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Old 11-16-2016, 09:09 PM   #1
ThisGuy007
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Why is the OTS shot never questioned?

Is it just me or is the OTS reverse OTS set up the most overused, abused, and least inspiring set up in all of filmmaking? But filmmakers love it!
I mean, no one ever questions how the OTS reverse OTS serves the story like we do for every other type of shot/set up.
If you want a dolly shot, or a wide shot, or a close up, people will ask why or how it serves the story. But never the OTS reverse OTS.
The OTS reverse OTS set up often times reveals nothing in its framing and composition other than just simply being coverage for the sake of coverage (many times for the dialogue), and as filmmakers, we seem content with that. We don't question it. But I have to ask, how does coverage for the sake of coverage serve the story?
Now there are times when the OTS reverse OTS is necessary to serve the story, but IMO, the OTS reverse OTS set up is often times the lazy director's attempt to create depth in his/her shots.

Last edited by ThisGuy007; 11-16-2016 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 11-16-2016, 10:31 PM   #2
El Director
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I think an advantage of the OTS is that is helps to keep context and orientation. A filmmaker could break the 180 rule due to ignorance, but if they use a lot of OTS, the audience can still not get disorientated a lot of the time.
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Old 11-17-2016, 01:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisGuy007 View Post
Is it just me or is the OTS reverse OTS set up the most overused, abused, and least inspiring set up in all of filmmaking? But filmmakers love it!
I mean, no one ever questions how the OTS reverse OTS serves the story like we do for every other type of shot/set up.
If you want a dolly shot, or a wide shot, or a close up, people will ask why or how it serves the story. But never the OTS reverse OTS.
The OTS reverse OTS set up often times reveals nothing in its framing and composition other than just simply being coverage for the sake of coverage (many times for the dialogue), and as filmmakers, we seem content with that. We don't question it. But I have to ask, how does coverage for the sake of coverage serve the story?
Now there are times when the OTS reverse OTS is necessary to serve the story, but IMO, the OTS reverse OTS set up is often times the lazy director's attempt to create depth in his/her shots.
I don't think it's lazy at all. I think it's just the realities of the logistics of trying to shoot a feature length film. Yeah, it'd be nice if every single shot could be motivated. There are some filmmakers who do that. But for other projects that's just not possible. Shooting for coverage is efficient, which is precisely why I, a tiny-budget filmmaker, use it as my primary mode of operandi for narrative films, sprinkling the movie with individual shots that are motivated.
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Old 11-17-2016, 01:24 AM   #4
directorik
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Welcome to indietalk.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisGuy007 View Post
Is it just me or is the OTS reverse OTS set up the most overused, abused, and least inspiring set up in all of filmmaking?
I think it's just you. The Over The Shoulder shots are a valuable tool the
filmmaker can use. Just like anything, there are people who use tools
inefficiently.

Quote:
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I mean, no one ever questions how the OTS reverse OTS serves the story like we do for every other type of shot/set up.
Hyperbole is an inefficient tool in a discussion or argument. Many question
how the OTS reverse OTS serves the story. I have worked with several
different DP's in my career and they all have questioned its use.

On your most recent film did you not use this shot at all? Or did you only
use it when it served the story? I'd love to see your work.
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Old 11-17-2016, 05:13 AM   #5
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I thought that the close up shot was used and abused the most, as in so many movies nowadays you see so many CU shots all over the place.
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Old 11-17-2016, 08:44 AM   #6
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There is no way to measure whether a type of shot is being misused too often or not.
Every movie is een entity on it's own using the grammar of film which is still developing, like any language does. For every bad example there will probably be a good example you can put against it. For whatever shot we discuss.

A shot is never just the shot on it's own: it's part of a construction with variuos kind of shots and sounds. The OTS can bring harmony or contrast in the visual music of movement and rhythm. Shooting every dialogue in a spectacular way as if it is a boxing match, might be visually exiting, but often not the most effective way to do it: it will most likely feel like a gimmick.

Besides that OTS give perspective and depth to the image (nothing wrong with creating the illusion of depth: film is an illusion of depth on a 2D screen: dolly shots do the same thing: they als create the illusion of depth) it's use can also be motivated by cost effectiveness. But every producer looks at every shot like that: time and money are 2 limited resources that can affect the choices made.

