Shot Composition For Your Film

Before you make your first short film, you will want to be familiar with the basic rules of composition. These rules are incredibly useful for student filmmakers, as they are rules that both students and professionals alike follow when they are composing effective and balanced shots for their films.

Before you begin to design your film, take the time to explore the three pages below, all of which will help you learn about specific aspects of composition. Of course, these rules are only guidelines for filmmakers – they are the most common ways of composing effective shots. At times, you might have an artistic reason to deliberately break one of these rules and design a shot or a sequence in a less orthodox fashion. Understanding the rules first, though, is the first step of understanding composition.

Rule of Thirds and Central Framing

Looking Room and Head Room

180 Degree Rule

Once you have understood the content of these three pages, revisit some sequences from one of your favourite films and see how the director has utilised these rules to enhance the film’s composition. Grab 5-10 screenshots from the film and annotate them, showing how the filmmakers have used each of the above rules effectively.