Instructional Video Production 4(1+3)

Lesson 02: Visual Grammar


Composition is about arranging all the visual elements in a frame in a manner that makes the image visually pleasing, satisfactory, and com­plete. Positioning of the various elements such as mass, colour, light, line, etc. in an aesthetic manner is good composition.

Grouping, patterns, shapes, and forms have a great impact on viewers that will help to appreciate an image. When viewers experience 'friction' while reading an image, they are subconsciously experiencing an unsatisfactory feeling. An image is said to be well composed when viewers are able to 'read' it smoothly without disturbance to the mind and eye. Pleasing ar­rangement of elements in an image always leads to its appreciation. Good composition always tries to achieve this effect.

Artists and photographers work on certain principles of design. What applies to photographs and good works of art applies to video as well.

Surely, all of us have clicked photographs some time or the other. We liked some of these, but others, we simply did not. Similarly, we like the photo­graphs in National Geographic, Nature, and Outlook Traveler. Why do we like them? Because they were all well composed.

Take a look at Figures 1.3(a) and (b). Why do you not like Fig. 1.3(a) but like (b)? Figure 1.3(a) looks disturbing because some of the objects in the frame seem to be missing. In Fig. 1.3(b), all the visual elements have been arranged well and satisfactorily.


However, following them will result in better pictures.
The principles governing good composition include

  1. Grouping and organization
  2. Balance
  3. Ratio and proportion
  4. Rule of thirds
  5. Lines and curves
  6. Figure and ground
  7. Harmony and contrast
  8. Light
  9. Colour
Last modified: Thursday, 19 April 2012, 12:05 PM