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Old 01-12-2017, 12:56 AM   #1
harmonica44
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Question about the order of shots in a set up.

One thing I have seen and read that a lot of directors do (and I started doing as well), as to shoot the mastershot first, and then after, move in for the OTSs, CUs, and and insert shots, etc.

However, I find that the actors can give a better performance later on in a scene. For example, an actor can do a lot better on take 6, rather than the 1st take, cause they have gotten into the scene more.

So if for a scene, I want the mastershot to be shown more than any other shot for most of the scene, in the editing, should I perhaps shoot the mastershot last do you think, for example? Or how do you decide which shots should be shot last, in order for the actor to more likely give a better performance in those shots, since those shots will be used more?
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Old 01-12-2017, 01:26 AM   #2
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To resist the black hole or not.

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Or how do you decide which shots should be shot last
Communicate with your AD to which shots are most important. The AD will schedule for you.

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in order for the actor to more likely give a better performance in those shots, since those shots will be used more?
You don't have the experience to make these decisions yet. For now, I suggest doing your standard coverage, add some extra creative shots if you have spare time, and work through the options with an experienced editor in post. While it's good to have a plan, it's bad for an inexperienced director to paint themselves into a corner they cannot afford to escape.

Once you gain the experience of going through the process, you'll get to understand your style more and learn what shots you never use in post. Those shots can be removed from your shot list in future productions.

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should I perhaps shoot the mastershot last
This can cause a scheduling and probably a budgeting cluster**** if you schedule your most important shot for last. When you run out of scheduled time for the scene, you'll end up having your most important shot, the master dropped. There are a lot more nuances to why you shouldn't, like the importance of intimacy and your audiences connection to your characters and how performances are interpreted that come from closer shots etc. When you gain the experience you'll be better suited to make this kind of adjustment, which will help you understand why this is a bad idea.

Go out there and shoot. If you want to try, shoot this way with a couple of micro shorts and see how it goes for you. Experiment and get back to us on how it goes.

You need to not only to learn how it's done, but understand why it's done this way. Then feel free to find ways to buck the system. There's a million ways to do it. Most of those ways are wrong.

Then again, you might as well go for it. The money for reshoots will come out of your own pocket. Maybe that's the only way you'll learn.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:39 AM   #3
mlesemann
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That's (one of the reasons) why directors rehearse a scene before shooting it.
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:38 AM   #4
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So you suggest to make close ups of the worst performance???

LOL

What Mara says: rehearse.

This questions shows you need to make more shorts. Otherwise you'd end up with a feature of only closeups and no sense of orientation
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:18 AM   #5
directorik
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I can only stomach responding to h44 once every 4 months.
Quote:
Originally Posted by harmonica44 View Post
However, I find that the actors can give a better performance later on in a scene.
During the editing if you find that the performance of a couple
of lines isn't good in the master shot then you can use the close
up where the performance is better. If you find that an actor
you are using does better on take six then take one then you
shoot six takes until you get the performance you need. If you
need to do six takes of the master shot to get the performance
right you shoot six takes of the master shot.

For everyone else reading this:

This is why most people advise that you make several short films.
Rather than explore options on line you explore options on set.
h44 has found that actors give a better performance later in the
shoot. If he were making one short film a month he could try
shooting all the close ups first when the performances aren't up
to standards and see what happens in the editing room. He uses
the master shot more than the close ups so this method might
work for him.

Make short films! Each one doesn't need to be perfect. Each one
allows you to learn by doing. Stop reading what a lot of directors
do and direct a few short films. Find YOUR method. Find out what
works for YOU.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:54 PM   #6
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:44 PM   #7
harmonica44
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Okay thanks. I will keep doing the takes until the actors get it right then, and try to make more time for it, rather than relying on the shots being in a certain order. Is there any order I should shoot the shots in then?

I want to do a project that relies on a lot of master shots, for style though, with minimal close ups. Kind of like the way some movies are shot where there is a lot of master shots for most of a scene, and not many close ups at all.

So if I am going for that style, should I shoot the close up shots last, if they are the ones I plan on using the least, cause of the style?

As for finding a method that works for me, here is what works for me so far, when setting up a shot list to a scene shoot. So far I have the shots I must have, with coverage, and then there are extra shots that would be nice, but you want to get the more important ones done first that will tell the whole story, and then the extra ones after.

