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

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Use the Depth of Your Film Space to Stage Shots with Several People

Simple shots of one or two persons allow ample screen space to compose their blocking and placement within a simple frame. When your shot must contain a larger number of people (even with the modern wide screen aspect ratio of HD video) you will have to find creative ways to layer the multiple subjects deeper into the third dimension of the film space. The foreground, middle ground, and near background become a combined zone where persons can be blocked or staged to fit within the frame. As seen through the camera’s lens, the bodies of the people will have a slight overlap, but the faces should all be clearly visible and discernible.

The actual blocking will depend on the physical ...

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