Recently, I’ve found myself relying on cinematography educational content more and more to improve my photography work. The way light is constructed in movies and the thoughts a DP puts into framing their shots make the results look a tad more flattering and natural than what most photographers seem to be teaching and doing nowadays. So when someone such as Canadian Director of Photography Pierre Gill, who has worked on beautifully lit movies such as "Upside Down,” "Casanovas,” and "Polytechnique,” is giving out free tips, I sit down, listen, and, of course, share it with you.
Any photographer and videographer, regardless if his skills, gear, or style of work, should take a few minutes to watch the video above. Gill is sharing with us three tips that are essential when it comes to composing shots. He starts by explaining the importance of lens choice as well as the distance we place it in relation to the model. It may not seem like a big deal, but as you’ll see in the examples shown in the video, it is. Then he explains how using lines can help organize a frame and guide the eyes of the viewer. Getting your audience to look somewhere right away, as Gill puts it, reminds me of what Joe McNally said about keeping only the most powerful elements in a still image. Finally, the DP's third piece of advice is to let the audience decide how they feel. He believes a cinematographer should not try to go over the top to create a cool shot, but instead just invite the viewer in the scene and let him appreciate the story.
Did you enjoy listening to Gill's tips? Then be sure to look at CineSummit workshops as the video above was just an excerpt from one of last year edition's class. The upcoming edition will be available for free on April 4 and 5. For more information, read my previous article or visit CineSummit’s website.