Film Composition Unit

Goals and Purpose

Goal: This unit will introduce you the principles of cinematic composition, camera placement and camera movements so that you become familiar with the many tools filmmakers use to bring their stories to life.


  • You will gain a better understanding of movies when you watch them on your own
  • You will be able to better communicate your project’s message or theme to your audience
  • Your projects will look more professional

Key Vocabulary

  • Composition
  • Frame
  • Rule of thirds
  • Headroom
  • Lead Room / Nose Room
  • Mergers
  • Point of View (POV)
  • Jib
  • Slider
  • Depth of Field
  • Pull Focus


1. Go to Edmodo and take the Film Composition Pre-Test.  You have 5 minutes to complete the quiz.  It will not be scored as a grade.

2. View the Intro to Film Composition Keynote lecture. (Keynote Version) | (PDF Version)

Film List: Tutorials

  • Looking at Movies DVD, Chapter 6: Shot Types and Implied Proximity
  • Looking at Movies DVD, Chapter 6: Camera Angles
  • Looking at Movies DVD, Chapter 6: The Moving Camera

The 5 Deadly Sins of Amateur Video

Filmmaking Tips: Head Room, Lead Room and Anticipatory Framing

Tutorial – Manipulating Focus on a DSLR Camera from Skyview Broadcasting on Vimeo.


Film List: Examples

Chapter 1: The Cabbie from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

METRO from Jacob Wyatt on Vimeo.

Activities and Projects

We will have two in-class activities and two projects to demonstrate our understanding of these concepts:

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