Each frame of a film is like a blank canvas for a cinematographer, offering them a new opportunity to create a dynamic composition. If a scene is especially memorable, it can stick with us like an impressive painting, with the characters—their props, poses, and surroundings—embedded into our collective conscious forever. Raymond Thi of Composition Cam examines iconic, visually stunning film stills by dissecting them to reveal the brilliance behind a frame’s layout.
To show how these scenes are composed, Thi overlaid bright pink lines to demonstrate symmetry, triangles, diagonals, and much more. Some stills use the grid method to create balanced frames while others focus on a central character with lines radiating from them. Many of these films feature relatively simple compositions—just a couple marks or shapes—proving that a few elements can make a lasting impact.
For those who want to see their life deconstructed in this way, Thi has created an app of the same name. It places the neon lines over the world to use as compositional reference while taking photos.
Above: The Shining
Mad Max Fury Road
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Life of Pi
My Neighbor Tortoro