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rze
08-09-2013, 09:24 AM
I seen it on many threads online, people asking for critiques of their work, other people give answers pointing out errors in lighting or composition, then someone comes out of the woodwork calling the mistakes creative and that the rules don't matter. The rules are the guide for what the eye and subconscious expect to see for moving images. Of course you can break them if the narrative requires a jarring or discomforting effect, but I just don't know why people jump immediately to "oh the rules, break em." Wheres the rebelliousness coming from?

jambredz
08-09-2013, 09:32 AM
Could be laziness. Not wanting to take the time to learn it right

markmwilliams
08-09-2013, 10:34 AM
The difference between being creative and making a mistake is does breaking the rule help you convey the emotion you are trying to establish in the scene? Jarring off kilter camera angles and framing help if you're trying to make your audience feel unsettled in a scene for example. But if that wasn't your intention then you've made a mistake.

Frank Glencairn
08-09-2013, 11:50 AM
Could be laziness. Not wanting to take the time to learn it right

Yeah, that's it most of the time.
I had the "pleasure" to watch some of the "new bread" filmmakers with their DSLR last week for an hour.

They had the attention span of a hungry mosquito.

Taking your time, making qualified lighting decisions and focusing (pun intended) on something longer than a few seconds was out of the question. Let alone thinking twice about framing. Waving the camera around with both hands, or even one (freestyle) was the order of the day - "having a tripod would slow us down" they told me, same goes for anything but handheld LED lights. Yeah, right.

I have no problem with knowing the rules, and than brake em for a good reason, but this.....?

haavard
08-09-2013, 12:14 PM
I find that the more people talk about breaking the rules, the more it seems they don't know the rules at all.
Great filmmakers break the rules all the time, but it is no excuse to not plan and execute things properly.

Even if you are not technically great filmmakers, I'd love for more people to at least spend some more time to write a good story before they wave the camera around.

Eric Hasso
08-09-2013, 01:33 PM
Is it a true rule if it doesn't have penalty?

jambredz
08-09-2013, 06:50 PM
The penalty is a sucky film if done incorrectly. Thats punishment enough to me.

PeopleCanFly
08-09-2013, 10:13 PM
The penalty is a sucky film if done incorrectly. Thats punishment enough to me.Unfortunately a lot of people don't know how to objectively judge their own work...

David
08-10-2013, 01:29 AM
Quite frankly I'm not that good at much anything and heavily rely on rules and other talented people for the stuff I work on. The reason has to be overwhelmingly obvious for me to brake a rule on purpose and even then I have to think about it long and hard before I do. I will never win any awards or achieve any recognition of any significance but these rules have been paying my mortgage and putting food on the table since the late 90's and will retire happily with out financial worries long before I hit 65. Rules and knowledge in essence have made my career.

Fluoro
08-10-2013, 02:21 AM
I'm giving you the 'Bmcuser Humility Award of the Week' award David.

There, now you have won an award!

rze
08-10-2013, 11:43 AM
I think I figured it out, Dslr's were a "rebellion" against hollywood in the minds of the filmmaker that started on dslrs. The barrier to entry of camera was demystified and they believe that more than camera costs were smoke and mirrors including the fundamentals.

Ryan Paige
08-10-2013, 12:47 PM
There is a long tradition of breaking the established rules in cinema. It's how it evolves as an art form and storytelling device. I think because there have been rulebreakers who progressed the form, some people are reluctant to tell anyone that there are rules to follow or to hold them to those rules. I don't think it's DSLRs specifically (especially since I've seen plenty of people unwilling to tell people to follow the rules or stick to the fundamentals since well before there were DSLRs) just a mindset that nothing is off-limits when it comes to "art".

And too, I imagine we could find some filmmaking rules that some people say are essential and others on this very board would say aren't really rules.

morgan_moore
08-10-2013, 02:14 PM
Two thoughts;

When you edit to a soundtrack - dialogue - you need more rules.

Your typical beach pretty Dslr shoot doesn't teach you that stuff.

Also it is "post Bourne" so jump cuts and shake seem to have entered the acceptable aesthetic

Ryan Paige
08-10-2013, 03:19 PM
I was going to use jump cuts as an example of something that was once breaking the rules that has since become much more acceptable, though I was going to go back to the French New Wave to find an example because I'm pretentious like that.

Joe Giambrone
08-10-2013, 03:52 PM
Strictly speaking there are no rules, only guidelines.

This is a style question, and most newbies really don't have a foundation strong enough to pull off the stylistic choices they attempt. There is a long learning curve involved, and they need to experiment and hone their crafts, and there's really no way around that.

Styles have changed radically over the decades, and what was unacceptable before becomes acceptable to a whole lot of people today (the audience). In the end it's the audience's perception that matters. I may not agree with something shot like The Blair Witch Project (made me literally nauseous), but a lot of other paying customers found it worthwhile. That may be a shallow argument, citing box office numbers in defense of artistic choices, but the numbers often represent the opinions of millions of people.

And oftentimes the same old, same old has become visual cliche. If everyone else is doing it, we really need to think about how to take these style choices to the next level and separate from the pack. There are no easy answers, as the term "rule" would imply.

Brad Ferrell
08-10-2013, 04:24 PM
I try to stick to the basics most of the time but I do like to break the rules when I'm writing and stick to the rules when I'm shooting.

Brad Ferrell
08-10-2013, 04:25 PM
The first rule of filmmaking fight club is that there are no rules, only party-poopers.

Eric Hasso
08-10-2013, 04:30 PM
I only see one rule:
Track and setup what people believe (audience) and go in the opposite direction.

Its built like that in all stories that we still want to revisit from Shakespeare to the Wizard of OZ to Matrix

John Brawley
08-10-2013, 05:44 PM
One of the best films you can ever watch on the creative process is Lar's Von Trier's "The 5 Obstructions".

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0354575/combined
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Five_Obstructions

It will teach you everything you need to know about filmmaking and "rules".

Lars is also credited with Dogme, another set of filmmaking rules, which is NOT what this film is about, but even he himself would say that Dogme was a way of getting rid of the "rules" by creating a different set of rules.

http://cinetext.philo.at/reports/dogme_ct.html

Filmmaking is a language....a visual language. The rules are like punctuation and grammar. Shots are words. Scenes are like sentences. We should know the rules. We should know how to construct a sentence and a paragraph "correctly" We all know these rules innately because we all speak this language as consumers of visual media.

But we should also be able to create a tone or a mood. Sometimes that means not using language in the "correct" way. And it's simply BECAUSE we know the correct way that it has that impact or set's that tone.

jb

Gregg MacPherson
08-10-2013, 07:22 PM
This chit chat came a long way without anyone saying what these rules were. Even what generic kind of rule. Actually that's odd, if not a bit sloppy. People should make more specific, coherent comments. They can be founded on simple consensual terms, or common sense. Alternately, read or watch Lars von Trier, accept his terms and framework as a start point and have at it.

