The beauty of ‘Sherlock’ is all in the framing


Today’s word of the day from Radio Times and the world’s consulting detective is symmetry. It’s a tricky word, boys and girls, when it comes to film and television. For directors, symmetry can be beautiful and dangerous at the same time. On the dangerous side, when composing shots, too many symmetrical scenes can feel staged and, therefore, weirdly out of place with the flow of the drama. On the beautiful side of the spectrum, symmetry can be very powerful when used properly.

The role of symmetry in making Sherlock beautiful

As you would expect, the symmetry that is at work in Sherlock is ‘picture perfect’ as Celia Gomez shows in this simple video. The framing in the Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss mind palace is no accident. The planning involved is meticulous from the simplest of scenes to the most complex with multiple performers. It’s clear that not only Sherlock that needs a bit of order is his day.

We may not have much in the way of knowing what may happen in series 4, but we do know it will have ‘symmetry’. Remember folks, when using symmetry, these are professionals. Do not try this at home.