Deep staging

Deep staging is one of the secrets for creating engaging and aesthetically pleasing cinematic images. To create deep staging in your own things, you only need to remember three things: foreground, middle ground and background. As DSLR Guide explains, having an object or actor in the foreground, middle ground and background will create depth and add visual interest to your shot.

Examples of deep staging

Examples of deep staging abound in film and television. In one shot from LA Confidential, director Curtis Hanson uses deep staging when Detectives Wendell White (Russell Crow) and Edmund Exley (Guy Pearce) try to convince a disinterested district attorney that he should investigate corrupt police officers.

In one of the most celebrated shots from Citizen Kane, director Orson Welles arranges his actors from foreground to background with a young Kane playing with his sled outside the window.

During the town meeting in Jaws, director Steven Spielberg uses deep staging, arranging the town officials in a line that stretches from the foreground of the frame into the background. Brian de Palma uses similar staging in a shot from The Untouchables, as Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) and Jim Malone (Sean Connery) sit astride horses looking down on a location where they intend to intercept a shipment of liquor. Staging your actors in the foreground, middle ground and background is an effective way to use deep staging.

In an interview about Prometheus, Ridley Scott talked commented that using 3D wasn’t a stretch because he always thinks about using three dimensions and creating depth in his shots when he storyboards.

When you’re making a film, think about using deep staging to create truly cinematic images.