Eric Hasso
08-11-2013, 04:09 AM
Here's what its all about :cool:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=WA8TOSqUjuc

:o

rze
08-11-2013, 11:39 AM
This chit chat came a long way without anyone saying what these rules were. Even what generic kind of rule. Actually that's odd, if not a bit sloppy. People should make more specific, coherent comments. They can be founded on simple consensual terms, or common sense. Alternately, read or watch Lars von Trier, accept his terms and framework as a start point and have at it.

My OP called out lighting and composition, I didn't know those rules were not widely known. Some rules that I follow.

If a character is screen left and they are exiting screen right always have them exit in the background and vis versa.

If two characters are on the phone they should be looking opposite directions

45 degree shots come across more objective as a third party viewer, shallower angles are more subjective and intimate. Profile shots illustrate disconnect between characters.

The closer an object is to the center the more important it is. However most objects shouldn't be centered. Only objects that radiate should be centered like crosses or circles.

Framing characters with doors or windows should not be centered

Horizons should not split the screen in half.

Foregrounds in extreme wides should be darker and backgrounds brighter to maximize depth.

There is absolutely no excuse for a bad looking close up.

If a vehicle has positive connotation in the narrative it should be moving screen left to right if it has negative, it should be moving right to left.

Dolly moves in increase the importance of the subject and dolly moves out decrease

Women should be given softer light then men for their keys

In a matched pair, if there is an object like a lamp between the two actors it should only appear in one shot, not both.

When a character is traveling to a destination, the screen direction needs to be maintained, you can cut precisely in front of them or behind them as much as you want but angled shots for instance all need to be on the same side unless they change direction or your cutting style passes time between cuts.

The tallest character in the frame will draw attention.

Characters can be framed higher or lower in the frame than usual as long as there is an object that balances the frame.

Wide shots that are looking to achieve maximum depth will have the x y and z plane converging deepest in the frame.

The widest lens that can achieve your desired look without introducing distortion to the image should be used.

Nick Vega
08-11-2013, 11:53 AM
My OP called out lighting and composition, I didn't know those rules were not widely known. Some rules that I follow.

If a character is screen left and they are exiting screen right always have them exit in the background and vis versa.

If two characters are on the phone they should be looking opposite directions

45 degree shots come across more objective as a third party viewer, shallower angles are more subjective and intimate. Profile shots illustrate disconnect between characters.

The closer an object is to the center the more important it is. However most objects shouldn't be centered. Only objects that radiate should be centered like crosses or circles.

Framing characters with doors or windows should not be centered

Horizons should not split the screen in half.

Foregrounds in extreme wides should be darker and backgrounds brighter to maximize depth.

There is absolutely no excuse for a bad looking close up.

If a vehicle has positive connotation in the narrative it should be moving screen left to right if it has negative, it should be moving right to left.

Dolly moves in increase the importance of the subject and dolly moves out decrease

Women should be given softer light then men for their keys

In a matched pair, if there is an object like a lamp between the two actors it should only appear in one shot, not both.

When a character is traveling to a destination, the screen direction needs to be maintained, you can cut precisely in front of them or behind them as much as you want but angled shots for instance all need to be on the same side unless they change direction or your cutting style passes time between cuts.

The tallest character in the frame will draw attention.

Characters can be framed higher or lower in the frame than usual as long as there is an object that balances the frame.



You follow some very strange rules

rze
08-11-2013, 01:13 PM
You follow some very strange rules

feel free to elaborate

Ryan Paige
08-11-2013, 01:30 PM
Well, if you're talking about rules that should be followed most of the time and wondering why people would advocate breaking those rules, then you've picked a few rules that seem oddly out of place on a list of hard and fast rules.

The positive or negative connotation of a vehicle and its movement? That's a choice you can make to try to add a deeper level of symbolism to your shot, but I wouldn't call that a rule or question people who "broke" it.

Giving woman softer lighting is a stylistic choice, and I can think of numerous times when such a thing wouldn't be appropriate for the film.

For example.

John Brawley
08-11-2013, 04:26 PM
You follow some very strange rules

Most of those rules are well established conventions (not really rules) that are followed by many including myself.

jb

RobertJ
08-11-2013, 05:15 PM
http://youtu.be/ap9g2vR32Vg

Nick Vega
08-11-2013, 05:19 PM
feel free to elaborate

I see the points you posted more as a guideline than as an actual set of rules. Because each story, director, and the needed emotion that needs to be conveyed by scene is different, its hard to put a set of rules that needs to be applied for every film besides the standard basics, like not crossing the 180 line mid convo, or if you have to, how to do it properly. Now, Im not disagreeing with your rules (or guidelines, how I see it), but I just don't see them as being applicable 100% of the time (not all, because youre right, there is no excuse for a bad close up). A move out dolly shot doesnt decrease the importance of a subject depending on the context of the scene. If a screen left character exits screen right, maybe the action or blocking called for leaving front screen right and not the background. A character in a door can be centered in the shot. If a vehicle in a narrative passes from screen left to right, it doesn't mean its of negative connotation, its just a vehicle passing by. A matched pair could contain the same object in both cuts of different actors. Holding myself to these standards 100% of the time is restricting and can hamper how you would go about on a certain scene.

Although its generally applicable to the average situation, you can stray away from the beaten path and still make it home. Its like film color theory, just because someone is wearing purple doesnt mean that they are gonna die.

Gregg MacPherson
08-11-2013, 06:04 PM
I read this part, which felt like an interesting beginning.

"......The rules are the guide for what the eye and subconscious expect to see for moving images. ..."

Having a set of rules presented as fait accompli is like being given a formula in physics class without explanation of the underlying principles or mathematical derivation. And the students may stand up and complain that the formula is not true or universally useful. Why can't they modify it now?

On the other hand, if people conjecture over the rules that you offered that is a legitimate start. Von Trier's theories might be an interesting start point, but I didn't look at that yet. The memory of Dogtown and a little previous reading on Dogma 95 theory didn't excite me much.

All rules or functional principles are true only within certain boundaries. The exceptions or peculiar qualifications are sometimes more interesting or useful than the rule itself. A lot of genuinely talented people work without consciously observing rules. Functional principles are often just taken for granted.

One could challenge the idea of learning to make films by following rules. In the excitement of giving expression to an idea, the talented will discover whatever functional principals they need. But these ideas are pertinent to artists who might want to make films. There are plenty of more pragmatic, prosaic people who want to make pragmatic, prosaic films, and maybe rules early on are a good thing.

Joe Giambrone
08-11-2013, 07:52 PM
Stanley Kubrick breaking 180 "rule."


4035


They are all guidelines. This isn't the military.

Fluoro
08-11-2013, 09:18 PM
It goes without saying that rules are meant to be broken.

