Here at KVibe Productions, we try to bring the experience and expertise of our video production team to the aid of everyone and anyone who may need it. We’ve done our best to touch on topics from all facets of the process, from screenwriting to editing and everything in between.
This post, however, isn’t so much about getting things right as much as it’s about doing things differently. Sometimes, what separates a film or video from the rest are the little details, the techniques that exhibit a unique touch.
Making use of frames within the frame is an art form all its own. It’s often stumbled on in some way, but some of the most effective techniques in video or filmmaking are born out of spontaneity.
So, whether the film or video maker applies the effect out of resourcefulness or the move is meticulously planned, it will have an impact on the viewer, undoubtedly.
What effect does it have?
The most basic use of a frame within a frame is to direct the viewer’s attention to exactly where you want it. Many film or video production crews look for vectors, or lines, to guide the eye, and frames within frames do the same thing. They help to eliminate any potential distractions.
The effect also adds a little depth to the image. For instance, one of the most iconic shots in cinematic history comes from John Ford’s masterpiece, The Searchers, in which John Wayne, framed within a doorway, walks off into the desert. The desert goes on forever, and the doorway in the foreground enhances that depth.
A frame within a frame, whether it’s a doorway, between trees, or in any other form, can add some interest to your composition as well, and has the power to enhance the mood of the entire scene.
What else can it do?
Going back to The Searchers, a sense of depth is not all that frame within the frame accomplished. Directing attention and adding depth are the most basic effects, but this famous shot is also a perfect example of what else this technique can do.
In that film, John Wayne is doomed to forever be an outsider, searching for something, incapable of settling down. By framing him within the doorway, the viewer sees him alone in his own world, set apart from the rest of the family.
This is where the true force of the frame within the frame can be found. Yes, you can use it to simply have something in the back or foreground and to guide the viewer’s eye, but you can also use it to enhance the emotional context of the scene in your film or video production.
It’s not just isolation either. The daring German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder famously used the technique repeatedly in Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, in which an older women and a younger, racially different man start a relationship and face society’s disapproval.
The frames work to constantly push the characters closer and closer together until it’s uncomfortable and unsettling, enhancing their constant struggle with outsiders that ultimately destroys their relationship.
So, why box yourself in?
Just as the time constraints of new video platforms like Vine have led to some surprisingly innovative adjustments, the physical limitations presented by using frames within the frame can result in some pretty creative and interesting images.
While the technique obviously serves narrative projects very well, it can also add some depth and texture to a commercial or corporate video production too. Think about it, using anything besides the sharp rectangular shape of your camera to frame your image adds some originality all by itself.
Sometimes, rules and parameters don’t have the expected effect of constricting the artist. Conversely, they may actually allow the artist to be even more original and to create something truly unique. You’ve got to know the rules in order to break free from them.
KVibe Productions is a full-service video production company. Whether it’s a product video production, a corporate video, or a commercial production, KVibe offers the total package of multimedia services from development through distribution.