View Full Version : Master Shot First?

Rogue Crew
07-16-2004, 04:51 PM
For the sake of discussion, let's say your longish scene is a couple having an argument while Her Friend looks on. Do you shoot the Master shot first as a benchmark for everything else, then get Him, then Her, then Her Friend's reaction shots, or do you start the other way around with the hope that by the time you've finished Him, Her and Reaction, everybody will have settled in with their performances and the Master can be done in fewer takes?

07-16-2004, 05:40 PM
Exactly !

I think that you should always shoot the Master shot first.
This one shot will be the reference for every other shots in every way in terms of Lighting (It's easier and faster to built the general scene lighting for the wider shots and then just adjust for the close-ups.) Performance for the actors, actions...etc


07-16-2004, 06:05 PM
Yes, I'd shoot the master first! it would be easier to light and to get continuity straight...

07-17-2004, 12:42 AM
who cares it's digital. as long as your actors are willing to work that much harder- cover all grounds.
* but personally speaking, I never shoot master shot first. I just get the shot I want. and I was kidding about going all out because it's digital. I think in filmmaking, limits ARE good. *
* *yes it poses problems. but sometimes you just don't want to shoot master, MS, MCU, CU, ECU. for what?
*can't emphasize how important storyboarding is... for me anyway.

07-17-2004, 12:56 AM
I use a master to let the talent get the flow of a scene. But the storyboard, as was said, is the king. The master is merely a chance to let the talent practice their performance and let me see what they have come up with. Sometimes the master provides paydirt, but often even the establish is redone, and the close-ups often needs some relight.

07-19-2004, 07:05 AM
Shooting the master first lets everybody get warmed up and if you do run out of time, at least you've got the master to work with and won't be left trying to create your film with incomplete shots.

07-19-2004, 07:46 AM
I think the master first question becomes really important when there are issues of blocking.

If you’ve got two actors sitting at a table, then honestly you can probably shoot it in whatever order you’d like, but if you’ve got a situation where there’s room for the actors to move around and interact with props...then you’ve got to ensure your continuity somehow. Often times the best way of doing that is by shooting the masters first and then forcing your actors to adhere physically to the master shot.

If you’re comfortable with keeping your continuity, then the shooting order is really dictated by lighting and the actor’s discipline. Some actors do better after several takes, some wind down quickly. That might require you to shoot things in a certain order.

Also, it’s really a lot easier to match lighting in close-ups then it is to match the close-ups to a master. For the sake of lighting, I try to always shoot the master first and then adapt the close-ups to that standard.

08-12-2004, 02:02 PM
I don't know if anyone mentioned this (I might have missed it), but besides your actors and lighting etc, shooting the master first is a good idea because if, god forbid, something should happen like the cops show up and you've lost your permit, or it starts raining or your crew suddenly mutates into brain eating zombies, you've got a take that encompasses all the action in your scene and, in the worst case, you could cut this into your movie and still have a coherent story.

Of course, a lot of really great directors never even bothered with master shots at all. Heh heh.

08-23-2004, 10:07 AM
I say master for when you are directing behind the camera because once you are framed, you can basically let the camera roll and watch the shot like a director and correct the performances. Then when you are doing close ups that require more camera movement and you have to be looking in the view finder, your actors and everyone else knows what they are going for and you are then just out to capture the great performances.

Suffice to say that this is obviously a low budge way of getting it done.