a less stable structure, more graphic energy, but picture is still balanced.
This proportion (especially for one subject) is preferred.
Again, how is the screenshot below using rule of thirds and dynamic balance?
Where are the converging vectors in the image on the right?
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