It's just you need to know when it works and when it doesn't. The Shining is a horror film with disorientation as one of its chief motifs so breaking the 180 rule works great to aid the scene.
It's all about knowing when to break rules/guidelines...

rze
08-12-2013, 12:52 AM
My apologies for using the word rule, I think JB said it best as convention. I don't want to dwell on terminology, in the OP I said that rules can be broken. The discussion has detracted from my initial question. Why is there the seemingly innate affinity to diverge from what has been working since cave drawings. Most of you rather find a way to debunk a single convention rather than acknowledge that almost all movies follow the traditional conventions to a T. Instead of asking why does it matter which way a vehicle is traveling, I get back it doesn't matter. The only thing I know is that the rebelliousness is from some sort of naive incompetence, the persistence is what perplexes me.

Joe Giambrone
08-12-2013, 02:04 AM
"My apologies for using the word rule, I think JB said it best as convention. I don't want to dwell on terminology, in the OP I said that rules can be broken. The discussion has detracted from my initial question. Why is there the seemingly innate affinity to diverge from what has been working since cave drawings. Most of you rather find a way to debunk a single convention rather than acknowledge that almost all movies follow the traditional conventions to a T. Instead of asking why does it matter which way a vehicle is traveling, I get back it doesn't matter. The only thing I know is that the rebelliousness is from some sort of naive incompetence, the persistence is what perplexes me."


Well, "apologies" steeped in condescension dont' carry the same meaning. Just as the word "rule" doesn't carry the same meaning as convention or guideline, suggestion, or heavens forbid: OPINION. If you're going to nitpick the direction that cars travel on screen, then it's more than appropriate to use accurate language in responding to you.

The thing about cars is they change direction, as do plots and perceptions, and many of those little quirks that were listed. The idea that there is one way of shooting and it has to adhere to a list like that is offensive to me, frankly.

Kubricks tossing out of the 180 rule in that scene is brilliant and not just for the reason mentioned above. The framing is wonderful with the mirror providing a mirror image of one of the lines across the top. The flipping of characters, the ghost to the madman implies they may be the same person, all in his head. Mindlessly ignoring this possibility, as 99% of other filmmakers would have done, steeped in this unbreakable "rule" would have led to a far less interesting scene. The concept of a rule is a dangerous thing, as this is art not science. There are no laws of thermodynamics in conveying emotion.

Fluoro
08-12-2013, 02:29 AM
The idea that there is one way of shooting and it has to adhere to a list like that is offensive to me, frankly.

It's just a set of guidelines that work in most situations- no one here is advocating they must be followed 100% of the time. I'm sure even Kubrick if he were alive would admit there are many useful rules and that most of the time they shouldn't be broken.

If you want to live in a film world without conventions then "experimental cinema" might be more your thing rather than conventional cinema (which Kubrick falls under).

Eric Hasso
08-12-2013, 03:39 AM
The problem with most guidelines is that they follow a certain mold which may not fit your story.

What you need to do and what you can't do without is to track your audience and understand what information in combination with previous information creates the feeling of engagement.


So why do people want to break the rules? I believe that's because most rules isn't a 100% perfect. Just 80% perfect.

Tom
08-12-2013, 08:24 AM
Having worked on many very low budget shoots - some expenses only -(read: not commercial shoots or big features) I can tell you that 99% of the time I end up breaking a rule, it is down to time. I understand why so many of these conventions exist and where possible I work hard to ensure they are followed where appropriate. Unfortunately many of these important conventions go out the window when someone is restricted with time and budget. Planning for these or rehearsing for them takes time. I agree with the idea that ignoring them will yield a lower quality film - but try telling that to a director or producer on a very limited budget.

Almost every single time I agree to work on a low/no budget production, I find that the planned filming time is grossly underestimated. Time is of course money, but the more inexperienced film makers seldom appreciate that to make their film of a high quality takes more than just filming with a good camera or in a cool location.

I think its less advocation of breaking the conventions, more ignorance of the conventions or ignorance as to their importance.

rze
08-12-2013, 11:24 AM
The problem with most guidelines is that they follow a certain mold which may not fit your story.
.

Most of the conventions I'm referring to are not dos and don'ts. They are a guideline to the effect of a certain composition. I mentioned that angle of a shot will impact how objective or subjective the perspective of a scene will be. That convention applies the large majority of the time. The only time that there is an error is when the narrative context objectively warrants a composition that was not utilized. If your shooting 45 degree shots when the male and female leads are about to kiss for the first time, thats a mistake.

To Tom's point, during the chaos of a shoot no one will stop to discuss following rules. However, the better you know them the faster you can analyze a narrative and come up with applicable solutions for the camera to enhance that story. I feel like the best filmmakers don't even think about rules because they are all second nature. For the lower budget films, I feel like you will be quicker when you have conventions to fall back on especially when you are behind schedule. "We need a good wide now," Ok lets utilize triangular composition and keep it asymmetrical, done.

Not directed at Tom, I think there is a misconception is that the conventions are boring and dated, they are not. They are timeless and the backbone of cinema. The goal of the conventions is to make the most pleasing dynamic images with the most depth. They are actually some of the most empowering tools to bring high impact to scenes. Can the wheel be modified changed yes, but some here are advocating a rebuild from the ground up. Sorry but your not going to do much better than a circle.

Tom
08-12-2013, 11:47 AM
Most of the conventions I'm referring to are not dos and don'ts. They are a guideline to the effect of a certain composition. I mentioned that angle of a shot will impact how objective or subjective the perspective of a scene will be. That convention applies the large majority of the time. The only time that there is an error is when the narrative context objectively warrants a composition that was not utilized. If your shooting 45 degree shots when the male and female leads are about to kiss for the first time, thats a mistake.

To Tom's point, during the chaos of a shoot no one will stop to discuss following rules. However, the better you know them the faster you can analyze a narrative and come up with applicable solutions for the camera to enhance that story. I feel like the best filmmakers don't even think about rules because they are all second nature. For the lower budget films, I feel like you will be quicker when you have conventions to fall back on especially when you are behind schedule. "We need a good wide now," Ok lets utilize triangular composition and keep it asymmetrical, done.

Not directed at Tom, I think there is a misconception is that the conventions are boring and dated, they are not. They are timeless and the backbone of cinema. The goal of the conventions is to make the most pleasing dynamic images with the most depth. They are actually some of the most empowering tools to bring high impact to scenes. Can the wheel be modified changed yes, but some here are advocating a rebuild from the ground up. Sorry but your not going to do much better than a circle.

I didnt mean time to remember the conventions - I mean time to actually implement them. Just time resetting a shot for example takes time, lighting subjects separately takes time, blocking a scene fully to ensure compositions are correct takes time. Most of the conventions come semi-automatically and when left out, are never done so because I don't care for them - they are done because a director or whoever will say - we dont have time/we need to light quicker/lets shoot this scene from only this angle to save time. etc.

I support the usage of the conventions for almost every instance - the problem is that too often (in the type of films I have been referring to) - the person bankrolling or responsible for the film does not.

Gregg MacPherson
08-12-2013, 04:29 PM
Was it Confucius or Lao Tzu who said (roughly) that rules or laws come up because our common sense and good nature is already diminished.

