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liquidsn
05-27-2005, 07:44 PM
Hi, hopefully this doesn't sound like a stupid question. (it is probelly)
I wanted to know how does someone shoot a scene. For example

A man waking up and going to the table and work and talk on the phone.

So I want to get a CU, Medium, far shot of the person though this scene. Do I,

Shoot all 3 types of shots all the way though? or the ones I think i will need. I guess I just don't want to get locked down to certain cuts that I would storyboard out. another example is shooting 2 people talking, and i want 2 shots, normal and reverse angle.

Do I, Shoot it twice all the way though and than just edit it in and out? or do i find the important parts and shoot that. (like only when they talk)

Also, If anyone can direct me to some resources to how this is done that would be greatful. Lots of books just show you where to place cameras and how to edit the film you get in, but I guess i haven't found one that shows how one goes about shooting it, and get enough video to cut in and out of.

hope this makes sense.

Thanks for the help

Tony C.

maverickprods
05-27-2005, 08:23 PM
All you have to shoot is;
waking up in bed
sitting on the edge and getting up
feet walking to another room
sitting down at the table
dialing the phone, or picking it up
tite shot of dialogue on the phone

craigbowman
05-27-2005, 08:35 PM
I'll work backwards here and start with the two people talking.

Consider a line that runs from one person throught the second. Keep your cameras to one side of that line. Easiest is to shoot two external reverses, and two internal reverses. Remember that on the externa reverses to keep at least two thirds of the horizontal framing on the person facing towards you. Depending on how involved you want the audience to be with that person move closer or farther away from the eyeline. Also for height of camera you want it just a bit lower than the eyeline and keep the eye level in the vertical frame about a third from top. To keep the size of the heads of the two characters closer in size move the camera back a bit and use a longer focal length shot. This will help compress the space between the two characters. When doing the internal reverses, instead of matching exactly for each you can decide which character you would like the audience to more closely identify with and give them a medium close up and for the other character a wide close up or if you don't want too much difference maybe a full close up to medium close up between.

Also consider how you get into and out of the scene. A master shot isn't always the most interesting because its generally uses closed framing, where as a shot with open framing provides a bit more interest and then you can use a reveal to bring one of the two characters into the scene and if they move correctly to the mark you established you can be right into your first over the should external reverse.

Do any of the characters talking move around during the conversation? You can also hold interest by layering elements within the scene so that you get some deep staging or too increase parallax for any tracking you do.


The man waking up and interacting with table and phone. The line is now between the man and these objects. Same as with above, resist crossing the line with your shots unless through movement by the character, the line crosses you.
Think about your framing between some specific parts of the action and connect those positions the way an animator goes from keyframe to keyframe. Again how do you get into and out of the scene.

Where do you first see the man sleeping? Can you place the camera to get a deep staging of him going from the bed to the table. Don't just do shots as a checklist. Think about the story your telling. Storyboarding is not the best way to block a scene. Storyboards are great for getting a feel for the production but not for blocking and staging!

And on that subject, forget books! Get the 6 DVD series "Hollywood CameraWork" http://www.hollywoodcamerawork.us Its a master course in blocking and staging.

craigbowman
05-27-2005, 08:37 PM
Oh yes, when using the longer focal length, zoom in to get the same framing you would from a shorter focal length.

Tim Miller
05-31-2005, 01:48 PM
Mr. Tony C.

To shoot this example scene one would need to know what type of "feeling" they are going for in the scene. Do you want the scene to portray that he is just another white coller worker stuck in the loop of things, maybe you would use high angle shots, plain shots (showing his plain life), etc. Just think of angles and different shots that are going to portray what story you want to tell. Experiment, experiment, experiment.

As for order, that is based upon the person shooting and/or the director. Some like to do the most difficult shots first, some the easiest. If you are using talent and you only have them for a certain length of time, shoot all of the shots where the talent is plainly seen (mainly speaking, their face)...then shoot the rest of the shots that the talent isn't needed.

Hope that rambling helped.

Cool pics by the way.

aidancarr
06-01-2005, 04:29 AM
Mr. Tony C.

