Film Blocking Tutorial — Filmmaking Techniques for Directors: Ep3

Does the idea of watching two people
having a conversation sound exciting? Probably not. You probably wouldn’t
pay money to see that. And yet, you do. All the time. Because ultimately, that’s what every movie
and TV show boils down to. Over and over again. Two people having
a conversation. How have so many filmmakers managed
to make those conversations exciting? Well,
one big way is with film blocking. [Music: “Film Blocking Tutorial and Techniques”] Film blocking is the precise staging
of actors in a performance. In terms of cinema, it’s where you
place your actors in the frame. There are three visual elements
of filmmaker should think about when blocking a scene. Space. Shapes. Lines. By considering these components, you’ll be able to block a
scene between any subjects, in a visually dynamic way
that is loaded with subtext. First up – Space. This scene opens with a
boy playing in the snow. The camera pulls out to reveal a
tense conversation between adults. The stakes of the scene are the boy
– Charlie. Who’s framed carefully
through the window for the duration of the scene. On one side of him his father. Standing in protest, but dwarfed in size,
due to his distance from the camera. On the other side his mother. Framed closer to the lens, looming larger, more imposing. Charles is smallest of all. Take note of the way visual
contrast is created in the space to portray tension
and importance. Next up is shapes. There are three basic shapes. Circles, squares and triangles. Everything around us can be turned
into one of these basic shapes. Even an actor’s face. Circle. Triangle. Square. The basic shapes come with certain
emotional qualities and assumptions. Circles feel safer
and inclusive. Squares create limited space, boxing someone in. Triangles are sharp. They feel aggressive, but it also has an apex. [Screaming] -Holy shit -Let’s watch this scene from
“Guardians of the Galaxy.” James Gunn carefully
framed his subjects to form a triangle
pointing to Groot. The moment is played for a joke. The conversation happens while important action
is staged behind it. -You definitely,
need to get that last. -When you’re looking
through your frame, identify the basic shapes, and bear in mind the emotional
connotations of each, and where they direct
the viewer’s eye. We’ve covered shapes, and shapes are formed by lines. Be aware of the lines
created in every shot, and the effect they
have on the viewer. Take a look at this scene
from “The Godfather Part 2.” It’s a simple dialogue scene. It plays out between a standing
Michael – a vertical line. And Fredo – nearly
a horizontal line. Fredo could have been
standing for the scene. If he did, the power dynamics
would have been potentially equal, but he was slung
so low in the seat that he was
practically horizontal. This film blocking creates visual
tension between the two, especially when cutting. It also emphasizes who
holds all the cards. During Fredo’s outbursts, he flounders into an
almost diagonal line. Literally,
attempting to change his shape. An attempt to stand
up to Michael. When the outburst is over, the order of things
remain the same. Fredo goes back to his
horizontal position, and Michael delivers
his final judgment. -You`re nothing to me now. You’re not a brother. You’re not a friend. I don`t want to know
you,or what you do. -Happy trails, Fredo. [Gunshot sound] So we’ve covered how
shapes, lines and space can be used when
blocking a scene. The thing is, on their own, they’re not going to make those
dialogue scenes that profound. Unless,
you do it with this in mind. Subtext. Or contrast. By contrasting, you’re blocking
with what’s being said or done, you create an
underlying meaning. -It’s also a personal statement
about the band itself. Hey, Paul! [Screaming] -You can start to
reveal the real story, and it’s not only for viewers. Communicating subtext
through blocking a scene, guide your actors, your DP,
and the art director towards your vision. Blocking tells us what the
characters are really up to, what they really mean, what’s really going on. That’s what makes blocking
so important to a story. A good way to plan,
your blocking is with a storyboard. Think about what the characters
are saying in the script, and then incorporate that into your
blocking with storyboard software, like Studio Binder. And the next time you’re having
a conversation in real life, pay attention to the way you
stand, or sit, or move, or lie down like Fredo. You might be surprised. See you in the next video. [Outro Music: “Film Blocking Tutorial & Techniques”]

100 thoughts on “Film Blocking Tutorial — Filmmaking Techniques for Directors: Ep3

  1. Thanks for watching! What's your favorite (or least favorite) blocking techniques used in our video? Let us know!

  2. love the way you just picke certain characters and objects, while totally ignoring others to create your geometric shapes hahaha artistic waffle.

  3. Trying to stay consistent in my filmmaking. I have so many older films im putting out and just biting the bullet on. Would love everyone's input.

  4. It's a little bothersome that a vid on blocking crops the aspect ratio, something that is taken into consideration when staging a film.