In a similar way, if a film maker is following these offered rules as guidelines external to his own innate instinct and common sense, should we think that his instincts and commons sense are diminished? Or is it that he has suffered under a prescriptive approach while learning. If talent is there, the understanding of functional principles or laws inherent in the medium will come naturally. The more normal approach, the prescriptive approach, has people learning rules early on. This may be useful for the majority, I don't know, but I think it can be quite crushing to some very talented people.

So maybe the answer to the question in the original post, the question that we are all getting admonished for not sticking to, the question that was the least interesting thing in there for me......Actually it probably already has been answered, but I can summarize my guesses on that.

Peoples instinct rises against rules that are given prescriptively, without being in context within something more universal (read as without in depth explanation or principle). If the rules were expressed in a way that accommodated the numerous exceptions there would be less reaction. None of that is a comment on the OP in particular. His ideas are quite endemic to much of film culture. The blame is not his.

Maybe people who react to the rule idea identify deep down with talented rule breakers like Kubrik in a way that they can't with great, more conventional film makers like, I dunno, take your pick...James Cameron?

Fluoro
08-12-2013, 06:33 PM
Was it Confucius or Lao Tzu who said (roughly) that rules or laws come up because our common sense and good nature is already diminished.

In a similar way, if a film maker is following these offered rules as guidelines external to his own innate instinct and common sense, should we think that his instincts and commons sense are diminished? Or is it that he has suffered under a prescriptive approach while learning. If talent is there, the understanding of functional principles or laws inherent in the medium will come naturally. The more normal approach, the prescriptive approach, has people learning rules early on. This may be useful for the majority, I don't know, but I think it can be quite crushing to some very talented people.

I think the opposite. Talented people don't fear rules because they know they can break free from them at the right moment for the right reasons. Creatively lacking people sometimes break rules every chance they get because then the means to judge their work is diminished. If you don't understand or "get" their work then the problem is your restricted view off what is possible creatively not their lack of skill.

Gregg MacPherson
08-13-2013, 02:00 AM
I think the opposite. Talented people don't fear rules .....

How is that the opposite? Where did the idea of talented people fearing the rules come from. Not from me. So I'm perplexed. My idea is that talented people have an inate awareness of the functional principles, which within certain boundaries express themselves as what are being called rules. What appears as rule breaking can just be talent exercising itself within a more expanded principle.

Fluoro
08-13-2013, 07:42 AM
How is that the opposite? Where did the idea of talented people fearing the rules come from. Not from me. So I'm perplexed. My idea is that talented people have an inate awareness of the functional principles, which within certain boundaries express themselves as what are being called rules. What appears as rule breaking can just be talent exercising itself within a more expanded principle.

'Opposite' was not the right word. I find it a bit hard to understand the point you're trying to make at times so it's hard to find the right words to respond.

static
08-15-2013, 06:47 AM
I believe that rulebooks are often a crutch for the uninitiated, but it does depend on your sensibilities and the type of films you want to make. If you're shooting in a prescribed style for a TV series then breaking the rules is going to be a problem for those in charge. If you're an auteur making your own films, then I sincerely hope you throw out the rulebook and only refer to it when or if you absolutely need it - and hopefully you won't. Noone should be able to tell anyone else that the dreams they have whilst sleeping are somehow less potent or worthy because a particular view, image or narrative broke any particular "rule". For me, it's the same principle. We would do well to remember that film has evolved as a technological solution for bringing our dreams and ideas into the open. Any application of rules can be destructive to this process. But I would concede that for those with less natural artistic sensitivity, rules can help coax things along.

Painting by numbers or painting with natural flair and feel = same thing. There's no doubt what I'd rather hang on my wall.

Gregg MacPherson
08-20-2013, 08:37 PM
.... Noone should be able to tell anyone else that the dreams they have whilst sleeping are somehow less potent or worthy because a particular view, image or narrative broke any particular "rule". For me, it's the same principle.........film has evolved as a technological solution for bringing our dreams and ideas into the open. .......


The fact that we dream. What principles of visual language hold sway there (in dreaming)? Do we as human beings have a common visual language or common tendencies in that direction, within dream consciousness? Do we share some commonality there, within the dream state, with other non human entities, with the rest of the universe? Perhaps within the dream state we are still connected with the universe. Porting the functional logic of the dream state to art or the cinema, or any attempt in that direction, may leave these connections between the seer, or the protagonist, or the audience and the universe intact. So a logic that is not founded on common relativistic life (waking consciousness), may get infused into art, culture, cinema. The effect of this may be a subtle shock, alienating, or seem inspired.

But if this process has been going on for a while, then we could see it as a gradual assimilation. So it is evolving. Rules per se as people refer to them here are an indication of principals operating within more expanded boundaries. And the dream state is, though an obvious indication of what or where the principals and boundaries might be located, the least interesting of the alternate states of consciousness that might directly inform the language of cinema as art.

So well done Mr Tuning Fork (static). A very enjoyable provocation.

stip
08-21-2013, 06:12 AM
There's a documentary about Picasso (yeah I know, another painting metapher).

He would paint on glass, with the camera opposite to see his strokes.

So he starts with this incredibly fantastic bull, scribbled with a handful of strokes. It was only a few strokes, but they were that genius that he had created a bull as powerful and majestic as it gets. The anatomy was stretched to the max.
Then he would continue working from it.
To put a long (indeed) story short, he endeed up with a picture of a haven landscape if I remember correctly. The more he painted, the less I liked it and I caught myself several times thinking 'stop, you're ruining it'.

Despite the fact that he himself didn't like the picture, it proved 2 things to me:

-He starts following the rules, then bends them, then breaks them.

-I don't particularly like his paintings because I do not understand them. Having seen that bull made of a few strokes, and the way it evolved from there on, I KNOW that they are too good, simply are out of my understanding.


If a filmmaker advocates to break the rules, and she/he is a good filmmaker, she/he will ALWAYS add that you must understand them first. It's always been like that and will always be.

morgan_moore
08-21-2013, 06:45 AM
Picasso is a great example of Rules

He had the ability to draw a chicken like this.. http://www.painting-palace.com/files/313/31292_La_poule_f.jpg

And then went on to choose to draw it like this.. http://www.eduweb.com/pintura/images/cock.jpg

I think he is perfect example of knowing rules, and understanding breaking them..

S

Gregg MacPherson
08-21-2013, 07:27 AM
It's worth noting that rules, laws, functional principals function within boundaries. We drive over bridges designed according to basic Newtonian mechanics. If we travel fast enough, or look at things that are small enough, then we need a more expanded set of laws or principals. Newtonian mechanics vs quantum mechanics vs relativity theory vs unified field theory.

In our common life or work we may use principals or rules that we take for granted as simply true, but they are only true if we do not stray outside of certain boundaries. Mr Tuning Fork brings up the idea that the logic of visual language (meaning moving pictures with sound language) and the constraints bounding that logic may be founded on the dream state. Or at least that logical principals inherent in the dream state are gradually informing motion picture media, getting incrementally infused into that. I think this is an observation that would be hard to argue with.

