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How to Apply the Rule of Thirds in Your Videos

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The Rule of Thirds is a basic visual arts concept that can be applied to film. It’s not complex but it takes a bit of practice to get right, like most things. By applying the rule though, you’ll create videos that are more visually appealing and therefore engaging. After all, it’s about attracting your viewers’ attention and not letting them go. Of course, if you feel this is all too much then consider pre-made video templates from an online video editor. They’ll already have you covered with the Rule of Thirds. You simply add your logo and tagline when video editing and you’re off.  

What is the Rule of Thirds? 

As you get more at ease with using an online video editor, you might find yourself wanting to get more creative. In that case, you need to think about composition when doing video creation. The way you make up each frame of your film can make the difference between an exceptional story because you arrange objects and actors to emphasize what’s important. Your viewers are then more likely to remember you and your brand. 

So, what exactly is the Rule of Thirds? 

  • A 3 by 3 grid over your image
  • Visually pleasing for the eyes 

Essentially, you divide the screen in your mind into nine equal boxes with four intersecting lines. You then analyze each frame and think about where your objects and actors are in relation to the intersections. The idea is that these are your focus points although you can play around with how you use them when you edit videos, as detailed below. 

The reason video editors use this rule is that it helps the eyes focus on what’s important. It can also help emphasize things that are off-screen or in the distance, depending on what you’re trying to show. It’s worth bearing in mind when you make a video though that the video editor templates already incorporate the Rule of Thirds. You can therefore study those videos for free to see how the rule has been applied. This can give you further ideas about incorporating your own video clips. 

How to Apply the Rule of Thirds to an Online Video Editor 

Essentially, when creating your own clips with a video editor, you’ll need to think about where you want your viewers to focus. Once you know that, you can apply some of the following techniques to create videos that are more engaging:

  • Leading placement 
  • Eye lines
  • Rack focus 
  • Subject size versus positioning 
  • Breaking the rule 

Leading Placement 

This is about placing your key person to the side and have them talking to someone off-screen. So, for example, when you make a video, that person could on the right-hand sideline whilst showing a document to someone else that our minds imagine being to our left. 

Eye Lines

Generally, our minds are looking for a point of interest along the two horizontal lines of your 3 by 3 grid. You can therefore place someone’s eyes anywhere along those imaginary lines. This helps you create videos that feel natural which is particularly useful when downloading into social media.

Rack Focus 

This technique refers to when the camera changes lens focus during a shot. Clearly, this is more advanced but you might want to use it one day. This could be useful for transitions from your central figure, on the left-hand side grid line for instance, to your exciting new product in the background along the right-hand side grid line. Overall, you also get a bit of dramatic effect which can be further enhanced with the right music.

Subject size versus positioning

It’s also helpful to think about the size when using your video maker. For example, if you’re filming a small bird then you’ll want to place that bird at an intersection. A larger person, on the other hand, can go along the length of a grid line when you make a video. Overall, this helps the mind process things more easily.

Breaking the Rule 

Let’s not forget that rules are meant to be broken. Sometimes you want a shot that’s up close to someone’s face. In those cases, the rule doesn’t apply anymore but you still get a powerful and intense effect. It’s also awkward and not really relevant to apply the rule to certain symmetrical landscapes. At the end of the day, use your judgment. Nevertheless, the rule is a useful guide especially if you’re new to creating your own video clips. 

Parting Recommendations for Using the Rule of Thirds with your Online Video Editor 

Working with a video editor can be a fun learning curve. Most people start with simply editing the video templates but then launch into more content creation as they get more experienced. Clearly, this can help you differentiate your online videos. Having said that, applying a video editor to video templates can often be more than enough. Don’t forget that these templates are designed for maximum effect with the Rule of Thirds. Either way, plan ahead and think about what kind of video you want to make. The tools are there for you to use as you wish to make them work for you and have fun with them.

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