When thinking about producing television, one thing that a person must consider is framing. Framing a shot correctly helps to present the image as clearly as possible and convey the proper meaning. First we will introduce some of the different fields of view, and then we will go into some dos and don’ts when framing a shot.
Field of View
The field of view refers to how close or how wide the object appears in relation to the camera. It is organized into 5 different shots:
- Extreme Long Shot (ELS)/Establishing shot
- Long shot (LS)/Full shot
- Medium shot (MS)/Waist shot
- Close-up (CU)
- Extreme close-up (ECU)
Because most television screens are relatively small, more close-ups and medium shots are used as opposed to long shots. It is also important to note the difference between a CU and an ECU. When framing a CU, show the head of the person and part of the shoulders. In an ECU, the top of the head should be cut off, while the upper part of the shoulders remain in the shot.
Other shot designations can be given as well.
- Bust shot: frames the subject from the bust line to the top of the head
- Knee shot: frames the subject just above or below the knees
- Two-shot: where two people or objects are in frame
- Three-shot: where three people or objects are in frame
- Over-the-shoulder shot (O/S): the camera looks at the subject over the shoulder of the camera- near person
- Cross-shot (X/S): the camera looks alternately at one or another person
Framing Dos and Don’ts
When framing a close up shot (or any shot really), be sure to lead just enough headroom. Headroom is the amount of space between the top of the subject’s head and the top of the frame. If there is too much headroom, the picture looks unbalanced. If there is too much headroom, the image looks cramped. Normal headroom leaves the subject in a comfortable place.
Noseroom and leadroom are also important factors to consider when framing. When a person is facing a particular direction other than straight-on towards the camera, this creates an index vector. Index vectors must be compensated for in framing by leaving appropriate space in front of the subject in the direction in which he or she is looking. One must leave proper leadroom in the event of a motion vector, in which the subject is in motion. Adding proper space in front of the direction the person is moving towards balances the motion vector and creates balance.
Framing is essentially about balance. Television is limited in its scope to see full pictures, so framing is important to portray the important information. It is important to consider which shots will be appropriate for the subject one is filming beforehand. Knowing how to effectively utilize framing can help make any production that much better.