Inspiration for Contract: Downton Abbey


Inspiration for Contract

Downton Abbey

Notable Features: Framing


Downton Abbey is a TV series that airs on ITV1. It is a British Period Drama, created by Julian Fellowes. Series 1 first appeared on our screen in 2010, and this year in 2013, it has reached its 4th series, which will air in Autumn 2013. It has seen tremendous success that has led to many Golden Globe and Emmy Awards through out the past 3 years. 

The series is set in the fictional country estate of Downton Abbey and the narrative follows the Crawley family in the post- Edwardian era (early 1900’s). The family has gone through major historical events such as The Great War, the sinking of the Titanic and the rise of Women’s Rights.

I have chosen Downton Abbey as a major piece of Inspiration towards the Cinematography aspect of my Major Project Film, Contract for one reason in particular. The premeditated use of framing in Downton Abbey is clever and effective in weaving the many interlacing stories together and loosely tying the plots together so that they make sense.


Downton Abbey has several Directors and several Cinematographers, however it is clear that they all work together in an effective and collaborative way to produce images on screen that make excellent use of framing. I have found that the main elements in the frame (the characters, mostly) are always centered to the left or right of the frame, never the center. This is obviously a deliberate choice that both the Director and the Cinematographer have agreed on prior to shooting, which makes for a visually stimulating TV series.


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