Plane Concept – In geometry, geography, cinema …

We explain what a plane is, the origin of the term and its general meaning. In addition, what is a plane in geometry, geography and in the cinema.

A plane has only two dimensions: height and width.

What is a plane?

The word plane can have many meanings, depending on the area of ​​knowledge in which it is used, but in general it refers to everything that is smooth, flat, without relief (elevations or depressions) of any kind. In this it is related to plain, since the origin of this word goes back to Latin planus, precisely translatable as “smooth”, “plain” or “flat”.

However, it is very common to speak of planes in different aspects of human knowledge, sometimes with a clearer sense and sometimes with a more technical, or specific one. The truth is that everything that we understand by plane will have certain similar characteristics, such as its two-dimensionality (that is, having only two dimensions: height and width) and by the fact that be a visual representation of a space (like architectural plans).

This last use of the word is very widespread in design, visual arts, architecture, urban planning, engineering and even navigation, and it is commonly considered synonymous with “sketch“, “map”, “atlas”, and so on. In any case, the important thing is to understand the difference between the adjective “flat” (something that is smooth, without relief), and the noun “flat” that we have just explained.

Plane in geometry

geometry plane
In the Cartesian plane the two dimensions are represented by the X and Y axes.

This branch of mathematics comprises as a plane an ideal geometric object (that is, it exists only as an abstraction), endowed with two infinite dimensions (width and height) and containing an infinite number of points and lines. It is a fundamental space for geometric representations, widely used in architecture, design and engineering.

Geometric planes are usually named, when there is more than one, with a Greek letter, and are usually visually represented with irregular edges, meaning that it is a virtually infinite surface. In addition, the intersection of two planes allows the construction of three-dimensionality.

The most commonly used plane in mathematics is the so-called Cartesian plane or Cartesian coordinate system, in which its two dimensions are represented by the X axis (width) and the Y axis (height), and are used to represent mathematical functions, find geometric points or visually capture all kinds of two-dimensional geometric objects .

Plane in geography

geography plane
The plans respond to the interpretation of the draftsman of the represented surface.

For its part, geography and, more specifically, cartography, understand the plane as a two-dimensional visual representation of a portion of the earth’s surface.

These types of representations are usually made on a much larger scale than that of architectural plans, although they bear a great similarity, and even greater than that of traditional maps. They are usually made according to the artist’s interpretation of the represented land surface.

Thus, for example, there are plans for entire cities, plans for urban or road works, or for regions that have not been exploited by human initiative. It is possible to differentiate them from a map in that no projection work is done on the plans, given that the curvature of the represented region, given its smaller extension, can be considered minimal or negligible.

Shot at the cinema

cinematic shot cinema close-up
The foreground offers the viewer a physical and emotional closeness.

It is also common to use the term shot in the cinema, although in this case with a different meaning: it is called a cinematographic shot when space in which the filming of the human figure occurs, that is, the ideal space on which the filming of the film “rests”. These types of spaces are classified according to their relationship with what is being filmed, as follows:

  • Italian plane. Known as “very close-up”, it is the greatest degree of proximity possible with what was filmed, which in the case of the human body would be limited to the base of the chin to the end of the head.
  • Foreground. It is a shot very close to the filmed object, which in the case of the human figure, would encompass the head, shoulders and a portion of the chest. It is a shot that suggests intimacy, physical and emotional closeness to what was filmed.
  • Middle plane. Taking a degree of distance from what was filmed, this shot focuses on the human figure from the waist up, as is often done on television talk shows.
  • American flat or 3/4. Variation of the medium shot that arose in the United States regarding the filming of Westerns (Wild West movies), in which a little more of the body had to be shown to be able to see the weapon hanging from the belt of the cowboys during their pistol duels.
  • Whole plane. Also called the figure plane or full vision plane, it goes one step further than the previous one, capturing the entire human figure: from the feet to the head. This shot places the viewer in the role of witness to the events.
  • General plane. In this case, the shot is located quite a distance from the represented object, so it is usually used to show several people entirely, and even part of the scenery that surrounds them.
  • Great overview. Ideal for showing scenes or crowds, it is located at a great distance from what is filmed, so people are not visible, other than as details of a more complex set of images. Therefore, this shot gives the greatest subjective importance to the context than to the character.