My Love of Cinematic Framing

Posted in Filmmaking, Personal by - February 04, 2014
My Love of Cinematic Framing


As a movie lover and filmmaker, I’ve always enjoyed films that have a cool visual flair to them. Some of my favorite directors are auteurs who tell stories in creative and imaginative ways using the camera. Tim Burton, Hitchcock, Park Chan-wook, Paul Thomas Anderson and Sam Raimi are just a few of my favorites, because they always find interesting ways to tell a narrative. Their films inspire me to be a better filmmaker and to work with people who can bring my visual ideas to life. With every film I make, I become braver about utilizing ideas and techniques to tell a story in my own unique way.

I remember first learning about the term “mise-en-scène” in an “Intro to Film” class taught by my college professor, Mark Charney, and it gave form to those things I had always noticed but never understood their importance as a kid. To see how the composition and framing within a shot can be utilized to tell more about your characters and their situations without having to use dialogue was mind-blowing to me. Park Chan-wook’s recent film Stoker is a great example of this. His use of framing people in shots and transitions between scenes is both beautiful and brilliant. You’re able to see glimpses of some of his well-composed shots (brought to life by his cinematographer) in the film’s trailer below:

The Ipcress File starring Michael Caine is another great example of a film with great use of frame composition. I first heard about this film from a recent article on Indiewire  which republished a blog post by editor Vashi Nedomansky. The post was about how the film’s director Sidney J. Furie and cinematographer Otto Heller shot “as much of the film as possible through obstructions or foreground objects.” The filmmakers did this “frame within a frame” technique in 100 different shots throughout the film which Nedomansky compiled in the video below. It’s really cool how many different ways they framed subjects within the frame:

It was ground-breaking at the time, but such shots are now very commonplace in movies today. This kind of creative artistry drives me to take more risks in my own work and to do things that aren’t conventional in the cinematic sense. My next film Disengaged will hopefully be a bigger evolution of how I want to tell a story, because I storyboarded every shot and really worked hard to have more fun framing and composition within some scenes. Plus, I have an amazing cinematographer by the name of Ismail Abdelkhalek to help breathe life into my cinematic ideas.

What films visually impressed you and why? Leave your comments below.

If you’d like to check out the Indiewire article, you can find it here.

This post was written by ilikefilms

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