Picture Composition  book cover
2nd Edition

Picture Composition

ISBN 9780240516813
Published November 12, 2002 by Routledge
276 Pages

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Book Description

Behind each shot there lies an idea or purpose. When setting up a shot, the camera operator can employ a range of visual techniques that will clearly communicate the idea to an audience. Composition is the bedrock of the operator's craft, yet is seldom taught in training courses in the belief that it is an intuitive, personal skill. Peter Ward shows how composition can be learned, to enhance the quality of your work.

Based on the author's own practical experience, the book deals with the methods available for resolving practical production questions such as:

Does the shot composition accurately reflect the idea that initiated the shot?
Will the content and method of presenting the subject accurately convey the idea?

Major innovations in television and film production since the previous edition have affected the styles of composition, such as wide-screen and the use of mini DV cameras. These new technologies and their implications for picture composition are addressed in this new edition. A new colour plate section is also being included to update the section on colour.

If you are a practising camera operator, trainee camera operator, student or lecturer on a television or film production course, or simply a video enthusiast wishing to progress to a more professional standard you will find this book essential in enhancing the quality of your work.

Table of Contents

Invisible technique; Alternative technique; The lens, the eye and perception; The lens and perspective; Visual design; Frame; The shape of the screen; Widescreen composition and film; Widescreen composition and television; Past influences; News and documentary; Composition styles; Lighting and composition; Colour; Staging; Movement; Shooting for editing.

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Freelance cameraman and trainer, working with ITTC and ex-Chairman of the Guild of Television Cameramen. He spent many years working on a variety of programmes at the BBC before becoming Head of Cameras at Television South West. He is the author of Basic Betacam Camerawork 3rd edition, Digital Video Camerawork 3rd edition, Digital Video Camerawork, TV Technical Operations (all in the Media Manual series), Picture Composition for Film and Television and co-wrote Multiskilling for Television Production.


"In 248 pages, Peter has distilled his experience and observations into a well-written and extremely useful book. An industry standard."
Zerb Magazine

Reviews of the previous edition:

"This book covers one aspect of the daily life of a camera operator and it does so very competently and thoroughly. It should be in the bookcase of every operator."
Tod Litherland, Television Lighting

"If you are approaching our craft at the beginning of your career, this book is indispensable... The industry should thank Peter for producing this 'instant standard'."
Tony Grant, Zerb

"A must for artists, cinematographers, and writers alike... This book proves that composition can be learned and/or taught."
Reader review, Amazon.co.uk