Camera secrets of Hollywood : simplified photography for the home picture maker (1931)

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Chapter V T HE SET-UP 0/ aturally the proper plac- ing of the camera has a great deal to do with pictorial compo- sition, but camera position goes even farther than that. For instance, if you will glance through the prints of your old still picture days you will find that a great many of them can be improved by trimming. An example of this is Scene 48, page 39. Notice that by cutting along the lines, as marked, the pic- ture shows more height than it does in its original size. In other words the cameraman did not make the most of his set-up; he has tipped too high and has added too much blank sky to the scene. Because of the canyon in the foreground it was impos- sible for him to get closer to the subject and thus get the proper width for his picture, but nevertheless he probably could have gotten a much better picture if he had used a little more time in judging his camera position. In Scene 47 on the same page you will notice that trimming gives much better pictorial composition. In this particular case again the cameraman could not get nearer his subject as he was forced to stand upon a bridge, but he could have pointed the lens slightly more to the right for better results. The one tiling that he should have done in this still picture applies to motion picture photography as well. He should have changed his lens to one of a longer focus and the result would have been a much better balance 1 . And this is what we mean when we speak of camera placement, that it is not only a study of where to place the camera, but also a study of what lens to use. We call your attention to Scene 45, on page 40. The com- [38]