View Full Version : advice on creating interesting establishing shots
05-22-2011, 05:47 AM
I'm looking for some ideas for establishing shots. My lead character is in a house. He can't enter the house on camera. He already needs to be in there. I need to establish the location, and I can't figure out an interesting way of doing it. Just showing a static shot of the outside of the house feels very 'tv sitcom' to me. The house is set deep in the countryside with nothing else around. It's run down and everything around it is dilapitated too. I need to establish a) the character has changed location and b) the state of ruin his house is in.
Any ideas would be welcome. Thanks.
legend of the steelstring
05-22-2011, 06:02 AM
What if you had the camera follow sometihng through the yard and into the house ie, a lizard, old cat, or bug. You can follow through the junk filled yard up through an open window and into the room where your actor is.
Ive seen this done in some movies.
05-22-2011, 12:42 PM
I agree, except for the difficulty of training that creature to follow direction. If you have a cat which will reliably trot towards someone offering food, then give it a try.
Another option would be a sequence of picturesque close-ups of rustic junk and decay, the final one being on the character himself.
05-22-2011, 01:14 PM
You have to consider what kind of a mood you're looking to set before you get into the house. Start with that. What can put the audience into the frame of mind you want them in when you first show the character?
05-22-2011, 10:55 PM
Another option would be a sequence of picturesque close-ups of rustic junk and decay, the final one being on the character himself.[/QUOTE]
I'll do a few tests of close ups on objects, thanks.
David W. Jones
05-23-2011, 09:16 AM
There are thousands of ways to do so.
Paperboy delivering the newspaper on his bike comes to mind.
05-23-2011, 11:14 AM
I would just have a really wide shot of him sitting in the middle of the filth (letting the filth dominate the frame). Not sure if you need to establish the outside of the house at all if the inside is dramatically different from the last location. If you do need to establish the exterior, then I might have him looking out of one of the windows and letting us see the run down facade (letting the audience notice him looking out, but not making it the point of the shot).
I also don't know what the story is, so I'm not sure if that idea fits with what follows/precedes this shot, which is probably more important than the individual shot IMO.
05-25-2011, 11:39 AM
"I need to establish the location"
05-26-2011, 12:51 AM
"I need to establish the location"
In the scene previous to the one I want to establish, the character is watching a woman walk inside another house (her house). If I don't establish a different location then there is a risk that the audience will confuse the two locations. It is near the beginning of the film so we really don't know too much about the characters at this stage.
05-26-2011, 10:38 AM
It sounds like he's peeping out the window at a woman entering her house across the street. If so, location is already established.
Also, just making his apartment drastically different in appearance than hers would suffice without showing exteriors. It also affords you the chance to show things about the character related to his life, something the exterior probably won't.
My point is that an exterior establishing shot with no people in it is usually wasteful and screams: TV. Which sounds like what you want to avoid.