Last edited by harmonica44; 01-12-2017 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 01-13-2017, 02:00 AM   #8
shortboy
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As actors get better as shots go along, you will find that actors also get more tired. If you're trying to go for shots where it relies solely on the master, it's going to be taxing on them. Especially if you're trying to go for a one take type of style.

To save yourself time, take notes and/or try to remember which takes had good lines and when. Repeat only certain lines if necessary rather than having them run through the whole scene.

What I would suggest, do your masters, keep it going if necessary. Go in the for close ups of where you think it'd be necessary for coverage sake, and then go back for one final master just for safety.
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Old 01-13-2017, 03:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
I will keep doing the takes until the actors get it right then
That's the opposite extreme. You need to continue to shoot until you have what you need for the edit. Every piece of coverage doesn't need to be picture perfect all the way through, just in the parts where there's a chance it will be used. If you're not sure, consult with your editor. Create a lined script to help with the process.

Quote:
Is there any order I should shoot the shots in then?
It depends. I won't go into depth as it's been covered in multiple threads before. Go and take a read. For example it's typically WS, MS, CU then reverses for simple 2 person talking heads. Grab your inserts as convenient.

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if I am going for that style
You test that method/style. See how it goes for you. If it works, continue to use it. If it doesn't serve you, change.

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I would suggest, do your masters, keep it going if necessary
The owner of Troma, (Lloyd Kauffman?), one of the worst filmmakers in the world teaches this technique to suckers all around the world. He swears by it.

It's better to shoot with a faulty style and learn from it than to not shoot at all.
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Old 01-13-2017, 05:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
The owner of Troma, (Lloyd Kauffman?), one of the worst filmmakers in the world teaches this technique to suckers all around the world. He swears by it.

It's better to shoot with a faulty style and learn from it than to not shoot at all.
I trust me, I hate going long takes unless we know we can pull it off (fight scene wise). I've shot a few scenes where we had the actors do the scene to the end per angle and I was super annoyed by it as we went on. Since then, we figured that if we can get good snippets of lines, then we'd just use inserts of the other actor to go in between takes. I only brought up the suggestion if H44 is hell bent on doing it.
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Old 01-13-2017, 05:38 PM   #11
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I only brought up the suggestion if H44 is hell bent on doing it.
I hear you, and I understood why you were saying it.

I only mentioned it that way as H44 may have been listening to Lloyd somewhere. It's what he teaches. I don't know any others who teach this. It's an argument of perspective. While Lloyd is right, you can make a movie with only master shots, your film will often be equally crap as Lloyds B grade abominations. Consider the source of the information before you consider it gospel.

But the latter part of it's better to shoot with a faulty style than to not shoot at all was the most important part. You're better off shooting with faults, than waiting to shoot until you've obtained optimal methodology. You'll get to your optimum quicker by shooting and learning from your mistakes than you will by debating on the internet.
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Old 01-13-2017, 05:41 PM   #12
harmonica44
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Hell bent on doing what? Using master shots? or using snippets?

Also as far as doing a WS first, do most scenes even need a WS? A lot of scenes don't have them, in movies, cause the director just didn't think it was necessary.
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:00 PM   #13
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Depends on your definition of WS.
If you mean a shot where every character is visible from head to toe?
Than that is true.

But every scene uses something to at least establish the location, unless it is meant to be a mystery.
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:25 PM   #14
harmonica44
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Oh okay, I thought there was a difference between a WS and an establishing shot. Like for example, there is an episode of Boston Legal I was watching where a scene takes place in the judges chambers, and the first shot you see is a shot of some award the judge has in his chambers, and then it goes to a close up shot of one of the lawyers speaking to the judge.

So the shot of the award, was an ES but not a WS, so I thought that ESs were usually different because of that.
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by harmonica44 View Post
Hell bent on doing what? Using master shots? or using snippets?
Hell bent on master shots.


I'm pretty sure you've heard/read it before, but if you focus less on analyzing the way others do things, and put that same amount of work into actually shooting, we'd be having different discussions.

At the same time I also appreciate your hardiness of wanting to learn the craft. I honestly think it allows us to think about how we shoot/edit/prepare/etc. things on our sets. There's no one set way on how to shoot a film. Guidelines, yes, but guidelines are also meant to be broken if you know how to break them successfully. It's all a learning process.

I rarely post or browse this board but this place will never be too short of H44 threads haha. The consistent trend is us telling you to do less asking and more doing.

Last edited by shortboy; 01-13-2017 at 06:46 PM.
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