November 7, 2014

From Focal Elements to Fibonacci: A 30-Minute In-Depth Study of Composition

There's more to composition than the rule of thirds.

And Fibonacci's not an opera singer. (You're thinking of Pavarotti -- or of Bocelli -- or of no opera singers because why would you be?) The composition is the frame and the arrangement of the elements in that frame. What are the elements of a frame? The mise-en-scène -- everything in the frame that makes up the frame, including everything from the actors, to lighting, to props, to costumes, to composition.

Those two things, composition and mise-en-scène, are usually the first concepts you should (and do) learn about aesthetic theory, because they lay the foundation for everything else. But let's rewind for a second and take a look at what composition actually is and how the elements within the concept come into play when setting up and blocking your shots. Andrew Price breaks things down nicely in this video, which is geared toward CGI artists. However, don't be deterred if you're not one -- compositional principles are quite universal, applying to film, photography, painting, sculpture, and other plastic arts.

Understanding how to arrange the elements in your shot to create beautiful compositions is the foundation of your job as a filmmaker and cinematographer. Think of a film as a form of communication: the compositions (as well as editing, music, dialog, etc.) are our language and the elements of mise-en-scène are our words. Being able to comprehend them and know what they mean will only make you a better communicator, allowing you to express yourself fully through your film to your audience.     

Your Comment

11 Comments

Yay. Glad to see the Blender Guru is getting picked up here. :)

November 7, 2014 at 2:35PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
912

Great video. I'm all for breaking rules/conventions, but these are solid starting points for lots of compositional situations.

November 7, 2014 at 3:29PM

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I'm reading a book of David Fincher interviews. He talks alot about framing a scene with no focal point, and letting the audience explore the space themselves.

November 7, 2014 at 4:03PM

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I can't believe that was 30 minutes! I was tuned into this entire video like I would be drawn to an perfectly composed image. I finally created an account on this website just to say thanks for sharing. :)

November 7, 2014 at 6:14PM

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Abel Perez- Arita
Director of Photography/ Camera Operator
101

Anyone know who made these jellyfish?

November 7, 2014 at 6:46PM

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Amanda Tasse
Director/ Writer/ Interactive Designer
74

A glass shader will do the trick.
Also. You could replace the interior with a combination of a volume scatter and emission in order to make it glow.

November 7, 2014 at 9:18PM

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Edgar More
All
1232

Thoroughly enjoyed this video. Thanks for posting!

November 8, 2014 at 2:52PM

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Kevin Greene
Editor
792

November 9, 2014 at 4:32AM

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Would like his views on how to maintain composition, while moving the camera as in PAN OVER:

November 13, 2014 at 6:25PM

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Colin Slater
Director
93

Fantastic! Loved it!

November 16, 2014 at 11:39PM

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James Hunter
Director
91

For anyone wondering who on Earth Fibonacci is, he's a famous mathematician that proposed the Fibonacci Sequence. The picture at the top shows the sequence graphed. I have studied some of math in art. Examples of math in art are using the Fibonacci sequence to frame a subject and form (the appearance of 3D in a 2D photo.) It is very interesting.

November 20, 2014 at 9:14PM

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Beau Wright
Filmmaker
409