10 Techniques to Film Composition for Filmmaker You Must Know

Last Updated: 2021. 05. 12

Summary:Why the background of my footage is quite annoyed and why the frame of other vloggers’ video is so excellent? If you got these kind of questions? This blog is definitely for you. It’ll show you 10 film composition tips to make your footage look more professional, and help your video get more views.

Film composition means how the things, such as actors and scenery, appear in the shots. Besides, composition enables to reappear the three-dimensional reality on the two-dimensional frames and images. It can emphasize the subject and make frames more beautiful through filtering the elements and applying different lights.

Although, there are many incidental, personal creative ideas and processing modes, we still can find some common principles and rules while fim making. These techniques make our video more lively, catchy and easy understanding.

1.Rule of horizontal and vertical line

First of all, horizontal line: the frame usually focus on the sea level or vast grassland.


Image board: Film composition: horizontal line

The horizontal line itself has the sense of stability which gives audience a feeling of spaciousness and comfort. So, it’s quite popular for landscape composition.

The second one is vertical-line composition which enables to show the tensile force of the subject. With wide angle, it can enhance the depth of the frame. It’s suitable for characters, trees or building filming.


Image board: Film composition: vertical line

2.Rule of third

Use the rule of thirds, dividing the frame into trisection in vertical and horizontal way separately. It’s better to place the subject on the cross point to emphasize the story, or say, your theme and make the frame feel more comfortable and cinematic.


Image board: Film composition: rule of thirds

3.Diagonals and Triangles

Audience will feel the sense of dynamic tension and lively visual effect, if shots are composed in the way of diagonals and Triangles. These kinds of composition suit to shoot the background rather than character. Besides, it’s really popular to apply the diagonal and triangle composition into travel video.


Image board: Film composition: triangles

4.Centred (Symmetry) Composition

Generally, people’s first visual focus is at the centre point, and this is kind of what people will see at first glance, so that the subject’s usually placed in the centre of the frame.

As can be seen, the composition is devoted to direct the viewpoint and highlight the subject. It’s no doubt that symmetry (centred) composition can have a great balance of the left and right image.


Image board: Film composition: centred (symmetry) composition

5.Foreground Interest and Depth

Put your interesting subject in the font, enhancing the depth and enriching the feeling of sense of third-dimension.


Image board: Film composition: foreground interest and depth

As the foreground, the texture of rock is clearer and more comfortable.

6.Frame with the frame

To emphasize a story, use the way of frame with the frame, directing viewers’ eyes into the subject within the frame. It makes the frame more mysterious, the subject has sense of dynamic.


Image board: Film composition: frame with the frame

The church is sacred and mysterious, you may wanna enter into the church learning more stories with the camera.

7. Rule of Odds

How to get a great shots in a hustle and bustle street? Using the rule of odds makes your frames look more natural, and the background clearer.


Image board: Film composition: rule of odds

8.Light and Dark

An excellent way to direct your audience’s attention is through light contrast. You can use darker background to serve your subject isolating the subject to guide the audience’s attention.


Image board: Film composition: light and dark

9.Change the Angle

You may wanna use drone shots, or really low level shots to give your audience a unusual view.


Image board: Film composition: drone angle


Image board: Film composition: low level angle

10.Simplicity and Minimalism

Less is more. Focusing on the part of thing also can reflects your subject.


Image board: Film composition: simplicity

It has the same logic as the rule of isolating the subject. The background is blurred to have a focus on the character.



  • When you film a close-up of someone, try to put the eyes about a third of the way.
  • close-up

    Image board: Film composition: close-up tip (Source from learnaboutfilm)

  • Try not to cut off people’s arms at the joints.
  • don't-cut-off-arms-at-the-joints

    Image board: Don't cut off arms at the joints (Source from learnaboutfilm)

The Bottom Line

Composition refers to how arrange elements on the screen. Your video will look much better if you compose your shots carefully. Hence, pay more attention on the edge of the frame and the background, and apply these techniques to your video!

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