The fact that visual language is founded on or is so affected by the logic of dreams....How then to respond to the idea of principals (rules or guidelines) of visual language that are attemptedly rationalized within the common, relativistic, 1+1=2 universe?

It may seem that rules are broken, but it may just be evidence that someone is in play (playfully exploring) functional principals within more expanded boundaries.

Gregg MacPherson
08-22-2013, 05:46 PM
.... If you're an auteur making your own films, then I sincerely hope you throw out the rulebook......

In case you don't notice the PM I sent.....

After reading your post I had thought to invite you to the cinematography.com forum to enjoy a recent topic that began (roughly speaking) as a question or challenge on story vs style.
Nicolas Winding Refn and the supremacy of style over story
http://www.cinematography.com/index....opic=60447&hl=

Then yesterday this topic started.
3 Rules for the aspiring cinematograph(er)
http://www.cinematography.com/index....opic=60658&hl=

So do drop in and have a look. If you register you have to use your real name.

Anyone is free to do the same.

Cheers,
Gregg

Inprogress
02-14-2014, 09:39 AM
When I read up on some of the rules of cinema, I came away from it with the following key points:

- "Rules" of cinema is to a degree based on culture and tradition
- Some "rules" are known to evoke certain emotions because of what I mentioned above
- Some "rules" do not evoke the same message for many people of eastern cultures as in western cultures (unless we take into account how western culture has been filtered into eastern culture through films)
- When "breaking" a "Rule" know why you are doing it. Everything in cinema must be deliberate.

In with the cinematic language, you are using way more tools, and in some cases simpler tools, to evoke emotions and tell a story over just using the spoken and written word. With words you use sentence structure carefully, and as many good writers do, sentence structure that conforms to their style of telling a story.

Same for filmmakers. You use the tools, the "rules" and "bending" and "breaking" the rules you find your style of story telling, and everything is intentional, because if it is not, the audience might lose the story line.

Something like that. My style....can't say I have one yet, but it is slowly evolving.
-

imdjay
02-14-2014, 10:12 AM
I think there are 3 things being discussed here, and not completely in perspective of each other:


Knowledge: One should know the "rules", understand their purpose, and know instances/reasons one might want to break that rule (such as disorientation)

Ignorance: Not knowing the rules and therefore not making a conscience decision about breaking it, and therefore not knowing what effect/reaction it will evoke.

Resources: Knowing the rules, but having to make the decision to break them due to restrictions in time/budget/etc...


It still all comes back to knowledge, the more you know, the more thoughtful decisions you can make and thus get the most out of your 'vision'

Telecinese
02-14-2014, 03:39 PM
I like the 'conventions' description. In any artistic skill, as a beginner I believe it's most productive to understand how and why skilled people do what they do before focusing on your own 'beautiful snowflake' vision and style.

I've seen people in a few creative areas with the 'I'm so cool and talented and born with perfect artistic instinct, starting at the bottom is for losers' attitude, and it doesn't usually take them very far compared to the humbler 'I love what I do so I pay attention to the best and then put in the hours' folk.

Someone mentioned the Bourne-style shaky-quick influence as being perceived as a contemporary and cutting edge style of rule breaking. Of course anyone who pays attention knows how much it borrows from 80s 'MTV style', 60s Warhol, 50s Nouvelle Vague, 30s soviet experimentation, and so on. I bet most of us have seen 'groundbreaking', 'rebel' work whose innovations are a rehash of what 'Man With a Movie Camera' did ten times more effectively in freaking 1929.

So yeah, willfully ignoring or subverting the conventions can be a powerful tool to improve someone's filmmaking, but being ignorant of them is no point of pride. It's just 'standing on the shoulders of giants' with a blindfold on, reinventing the wheel just a little less round this time around.

JJMairacheck
02-14-2014, 05:08 PM
I think every beginning filmmaker, and pretty much the rest of us as well, should read those last two posts. Wisdom...

Joe Giambrone
02-14-2014, 06:58 PM
I think I need to take exception to some of the directions this has gone.

"Knowledge: One should know the "rules"..."

We're conflating empirical knowledge with opinion now. The reason everyone keeps putting rules in quotations is because they are in the final analysis opinions, perhaps consensus, but nothing at all like a law of nature. The line toward arrogance is crossed when opinion suddenly is presented as immutable fact.

Style is highly subjective, and numerous styles have come and gone over the past century. What many are presenting as "rules" is a set of expectations, perhaps effective, perhaps droll and cliche. It's all subjective.

As we're talking about communication, the "rules" of communication are that there is no on/off measurement of the quality of a communication. There is no strict formula. There is only effective vs. ineffective communication. This depends, of course, on the person you are attempting to communicate with.

So these alleged "rules" are what the current audience expects, and deviations may not be met with the desired outcome. That doesn't make it a rule, but a consideration. Not the same thing at all, and I wish people would stop using this r word. It's very annoying, and technically wrong.

Taikonaut
02-15-2014, 03:26 AM
I actually quite like the zoom being used in the 70s. I've seen a few sudden zoom being used in recent TV dramas so maybe it is making a comeback:D
I want to master the "Hitcock Zoom".

rze
02-15-2014, 03:35 AM
I think I need to take exception to some of the directions this has gone.

"Knowledge: One should know the "rules"..."

We're conflating empirical knowledge with opinion now. The reason everyone keeps putting rules in quotations is because they are in the final analysis opinions, perhaps consensus, but nothing at all like a law of nature. The line toward arrogance is crossed when opinion suddenly is presented as immutable fact.

Style is highly subjective, and numerous styles have come and gone over the past century. What many are presenting as "rules" is a set of expectations, perhaps effective, perhaps droll and cliche. It's all subjective.

As we're talking about communication, the "rules" of communication are that there is no on/off measurement of the quality of a communication. There is no strict formula. There is only effective vs. ineffective communication. This depends, of course, on the person you are attempting to communicate with.

So these alleged "rules" are what the current audience expects, and deviations may not be met with the desired outcome. That doesn't make it a rule, but a consideration. Not the same thing at all, and I wish people would stop using this r word. It's very annoying, and technically wrong.


Its funny that you said nothing like a law of nature, many conventions were derived from laws of nature. I don't think a single person in this thread has advocated any rule to be an immutable fact, only a guideline that you should follow 90-95% of the time. Style has nothing to do with many of the conventions I've discussed, maintaining screen direction will never ever become cliche. Also its not just current audiences, I said cave drawings earlier and I meant it. Thats how far back many of the conventions we're talking about date. Can you give examples of some rules that you seem to be irked by?

