View Full Version : Definitions

11-21-2004, 06:36 AM
Someone please define in your own words:

1. Master Shot
2. Wide
3. Pickup

THANKS! I just want to know how differently people interpret these terms.

Jim Brennan
11-21-2004, 09:45 AM
Master shot gets everything in the frame that is important to the scene, including people, and location. *I often use this term interchangably with "establishing shot" because I use it to establish a scene. *But that's not how everybody works, and is a less precise definition. *A master is good to have (if you have the time) because it gives you another option in the editing room. *It can also be used for effect to provide space between the audience and the characters.

A wide shot is a full frame shot of a person, or more than one person. *It is generally tighter than a master shot. I've also heard it used to describe a shot of scenery.

A pick-up is soething you forgot to shoot and need to go back and get. *I've used this term for getting some retakes as well, but generally just for short sequences. *If I'm re doing a wholescene, it's a re-shoot.

But that's just me.

David Jimerson
11-21-2004, 09:51 AM
A master shot is a scene from beginning to end, no breaks, wide enough to encompass everything in the scene.

Jim Brennan
11-21-2004, 09:52 AM
See, ya learn something new everyday.

11-21-2004, 09:56 AM
What are your thoughts on panning on master shots. I refuse to do a lot of panning in a master shot (as a DP) but my director wants panning.

David Jimerson
11-21-2004, 10:51 AM
Well, there aren't any master shot police who will come and arrest you if you do, but it kind of defeats the purpose of the master shot.

11-21-2004, 08:22 PM
yeah, there no rules, but if u ask me, personally, it then ceases to be a master shot, now its just a really long wide shot.

11-21-2004, 08:56 PM
A master shot is also something you can always fall back on if you don't have enough time to get the medium shots, close-ups, etc. or if your editorial intent doesn't work in the cut.

11-22-2004, 05:28 AM
Here's my definition of Master shot, wide and pickup.

A Master shot is a shot that could serve as the only shot within a scene. If you had no cutaways or closeups, a master shot should ideally be able to carry your entire scene from start to finish. Thus, in the traditional style of flat bed film editing, your master shot would be laid in first and then you'd splice in and out the various cutaways.

There are many directors that like to shoot in masters as much as possible. Woody Allen, for example, will shot a lot of shots in his films in masters, as itís more akin to theatrical settings.

A master and establishing shot are often confused because they're sometimes interchangeable. An establishing shot is really a shot that sets up the spatial relationships of a scene, gives the scope of a location, or simply allows the viewer to see what is where. This shot can be the same as the master, but it doesn't have to be. For example:

A scene in a theater might have a shot from the back of the house showing two characters on a stage and an audience. This is an establishing shot, not a master.

Push in until you see both characters walking around the stage, but cut out anything extraneous to the two characters within their scene. This could be your master shot, followed by singles on each character and inserts of props and a captive audience.

A wide shot is best defined as the opposite of a close shot. By that, I mean that "wide" is a different thing to different people, so it can really only be defined when contrasted against a close shot. If you shoot every close shot as an ECU of the person's head, cutting back to a waist up frame can qualify as a wide-shot. If you shoot your close shots as waist up and then cut back until you see the person in a crowd, it's a wide shot. Wide is the opposite of close, but exactly what it is depends on how you shoot.

Finally a pickup is a shot you take that isn't listed on your shot list.

If you're shooting in a location and realize you might need some cutaways to other people in the scene, you'd shoot a pickup of them, as these shots aren't listed in your shot list. Youíre picking up shots you need that you didnít plan on.

If you shoot a long single take and the actor screws up in the middle of the shot, you might just want to take the scene from the screw up on. Again, this would be called a pickup.

As with everything, the definitions eventually become pretty diluted, so there's very little certainty in film language. As long as you get the idea, you'll be okay.

11-26-2004, 12:55 PM
J_Barnes- Well said!