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Framing and composing video shots

Good composition and professional framing will improve your video journalism and storytelling.


Steve McCurry, a former National Geographic’s photographer, has 9 composition tips that apply equally to photography and video:


The ‘rule of thirds’ mentioned in the above video can also be applied to video journalism – especially for interviews that will be shown in ‘landscape’ mode on TV or a desktop computer. This guide from Chris Shumway at the University of Georgia explains how to approach framing and composing your video shots.

If you are a newcomer to video storytelling, getting your framing right can be difficult. Lights Film School has created this excellent tutorial on common framing errors and how to avoid them:


But not all video is watched in landscape format these days. You might need to create a square version of your video for social platforms like Instagram Stories or Tiktok. This blog post from Animoto is an excellent overview of mobile filming – and includes a short tutorial on how to frame landscape shots when you’ll need to produce a square version.

If you are working on a video that will be viewed in vertical format (which is how many of us watch video on a smartphone), these tips from the Vertical Film Festival on planning, filming and editing a vertical video will help get you started, and there’s further guidance in this Premium Beat blog post.

Best practice: Mojo sequences in action

So you’ve learned how to capture a range of shots, and how to plan and film a sequence. This playlist of videos from RTE News have all been shot and edited on a smartphone, and include square and vertical videos (including a ground-breaking vertical story series, Posts to the Pope).

In this selection from the playlist, see how many shots you can spot, and how it has been edited to create a powerful mojo story.


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