Step 1: Define composition
Ask the students if they know the meaning of the term “composition.” Explain the various meanings and how it is used in many different media (music, painting, sculpture, drawing). Show examples of composition in other art forms.
Teaching Tip: Before filmmaking: students should have already thoroughly researched the content of their chosen film subject.
Room Set up: Students should be seated either at desks in groups or on the floor for the slideshow and group discussion about composition.
Step 2: Five types of composition
Introduce the five different terms commonly used in composition with corresponding slides for discussion. Write the terms on the board so the students can see them and refer back to them:
- Rule of thirds
- Foreground and background
Start with the rule of thirds, and discuss why having the subject of the photo off to the side is more interesting to the viewer. Write each concept on the board as they are discussed, so they can be used as a reference. Ask students what they notice about photos and how they make them feel; what rule of composition is being used?
Step 3: Compare and contrast
Compare and contrast the same photos, with one version being cropped and the other allowing more space around the subject. Discuss with students how they use context clues in reading to help understand what is happening in a story and explain how they can also use context clues in photographs and film the same way. Show examples.
Step 4: Create examples
Have students use the viewfinders to create the five kinds of compositions around the classroom.
Teaching Tip: Make sure each student has a chance to use the viewfinders, and participate in the discussions as they learn concepts of composition.
Extra Time? Have students share their composition examples with the class. Were certain examples more challenging than others to create? Why?
- Break students into small filmmaking teams.
- Have students design a team logo and name for their film group.
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