Actually, now that I think about it, fundamentals might be a better word to describe at least what I was talking about. Many filmmakers have issue with the fundamentals, and instead of attempting to build upon the foundation of fundamentals incrementally and logically, the real arrogance comes into play when people think you don't need the fundamentals at all. Static said one of the most bizarre things I have ever read on this forum. "If you're an auteur making your own films, then I sincerely hope you throw out the rulebook" Being an auteur by definition requires a technical competency in filmmaking technique. You can look it up. Without the fundamentals by definition, you cannot be an auteur. Perhaps we need to start putting filmmaker in quotes.

tetsujin28
02-15-2014, 08:51 AM
What I have learn from martial arts these last 20 years and specially in Kendo is at one point everybody got is own way to see and practice Kendo, and everybody got is own reasons and way to approach this art, but there is only one way to make the strikes movements.

I transpose that in my filming skills : if you want to break the rules, you first have to know them.

I will add one though, we don't need to break the rules, we need to invent more rules that will add to old ones

Please feel free to contradict me

Joe Giambrone
02-15-2014, 11:00 AM
I'm not sure how many ways it needs to be said, but the term "rules" is incorrect.

Period. Full stop.

There is no authority governing these rules. There is no God given reason for their existence. By constraining one's thinking to some perceived set of rules, they automatically discard all other possibilities. The Kubrick example I gave originally should have sufficed:


http://youtu.be/wN6TPtaBKwk

The point, so it doesn't get lost yet again, is that if you constrain yourself to thinking in terms of rules, you do not come up with these -- what you call -- "exceptions." You simply follow your dogma. This is a conceptual argument. The interesting filmmakers are the ones who ignore previous conventions and DO SOMETHING NEW.

My favorite Kubrick quote: "But is it interesting?"

What are the "rules" of music videos?

What are the "rules" of tv commercials?

What are the rules of Enter the Void, or Europa Report?

The biggest distribution platform in the history of the world -- Youtube -- what are the rules of Youtube?

We've mentioned Blair Witch, and the whole found footage school.

What are the rules of Gangnam Style?

Short films: Noah, animations: Logorama, L'Pet Goat II

The Simpsons?

Aeon Flux?

These are all motion image arts, and things are progressing at light speed in directions far far away from this thread. Technology now allows impossible camera work and a constant stream of innovative moves and positions.

So what were those rules you'd like to impose, again? And are they limiting your perceptions of what is possible?

PS

What are the rules for getting a video installation into MOMA?

rze
02-15-2014, 12:53 PM
No rules are broken in that example. If you have only have a understanding of the 180 from whats on the internet you might think its breaking a rule. Open a single book on screen direction or cinematography and you'll learn that Kubrick is framing his shots extremely carefully to adhere to the 180 rules. Like I said before you cannot be an Auteur without strong competency of filmmaking techniques. Its in the original essay where the word and concept was created. You can see how it seems so paradoxical that you strongly advocate original filmmaking without technique. Which in my eyes leads to garbage if your not a genius. I know I'm not and I know your not, so its ill advised to put eggs in that basket.

stevesherrick
02-15-2014, 04:07 PM
How many here have read the book The Five C's of Cinematography by Joseph Mascelli?

I ask this as a point of reference, not as an accusation of lack of education.

rze
02-15-2014, 04:24 PM
I have, most of what I have been trying to explain is from that text.

stevesherrick
02-15-2014, 04:49 PM
I have, most of what I have been trying to explain is from that text.
I could tell you had read it. :-)

nickjbedford
02-15-2014, 05:26 PM
Unfortunately a lot of people don't know how to objectively judge their own work...

This and a thousand million times this.

Tim Hole
02-15-2014, 07:20 PM
You need to separate conventions/rules/guidelines into two categories. The first category is defined by understanding human perception and maximising on the effect, the other is shot coherence. A lot of the guidelines stem from art and photography, and have as a standard been adhered to years/decades/centuries. The human eye scans from top left to bottom right and a lot of guidelines take this into consideration. The rule of thirds, golden triangle et al, are all to do with maximising on the human perception of what is comfortable and pleasing to look at. By breaking these rules you need to understand what you are doing by breaking them, and then using that as a storytelling device.

Other rules are simply there to aid in the fluency of editing/shot coherence. Having someone walking from frame left to frame right is odd, and it is jarring, so you run into the danger of reminding the audience there is a finite space in which they are viewing the story. The last thing you want is to bring the audience out of the story. If you must have someone going from frame left to frame right, put something in the foreground—a plant, a shadow...anything to break up the frame a bit. What we do is comprise a series of shots/sequences in such a way that the brain ignores, these cuts for the most part. A lot of the rules are put in place because we don't want to confuse the audience, and we want they to be relaxed whilst watching the cuts flip by. The best example of breaking the 180 rule I think was in the Interrogation scene in Elizabeth (1998). Perfect example of breaking the rule to emote confusion and disorientation.

We pay attention to these guidelines because its important to provide a fluid story. By all means change things up, but be aware of the consequences. Newbies are learning, that's fine but the problem is, that they very often have no guidance, can't be bothered to learn and just carry on making these errors. They will be ignorant of these issues until someone points it out, because they will be oblivious. They may feel something is not gelling right, they may recognise the audience is not as drawn into their story as they expected. It is kind of restricting to have knowledge of how things are done, sometimes I wish I had the freedom of ignorance.

My favourite phrase it seems when talking to other creatives about these kinds of things—and I end up saying it a lot—is: The more you learn the less you know. Once you go down that rabbit hole, and you start realising how ignorant you are of the depths and complexities of the craft. We are talking craft here, where craft meets art (we had that conversation already). Just look at grading and colour correction, you'll probably just start getting a good grasp on it after six or seven years of doing it. Filmmaking as a whole, if I was to sum up the entire knowledgebase of everything, I probably know about 5%. When it comes to cinematography, I probably know about 15%, screenwriting maybe 30%. Increasing your understanding of things can only come with a colourful array of experience. I've only been filmmaking for 11-years, I've been a screenwriter for 15-years.

That's my thoughts.

Telecinese
02-15-2014, 08:15 PM
My favourite phrase it seems when talking to other creatives about these kinds of things—and I end up saying it a lot—is: The more you learn the less you know. Once you go down that rabbit hole, and you start realising how ignorant you are of the depths and complexities of the craft.

Oh yeah. And the flip side: the truly incompetent are so clueless they're all the more confident about their skill. Science! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect)

Tim Hole
02-15-2014, 08:31 PM
Oh yeah. And the flip side: the truly incompetent are so clueless they're all the more confident about their skill. Science! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect)

Thought there would be a term for it somewrhere :D

I have plenty of creative friends who literally go out and just shoot films, but I'm burdened by process.

Reminds me of what Fincher said, in an article I saw online the other day... "whenever a director friend of mine says, ‘Man, the dailies look amazing!’ … I actually believe that anybody, who thinks that their dailies look amazing doesn’t understand the power of cinema; doesn’t understand what cinema is capable of.”

http://blog.talenthouse.com/2014/02/04/5-filmmaking-tips-from-david-fincher/

Liam
02-15-2014, 09:51 PM
There aren't any rules to film making, what a fucking joke.








