Telling compelling stories through images and movies

Creating great images that can convey a story or message to your viewers requires a combination of technical and artistic skills.

Canon cameras have a wide range of technology and features that will help you achieve the technical aspects of storytelling. But deciding what you include in the frame, what you leave out and the placement of key elements in your image all require your thought and artistic decisions.

Whichever camera you’re using, there is a range of techniques to tell a story through your photos. Canon tutor, Brian Worley explains how to get the most from your camera. He also reveals useful tips for shooting with your LEGRIA and explains how you add an extra element to your visual stories by printing your images using a PIXMA Wi-Fi printer.

  • Filming a person telling their story
  • The rule-of-thirds
  • Pan the camera past foreground objects
  • Make editing and viewing easier
  • Use naturally occurring frames

Filming a person telling their story

When you want to tell a real-life story using your LEGRIA, composing your frame is a key skill. For example, if you want to interview an older relative talking about their early life – or want to make a short documentary film about something you feel passionate about.

Telling compelling stories through images and movies-Canon

Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho, Towards the old city
Usage rights - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Because you may want to edit the narration later, you’ll need to maintain continuity between one clip and the next. So it is important to keep your subjects in the same relative positions. It is extremely difficult to edit films where the subjects change from right to left in different clips!

When making a video of a person talking to camera, position them to one side of the frame using the rule-of-thirds (see below).

It can also help to have other relevant subjects or items in the frame close to the camera to reduce the amount of space to the side of the main subject.

The rule-of-thirds

Placing your main subject at an intersection of two lines frequently results in a stronger composition than simply putting it at the centre of your frame.

The rule-of-thirds uses an imaginary grid of two lines running horizontally and two running vertically spaced evenly across the frame to break the scene in to nine equal segments. 

Telling compelling stories through images and movies-Canon

Pan the camera past foreground objects

Moving the camera is important to follow subjects and action, but intentionally panning the camera past a foreground object often helps with transitioning from one type of shot to another.

  • Set the camera to a wider zoom setting and focus on your main subject as they move across the frame.
  • Pan with the subject and let the near item cross through the frame.
  • Reframe the scene and reshoot a different angle allowing the foreground item to move out of the frame as you pan with the same subject.

Make editing and viewing easier

When making a movie of two people talking either in an interview scene or casually, it is important to keep them on a constant side of the imaginary line that runs between them. The reason is that if you cross the line, then the people on camera will appear to switch sides in the movie. This is both confusing for the viewer and a challenge to edit.

Use naturally occurring frames

When making movies which tell a story, natural frames allow the action to happen in the right part of the frame.

Shooting through a doorway as someone approaches shows that they are moving towards the door and inside the space where the camera is. Then switching to a shot from outside as they put their hand on the door handle will create a helpful clip to assist in editing the transition from outside to inside with differing brightness levels.