Our film crew, made up of 8-14-year-olds, were tasked this week to photograph a range of symmetrical shots from around The Olney Centre where our workshops take place. Each crew member got a chance to take a number of shots, which the group then discussed.
Taking symmetrical shots is a simple composition technique, but when used well it can be extremely powerful. These shots create dynamic frames and are ideal for emphasising the main subject or a shot that requires full attention from the audience!
It has been said that viewers find symmetrical shots pleasing to the eye (even if they do break the rule of thirds - a basic rule for filmmaking and photography), but only if they are completely accurate. If a shot isn't entirely symmetrical, it could ruin the visual impact for the viewer.
Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick are both famous for using symmetrical shots in their films and have gone on to develop an easily identifiable style. Anderson is known for using symmetry to perfectly frame his characters, whilst Kubrick likes to use this technique to make his audience feel uncomfortable.
"Remember that shot of the twins in The Shining? Scary or what?!"
When using these shots, it is important to know when you want to make a visual impact or evoke emotions and use them sparingly. If used too much, it can be emotionally draining for your viewer or potentially lose its impact.
There is a lot to take in here, to understand how and where to use this technique to get the desired impact. But this is what learning and practice is all about. Here at Sparks Olney, we want to give our knowledge and experience of filmmaking to this talented bunch of young people so they can go off and create some amazing films.
Our creative crew were fantastic at spotting symmetrical shots and working together to come up with scenarios on how to use them as part of their project. We are excited to see what happens next!
"If you are interested in finding out more about filmmaking techniques and joining our film school, please get in touch!"
We meet every Sunday from 10am - 12pm at The Olney Centre on Olney High Street. It doesn't matter if you haven't been with us from the start of the term, we continually go over things and our sessions are very much hands on, which we feel is best for learning.
Discover more about Sparks Olney by clicking here to visit our website.
Until next time ...
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David is the owner and Artistic Director of The Arches Theatre in Clifton Reynes near Milton Keynes. Productions are underneath some flood arches on the disused Midland railway line (Bedford to Northampton). It is equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. You bring your food, drink and chairs and enjoy the varied shows that are produced. This year - 2022 - there are 12 productions on throughout the season, from Shakespeare to Ripping Yarns plus a music weekend.
David has been involved in 'Light Ent' for many years, working with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapting the scripts of 'Steptoe and Son' and those of Tony Hancock to the stage. He has produced shows for Norman Wisdom (which makes him feel old), Al Murray, and Joe Pasquale amongst others, and also worked in the music business promoting and producing shows with Chas and Dave, Neil Inness, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and others of that ilk.
He is also the director of a film school for young people in his home town of Olney as well as supporting many local events.
He recently negotiated permission from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to stage a short run of 'Porridge' on stage which proved a success.
This year the annual charity performance at The Arches Theatre will be the last of 'Ripping Yarns' by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with the profits being donated to The National Brain Appeal' for research into dementia as David's father and uncle died of it, as did Michael Palin's friend and writing partner Terry Jones. Last year they raised an astonishing £10,000 and are hoping to get somewhere close again with the support of audiences and sponsors.
David also has a stage hire company and his wife Julie runs a livery yard, so they are surrounded by horses, dogs, light entertainment and and a 17 year old daughter.
He plays in a comedy jazz band and collects strange props such as the Spitting Image puppets of Denis Thatcher and Alan Bennett, the child catchers bike from the stage show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and various other 'things' all of which he sells to raise money for the Arches Theatre, although he always finds it hard to part from these props. However as the theatre receives no funding at all, he is always devising ways to keep it going! Sponsors are always welcome!
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