July 23, 2018

Learn How to Frame Up Your Shots with 'Finger Frames'

"Finger Frames" are totally a thing and they can actually help you learn your lenses' field of view.

You know exactly what this is but you just didn't know it had a name. Not only do tons of new filmmakers walk around on set using them but they most likely have at least one profile picture somewhere on social media in which they're throwing 'em up. "Finger Frames," or "Director's Hands," is that gesture some filmmakers do to frame up their shots without having to look through their camera's viewfinder—and yeah, I think it's fair to say that most people that do this are pretending to know what they're actually doing. (I say this as someone who did this shamelessly in college like a friggin' dork ass idiot.)

But Finger Frames can actually work if you know how to use them. In this video, Rubidium Wu of Crismon Engine shows you an exercise that will help you learn how to measure the field of view of each of your lenses so you can frame up your shots without being tethered to your camera. Check it out below:

As you can see from Wu's video, this exercise is super simple and straightforward. It's a great little trick to learn for those that are reliant on having to switch out lenses to actually see their field of view.

If you're not too fond of the whole hand thing, you can always buy a director's viewfinder, which will allow you to see the fields of view of many different types of lenses, video formats, and aspect ratios, however, these things can get pretty expensive if you want one with lots of features. Either way, whether you're into Finger Frames or not, it's a pretty useful skill to have—being able to determine the field of view of each of your lenses.

Do you use Finger Frames? Are you doing Finger Frames in any of your profile pictures? (Be honest.) Let us know down in the comments.     

Your Comment

11 Comments

The C200 isn't full frame, so its 35mm lens doesn't give the same view as a 35mm lens would on a full frame camera – which is significantly wider.

So surely the baseline is to start with 35mm frame equivalents and then work from there? (Even a tiny iPhone lens is classified in terms of it's equivalent full frame performance.) Otherwise you're going to ask for a 35mm lens when what you really want from your camera operator is a 50mm lens.

July 24, 2018 at 7:12AM

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Jeff C
15

This has nothing to do with FOV equivalency and a camera being "full frame" or not. As he mentions several times - you should familiarize yourself with YOUR setup - your camera and your sensor size. Equivalency would only matter if you mastered this technique on a certain sensor size and now you're shooting on another and need to make adjustments, which is not what the video is about.

July 24, 2018 at 10:51AM

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Gleb Volkov
Director of Photography
328

PS - sorry, I should have started by saying this is a great idea and a really good piece! I was just referring to the small 'detail' of sensor size.

July 24, 2018 at 7:34AM

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Jeff C
15

Am I the only one who's thinks the "finger frame" thing is easily the most pretentious act ever?

July 24, 2018 at 11:01AM

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Nicholas Ortiz
Director/Writer/Stuntman
210

I second that Nicholas. This looks like something you would learn at a community college film school.

July 24, 2018 at 4:59PM

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I mean, the Alan Gordan Mini Viewfinder is about 180 bucks, not so expensive to have really.

July 25, 2018 at 10:07AM

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Nicholas Ortiz
Director/Writer/Stuntman
210

Directors finder? Imagination? Move the camera?

July 24, 2018 at 5:01PM

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There is a secret among older DPs I learned in film school. It's very different from the technique described in the video, which I personally think is un-usable.

- make a fist infront of your mouth, like your holding a microphone.
-place your thumb at the base of your nose.
- each thumb length from your nose wil be about10mm, using the classic "pointer and thumb touching opposite pointer and thumb.
- so 5 thumb lengths away from the base of your nose will roughly be a 50mm
- find the correct thumb lengths, as each person's hands are different.

July 24, 2018 at 10:08PM

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Isiah Flores
Director of Photography, Steadicam Op, Gimbal Op, Camera Op
8

Thank you. I like your idea and how practicable this can be used on and off the set.

July 27, 2018 at 4:10PM

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April fools in July? I find it hard to believe someone is actually encouraging this loathsome 'technique' without any hint of irony. The headline should be 'How to look like you don't have a clue' and the article filed down there with such sagely advice as 'have your picture taken while standing by the camera and pointing'.

July 30, 2018 at 5:40AM

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Simon
91

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October 3, 2018 at 1:48PM

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