November 11, 2014

Aesthetics Masterclass: Learn How to Speak the Cinematic Language More Fluently

If you're going to work in a visual medium, you have to understand the visual language.

Everything that is inside a composition, as well as the characteristics of those things, say something to its viewer. Literally -- everything. The shot size, camera angle, lens used, lighting, costuming, and props say something. The size, shape, and color of objects in the frame say something, as well as the vectors they create. Their relationship to other objects in the frame say something, too. These are all "words" -- even full statements -- that we use when we make images.

As a filmmaker, your job is to tell stories using these images -- these "words", which is why your visual literacy is supremely important if you want to 1.) communicate clearly and effectively with your audience, and 2.) tell the stories that you truly want to tell. If you've never heard about visual literacy before, you're in luck! Not only do we have a video that breaks down many of the concepts of composition and visual language, but chances are you, just like most audiences, are very well versed already (even if you/they don't know it).

In this workshop, photographer Adam Marelli compares the work of classical painters to contemporary photojournalists, essentially "bridging the gap" between the compositional techniques found in classical art and photography. So seriously, grab a pen, a piece of paper, and get ready to take notes, because if you don't know much about aesthetic theory, your world is about to get completely rocked.

This video is a fantastic introduction to aesthetic theory, but it's only the beginning. You can always learn so much about this stuff by simply watching, studying, and making films (or reading up on cinematography). However, if you want to know more about the formal concepts of aesthetics, like the science and emotion behind color and composition, you can check out some of our past articles here. Martin Scorsese has actually addressed visual literacy several times, namely in an article he wrote for The New York Review of Books, as well as in an interview for Edutopia. Those are definitely worth a read/watch.     

Your Comment

10 Comments

A free lesson is a free lesson but this seems a lot more like just some guy talking rather than an organized class. It has sparked my interest to look elsewhere for more on this subject.

November 11, 2014 at 12:05PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1245

photography/ cinematography
The Photographer's eye by Michael Freeman.

also encompassing visual language as a whole:
The Elements of Color
Design and Form
by Johannes Itten (Former professor at The Bauhaus school)

November 11, 2014 at 7:36PM, Edited November 11, 7:36PM

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Awesome! Thank you!

I'm leaving the hotel soon and desperately needed some inspiration to pair with the 3 cups of coffee.

November 11, 2014 at 9:15PM, Edited November 11, 9:15PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1245

This is a great way to explain the shapes used for cinematography, or photography. This is a different approach to look for compositions.

November 11, 2014 at 1:22PM

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Aurelien Brentraus
Director/Cinematographer
241

Jesse Pinkman? Is that you?

But seriously, some great content in here. Thanks NFS.

November 11, 2014 at 6:18PM

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Isaiah Corey
Director of Photography
260

No disrespect, it's good that people help each other evolve and go further. But in my humble opinion, this guy could use some education himself. It takes a lot of effort AND knowledge (both practical and theoretic) to organize a good class and I think there are much better (and shorter) ones out there.

(I was just thinking of the same books that alexandre do mentions also!)

November 12, 2014 at 8:56AM

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A. Souza
Camara and Editing, DP on the make
74

An example?
I mean this guy just did an hour and a half workshop and showed examples and theory the whole time. Did you actually watch this?

June 16, 2015 at 6:03PM, Edited June 16, 6:03PM

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Tony
251

this was very informative, great explanations. thanks a lot!

November 12, 2014 at 6:22PM, Edited November 12, 6:22PM

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So today I used the one-eyed-squint test on a simple video I am producing, and now I am advising with lights and shadows. Thanks a lot for the free lesson. Also, now I am seeing lines and diagonals in everything. Definitely one to watch if you haven't had the 'classic' design training.

November 13, 2014 at 11:29AM

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Hazel Watts
Producer - Director
81

Damn DLP's flicks...

November 14, 2014 at 8:25PM

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theuerweirich@me.com
Director of Fotography
334