To shoot this example scene one would need to know what type of "feeling" they are going for in the scene. Do you want the scene to portray that he is just another white coller worker stuck in the loop of things, maybe you would use high angle shots, plain shots (showing his plain life), etc. Just think of angles and different shots that are going to portray what story you want to tell. Experiment, experiment, experiment.

As for order, that is based upon the person shooting and/or the director. Some like to do the most difficult shots first, some the easiest. If you are using talent and you only have them for a certain length of time, shoot all of the shots where the talent is plainly seen (mainly speaking, their face)...then shoot the rest of the shots that the talent isn't needed.

Hope that rambling helped.

Cool pics by the way.


This is what I think too. It really depends on the film and the scene. We can't just tell you how to shoot something because it's so different for every film. My only general advice would be stay away from really cookie cutter shots. Those are like filler on a CD. I'm not saying you shouldn't use them; you need them to establish some kind of normalcy in your direction sometimes (you can't have a film with all "flashy" shots, it would either make you sick or become boring as odd as that sounds), but if this is just some standalone scene, try it a crapload of ways. Try one whole take. Try just stills, Napolean Dynamite style. try following his feet the entire way and then at the end boom up to his desk. Stuff like that.

SVaughn
06-01-2005, 03:19 PM
My reaction to your comments on asking if you should just be shooting "important parts" is a resounding no! Shoot everything! More is definately better. I don't like chopping up scenes while filming...that's done in editing. Remember that many things can change in editing. You may want to deviate from your inital plans and storyboards. Once you're in front of your editor and you actually see things coming together, things may not look or feel like you intended initially. You *will* fix and change things. If you shot limited footage, your editing will be limited. If you shoot plenty of footage with different options, camera placement, angles, subjects, etc, then your possibilities in editing will be much greater.

Remember: You can always cut out tons of footage you don't want to use. But you can't cut in footage you haven't shot. It's somewhat easy to re-shoot environments and establishing shots, but it can be a real pain if you have to re-shoot your actors because you didn't get enough footage or the right footage the first time.

Tim Miller
06-01-2005, 07:03 PM
SVaughn, I agree with you, shooting everything possible is better yes and sort it out in editing...but unfortunately some people cannot afford to shoot that much tape/film.

Rosestar
06-01-2005, 07:45 PM
When I'm setting up a scene, I jot down how I think it will be edited, i.e., how the "mental movie" plays in my head. Then I make up a shot list (actually, a set-up list), of evey set-up I think I need to give me as much coverage as possible. I then prioritize this list into A set-ups, B set-ups and C set-ups. The A's are the most important in that they are the ones I absolutely need to shoot and edi tthe scene successfully (to get the full scene "in the can"). The Bs are next in importance and give me more options. The C shots are the "it would be nice to..." set-ups that may add some flourish to the scene but are not absolutly neccessary to get the story told.

When I hit the floor I make sure that I get the A-sets, then go to the B-set-ups and If time permits, I will get the C set-ups. Of course, if the scene is going to need a reversal, and there fore a drastic change in lighting set-up. I make sure I have time to get as many A and B set-ups on the reversal before I go into C-set-ups on the original lighting positions. However, I will avoid re-lights at almost any cost and will get my C-set ups on the original if I have the time.

That is one point that I really want to get accross is the difference between shot and set-up. The shot, which is the point from "action" to "cut" is the base unit of editing. For production, the base unit is the set-up. The set-up is, "Put the camera here and shot that". That is, each camera postion to get the shots that you need. You could get a thousand shots from one set-up. The secret to effiecient produciton is to ask, "What is the least number of set-ups I need to get all the shots I want?" In most instances, the measure of producition is set-ups per day (and the number of script pages per day).

I tell you this because I have been with inexperience directors who start with,"Our first shot is a CU on John". Which you set-up and light. "Then our next shot is a CU or Jane" Which you set-up and light. "Then our next shot is back to the CU on John"!!! NO,NO, NO!!!! You end up breaking that habit real quick or your camera crew takes very long breaks to talk bad about you. OK?

If you are serious about this. Get your favorite movie and study it shot for shot. Use the pause and rewind and watch it scene for scene. Stop and write down each shot for every scene. Then look at the individual shots and see which ones came from the same set-up, then jot that down. Do this for the whole movie. After you have done this, watch it for editorial pacing (make notes). Watch it for pacing when in shots. Whatch it for acting. Watch it for sound design and music, ect, ect. Think about why this is your favorite movie and how do the execution of these element contribute to that.

