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Old February 7th, 2008, 10:03 AM   #1
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Shooting a 3-character scene?

I am new to being a DP, and I was given the position for a school teledrama. I have been doing fine, mostly normal 2-character scenes and they have been coming out well. But for the life of me I cannot figure out to shoot this 3-character scene. It is set-up as follows.

Setting is a college dining hall. Character 1 is at the end of the table, with character 2 sitting at the side of the table to her left. character 3 is sitting between them at the corner of the table.

So they are all generally on the same plane, but I am trying to figure out the best way to shoot this? I'm hoping for a wide shot, and then two coverage shots, but i'm starting to think that three coverage is the only way to do it. but then how do i frame the three? ugh... Help please?
Jeff Kolada
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Old February 8th, 2008, 10:13 AM   #2
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Well, this can be done a number of ways, but ... having three characters in one wide shot is going to look weird unless done a certain way. If you can somehow change the setup, it may look a bit more natural.

I know directing isn't your job as a DP, but you may have to examine the relationships between the characters a bit more and possibly group two of them as almost a single character and oppose them against the third.

A good book to actually use as a reference would be "Film Directing: Shot by Shot" by Steven D. Katz. It goes into common character setups which are referenced as I, A, Y, etc. Various triangle formations that you can use in shooting.

As for close ups, grouping two characters together would take care of some of your coverage issues; where, you could get a close up of one character, than a close two shot of the others.

Without knowing the situation a bit more, I hope this helped you at least some.
Matthew Overstreet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 8th, 2008, 01:37 PM   #3
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Over the shoulder can be your friend.

It lets you maintain screen presence and axis before you come back to the OTS person full screen.
Bill Ward is offline   Reply

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