You are here

"Mirror Mirror" Shows How to Compose Your Video Shots Well

Mirror Mirror with Brian

Start Your PLUS Membership To View This Video

Learn, Create, and Share like Never Before

Better Training for Better Video

We'll be your guide to mastering techniques and learning the tricks so that you can unleash your full potential.


Videomaker PLUS

$19.95/mo

Unlimited Access To:

Our entire library of training and product videos

Every article, ever. Even ones that haven't hit the web

Our expert hotline, to help with all your video needs


7 Day Free Trial

Learn More

Video Transcript

“Mirror Mirror” Shows How to Compose Your Video Shots Well Brian Peterson: All right. Why don’t we do some tips, actually not from readers this time because we were getting both tips, techniques, but a lot of questions from folks here on the floor. And, as a matter of fact, I had a chance just to talk with a couple of folks. One was Walter from Morgan Hill, and he just wanted to know a little bit more about composition. In one of the seminars we talked about how the compose your shots well. And there’s of course the standard that we all go by, which is the rule of thirds. Morgan Paar: Rule of thirds Brian Peterson: . You know, if you took a tic-tac-toe and just stand that tic-tac-toe grid onto the frame, whether it’s 16 by 9, or 4 by 3, same tic-tac-toe structure, you want to place your important areas as the intersection of those lines. That gives you a rough estimation of where your eyes would be at the upper left or the upper right third, if that’s your subject is, a head, really close up. But wherever your subject is, just smack them down right in the middle. And it’s kind of boring. Morgan Paar: Only for news. Maybe. A news type of thing when someone’s speaking directly to the camera, but outside of that, you know it’s funny? We’re probably a rule of thirds right now. So we can have Andrew to put up our bright lines showing and- Brian Peterson: That’s right. Morgan Paar: the rule of thirds. Brian Peterson: So if you see us lined up here, that’s his suggestion. Morgan Paar: Yeah. Rule of thirds. So, then another one is, and this pertains to the rule of thirds, but also to think about is, you’ll want to leave a little nose room in a shot. So, let’s pretend Brian wasn’t here at all, you want to put me right in the middle of the shot. Usually the way, let’s say for example, a documentary talking head would be, I would be speaking to somebody slightly off camera. I would be over in the third part, looking towards this empty space right here. So that’s another way to think of rule of thirds is, you want your subject to have some room to speak into, you don’t want them right up against the frame. I don’t know how close I am. But, yeah. It looks kind of funny. Brian Peterson: And it’s also called looking room, nose room. And another thing that’s really important about composition and framing, especially with a subject with a nose, which many subjects do, don’t take it personally. Look in this direction. Okay. See what’s happening right here with his nose? It’s breaking the line of his cheek right here. Turn back direction a little bit more. See, now his nose is contained within the light edge of his cheek. That’s actually very important to try to do, when you’re doing that three quarter view. If the nose starts peaking past the cheek bone, that becomes a bit more distracting. If it’s not a complete profile, you want to stay away from that. So… Morgan Paar: Another thing to think about in your composition is your background. Are there things sticking straight out of your head, like a flag pole or lighting pole? Brian Peterson: Oh, don’t go there, man! Don’t go there. Morgan Paar: Why? Brian Peterson: We must have tens of those things sticking out our head right now. Morgan Paar: I’m sure we do. But anyway, Brian’s saying we’re looking okay. So, that’s another thing. Think of your background: is the background more distracting than your subject? Is background brighter than your subject? What are different things in the background that are going to distract you from what you should be looking at. Brian Peterson: Right. Composition, I mean, we could go on a long time about that, there are wonderful books written on composition, of course. But we just wanted to touch on the rule of thirds. And of course, rules are meant to be broken. Push people to the extremes, left or right, but make sure you at least get coverage with something else that’s well framed and that has some balance to it. Morgan Paar: And there is a little tip, you know. All of these conventions come from still photography, and go to the museum. Look at still photography. Those pictures, those photos that are in a museum are, even paintings are in there, because probably they have good composition. And see how these artists are composing their works. Brian Peterson: We have another question from one of our attendees here.From Berry, Berry from Chapa, Missouri. He was wondering about masking, and how you do it in a real believable way? I believe he is familiar with AfterEffects, and back we had a special section on working on Adobe AfterEffects alone. He wasn’t really teaching details of this program, but what it could do. We had one of our instructors ask for showing up hands on how many had AfterEffects. You know, maybe a third of people raised their hand. How many people are afraid of AfterEffects, and every hand stayed up. So, it is a very deep program, almost industry standard, and we’re not promoting Adobe or anything or another, there are certainly other applications after decompositing, Adobe just happens to be one of the big ones. He was certainly asking, how are you really able to handle the work flow? And work flow can be quite an issue if you’re masking more than one, and if you’re masking moving subjects. All we can say is, you have to really drill into the details, and support materials are where you’re going to get that information. What, the use of tweening, and key frames is essential when you get into that level of detail. And just know that you’re going to have to do some research. You know, obviously we’re not going to drill on the detail here, but- Morgan Paar: And it’s a lot of work. Brian Peterson: it’s an interest, which is interesting. Morgan Paar: It’s a lot of work too. I mean, you’ve done more of this than I have, Brian Peterson: Right. Morgan Paar: but it’s not something that you sit down and press a button and, everything is perfect. Brian Peterson: I know. Morgan Paar: There’s a lot of tweaking, there’s a lot of fine tuning, there’s a lot of key framing, and if you want to do this and make it look good, you’re going to have to put in time. Brian Peterson: Right.