Simple Sequences To Create An Effective Film

July 24, 2019

Get your camera ready because the Melbourne International Film Festival is about to launch in less than a week. Before it starts, we decided to take a dive into three simple shooting sequences to read up on to make your own incredible movies. 

The Establishing Shot

It doesn't matter what movies you watch, the establishing shot is one of the most fundamental techniques of them all. Used to set the scene and grab the audiences' attention, start the sequence by using a wide shot that makes it immediately clear where the next scene is taking place. 

Next, you need to include a 'medium shot,' which fills the entire screen with your subject. Finally, shoot three different close-ups to add more context to the location and bring a creative climax to this simple, but effective sequence of shots.

The Five-Shot Sequence 

Popularised by journalist Michael Rosenblum, the five-shot sequence is perfect for documentary makers as you learn how using close-ups and creativity can enhance your films. 

Although it might seem strange, this sequence begins with a shot of your subject's hands, which introduces intrigue amongst the audience.

Next, you'll want to capture the face and eyes of your subject before the third shot in the sequence takes a wide perspective on the scene, giving the audience more visual cues. 

The fourth shot is taken from an over-the-shoulder perspective as you capture your subject working with their hands.

Finally, get creative with the last shot to bring the sequence to a fascinating finish. Whether that means climbing something to gain an overhead perspective or lying on the floor – as director and cinematographer the choice is yours! 

The Matched-Action Sequence

With the five-shot sequence being most useful for shooting documentary footage, the matched-action sequence is great for movie making. While it might take a bit of practice, and some basic editing skills, you'll need to get your subject to repeat your desired action numerous times so that you can capture it from several angles. 

As a simple example, you can record someone throwing a ball from the side, as well as from behind. When it's time to edit your footage, line the shots up one after another to make the scene look like one seamless piece of action. 

There are many more shooting sequences and techniques to learn, but these three basics are a great foundation to build upon as you begin your journey into the wonderful world of filmmaking. 

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