Join Eduardo Angel for an in-depth discussion in this video Character relationships, part of Cinematic Composition for Video Productions.
- An establishing shot can be very useful when introducing the spatial relationship between objects and characters. This context can not only provide helpful information to better visualize the scene but also hint at the dynamics between characters. We just saw a sequence of shots showing a man and a woman cooking in a kitchen.
We get the general sense of the scene, but it is impossible to figure out their spatial relationship. This scene would greatly benefit from an establishing shot. As viewers, we have become quite sophisticated, and when presented with a sequence of close-ups of subjects speakings into the frame, we will make the assumption that they are together in the same scene.
Because of this, as directors, we have a bit more flexibility. If we encounter a scaling conflict, we can actually film a dialogue scene in which the two characters are not even in the same location but appear to be talking with one another. It also allows us to toy with a viewer's assumptions. Check this out.
By beginning our sequence with a series of close-ups, we are able to use the establishing shot at the end to surprise the viewer and flip their expectations. If we were to reverse this sequence of shots, the story would be very different.
As you can see, using the same exact shots we are able to tell a very different story. The only difference was when we chose to present them to the viewer.
- The basics of composition
- Exploring the rule of thirds
- Comparing balanced and unbalanced compositions
- Understanding the importance of using establishing shots
- Working with point of view
- Modifying the height of the camera
- Understanding the lines of a scene
- Creating depth
- Incorporating unusual or unexpected angles
- Knowing when to break the rules
- Using viewfinder apps