Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds

The movie screen space is a confined one compared to our real life vision. It gives the ability to take a limited view of the scenery and present it to the audience. What the audience view is what has been captured through the camera. The camera position, viewing angle and the position of the characters on screen all of these play a vital role in making the visual effective.  Many a times you see a homemade video and wonder that there is something that is not right. If you watch it close then it might be how and where the camera was placed. In order to make effective visuals there is basic grammar called the Rule of Thirds. Again as it goes with many other rules many of them have broken this rule as well, but not before understanding its purpose.

This week’s Friday fundas I would be talking about rule of thirds which deals with framing a visual. Often when you see people taking vacation photography they keep the object of focus in the center of the screen. Even the Horizon lies in the dead center of the screen. Next time you click a photograph try and adjust your camera to keep the object on the one third of your frame and see what effect it brings. This is what rule of thirds is all about. This applies to movies as well.

To understand the rule of third you would need to divide your frame into 3 equal halves both horizontally and vertically. The object of focus is placed along the one-third line. For example if you have a character speaking you place the character on the vertical one third line and the eyes or forehead of the character along the horizontal one third line on top. This eliminates the empty space over the head and to the side of the character and enhances the visual along with the surrounding.

Rule of Third - Positioning the character on one third of the frame
Rule of Third – Positioning the character on one third of the frame

The shot shown above is from the movie The Prestige. See how the character Christian Bale is placed on the one third of the line with a sharp focus.

Sometimes you would need to break this rule or rather I would say adjust this rule to have the character in the center of the screen to focus attention. Still keeping the top of the character to the one third of the screen is important to eliminate the empty space. Although this looks simple it is very important to remember to use this rule when capturing a shot.  As an experiment you can take the photographs you have shot and see how you have positioned the object of focus. Next time you take a photo try applying rule of thirds.

Related: Friday Funda Archives | Eyeline Match | 180 degree Rule

Leave a Reply