Like all visual arts, beauty is paramount in a film. And when an audience escapes the labors of normal life to watch a film, beauty is what it expects to see. And it is the duty of a filmmaker to provide the eyes and the ears with beautiful sensations. A film that fails to deliver on this promise is like a failed painting. It will never be adored by its audiences and history will forget it ever existed. So the important question every filmmaker must answer is that how can he make his film a beautiful experience?
I’ve gathered some directive principles in an answer to this question. These will help you in making your film a feast for the eyes.
- Sound must be of good quality – The reason I’ve put this directive first is that bad sound affects the overall visual experience of a film. You might have a visually attractive film but if bad sound accompanies it, the beauty of visuals is dominated by the ugliness of sound.
- Composition of your frame should not be a strain on the eye – True beauty shouldn’t be hard to look at. One must feel at ease while watching something beautiful. Same goes for a film. All the elements in the frame must be positioned so there is minimum or no strain in the eyes of your audience.
- Colours should be balanced – The image must neither be too vibrant nor too dull. And brightness and darkness in the image should have balanced coverage. Keeping a frame too dark or too bright for too long can cause the audience to lose interest.
- Prefer action over dialogue – Actions speak a million decibels over words. Too much dialogue in a scene engages the ear and as a consequence, the audience tends to lose focus on the visual imagery. So use dialogue only when absolutely necessary and convey the rest with action. The audience will never turn their necks from the screen.
- Write a great story and stay true to it – Beauty is more elegant when it serves a purpose. In film, the beauty of the frame serves the purpose of connecting the audience to a story. So beautify your frame in order to serve your story. Every element in your frame must serve a higher purpose to the story. Don’t just go beautifying the frame for the sake of it.
These are not rigid frameworks. Art is always flexible and so is film. You can bend the rules or even break them at times. But the only thing you have to remember is that a beautiful film is always a great film.