What is Deep Space Composition in Film_

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What is Deep Space Composition in Film?

When a filmmaker is shooting a scene, they’re thinking about many different details that are taking place within the camera frame. Not just the intended action of the character. But so many finer details that the average, untrained eye, may not recognize. At least not at first. Depending on what the cinematographer expects the audience to see. The concept of deep space composition could very well come up in their thought process as they’re defining the most appropriate camera angles and views for their intended audience.

Understanding how composition works in film is important for any aspiring cinematographer. But what is deep space composition in film and how can filmmakers use deep space to their advantage?


The concept of deep space represents the placement of significant elements of an image. Such that they are positioned both near and distant from the camera. But how? With deep space, subjects of a film shot will be positioned close to the camera and also far away from the camera.

These shots are not always in focus. But they always show the depth of space between the close subject and the far subject representing the breadth of the scale. A wide shot is often the chosen option to show deep space composition in film.

With deep space composition, actors are placed within the frame such that they eyes are drawn to various areas. While you might notice that not all subjects in the frame are in focus. They are all appropriately lit and within the frame. In such a way that the audience can see the depth of the frame.

A deep focus shot can be used to show deep space, but is not always the chosen method to utilize deep space composition in film.


Now that we’ve answered the common question, “What is deep space composition in film?” We’ll take a look at how deep space composition and deep focus came about in prominent cinema.

Early use of deep space composition was found in Classical Hollywood. Where shot length was generally longer so there was significantly more opportunity to exhibit deep space composition.

Fast forward, to today’s more modern filmmaking where the average shot length is substantially shorter than it once was. Deep space composition is used far less now than it once was, so it’s generally easy to call out.

You might recall deep space composition from today’s films as it’s most likely to showcase a wide frame in which a single scene can tell several stories at once.  


In deep space composition for modern films, the audience’s eyes are drawn to various locations within the frame, each offering a glimpse into a different element of the story.

You might focus briefly on what’s happening front and center, as well as in the back right, or to the back left, as well as what’s going on in between. You might call it a busy shot.

So, what is deep space composition in film? It’s the use of deep focus shots, and deep space, to create focus on a subject within the frame that is both near, and far, from the camera which causes the scene to provide a detailed, multi-story view of the scene.