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.

 

  1. 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!
  2. The master shot should be wide enough to show the whole action – which (if repeatable) should be recorded from beginning to end.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. If your subject is concentrating hard, then get in close. For simpler activities, an MCU will probably be sufficient.
  12. 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.