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Cinematography is the discipline of making lighting and camera choices when recording photographic images. It is closely related to the art of still photography, though many additional issues arise when both the camera and elements of the scene may be in motion. There are many aspects to Cinematography, and many of them can be applied to Brickfilms much like they are used in live-action filmmaking.
- Types of Shots
Types of Shots
There are many different types of angles and perspectives used in the placement of the camera in films. These types of shots have different names and abbreviations which are useful for planning them. See Types of Shots for a full list with explanations.
Depth refers to the illusion of three-dimensionality that a two-dimensional frame of a brickfilm possesses. There are several techniques of filmmaking which serve to enhance this feeling of depth.
In a three dimensional world, it is important to try and add depth to a two-dimensional medium. To do this, try and capture at least two sides of an object. So when photographing a human, instead of doing a side profile, do a 45 degree profile. This allows you to see the person’s front and side. This also applies to minifigs as well as inanimate objects such as buildings and chairs.
Often an object will be placed in the foreground of a frame to support the illusion of the frame being a three-dimensional space. The object is often as simple as a tree branch across the corner of an exterior shot or desk lamp in the foreground of an interior shot. The foreground object is not intended to distract the viewer (it is often out of focus to the point of being barely recognizable) and subtlety is usually the key to its successful usage.
Objects which we are used to seeing from a distance can be added to the background of an image to support the illusion of depth. Stars, horizons, cityscapes, even posters or paintings on a wall can make a frame appear more three-dimensional. Just like foreground objects, the amount a background object is blurred can contribute to the viewer’s perception of its distance from the camera.
It has long been a practice of cinematographers to limit the number of significant subjects in a frame to three, positioned in a triangular arrangement in the frame. More than three objects (the ones of interest, anyway) tends to confuse the viewer about the makeup of the three-dimensional space contained in the frame. The three different subjects are not necessarily positioned at different distances from the camera; it is very common to have two of the subjects at the same distance and the third either closer or farther from the camera. This simple triangulation is another subtle hint to three-dimensional space occupied by the frame.
Depth of Field
Depth of field (described from a technical standpoint in this Encyclopedia article) is a very powerful tool to give a frame a sense of having three-dimensions. The amount of blurriness of foreground, background, and subject objects is immediately associated with that object’s distance from the camera. If the focal depth changes over a sequence of frames, the perception is enhanced even further (for example, if foreground telephone is blurry at the start of the sequence and the focus switches from a background subject to the phone upon its ringing, the viewer will receive a very dramatic impression of the depth of the frame).
Users of digital still cameras often have to pay particular attention to shortening their depth of field; while webcams usually have a limited depth of field to begin with, the enhanced depth of field available to higher quality cameras will often detract from the feeling of depth that a frame has.
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