... Yeah, I'm that guy.

Fluoro
02-15-2014, 10:09 PM
John said it best five months ago:



Filmmaking is a language....a visual language. The rules are like punctuation and grammar. Shots are words. Scenes are like sentences. We should know the rules. We should know how to construct a sentence and a paragraph "correctly" We all know these rules innately because we all speak this language as consumers of visual media.

But we should also be able to create a tone or a mood. Sometimes that means not using language in the "correct" way. And it's simply BECAUSE we know the correct way that it has that impact or set's that tone.

jb

vicharris
02-15-2014, 10:36 PM
No rules are broken in that example. If you have only have a understanding of the 180 from whats on the internet you might think its breaking a rule. Open a single book on screen direction or cinematography and you'll learn that Kubrick is framing his shots extremely carefully to adhere to the 180 rules. Like I said before you cannot be an Auteur without strong competency of filmmaking techniques. Its in the original essay where the word and concept was created. You can see how it seems so paradoxical that you strongly advocate original filmmaking without technique. Which in my eyes leads to garbage if your not a genius. I know I'm not and I know your not, so its ill advised to put eggs in that basket.

I'll agree. He's right on the line on both cuts. Dead on. That's why it works. That's part of the "rule" :) If he was 5 degrees off on either side, it would seem odd.

Tim Hole
02-15-2014, 11:15 PM
There aren't any rules to film making, what a fucking joke.




... Yeah, I'm that guy.

As this thread has said multiple times, the rules are generally merely guidelines, but a lot of the time, depending on who you are working for, they may well be considered rules. I have a sneaky feeling that the common usage of the word and the way films are made is a direct result of the Hollywood studio system...at which point you would be fired for not following the rules. I think for some of these 'rules' how dismiss them at your peril, maybe guidelines is too soft, and rules is too hard.

willvincent
02-16-2014, 03:25 AM
Rules or Guidelines.. whatever you feel comfortable referring to them as, there are reasons these conventions exist. Understanding those reasons and then choosing to do something unconventional is one thing. Flat out ignoring, or being too damned lazy to learn what the conventions are, and why they are is really kind of pathetic.

Tim Hole
02-16-2014, 10:29 AM
Rules or Guidelines.. whatever you feel comfortable referring to them as, there are reasons these conventions exist. Understanding those reasons and then choosing to do something unconventional is one thing. Flat out ignoring, or being too damned lazy to learn what the conventions are, and why they are is really kind of pathetic.

+1 and unprofessional.

Dan Pears
02-16-2014, 07:31 PM
There aren't any rules to film making, what a fucking joke.

... Yeah, I'm that guy.

Not specifically to you alone Liam, but to those in this thread who share this idea that the rules are ridiculous - care to post some of your work that shows this? I don't mean to be antagonistic, but I am curious - if these guidelines/rules don't resonate at all with you, could you share your work and talk us through your creative process and decision making?

Liam
02-17-2014, 05:53 AM
1 opinion comes up with the rules,

which applies to 1 opinion, none other.


My OP called out lighting and composition, I didn't know those rules were not widely known. Some rules that I follow.

If a character is screen left and they are exiting screen right always have them exit in the background and vis versa.

If two characters are on the phone they should be looking opposite directions

45 degree shots come across more objective as a third party viewer, shallower angles are more subjective and intimate. Profile shots illustrate disconnect between characters.

The closer an object is to the center the more important it is. However most objects shouldn't be centered. Only objects that radiate should be centered like crosses or circles.

Framing characters with doors or windows should not be centered

Horizons should not split the screen in half.

Foregrounds in extreme wides should be darker and backgrounds brighter to maximize depth.

There is absolutely no excuse for a bad looking close up.

If a vehicle has positive connotation in the narrative it should be moving screen left to right if it has negative, it should be moving right to left.

Dolly moves in increase the importance of the subject and dolly moves out decrease

Women should be given softer light then men for their keys

In a matched pair, if there is an object like a lamp between the two actors it should only appear in one shot, not both.

When a character is traveling to a destination, the screen direction needs to be maintained, you can cut precisely in front of them or behind them as much as you want but angled shots for instance all need to be on the same side unless they change direction or your cutting style passes time between cuts.

The tallest character in the frame will draw attention.

Characters can be framed higher or lower in the frame than usual as long as there is an object that balances the frame.

Wide shots that are looking to achieve maximum depth will have the x y and z plane converging deepest in the frame.

The widest lens that can achieve your desired look without introducing distortion to the image should be used.

Take this list for example, it's ALL incredibly subjective and overly opinionated. To me, it sounds like class dividing. Your film doesn't adhere to these rules, therefore your film is not worthy. Sounds pretty fucking pathetic too me.


Not specifically to you alone Liam, but to those in this thread who share this idea that the rules are ridiculous - care to post some of your work that shows this? I don't mean to be antagonistic, but I am curious - if these guidelines/rules don't resonate at all with you, could you share your work and talk us through your creative process and decision making?

https://vimeo.com/liamrenaut/videos

I shoot sport, I shoot it how I would like to see it, not how others would like to see it. I make my films for myself, others can choose if they like it or not and to be honest, I couldn't care what anyone thinks. I'm not around to try and please other people, why would I, I'd drive myself insane...






... Luckily, I'm easy to please ;-)

Joe Giambrone
02-17-2014, 12:41 PM
"There aren't any rules to film making, what a fucking joke."

I suppose this is directed at me. Have you bothered to read the argument? It concerns the concept of rule, and why that is not the correct word (or conversely is) to describe the concept of visual conventions. Don't be an asshole.

Here's my problem with these alleged "rules" which even the proponents tend to place in quotation marks for some reason, as they must not feel so strongly about the concept...

"Some rules that I follow.

If a character is screen left and they are exiting screen right always have them exit in the background and vis versa.

If two characters are on the phone they should be looking opposite directions

45 degree shots come across more objective as a third party viewer, shallower angles are more subjective and intimate. Profile shots illustrate disconnect between characters.

The closer an object is to the center the more important it is. However most objects shouldn't be centered. Only objects that radiate should be centered like crosses or circles.

Framing characters with doors or windows should not be centered

Horizons should not split the screen in half.

Foregrounds in extreme wides should be darker and backgrounds brighter to maximize depth.

There is absolutely no excuse for a bad looking close up.

If a vehicle has positive connotation in the narrative it should be moving screen left to right if it has negative, it should be moving right to left.

Dolly moves in increase the importance of the subject and dolly moves out decrease

Women should be given softer light then men for their keys

In a matched pair, if there is an object like a lamp between the two actors it should only appear in one shot, not both.

When a character is traveling to a destination, the screen direction needs to be maintained, you can cut precisely in front of them or behind them as much as you want but angled shots for instance all need to be on the same side unless they change direction or your cutting style passes time between cuts.

The tallest character in the frame will draw attention.

