SHOOTING A SEQUENCE
Sequencing helps compress time in a video. If you videotape someone leaving their house, walking down a path, getting on their motorcycle and driving off, it might take a minute or more to show all the action in real-time. We don’t have that amount of time for our video, so we do a three-second shot of the subject coming out of the house, a two-second tight shot of his feet walking into and out of frame. A four second shot from behind of the subject walking up the bike. Then a shot of the subject sitting on the bike, cut to a tight shot of his foot kick-starting the engine. Then another tight shot of his hand revving the throttle. Finally, we get a shot of the subject riding off in the sunrise.
- If you are covering an activity that can be repeated, It is suggested your first shot is the "Master Shot". This is a good insurance shot. Then, if all else fails, you can just use the master!
- The master shot should be wide enough to show the whole action – which (if repeatable) should be recorded from beginning to end.
- As you get better at sequences you won't need to record the action from beginning to end. You'll know where you want to cut and therefore know when to: stop the action; change shot; and restart the action with some overlap.
- Keep a close eye on what the subject is doing – which hand did they use to pick up the phone – continuity errors can spoil a good sequence.
- You must offer the editor a variety of shots (at least three remember) – this entails changing either:
» the camera lens angle e.g. wide shot, mid shot,close up
» camera position e.g. over the shoulder, profile, head on
» camera height e.g. high angle, eye height, low angle
- The average shot is about 4 seconds long. BUT, you must shoot enough to leave the editor some flexibility- as a general rule record shots that are at least 10 seconds long.
- Ensure that you record the complete action e.g. Frame up on a telephone, start recording and keep recording as the hand comes in to pick up the receiver - then put the receiver back - the hand goes out of shot - hold - then stop recording. Now your editor has flexibility to start (or end) the shot at any given point in the action.
- You must try not to cross the line. Be clear in your mind where the line of action runs and stay one side of the line.
- Don't forget to shoot the cutaways, e.g. if someone is using the photocopier, appropriate cutaways might be:
» the buttons being pressed
» the copy coming out of the machine
- Of your three sequence shots, the shot of your subject's face concentrating on what they are doing is very important. This can be edited in almost anywhere – and may get you over a continuity problem.
- If your subject is concentrating hard, then get in close. For simpler activities, an MCU will probably be sufficient.
- It doesn't look good to edit into or out of moving shots. Keep zooming, panning and tilting to a minimum. Hold the camera steady and let the subject provide the movement and visual interest.