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The language of Film

PART ONE
by

Craig Middleton

on 24 March 2015

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Transcript of The language of Film

The Language of Film
COMPOSITION
Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts such as painting, photography and design. The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.

Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.
The photograph underneath demonstrates the application of the rule of thirds. The horizon sits at the horizontal line dividing the lower third of the photo from the upper two-thirds.
Crossing the line refers to an imaginary line that cuts through the middle of a scene, from side to side with respect to the position of the camera.

Crossing the line changes the viewer's perspective in such as way that it causes disorientation and confusion. To maintain continuity, crossing the line is to be avoided.

Imagine a line (the line of action) through the middle of the scene between two actors. You can put your camera ANYWHERE in the 180 degrees on either side of the line, but not both.
The 180% Rule: Crossing the line.
CONTINUITY
THE CONTINUITY SYSTEM: (Invisible editing)

A highly standardized system of editing, now virtually universal in commercial film and television but originally associated with Hollywood cinema, that matches spatial and temporal relations from shot to shot in order to maintain continuous and clear narrative action. Classical editing achieves a "smooth" and "seamless" style of NARRATION, both because of its conventionality (it is "invisible" in part because we are so used to it) and because it employs a number of powerful techniques designed to maximize a sense of spatial and temporal continuity.
A key element of the continuity system is the 180 DEGREE RULE, which states that the camera must stay on only one side of the actions and objects in a scene. An invisible line, known as the 180 DEGREE LINE or AXIS OF ACTION, runs through the space of the scene. The camera can shoot from any position within one side of that line, but it may never cross it. This convention ensures that the shot will have consistent spatial relations and screen directions.
Crossing the line
SHOT GLOSSARY
I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)
I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)
I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)
Casino (1995)
The Informant! (2009)
Rumblefish (1983)
In The Mood For Love (2000)
In The Mood For Love (2000)
Close-Up O.T.S. (over the shoulder) Shot
Medium Shot
Wide Shot
Extreme Wide Shot
Extreme Close Shot
High-Angle Wide Shot
Low-Angle Wide Shot
Cutaway (E.C.U.) Shot
Copycat
(1995) by Jon Amiel
The skewed camera angles represent the protagonist's mental state of anxiety
Psycho
(1960) by Alfred Hitchcock
Hitchcock frames his antagonist in a strange oblique way.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) by Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson is a well known proponent of the planimetric composition, a shot framed either in a striaght line to a rear surface or in profile.
Rampart
(2011) by Oren Moverman
The director places objects in shallow focus in the frame to deliberately obscure the protagonist.
North by Northwest
(1959) by Alfred Hitchcock
The Master of Suspense
I Love You Phillip Morris
(2009) by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra
Full transcript