The way a shot is put together on screen can make a huge different to how viewers engage with a video. The 'rules' of composition in video are the same no matter what level of production is being used so the ideas discussed here are the same whether you’re conducting an interview for television or a blockbuster movie.

The first step would be to place the subject in screen. Choose your type of shot and adjust the lens, the position of the camera, or the position of the subject to achieve the desired shot. Consider space for titles of graphical elements if these will be added in post production. Examples of good shots are shown below.

Image: Examples of well framed shots

Rule of thirds

Image: The rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is an effective compositional rule used in all creative industries highlighting the importance of positioning within the frame. Using this rule will enable you to shoot video that is balanced.


  • Split your frame into 9 sections using an imaginary grid of horizontal and vertical lines
  • Place your subject along one of the lines or at the intersection

Following this simple rule will always give you favourable results.

The rule of thirds

This UHI video covers the Rule of thirds – one of the easiest ways to make a big difference to your composition. Divide the viewfinder with two imaginary vertical and horizontal lines so it's now in thirds. 

Basic filmmaking techniques

Additional guidance on how to set up and compose a shot for a talking head or interview can be found in Nathan Rae's guide to Basic filmmaking techniques.

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