Just a few thoughts, good luck.

jkc123
12-16-2005, 02:00 PM
I am wondering this too. When shooting a scene, to ensure coverage, do I (or all of you) begin from a specific line in the script or shoot the entire scene from the beginning.
To be clearer, does one shoot an entire scene from different angles or only specific parts of a scene from the desired angles.

The Machinist
12-16-2005, 02:17 PM
You'd have to take scheduling and time constraints into consideration.

While I'm sure it'd be nice to shoot the whole scene from alot of different angles it's probably not realistic in terms of A) stock and B) time.

You have to be conservative and efficient onset and do your best to stick to the plans you made in pre-production.

If you think you can make a certain scene interesting by filming it from so many angles then make sure to do what you have to to get the individual shots. However don't just shoot the entire scene from every which way because you think you might find something cool in post.

It can be a waste of resources. Even if you have the time and stock to waste away it's not a very professional habit. Chances are you won't though so be conservative and try to stick to the plan. Do this and then you may wind up with the breathing room to try something different on set that you might not have thought of in pre-production.

galt
12-18-2005, 08:21 AM
There is no answer to these questions. As the storyteller, it is up to you what you want to do and up to you to decide what you need to tell the story. EVery director has a different style. There is no way a forum like this can even scratch the surface of this subject. My advice would be to get some books on directors, directing, and read them thoroughly. One good one is "Movie Makers Master Class". Get your favorite films and a remote, and make specific notes on how the director shot the whole movie. Once thru just to figure out how many setups they used in each scene. Then whether they shot whole scene or just a piece of it. Sometimes a setup is just for one specific shot. Sometimes it takes two days to get it. There is no rule

I can't imagine anyone who could get a good performance out of an actor one line at a time (rather than a scene at a time), because they would have problems maintaining the emotional state they need. OTOH, when they shot "Ed Wood" they had to do it that way because Legosi could not remember more than one line at a time. You do what you have to do on set. If you study Ed wood, you can see how the continuity with Legosi is weak, desipite a tremendous amount of post-work.

Some directors shoot tons of coverage, some rehearse it a few times, shoot it once or maybe twice, and then move on. Some give the actors freedom to improvise a scene once they have basic coverage, just to see where it can go. MANY famous scenes were not in the orginal script, but were improvised on-camera and went much farther than the writer or director imagined.

And considering the cost of a roll of miniDV tape, if tape cost is a consideration for anyone when shooting, then my advice is to go get a paper route or something. The joy of DV is being able to get it all and sort it out later in post.

yagfxg33k
12-18-2005, 03:18 PM
I shoot the whole scene - so for example, 2 people on a bench. I start the conversation in the two shot to establish location etc. Then shoot the entire scene again for each of the two over the shoulder shots. It makes it easier for the actors to do the whole dialog etc. then chopping in and out.

lpcvideo1
12-18-2005, 08:22 PM
Do I, Shoot it twice all the way though and than just edit it in and out? or do i find the important parts and shoot that. (like only when they talk)

My .02--and is worth exactly that--If you have access to a second camera, this can help, since it provides for easier continuity (well, except for the wide establishing shot). You can synchronize the timecodes with the DVXs, which helps find it when editing. I have done multiple takes too, and that works. Combine the two (2 cams and 2 takes) and you have twice the acting to draw from.

libneon
12-18-2005, 10:06 PM
I shoot the whole scene - so for example, 2 people on a bench. I start the conversation in the two shot to establish location etc. Then shoot the entire scene again for each of the two over the shoulder shots. It makes it easier for the actors to do the whole dialog etc. then chopping in and out.

So in all you're talking 3 takes? Is that the norm?

Working with just 1 camera means one angle at a time...do you find that actors are able to do 3 takes of everything over and over?

As a budding film maker with one camera this is something I think about a lot i.e. how to get multiple angles with minimum takes.

galt
12-18-2005, 10:16 PM
Another good resource for you might be "The Cutting Edge: The Art of the Edit" or something like that. On DVD. Talks about the history of film editing, and the era of the master shot, two-shot, over the shoulders, and solo shots. Its an easy DVD to watch, and it gets shown on the pay networks (showtime? or encore) once in a while. Maybe A&E or Bravo will pick it up.

