Fascinating Explanation of Quadrant Composition in Cinema


If you didn’t see the 2011 action film “Drive,” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, you should definitely check it out. Apart from it gratuitous violence, it is a fantastic work of complex cinematography and artistic storytelling. In this video review, Tony Zhou puts together another great analysis discussing how the use of quadrants add a unique dimension to the overall film. Zhou is also known for his breakdown of Edgar Wright’s use of visual comedy in his ongoing series (and Vimeo Staff Pick), “Every Frame a Painting.”

Zhou uses examples where splitting the frame into an upper and lower half, as well as right and left half, can split the scene to tell two different yet paralleled stories. Breaking down a frame into quadrants, thirds, or halves has been an ongoing practice in cinema. However, “Drive” serves as a great example to using these very simple composition breakdowns to bring a film to life.