Framing and the art of cinema

HiCamAngleCinema has a language. It’s written into the subconscious of filmgoers and TV viewers through exposure to more than a century of visual storytelling. There’s the high angle communicating the subservient stature of a character, the rapid blinking light signifying an imminent explosion, or the slight dutch tilt of a camera indicating that all is not right with the world.

But the language goes from the clear stereotypes to much more subtle symbolism and geometric details. Shapes in shadows can give a nod to the overarching theme of the story, or the entire set can be arranged to create leading perspective lines to draw the audience’s eye to a character otherwise diminutive in the frame.

Now you could spend months at film school extracting these nuggets of cinematic language from dozens of the great masterpieces of filmmaking history…or you could get the Cliff’s notes version from

The good people at have again made part of their fundamentals courses available for free for a limited time. In “Framing fundamentals–Framing for perspective”, you’ll learn how to adjust your framing to optimize the dimensionality of your scene (See player below).

In the complete version of the Framing fundamentals you’ll learn about the rule of thirds, where to place your camera for best impact, how to accentuate drama, how to respect and abuse head room, how to cheat the frame, appropriate lens choice, and how to leverage depth-of-field for best effect.

And all that in a little over ten minutes of your time. Isn’t that the way school should be?