The purpose of these standalone lessons is not to learn how to use any specific software, but rather to focus on learning fundamental terminology. It is recommended that you are familiar with all of the terminology that is discussed throughout these lessons before starting to follow along with any tutorials that have to do with placing or animating a camera, such as rendering or compositing tutorials.
Introduction and Project Overview In this lesson, we will learn about the 180 rule. The 180 rule simply states that two characters or other elements in the same scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other and to the viewer. This makes it easier for the viewer to keep track of characters on screen. Let's look at a diagram of two characters. Between these characters, an imaginary line, known as the line of action is established, this line of action is the rotation limit for our camera. We now have 180 degree area in which we can move and rotate our camera. If we cross over the line, we run the risk of disorienting and confusing our audience. Let's take a look at an example. In our first shot, our establishing shot, we set up where each character is in relation to each other and the area in which we can move the camera. Now let's move our camera, and we'll do a medium shot. Notice that our character is on the same side of the screen as he was in the establishing shot. Now let's do a reverse medium shot of our other character and play the sequence. Notice how it feels like these characters are looking at each other. Now let's look at the same sequence, but let's replace the last shot with one where we break the 180 rule. Notice how our characters no longer look as if they're talking to each other. This break in continuity can be confusing, but depending on the shot, it may be useful. Not all scenes are static, characters do move. And when this happens, keep note of where they move to on screen so you can reestablish the line of action and know where your camera should be positioned. While shooting, remember the 180 rule to help the audience keep track of the on-screen elements.
Cg101: Cinematography In this lesson, we will learn about the rule of thirds. Whether it's setting up a composition for a photograph or framing an actor on set, we always want to be sure that our final images are well-composed. One way we can achieve this is by using the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is the process of looking at an image and imagining that that image is divided by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines. These lines are where we want to place elements of importance. The areas where these lines intersect are hot spots, meaning these are the areas where our eye wants to look first. Let's take a look at this example. We can see in this image everything is framed in the center. This makes for a less than interesting composition. Now let's see what happens if we frame the subject using the rule of thirds. We can see the composition of the image becomes more appealing and interesting to look at. The rule of thirds is also used to help frame characters on screen. If we take a look at this image, we can see that something is not quite right. The shot seems off balance. Now, let's reposition this shot using the rule of thirds. By simply aligning the eyes on the top third and positioning one at the intersection, the framing of our character looks more appealing and feels more natural. If you want to improve your composition and create more appealing shots, try using the rule of thirds to frame your scenes.