And there is always The Three C's of Cinematography.

But 70% of a film is casting.

Ralph Oshiro
12-19-2005, 01:15 AM
When I'm setting up a scene, I jot down how I think it will be edited, i.e., how the "mental movie" plays in my head. Then I make up a shot list (actually, a set-up list), of evey set-up I think I need to give me as much coverage as possible.That's exactly what I do. I cut the scene in my head before the shoot, usually as I'm reading the script. Then I make a handwritten shot list on a reporter's pad. I can use a lot of abbreviations, because I'll remember much of what I'm writing down later, so that the actual writing of the shot list takes the shortest amount of time (leaving the majority of your brain to think creatively and visualize the shots).

For a two-person dialogue scene, the convention is to shoot each actor's take all the way through from two different camera angles, using a single camera (this requires two camera/lighting set-ups).

Some directors actually roll two cameras at the same time, but this constricts the lighting set-up more (you're lighting for two angles, and you now have to keep all the lighting and grip gear out of both camera's shots). There is a potential performance advantage here so that if a natural rapport gets built during the scene, you don't have to recreate that energy for the reverse angle. But many of us lack the resources for two matched cameras and two competent camera operators.

It's also convention to shoot a two-shot for coverage (a third angle), although it's not necessary in every case. I may shoot a very wide master for the head and the tail of the take to use as a transition shot--this wide master may also be a slow dolly shot or crane shot.

John Wesley Norton
12-19-2005, 07:30 AM
Libneon, maybe you should direct a few plays first to learn about actors, because that's the most important part of any production. Think of them as the rivets in your ship. It only takes one bad one to cause a leak, and several will sink that sucker in no time. Also, volunteer to grip on a few productions. Take a class, read a book. There are many ways to learn about the industry, and DVXuser is a good one, but my advice is to work with more experienced people. I know a lot of people will say, "You can't swim unless, you jump in." but be warned, a lot of habits you pick-up early on in your career will stick with you. Especialy the bad ones. Don't become one of those Directors that think the most important part of a film is impressing people with their shots at the expense of creating a reality on the screen. There are already way too many "filmmakers" out there who are all technique and no heart. I wouldn't pick up their movies for $4.00 in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. Remember this, making movies, especialy these days, is easy. Making good movies is hard as hell. Making great movies takes more than most of us have got. So go ahead, jump in, and lets' see what YOU'VE got.

Digitally Pleasing
12-19-2005, 08:06 AM
I know there are ton of books on directing out there, but i found this one to be very informative and easy to understand. It goes through every stage of a production and deals with directing actors as well as your crew. It's only $18 on amazon.

Total Directing: Integrating Camera and Performance in Film and Television
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1879505711/qid=1135008161/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/002-3898833-2198464?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

libneon
12-19-2005, 10:45 AM
Well the reason I've asked about the one camera thing is because up until now I've used video for documentaries only and all my film stuff has been shot on 16mm....which was on loan from film school and we had multiple cameras available to us as well as a full crew. Now I'm working on how to shoot "films" with my DVX100.

yagfxg33k
12-19-2005, 11:24 AM
Generally, the two shot / OTS sequence is always done with a single camera. Even the big hollywood films do it with one camera.

I story board the entire film with animatics using Lightwave 3D so I already know what shots I need. For each setup I do as many takes as needed to get the performance that I am looking for.

I already know what the staging and blocking will be before I get on set. With regard to having the actors repeat certain gestures or make certain movements at specific points in the script, I already know what I want and I have one person responsable for continuity/script on the set so that we get consistant results.

Any camera trained actor can repeat their performance in this regard.

yagfxg33k
12-19-2005, 11:56 AM
For example. In the following, frame one is setup 1. Frame 2 - is setup 2. Frame 3 is setup 3. and frame 4 is setup 1 again. I do intercutting on the OTS shots to break it up a bit.

http://www.netnance.com/albums/adult/Setup_copy.jpg

jkc123
12-19-2005, 12:19 PM
[QUOTE=NBCshooter]That's exactly what I do. I cut the scene in my head before the shoot, usually as I'm reading the script. Then I make a handwritten shot list on a reporter's pad."