Characters can be framed higher or lower in the frame than usual as long as there is an object that balances the frame.

Wide shots that are looking to achieve maximum depth will have the x y and z plane converging deepest in the frame.

The widest lens that can achieve your desired look without introducing distortion to the image should be used.


As others have already pointed out, these aren't rules but pet peeves, stylistic choices. They aren't necessarily shared by others. So they don't qualify as "rules" of anything. Why some people take a simple disagreement in terminology and concept as a jumping off board to preen and prance like little pretentious... nevermind.

Gary Huff
02-17-2014, 02:01 PM
I shoot sport, I shoot it how I would like to see it, not how others would like to see it.

Except your sport shooting is pretty typical. I don't see you flaunting the "rules".

So apparently it's an attitude you don't actually practice.

rze
02-17-2014, 02:18 PM
[I]

As others have already pointed out, these aren't rules but pet peeves, stylistic choices. They aren't necessarily shared by others. So they don't qualify as "rules" of anything. Why some people take a simple disagreement in terminology and concept as a jumping off board to preen and prance like little pretentious... nevermind.


Most of those rules are well established conventions (not really rules) that are followed by many including myself.

jb

To Joe and Liam, know that you are in the minority not the majority, throwing convention out the window. My question to you guys is what is bad composition?

Chris Adler
02-17-2014, 02:24 PM
Tell your stories the way you think they should be told. Don't change anything to appease a rule. Don't be myopic. Every story should be unique.

Joe Giambrone
02-17-2014, 03:26 PM
Well I never got to the point of the Kubrick example. The idea that this wasn't a line cross, a violation of the "180 degree rule" is absurd. Corollaries and fine print obfuscate that Kubrick deliberately flipped Jack and the ghost -- repeatedly -- for a metaphorical reason. This was to leave it an open question if the ghost was Jack and vice-versa, if the ghost existed at all or was a figment of a deranged imagination. Without saying it, this visual device, with subtlety, violated filmmaking conventions in the service of the story and the experience.

The goal is how does one become Kubrick and make that connection?

Not by slavishly following rules. My argument is that only Kubrick looks at the bathroom scene in The Shining and comes up with a blatant, gratuitous line cross to flip them on screen. No one here on this board likely comes to the same conclusion.

That is the point of calling out the concept of "rules," which is a strict, unyielding concept that is a short cut to thinking. John Brawley said it as quoted above, and I agree with him that these are conventions, considerations, not "rules."

Most filmmaking today is complacent and conventional. The interesting films challenge conventions, not just in visual tricks but in story, the area of my own focus. I'm not a cinematographer (nor ever claimed to be), but a writer. They have 8 million books filled with story and plot rules as well. They have 8 million films as a result that aren't worth the time it takes to watch them, nevermind a ticket price.
I'm quite sick of conventional, corporate filmmaking. Most "product" today looks like it was shot by the same crew, who went to the same school and took the same rules-based classes. I'm more interested in the deviants.

The title of this thread irked me from the start. It's a logical fallacy, an appeal to authority, by using the phrase "the rules of filmmaking." When called out that this is technically incorrect, and that these alleged rules aren't rules at all but conventions, preferences, style choices and etc., the game changed to one of one-upsmanship: ego boosting.

You can stick to rules and come up with another list of 50. That's your business. I'm open to new possibilities. A more honest discussion would have presented conventions for their merits, why they are used and preferred. Perhaps examples where other people "violated" your convention and the perceived problems.

This thread was a provocation, a confrontation from its inception. There are unnamed filmmakers who allegedly advocate breaking unspecified "rules." That's a can of controversy without really saying anything.

vicharris
02-17-2014, 04:22 PM
1 opinion comes up with the rules,

which applies to 1 opinion, none other.



Take this list for example, it's ALL incredibly subjective and overly opinionated. To me, it sounds like class dividing. Your film doesn't adhere to these rules, therefore your film is not worthy. Sounds pretty fucking pathetic too me.



https://vimeo.com/liamrenaut/videos

I shoot sport, I shoot it how I would like to see it, not how others would like to see it. I make my films for myself, others can choose if they like it or not and to be honest, I couldn't care what anyone thinks. I'm not around to try and please other people, why would I, I'd drive myself insane...






... Luckily, I'm easy to please ;-)

Ummm, the first video I looked at on your page, the beer one, pretty much followed all the standard rules and many in that list. So seems like you do kinda follow the rules. BTW, nice video :)

Tim Hole
02-17-2014, 05:15 PM
It seems that some people just prefer to ignore what the majority are posting here. Most of these conventions just make sense, and they are there to help you tell a story that an audience will connect with. None of the conventions are there to hinder and restrict your vision, because they are not absolute. Just like you may take lighting and composition ques from Rembrandt or Caravaggio, people who care to listen and understand, the power of the rule of thirds/the golden mean, leading lines/horizon/depth/object isolation et al, will be better storytellers as a result. Most of the technical conventions tend to be adhered to because they are a result of decades of experience from professionals who have been doing it day-in-day-out. Would you ignore panning speeds just to be different? The audience won't thank you for it, similarly with editing conventions because if you ever get out into the professional market, the editors and producers definitely won't be thanking you and you will be hindering your story in the process. I'm not so much talking about the conventions listed on the first page, but every aspect of filmmaking is full of them. Ignore them when you want to, but use them as a rule of thumb. Then when you do break them, it will be that much more powerful. If you want to go out and make a Kenneth Anger film by all means do, it's a visual medium, choose the way to tell your story on your own terms, but be thankful someone has cone before you and decided to reveal some trade secrets, because that's what they are. Western Cinema is boring enough, in the majority so I encourage experimental cinema, I just don't like people ignoring gold nuggets for the sake a mis-placed idea of individualism.

rze
02-17-2014, 05:35 PM
Joe, I ask you what bad composition is. If you want merit based discussion lets stray away from tangents.

stier
02-21-2014, 03:59 PM
Bad Composition is Composition without Beauty.
By capturing Beauty you are creating Beauty.
Love makes you happy.

Inprogress
02-27-2014, 03:24 AM
Just read a comment from a discussion about Henry C. Bresson, interesting word someone mentioned instead of "rules', rather "principles".

Another interesting thought about don't follow the "rules" (from now on I shall refer to principles). Not following the principles and just shooting to find your own voice is like trying to write your own language that you can use to express yourself.

Frank Glencairn
02-27-2014, 05:57 AM
Over 100 years of filmmaking those "rules" -or whatever you want to call them - evolved, not because of control freaks, but just because they work (most of the time).
They are the result of a try and error process, for what works best to tell your story, without playing the camera too much in the foreground, while taking people out of the film.

After 100 years, there is not much new under sun, that wasn't tried before (and often failed). I don't think there will be much wheel inventing in the future.
Of course people always trying out new things - like in The Verge - but most of the time you can pull those once or twice, before they become old and "yawn - that again -really?" boring.

Telecinese
02-27-2014, 07:41 AM
Agreed. The Verge?