I'm wondering if these shots have a name: shots where the character(s) is sitting or otherwise still and takes up only a small part of the screen, which is also still, i.e. the rest is pretty much a wall or some other clean object? Below is an example from Mr. Robot:

Still characters in front of a still background

1 Answer 1


It's an example of 'negative space'.

Mr Robot plays with this a lot, very effectively. It also uses a lot of lower quadrant framing & even adds to the negative space by removing the leading room in shots.

Negative space, in short, is the space in a frame which 'is not the subject'. The subject is the positive space.

Leading room is where, if a character is to the left of frame, traditionally they would be facing to the right, inwards across frame. This is sometimes called nose room. It gives the character a sense of belonging to the frame.
Mr Robot often does the opposite, places a character towards the edge of frame & has them facing out of it. This gives a sense of separation, loneliness, disconnect from the rest of the scene.

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When done with a conversation, it increases the separation between the characters.

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Lower quadrant framing increases this sense of separation still further, making the characters feel slightly 'lost' in the frame.

Even facing into frame, there's a sense of 'overwhelming'.

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The shot in the question is an example which seems to give the characters the sense of 'lonely together'. Both shrunk into the frame's lower edge, smaller & less significant than the painting behind, taking up little of the overall picture… yet facing each other.

Images from Bold Entrance: How ‘Mr. Robot’ uses lower quadrant framing to create a feeling of oppression and isolation - check out for additional information.

Edit: I was sure something similar had cropped up before - this, though is initially referring only to the lead room - Meaning of a movie shot type with too little of a leadroom

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