If you’re filming a video of two people talking, where will you have them stand in relation to each other and the camera? If your answer is to put them side-by-side and just start filming the conversation or interview, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, though, this could be a big mistake.
The composition of your shots includes your actors’ blocking (where they stand and how they move), the placement of your products, and how you frame the whole scenario. As a result, good composition follows a lot of the same rules as good framing. You’ll want to follow the rule of thirds to ensure that you place focal points at the most interesting points on the screen, and you’ll want to give enough headroom in the video that it doesn’t seem as if the actors’ heads or the displayed products are crowding the top of the screen.
In addition to these rules, when you compose a shot, you can also create movement, division, and interest by creating implied lines. An implied line could be a row of products, people moving in the same or different directions, or even shadows that repeat or draw the eye along a certain line. Creating implied lines is a great way to make a shot more interesting and professional.
Finally, be aware of your video’s foreground and background, and how you use focal planes to differentiate between them. You want the focus of your video to stand out and your background to accentuate it, not distract from it.
Good composition can make a video look more appealing, and it can send any number of messages. For example, let’s say that you’re filming an interview, and you put the interviewer in the foreground, off to the side, facing slightly away from the camera toward the interviewee, who’s a bit farther away, facing the interviewer and the camera. This gives you the opportunity to use the rule of thirds, headroom, and implied lines to make the audience feel like they’re right there with the interviewer getting all of the answers they want and need.