CG101: Cinematography

With this tutorial, we will take a software independent look at some of the vital terminology that is required to build a solid foundation for learning some basics of cinematography.
Course info
Level
Beginner
Updated
Apr 16, 2012
Duration
13m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Level
Beginner
Updated
Apr 16, 2012
Duration
13m
Description

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.

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About the author

Digital-Tutors author.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

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.