  5. I think practicing it will only make it easier otherwise there is no sense watching this. For now it's too complicated for me. 😥😥

  6. Great video until shapes and lines tried desperately to pretend they had anything to do with how those scenes were thought out, blocked and shot.

  7. Guys, I’m a photographer and I’m doing a project about Cairo, So I kindly ask you to fill out this survey please!
    Will help a lot, I need it

  8. Wearing the plastic coat and kill the person who sit and walking along the women and get back into the room that scene was really wonderfully captured I like this 2 scenes most.

  9. Clearly this video was made for the beginner, but just to make one thing clear so those who find this information new don't end-up following a path to a dead-end, here is my humble offering by building on this information. Fredo, in The Godfather, is in a rocking chair because he is as naive as an infant. When I was much younger we actually had a chair like that for my baby brother. A small version, obviously. It was bouncy and you could sit there reading or watching television while rocking the baby to sleep. That is the reasoning for this choice in The Godfather. Yes, of course Michael is standing over his brother while Fredo is in a "horizontal" position, and we get that, but here is an alternative to that. Now try and imagine the same scene but this time Fredo is lying on an outdoor bench with his feet up and not rocking away helplessly the way he is in the actual scene, struggling to even sit up. On that bench he'd still be "horizontal" but you would have walked away with a totally different take on his character. He would have even appeared to be the calm one and Michael the nervous one, stressed, pacing back and forth. (Imagine that scene without the dialogue to inform you of the story and Fredo would be a different guy even though he'd still be in a horizontal position. Remember, as a filmmaker you re showing, not telling, which is why you can't rely on just dialogue) Although it is good and even important to learn and use geometry, contrast in lighting, lines, and of course blocking, to name a few, in order to make "two people talking" interesting, you'd be making a mistake to make those choices from those stand points alone. Everything, every choice, every move is made from the stand point of the story, the theme of that story and what you are trying to show (not tell). All those other things are just tools. You don't put a squared face character in a scene because it is square. You do it to show the story of that character, because that face, that extreme of a face, tells us so much about that character in a few seconds than any back story monolog could, no matter how perfectly all that talking might be framed through geometry, contrast, and/or blocking. Happy filming.

  10. Very helpful!! I don't make movies, but I can use this with photography to make sure I'm telling an interesting story.

  11. thumbs up Thanks this was interesting. #ARRI and #PANAVISION are the exclusive camera, G&E, AKS equipment packages for DreamFactory Studios. We love the Arriflex 435 Xtreme, Alexa, Panaflex Platinum, DXL.

  12. Watched until "film is two people having a conversation" does the video get worse than that or That was its peak¿

  13. coming at you from Real world vid'z please check out our little movie scene thanks also always looking for subscribers.

  14. Film Blocking/Blocking a scene is different from this. It's planning the movement etc. This is more composition. Composition is important to draw the eye and convey subtext, but I feel quite a bit of this video is a stretch. Also, what makes a conversation between two people interesting to watch often has to do with the stakes built up beforehand. I completely agree with the ending of storyboarding and the blocking examples there.

  15. I can't believe your channel has only 159k subscribers! Don't get me wrong, that's great, but you deserve so many more!

    You're one of the very few channels out there giving real, valuable information. This is great! I watched this video a while ago and I clicked without knowing it was the same one, but I stayed anyway because it's so good!!

  16. Great content. This isn't far from photography composition and framing where elements play certain roles to take the viewers eyes stuck into the scene. A lot of people don't understand the importance of this. Yes it's true not everyone can learn, and some are gifted they don't even know they're doing it right as per explanation in the video. Thanks for this gem!

  17. I think I need to appoint some one other to learn this. Shapes and lines .. just want to focus on my direction .. lol …

  18. Jesus, what nonsense. Take an irregular shape and say it’s a triangle or square. Yeah, it’s not. A triangle or square is a triangle or square. Irregular shapes are irregular shapes.

  19. Wow! This film making process is just go tangling and if to go by the rules, by the knowledge, by the degrees,….I'm afraid, I couldn't make any movies… Arghhh!!! It just is a pain in ass!!!! Break the rule in order to make a new rule….

  20. Hey man this video is awesome! I learned a lot. I have a simple question that has been hard for me to get an answer to. Am I allowed to use clips of movies in my videos? What are some simple easy to follow rules around this? What is the best way to obtain such clips.

  21. None of the greats think like this analytical nonsense. Picking scenes apart and putting ideas into the directors’ heads that were never there. They don’t create by the rules you’ve just defined, they create by feel.

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