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Grammar of the Shot, 2nd Edition by Christopher J. Bowen, Roy Thompson

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Chapter Two

The Art of Composition

Question: What is composition?

Answer: Put simply, composition is the unified arrangement of artistic parts inherent to the “art form” being practiced. One can compose music, steps in a dance routine, figures in a painting, words on a page, visual elements within a film frame, and so forth.

Since you now understand that a shot pictorially covers a person, action, or event within a certain frame size, we have to take a more refined look at how you could fill that frame with the important objects, or the important “information.” Meaning, where, specifically, do you place the person’s head in a close-up shot or where, specifically, do you place that lone, tall tree on the flat ranch land in a long shot? And it ...

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