Directing audience attention: cinematic composition in 360 natural history films

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


Since cinema's creation, the standard format for viewing video content has been a flat, planar image projected onto a screen. The recent invention of the 360-film format allows for a panoramic view of a spherical visual video surface. Cinema composition is a series of aesthetic tools and processes that support a visual framework that filmmakers utilize during production. Composition choices in filmmaking help direct the audience's attention to the most important aspects of each scene. 360 formats in natural history filmmaking defy some of the conventional cinematic standards that have been in place since the early development of cinema production. These differences are due to the larger field of view in 360 filmmaking, which is created by the panoramic, equirectangular shape of 360 video. Through case studies of 360 natural history films 'My Africa', 'Expedition Everest', and my production 'You Are Here: National Parks in 360', this paper examines how the 360-film format has affected composition choices in natural history filmmaking and analyzes the 360 conventions used to direct audience attention in alternative cinema formats.


You Are Here: National Parks in 360 is a film that is part of the student's thesis project.



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