Critique that [web series] Frame! May 2, 2018

It’s time to Critique That Frame again! We hit “surprise me” in and picked screenshots from the first three shows that came up! (and if any of them seem interesting, click the link to watch more and leave them a Stareable review!)

Shot 1: Phil’s Morning Drive

Shot 2: Disengaged

Shot 3: New Deep South

It doesn’t matter if you’re a cinematographer or simply a fan of film: how would you change or improve the above web series shots? Consider:

  • Production Design
  • Framing
  • Lighting
  • Wardrobe
  • Etc!

If you like a frame, how would you change these shots to fit your own preferred style? It may not be better or worse, but it would be YOURS. Let’s see what people come up with!


Shot 1:

  • From what I can tell, all of his episodes take place in a car, so there’s a lot of opportunity to make the car seem more interesting, from adding fun background elements to just framing different.
  • Maybe an option would be to have him sit on the hood of his car instead- the background here looks pretty with the trees, and a cool medium/wide shot of him sitting on his car or leaning against the front could be a nice change up.
  • Also, color! If you’re shooting inside a car with dark interiors, a more colorful shirt could go a long way.

Curious what car-filmers @JoeAhern @Dylan, @Paula_Rhodes, @JenniPowell, @JamesBrentIsaacs, and @omarnajam have to say!

Shot 2:

  • I really liked the way this show was shot (watched the pilot, will definitely watch more) but the undersaturated colors really bugged me the whole time. I know that’s a thing these days, but it feels like a mistake in most shows I watch with it.
  • Not loving what you can see of the kitchen in these shots either- the trash can is ugly and with how careful and cute all the rest of the decorations are in the foreground, it feels like an afterthought

Shot 3:

  • Interview-style nonfiction show so as much as I appreciate they’re doing interviews in their actual spaces, it looks like zero thought was put into placement and background. It doesn’t feel real, it feels amateur.
  • The camera is also weirdly low in this frame- I’m all for a lack of headspace but this just seems like a mistake rather than a choice.

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I agree with everything you said. :slight_smile: But also:

In the first shot, the blown-out highlights outside of the car border on painful to look at. Park somewhere shady!

The second shot also looks like it could be framed better. The actress in the foreground, she should be balanced against the pair we’re focused on. (Meaning: move the camera left a little.)

The third image looks almost totally washed out and needs more contrast, either through better lighting or in post.


I think I’ve created a contrast monster :slight_smile:

Yeah, I’m not a big fan of that look either. Considering a lot of people watch web series on small screens, higher contrast helps to make out more detail.


I WILL SAY I have always liked saturation and contrast but I’ve never known how to do it without everyone looking like they’re jaundiced. You did not CREATE the monster, Herman. You PERFECTED it.


The brightness outside the car definitely obscures the effectiveness of the cinematography taken inside. Very distracting. Also, the colors could be more vibrant on shots 2 and 3. The lighting could be better, too. I definitely agree with Bri about the backgrounds, as well as the placement of objects in those shots. If you’re doing an interview-based show, the people being interviewed need to be front and center without anything that tries to distract the viewer.

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I generally reserve low saturation for things like flashbacks or memories, kind of a visual cue that "this is not the present’


Continue perfecting the monster at your own risk, Herman.

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Shot 1: Seems too basic. Some sort of decor or color scheme in the bg would help give more insight to the character and story.

Shot 2: I get the feeling it’s a period piece because of the filter, but I imagine that it’s not. Makes it confusing, I’d probably also do away with the filter.

Shot 3: Color scheme is bleak. I’d try to liven it up with some set design and color correction. Also her white t-shirt is irking me.

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Clip 1 seems like its SUPER indie, u guys can do whatever u want

Clip 2 looks like a webseries made by rich ppl so looks fuckin great

Clip 3 thats right in the pocket, not mad rich not vlog basic. keep doin ur thang

I don’t have anything against the frames themselves other than the fact that they are the typical framing you would expect given the type of show, and for a webseries that can be the difference between “must watch now” or “I’ll get to it someday.” I mean, these look relatively small in budget so I understand the restrictions, but if you’ve got a camera you’ve got all you need to make an interesting composition.

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Anyone else think that none of these shows used lights? The second one looks far too dark.

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I agree with you and the other people who responded to this post.
I can only add that for some strange reason the Frame sample 2 I like it (with better contrast would be better). I do not know if it’s accidental or not, but I like those tones.

This frame was the example that attracted me from the beginning when I saw the post.

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Shot 1: Phil’s Morning Drive
We had to do several in-car scenes for Episode 4 of Marked, so we can appreciate the challenge of finding interesting shots and working in a tight, stuffy space!

Love: the contrast between the dark-ish interior and the subject’s bright shirt and fairly well-lit face — he really seems to pop in this shot!

Could improve: maybe the framing? Although we strangely like the centered subject in this case, in future shots they could experiment with having Phil on different sides of the frame. Even on the far left or right. Could just be interesting visually to mix that up.

Shot 2: Disengaged

Love: the set design here is fantastic, really gives it a special vibe. We especially love the use of objects in the foreground (other guest, wine glass, coffee table), which adds depth.

Could improve: we didn’t notice it at first but yasssss @Bri_Castellini that white kitchen counter and garbage can! We love the white negative space but the garbage can (and bag) does take away from the vibe created by the other decorations.

Shot 3: New Deep South

Love: the closeness of the framing, and even that the right person’s head is slightly cut off. Plus, they are slightly on the left which makes it slightly more interesting visually.

Could improve: lighting! Having better lit subjects would’ve made a huge difference, adding some pop and contrast. Right now it feels like a dark basement!

Thank you!

John & Lena, Co-creators of Marked

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