Framing refers to the placement of people and objects within the rectangular frame of the film image. Typically, the center of the film image contains the most important visual information. Filmmakers who want to make framing as unobtrusive as possible use centered compositions.
The top of the film image carries more intrinsic weight, so balanced compositions usually keep the horizon line above the middle of the frame. A low horizon line can lead to a top-heavy composition, emphasizing the threatening or oppressive nature of the sky or of figures situated in the top part of the image.
The edges of the image carry less intrinsic weight optically, so figures placed there can seem insignificant or marginalized.
Open framing refers to compositions that situate the action depicted in the film within a broader context, suggesting that there is an â€œoutsideâ€ to the â€œinsideâ€ of the film narrative.
Closed framing is used when the filmmaker wants the film image to express the totality of reality, to keep the viewer focused on the action of the film, or to express claustrophobia and entrapment, such as in prison films.
Framing that creates diagonal lines of composition emphasizes a sceneâ€™s anarchic, unsettled, or dynamic nature. Horizontal and vertical lines suggest order, balance, or stability.