They Come In Threes

My Irish mother-in-law always said, “they come in threes”…tragedy, she spoke of.

Axioms in threes abound in the making of moving images, not excluding my mother-in-laws sentiment.  Some creative, some fiscal, some here.

The tripod, based on some long forgotten theory in plane geometry, is perhaps the metaphor for all our axioms; the unflinching rules of thumb so stable, yet so ready to crumble with a swift kick or sideways glance.  No rocky legs here, folded napkin not needed; always a perch and solid to boot.  Lose one though and all goes to hell.  I am reminded of my wife reminding me of a car once advertised as drivable, even (or perhaps not so) with one tire flat or gone.  I imagine navigating to safety using only a series of right (or left) turns.  Forget who invented the wheel, even if one is missing; the inventor of the tripod should be exalted.

The Rule of Thirds; the frame sliced into a grid of nine, pick your crosshair for dynamic and interesting subject placement.  Then learn to undo the learning.  It’s always there as a fallback when the day goes beyond 12 and synapses fail.

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The Triangle of Production, though I am sure we share this with other industries, including my last contractor on a home renovation.  Pick two.  It does not fail.  My illustrations here forgo “good”.

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Another triangle, this time from my production designer friend.  It illustrates the changing relationship between director, cinematographer and production designer.   As two become close, distancing the other, the triangle becomes unstable.  Very interesting to note that if one tries to equally cozy up to the other two, the offending party eventually falls between the other two and collapse is imminent.  Healthy relationships are equal and sufficiently distant.

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Now a myth recently revealed.  Depth of Field dispersed one third in front and two behind the plane of focus.  A general rule of thumb so general it only applies at longer focus distances.  Luckily, we have lately opted for short if nonexistent DoF, so my point is moot.

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What thirds do you live by?