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View Full Version : How do you guys usually shoot a Scene?



MrJay10
09-25-2013, 12:35 PM
I'm just curious. Sometimes I feel my style of shooting a scene is a lot more unorthodox than other directors I know, and I make it more complicated than it should or has to be. Usually what I do is I make two different versions of the script. One is the regular version (for the script supervisor) and one is a story boarded script for my director's notebook. The way I've been doing it is to do a segment at a time of the script from the angle I want. Then move to the next angle and do another segment. It saves time, but makes the mental process for me a living nightmare.

For my next movie I'm going to do it, just to do the entire scene all the way through from every angle. That I think would be the smoothest and best way.

Which way do you guys usually do it? And what is the best way you would recommend?

Charli
09-26-2013, 02:44 PM
When Barbra Streisand shot her "Jury" I think Dryefuss complained of overshooting. You don't want to shoot from "every" angle. You want to tell a "singular" story from one point of view. Find the story you are trying to tell and that's how you'll know what angles to shoot.

Hope that helps.

MrJay10
09-26-2013, 07:34 PM
Oh I probably worded that wrong. I more so meant "every angle from my storyboard"

GradeBFilms
09-27-2013, 07:12 AM
I shoot very much in bits. I just shoot what needs to be done at a particular angle on the storyboard, then immediately move on, in segments like yourself. I think shooting a whole scene at angles that won't be used for the most part would be a waste of time and just slow up editing and production.

D4Darious
09-28-2013, 01:11 AM
Shooting angles you won't use just to have them can be expensive and time consuming. I usually pick a point of view and take the risk of shooting it (without additional coverage) with the hopes that I won't regret not picking a different point of view later. When you commit to one point of view it saves alota time and money and when it works it's great, but when it doesn't it SUCKS!!!!!!

As far as covering a scene I shoot everything that I need from one set-up then change angles and shoot everything I need from the next set-up. Same as most people I think.

khathawayart
10-04-2013, 12:10 PM
I think a hybrid of the two styles -- many angles AND bit n' pieces is the way to go, though it requires some planning ahead.

When I was in film school and before, I, too, shot bits and pieces as I needed them/saw them in my head or in my storyboard. Then I'd just assemble the parts in the editing room. It was very much cookie cutter.

'Course this was during the old film days, so it was a way of saving money. Not until I worked on real Hollywood movies did I ever see a scene shot from beginning to end at a variety of angles. This, obviously, was a more expensive way of doing it, but allowed more choices in the editing room.

With video, cost isn't so much of a concern, but time is. So I'd do a wide shot of the scene---top to end. Maybe a couple two shots, OTS, or whatever -- also top to end scene -- to cover your butt in editing. Then do close ups with selected dialogue only rather than the whole scene.
But be sure to get some reactions in the close-ups, too--not just talking.

What you actually shoot depends on the style you're going for, but shooting some angles top to end then selected inserts and close shots is a way of blending both shooting styles so you save some time, but still have choices in the editing room.


Kurt Hathaway
-------------------
VikingDream7 Productions
Video Production & Editing

khathawayart[at]gmail.com

MrJay10
10-04-2013, 02:25 PM
I think a hybrid of the two styles -- many angles AND bit n' pieces is the way to go, though it requires some planning ahead.

When I was in film school and before, I, too, shot bits and pieces as I needed them/saw them in my head or in my storyboard. Then I'd just assemble the parts in the editing room. It was very much cookie cutter.

'Course this was during the old film days, so it was a way of saving money. Not until I worked on real Hollywood movies did I ever see a scene shot from beginning to end at a variety of angles. This, obviously, was a more expensive way of doing it, but allowed more choices in the editing room.

With video, cost isn't so much of a concern, but time is. So I'd do a wide shot of the scene---top to end. Maybe a couple two shots, OTS, or whatever -- also top to end scene -- to cover your butt in editing. Then do close ups with selected dialogue only rather than the whole scene.
But be sure to get some reactions in the close-ups, too--not just talking.

What you actually shoot depends on the style you're going for, but shooting some angles top to end then selected inserts and close shots is a way of blending both shooting styles so you save some time, but still have choices in the editing room.


Kurt Hathaway
-------------------
VikingDream7 Productions
Video Production & Editing

khathawayart[at]gmail.com

wow great response! I didn't even think of blending the two styles together.

Director
10-04-2013, 05:14 PM
A person could write several pages on this subject alone. But, it is a great question, and one I personally haven't seen here before.

I'll try to keep this short.

For me, blocking scenes is extremely critical and it involves a variety of things: lighting, space, camera angle, and movement of both actors and camera.

As a rule of thumb, if it feels awkward, it probably looks awkward, and vice versa. If you're DP as well as the director, you have the advantage of looking through the lens to see how it's all going to work out. So having your actors go through a dry run can help cut down on setting up the scene, or shooting too many scenes to try and get the best block.

I saw something in a movie just recently that disturbed me. It was two actors talking, facing each other. The block stated off correct, shooting from the same angle over the shoulders of the actors on the back and forth, but the last scene, for some odd ball reason, they changed the camera angle over the opposite shoulder. It looked very awkward.

Aside from some elementary blocking techniques that one can learn, I think that it's something you have to learn on your own from just testing out different blocks, and then drawing on past experience of what works and what doesn't.

I still wrestle with blocking scenes, as I think all good directors do, and I see that you do too, which is a good thing. It shows you care about getting it right, as opposed to telling the actors to stand there and turning the camera on.

I suggest you just keep doing what you're doing, and eventually it will become intuitive to you.