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

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Chapter Three

Composition–Beyond the Basics

Question: How can a two-dimensional (2D) recorded image give the impression of three-dimensional (3D) space?

Answer: There are many ways to use compositional elements to create the illusion of three-dimensional space within the film or video frame. Many popular methods include diagonal lines, foreground and background objects, object size, atmospherics, wide or long lenses, focus, and lighting.

Up until now we have kept most of our compositions very basic—a single person standing in a simple environment. Clearly you will be creating much more elaborate shots for your own projects, but we all have to start with the basic rules of visual grammar. By this point you should feel comfortable with your camera’s ...

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