Production: 4 Composition Tips for 16:9

The composition 16:9 stands for 16 arbitrary units of height to 9 arbitrary units of width. Often called 16 times 9 or 16 by 9, this composition just refers to how wide the screens are viewed. The 16:9 has now become the standard for HDTV as compared to the old 4:3.

However, most television screens use this composition shot. It is important to remember that these aspect ratios do not actually refer to the measurement of the screen in feet or inches. Rather, it describes the shape of the television programs or television sets. There are several tips you can follow to effectively create a 16:9 shot.

1. Apply the Rule of Thirds

Although the dimension of the grid you will use to divide the screen has changed, you still need to apply the Rule of Thirds when shooting a wide screen shot. The Rule of Thirds is a general rule in an image composition, whether it may be in photography or film, wherein the image should be imagined to be divided into 9 equal parts. The image should be divided into 2 equal horizontal lines and 2 equal vertical lines to come up with the 9 equal parts.

In essence, the important elements in an image should either be along the lines or in the intersections of these lines. By doing this, the image provides more interest in its composition rather than the putting the subject in the center of the frame. Using the Rule of Thirds in a 16:9 will give you more emotions in a shot than just focusing on one subject matter. The Rule of Thirds also gives you ample space to capture the background of the subject you are focusing on.

2. Utilize the Entire Frame

By using the whole frame in a 16:9, you are able to have more room to capture your image or tell your story in one single frame. You can also use multiple shots in one frame. You can do a close-up while at the same time have the background in a wide shot all in the same frame. With the 16:9 composition, you can do all of these things without having to cut images.

3. Be Aware of a 4:3 Conversion

When shooting a 16:9, always be aware that your video may be converted to a 4:3. A 4:3 is another aspect ratio, often used in old screens, where 4 units by 3 units screen is used. This means that your 16:9 video may be viewed in a much smaller screen. In this regard, it is always wise not to include too much important elements of your shot on the outside frame. Otherwise, this may be cut off when the video is converted to a 4:3.

4. Create Visual Lines

Creating visual lines in a 16:9 shot provides you with a clear-cut storyline by just looking at the shot even without any sound or speaking lines. Visual lines are like blocking or placing your subjects in such a way that they create a line visually. With a 16:9, you can shoot several subjects in different locations to create a linear space all within one frame without having to shoot one subject after the next.

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