When filming, do you make your cuts at specific points/lines in the script or do you shoot the scene all the way through based on your shot list?

Thanks for the detailed examples, Yagfxg33.
I get the impression that you and others shoot each "setup" from beginning to end of scene based on a your shotlist & storyboard.

yagfxg33k
12-19-2005, 12:42 PM
Exactly, jkc123. Two main reasons to do this:

If I was to cut while filming I am boxed into those cuts. I re-shoot the entire scene each time - Then make the cuts that make the most sense in post. While I have everything mapped out ahead of time, I tend to deviate from that in post as pacing / performance dictates.

The other reason is that it is easier for the actors to act out the whole scene at once. On rare occasion I will have the actors start up at a specific line in a scene but that is very situational. After all, it's tape. It's cheap. Robert Rodregiuez rarely cuts during a sequence. He hand holds a lot of the time and just keeps the HD camera that he uses rolling as he moves to the new position and has the lighting adjusted and has the actor do the scene again.

GraBird
12-24-2005, 08:49 AM
There's some great info for staging in this book:
"Film Directing Fundamentals" by Nicholas Proferes (ISBN 0240805623)

It has specific answers to the questions you're asking.

But I found that the one question (mentioned in the book) that serves as the ultimate "golden rule" is this:

WHOSE SCENE IS IT?

This is not the same as "whose film is this". Frank Capra once revealed that this was also his secret formula, and it SERIOUSLY works.

With each scene, ask yourself WHOSE head the audience needs to get inside of to fully appreciate the scene. If you think about this rule when watching GOOD films, you'll notice it's happening ALL THE TIME. That's how you get the audience to constantly connect.

EXAMPLE #1:
The scene from Goodfellas, where they're sitting at the restaurant and Tommy (Pesci) is telling his story, and Henry (Liotta) says, "You're really funny". The scene is about Tommy TESTING Henry. It's Tommy's scene, not Henry's. There are several other characters around them too.

So whose scene is this?

Primarilly, it is Tommy's. He's going to test Henry. And, later in the scene, he will be embarrassed by Sonny, the restaurant owner, who tells him, in front of everyone, that the club can't extend his tab any more. It's secondarilly about Henry's reaction to Tommy.

So here are the shots, pre-editing:

1) MS of Tommy telling his story (angled from Henry's side of the table).

2) MS of Henry reacting to the story (angled from over Tommy's shoulder), kept in MS so we can notice the reactions of others around him).

3) A FS of the table, a side view including Tommy and Henry approximately the same size in the frame.

4) A CU of Sonny, tilting down to Tommy as he tells him about the tab, which becomes a CU TWO-SHOT.

5) A reverse TWO-SHOT of Tommy and Sonny, from Henry's POV.

This example is as much about editing as is about shot planning. But without the well planned shots, the editing couldn't have happened.

1) The MS on Tommy is important because it keeps our attention on listening to Tommy's story, and effectively puts us in Henry's POV listening to it.

2) The MS on Henry is important because it switches the scene to Tommy's POV when he challenges Henry about what's so funny about him.

3) The FS is used sparingly and ONLY at the end of the entire scene. It isn't used until the test is OVER. It's used to show the entire table's reaction when Sonny begins to embarrass Tommy, and also include the full restaurant's reaction when Tommy makes a scene by smashing a bottle over Sonny's head. Notice specifically that the FS is NEVER used during the "test". THAT would give us the POV of the rest of the table. But it's NOT about them. It's about Tommy and Henry. In this case, we don't need a "setup" of the table. It's not needed. This is Tommy's scene, NOT the whole table's.

4) The tilting CU brings Sonny down into the scene and heighten the embarrassment being felt by Tommy.

5) The reverse TWO-SHOT allows us to see Tommy's building embarrassment from Henry's POV. It's used right after we see Henry becoming nervous for Sonny. After all, he's just passed a test. He knows about Tommy's mood swings and knows this is just pushing his buttons. For this brief moment, the scene becomes about Henry and his realization.

