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David Pibworth | The Blog

Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

Sparks Olney: Shooting Symmetrical Shots

Just like Stanley Kubrick ...

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Posted by David Pibworth on 25/01/2022 @ 8:00AM

We have just finished the third week of our filmmaking course at Sparks Olney and our young filmmakers are letting their creative juices flow for our exciting project of 'Double Acts' ...

The Sparks Onley creative crew were fantastic at spotting symmetrical shots!

The Sparks Onley creative crew were fantastic at spotting symmetrical shots!

copyright: sparks olney

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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If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about Sparks Olney, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 01234 241357 and let's see how I can help you.

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About David Pibworth ...


David is the owner of David Pibworth Productions who provides entertainment for theatre and corporate events. This ties in very well with The Arches Theatre, an outside venue that David owns underneath a disused railway line, equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. This was one of the few venues that could operate with social distancing in place during the summer of 2020 and where they ran everything from Shakespeare to Richard Digance through the summer months.

David has been involved in light entertainment for many years, even going back as far as working on a production with Norman Wisdom in London. He has a knack of keeping in touch with everyone he's worked with and would bring such people as Chas and Dave, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk round to play locally when the chance arose.

His company also represent the stage rights for Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, the writers of Steptoe and Son and Hancock's Half Hour. He has recently negotiated permission with Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to produce Porridge on stage although this is all hampered by the current situation and the availability of theatres.

Next year, at the Arches Theatre, he will produce Ripping Yarns, written by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. This will be an interesting production as not only does one episode involve playing a football match, but also with the agreement of Michael Palin and the wife of the late Terry Jones, it has been decided that all the profits on this production will go to a dementia charity as Terry Jones died as a result of dementia, as did David's father and uncle.