Because you think it is never questioned, it doesn't mean it isn't

Last edited by WalterB; 11-17-2016 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 11-17-2016, 09:00 AM   #7
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Great points, WalterB.

Also, is it worth considering the possibility that the OTS shot might subtly give someone the sense of voyeurism?
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Old 11-17-2016, 04:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cracker Funk View Post
Great points, WalterB.

Also, is it worth considering the possibility that the OTS shot might subtly give someone the sense of voyeurism?
It can be used like that, but more often you don't see the viewer: only the view which is often partially blocked by an 'obstacle'. This is all about context.
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Old 11-18-2016, 02:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by WalterB View Post
It can be used like that, but more often you don't see the viewer: only the view which is often partially blocked by an 'obstacle'. This is all about context.
No, that's exactly what I mean. The audience is the viewer. We're looking over someone's shoulder to see a conversation that we're not part of. We're the voyeurs.

And then, on top of everything already said in this thread, there's the simple subject of shot composition. The OTS shot allows for following the Rule of Thirds, while also utilizing balance and framing.
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Old 11-18-2016, 07:19 AM   #10
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haha, but viewers are voyeurs during the whole of every movie, except in Deadpool, as he is aware of our presence
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:14 AM   #11
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It is standard. It works. Why screw with what works. You always get the master, the 2 pop and coverage. Whether or not it is used comes down to editing. The OP has not posted anything before and has not responded. Is the OP someone of note or just another hit and run sh*t stirrer?
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Old 11-18-2016, 03:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalterB View Post
haha, but viewers are voyeurs during the whole of every movie, except in Deadpool, as he is aware of our presence
That's not really what I mean when I talk about being a voyeur. There's a great scene in Unbreakable in which Bruce Willis' character hits on a woman seated next to him on a train. There's a very long, oh wait, you can just watch it to see what I mean. Skip forward to about the 3:30 mark to see what I'm talking about.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryogenic View Post
It is standard. It works. Why screw with what works. You always get the master, the 2 pop and coverage. Whether or not it is used comes down to editing. The OP has not posted anything before and has not responded. Is the OP someone of note or just another hit and run sh*t stirrer?
I don't think we need to question anybody's credentials. An opinion is an opinion is an opinion. The question asked wasn't a bad question at all, in my opinion.
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Old 01-13-2017, 05:25 AM   #13
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OTS shots, to me, are rarely questioned because that's like asking a person to stand in the middle of two people and look straight. Rarely are humans able to look at two objects without wanting to look back and forth between objects. The OTS is pretty much a means of seeing both actors reactions while constantly keeping your focus moving.

One technique, I would say, got abused in recent years was rack focusing for the sake of rack focusing.
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Old 01-13-2017, 10:38 PM   #14
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OTS also helps in two ways, especially in a shot reverse shot manner because it draws the viewer into the conversation. We are not simply observing a conversation. We are almost seeing first person perspective.

Especially in dialogue scenes where it's a very intimate setting. Like at a dinner table or in a police interrogation room. It's about intent.

I'll give you an example that you can go find in film.

Cop interrogating suspect. Normally the scene isn't filmed from outside through two way mirrored glass. The actual interrogation usually happens OTS or at least shot reverse shot because they are speaking TO each other. In other words the FOCUS and the DIALOGUE are aimed at each other.

The camera follows the action and in dialogue scenes the action is happening on their faces and with their words.

Only when the FOCUS shifts to the other character observers, or the crime scene photos on the table or, etc. does the camera shift away but it is still a PERSPECTIVE shot, that of the person being shown the photos (usually OTS) but is almost ALWAYS then cut to facing OTS shot of the suspect for reaction. So say after being shown the crime scene photos the suspect bolts from his chair. THAT's when it cuts to the OTHER observers because the intimacy of the scene has been "broken". From one to one dialogue intimacy to one character breaking that which breaks that and brings the environment around it into play (other officers behind two way mirrors,other officer in the corner of the room, etc.)

Same thing happens in shots when it's a group seated around a dinner table having an intimate conversation. Would you rather be in the middle of the conversation or sitting a table away just observing it?

Just my opinion.
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