Sometimes the scene is not about a person but a thing. In a subsequent scene, when Sonny has partnered up with Paulie (the boss) for protection, we see lots of tracking shots of liquor, meats, and washing machines going in the restaurant in one door and out to a truck through another door. This is because it's their scene. We're seeing how these types of "partnerships" are really used to "launder" goods by the mob.

Blaine
12-24-2005, 11:34 AM
I like the idea of shooting the entire scene from each angle so you have plenty of coverage. It's nice when you go into editing to have everything you need, since you invariably come up with an slightly alternate way of looking at the scene. Maybe you need a reaction shot to "cover up" a small continuity problem. Yes, it takes more tape but really, what does that cost 5/6 bucks for a 63 minute tape. I think the only downside is the time it actually takes to shoot, could be time consideratons AND the time in post to organize all the shots.

yagfxg33k
12-27-2005, 08:34 AM
GraBird's post is spot on.

ericyoung
12-27-2005, 08:47 AM
Shooting a whole scene from every angle is perfectly valid, but often safety is the primary motivation. The footage will definitely edit together OK, and this approach has a definite place in every director's toolbox. It's also a very good way to start if new to directing.

But safety is also the downside - it's not particularly creative is it? It's no coincidence that "standard angles" of locked off wide 2-shots and over the shoulder singles (maybe internal or external to mix it up a tiny bit) are used in almost every scene of cheap, quick turnaround, talk-heavy TV soaps. It requires the minimum thought and setup time to do these shots, and they'll be safe in the edit.

Hopefully though, we are aspiring to not only capture the performances safely, but also in an interesting visual way which helps to tell the story. A dolly in to emphasise a thought, a crane up to reveal the surroundings without ever having to resort to that boring static wideshot.

As soon as camera and/or subject are moving, there better have been some thinking at the pre-production stage. The more complex the movements, the greater the requirement to have thought about and planned these beforehand, unless we are trusting to luck that the shots will cut smoothly together.

With greater complexity comes longer setup times (where to put the lights, the mic boom, the tracks?). Is shooting the entire scene from every angle the best use of the time? In some cases it might be, but the question needs to be asked.

What if the scene is an ambitious big family reunion around a dinner table? There's no way it would be time efficient to shoot every actor and groups of actors from every angle, in multiple sizes. And the actors would definitely be getting pretty jaded after doing the whole thing 30 times! Working through the script with storyboards and shotlists would be a necessity to wittle down the shots to the most important.

Even if there's loads of time on the shoot (a rare event!), time saved NOT shooting coverage we don't intend to use in the edit, is time we can use for experimentation and improvisation, more takes, or just grabbing those incidental details which provide more information about plot, character or environment.

When short of time, it's these types of shots that get ditched, and yet they are exactly the kind of business that distinguish great films. These, together with the coverage we do shoot which will have tops and tails, there should be more than enough unplanned footage to cover unforeseen errors. If a reaction is REALLY important it should be on the planned shotlist anyway.

Of course, every director will have a preferred method of tackling the filmmaking process, and there are no single "right" ways to do things. But perhaps we need to be sure we are deferring decisions for valid reasons, and not just avoiding making decisions for as long as possible!:)

amishjim
12-27-2005, 05:18 PM
It's tape, keep it rolling.....

Weston
12-27-2005, 05:27 PM
i'm not saying its right...but its interesting to go to a shoot with no predetermined plans and see what you come up with spur of the moment.

sometimes being spontanious is good...but only to a certain degree i suppose

perhaps that would be after you've already used the basics first and you want to switch it up a bit.

ericyoung
12-28-2005, 01:47 AM
Surely, even if the intention is to be improvisational, the wise director doesn't just turn up on set with actors and crew and expect magic. People will have met up before and discussed the project, or done rehearsals and workshops off set. He/she better have thought how are they are going to get everyone in the right frame of mind for it. The DP and Sound Recordist will want to know beforehand what you want to capture and the style you are after. Apart from very rare cases, great things don't happen in a vacuum.

Unless you are an improvisational genius, cast and crew will be twiddling their thumbs on set waiting for you. That's OK if you have unlimited time and a very patient cast and crew. If it was me though, it would feel rather unprofessional to expect that.

The best use of time is the issue, not the amount of tape!

