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Tips for Using Index Vectors

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Misty Faucheux•updated: 6/18/2009

Here are some tips for understanding and employing index vectors into your videography.

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    Which Way

    Index vectors are one of the most important parts of using the visual environment to decide on correctly framing images. The choices that you make on how to portray the environment as well as the action in it are based on a number of things. The main part of this is the interplay between classic principles in visual art and video as well as the raw creativity of the videographer.

    The result ends up being a serious of challenges and compromises between these two forces, each taking and giving a little. Index vectors are one of these principles that have come through from historical examples of fine arts and has transferred up through the years and technological developments. Though index vectors are often a little less intuitive than other vectors, yet using them adds a sense of standard professionalism and can help illustrate the events to the audience.

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    Understanding Index Vectors

    All vectors exist to draw the audience’s eye in a certain direction. This can be a line along a building that leads to the subjects standing point as with graphical vectors or the direction the subject is running with motion vectors.

    An index vector is something in the location that points in a certain direction without any question. This can be implicit or subtle, depending on the situation. An arrow on a sign can act as an index vector as well as two people turning and looking to a certain direction.

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    Actor Movement

    When trying to use index vectors think about why they would be put to use. A great reason to employ index vectors is when trying to transitions in between clips during editing. If you want to shift focus from one area to another, it may be important to use index vectors, especially those involving the actors providing physical visual clues.

    When you know that the camera position is going to be switched, you may want to try to employ these index vectors so that the audience is kept in the loop as to where the transition was made.

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    Symbolic Representation

    Though it is not very subtle, you can try to include symbolic index vectors in the Mis en Scene. This can be a great way to remove naturalism and employ a much more theatrical approach.

    Try adding different elements to the physical scene space that can indicate the direction the action is heading. Be creative, and try to alter things that would appear in the story location hat could take this position.