Preparation is just a guide. It can be departed from at any stage to try something you've just thought of. It can be continually amended to accommodate spontaneous on set inspiration. Being spontaneous shouldn't be an excuse for being lazy. :)

yagfxg33k
12-28-2005, 06:19 AM
Hitch's approach was to plan everything up front. Leave nothing to chance. Yet he achaived some very innovative things on film. It's all about what works for you personally. At the end of the day, if what you are doing does not serve the story then you are doing the audience a disservice.

jkc123
12-28-2005, 11:53 AM
I believe that Grabird is on to something as well. I think that he is saying that the director must determine whose scene it is and then select interesting and effective shots to properly portray the characters pov. I am sure that Martin S. didn't use the stop and start method of directing for that scene in Goodfellas. I believe that the scene was acted and shot all the way through.

ericyoung
12-30-2005, 02:10 AM
Got this book for Christmas, and it's excellent!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/057121102X/qid=1135935618/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-0134377-1935214?n=507846&s=books&v=glance

It shows there are as many approaches to directing as there are directors.

Some shoot very little coverage, whilst others shoot lots.

Interestingly, some of their approaches have changed over their careers from being extremely prepared with storyboards of everything, to turning up on set with very little formal preparation.

My personal caveat is I don't believe that's the whole story, as these directors have the benefit of years of experience which allows them to "wing" it effectively, and they are probably also preparing unconsciously (ie. they've internalised what they've learnt over the years).

In addition, they generally are directing smaller scale, personal, intimate movies where capturing the performance is more important than how the camera moves. These lend themselves to needing less formal preparation - ie less camera equipment, smaller crews, no stunts etc.

Anyway, as the original question was about how a newbie should shoot scenes. As a newbie, I still think you can't go wrong by being prepared, as long as you also remain open and receptive to other better ideas that may come along.

r_dahl
12-30-2005, 04:00 PM
what the old classic saying? ... entrance, exit, eyeline.

gives you the handles for editing also... covers your ass when cutting w/ all your talent etc.

from there on out.... imho it's all up to you.

P!body
01-17-2006, 12:29 PM
Making a mental edit the day before shooting and from that creating a potential shot list is what I usually do before I'v got to shoot. I compare notes with my DP (when I have a DP) and go from there. Also when starting out, if you review lots of films you like with similar shots- you can "lift" those for your own film or to act as a template for how to shoot the scene. Having extra coverage always helps in editing to give you options. The thing is to eventually find a style of shooting that works for you both when shooting and one that works to get you what you need to use in post. Good luck.

RyanT
01-19-2006, 10:33 PM
I've been slowly learning the production process, I still can count my productions on one hand so I'm obviously not that experienced, but I still have formed my opinions.

I would love to shoot the whole scene from every angle, then just figure the rest out in post. Unfortunately, I'm already pressed for time as it is. With everyones busy schedule I have to get as much done as I can in the shortest amount of time(time is money anyways!). Because of that I spend most of my time preparing, doing blocking or storyboarding and then figuring out which shots I'm going to shoot when and in what order. Doing this and then just shooting what I need, maybe a little bit more, can save me a bunch of time in the production process and will help me get what I need faster. I don't really care about the amount of tape that I use, but the time that I spend using that tape is what counts.

Shawn Murphy
01-21-2006, 09:28 AM
Got this book for Christmas, and it's excellent!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/057121102X/qid=1135935618/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-0134377-1935214?n=507846&s=books&v=glance

It shows there are as many approaches to directing as there are directors.



I've never heard of this book, but it got great reviews and has some of my favorite Directors, ordered it today for about $8.00, thx!

ericyoung
01-21-2006, 09:50 AM
Cool. Hope you like it. Let us know what you thunk when you've read it, Shawn.

Shawn Murphy
02-08-2006, 12:32 AM
Cool. Hope you like it. Let us know what you thunk when you've read it, Shawn.


I own exactly 21 books on all aspects of filmmaking and I have to say that this book has been far and above the MOST enjoyable read!

As was mentioned earlier, the most amazing thing for me was to read these interviews where each of the Directors talk about their approach to Filmmaking and often times each Director expresses completely opposite points of view from the others:

Some like zooms, some hated zooms and now use them, some won't use long lenses, some never plan their shots until they get on the set, some storyboard everything out, some never use more than one camera, some hate doing coverage, etc.... for me it really opened my eyes to the same concept that is true in literature:

That there is a general grammar (guidelines) in filmmaking as is true in writing, and if you know what the rules are then you can "break" them in a conscious or motivated way to better tell the story, and work in a way that suits your personality. And if you're truly gifted, you don't need to study any of the rules or guidelines and can just do everything from a place of savant like genius and pull it off solely on intuition! (that's not me, but in the end I do like the idea of going with intuition once I've studied the grammar a bit)

http://www.stickypod.com/stickypod_upload/uploads/FC057121102X.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/057121102X/qid=1135935618/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-0134377-1935214?n=507846&s=books&v=glance)

ericyoung
02-08-2006, 07:05 AM
I own exactly 21 books on all aspects of filmmaking and I have to say that this book has been far and above the MOST enjoyable read!


Glad you liked it, Shawn! Just started another book which looks to be in the same vein for screenwriting, although seems to not ask the same questions of each writer, so somewhat less focussed.

Will post a link if it turns out to be recommendable!

Cheers
Eric

Shawn Murphy
02-08-2006, 01:50 PM
..well, even though you don't yet have an opinion or recommendation, what's the name of the book? ;-)

ericyoung
02-08-2006, 10:56 PM
..well, even though you don't yet have an opinion or recommendation, what's the name of the book? ;-)

Oh...if you insist :laugh:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0571217826/sr=1-2/qid=1139467854/ref=pd_bbs_2/002-0378527-9162428?%5Fencoding=UTF8

Looks like it hasn't been released in the US yet, but can be bought from the UK.

Reviews on UK Amazon:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0571217826/qid=1139468086/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/026-9150363-6354068

Cheers
Eric

Alternative_3
02-11-2006, 11:42 AM
My reaction to your comments on asking if you should just be shooting "important parts" is a resounding no! Shoot everything! More is definately better. I don't like chopping up scenes while filming...that's done in editing. Remember that many things can change in editing. You may want to deviate from your inital plans and storyboards. Once you're in front of your editor and you actually see things coming together, things may not look or feel like you intended initially. You *will* fix and change things. If you shot limited footage, your editing will be limited. If you shoot plenty of footage with different options, camera placement, angles, subjects, etc, then your possibilities in editing will be much greater.

Remember: You can always cut out tons of footage you don't want to use. But you can't cut in footage you haven't shot. It's somewhat easy to re-shoot environments and establishing shots, but it can be a real pain if you have to re-shoot your actors because you didn't get enough footage or the right footage the first time.

Agree! Definitely cover as much as you can. I wouldn't say do 30 takes of each shot, but I would say follow each shot all the way through. That way, once in editing, you won't fall victim to not having enough footage, or coverage for a scene.

My first short, I shot bits and pieces, editing in my mind. Problem is, my mind didn't see the little in between shots that connect everything together. I ended up doing pick-ups 2 months after the fact, which was more of a pain in the ass than shooting full multiple angle would have been in the first place. I know it seems confusing and tedious.....but welcome to directing!

Ralph Oshiro
02-12-2006, 04:08 AM
When filming, do you make your cuts at specific points/lines in the script or do you shoot the scene all the way through based on your shot list? I get the impression that you and others shoot each "setup" from beginning to end of scene based on a your shotlist & storyboard.Yeah, you have to. It's simply too inefficient to shoot everything all the way through for every camera angle, IMO. Yeah, you get the most choices in editing, but I really believe in exploiting a rhythm on-set. Multiple, long takes for EVERY coverage angle can tend to wear out your performers.

I'll instinctively know when and where I can "pick-up" lines and where I can cut. Just keep cutting the movie in your head as you're shooting. I've found that's simply the most creative way (at least, for me) to do it. Storyboards are good for some things, but I find that specific shot design and blocking often needs to be created on-set (too many varuables to storyboard accurately, IMO). Sometimes I set up elaborate dolly shots only to realize later in editing that my cut occurs way before the dolly move. It's best to cut as much in your head as possible, otherwise, you may "waste" really cool shots that won't make the cut.

Every director works differently. Find the style that works for you best. But I think that a good director will be constantly "editing" each shot and "seeing" each cut and transition shot while he's shooting.