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Old September 4th, 2009, 02:30 PM   #1
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180 rule when establishing shot outside to inside?

Hello,

I am aware of the 180 rule for a scene, however, how would one approach starting a scene with a wide shot of a store (establishment), then move to inside the store from behind the counter. The reason I ask, the characters will be mostly behind the counter, playing jokes on each other. Does the 180 rule apply here, from outside to inside like this? (I will stick to it once inside for continuity.)

Any thoughts are welcome, thanks,

Jer
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Old September 4th, 2009, 02:38 PM   #2
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I'd say no - if you can't see the characters in the establishing shot it doesn't apply.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 12:02 PM   #3
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Not necessary but I'd TRY to reinforce that this is in fact the same location by "leading" the audio inside into the exterior.

For example:

Visual:Exterior Audio:Guy: "So Jane..."
Viusal: Interior Audio:Guy (continues) "... how did you get home last night?"

The 180 rule would only apply IF you were doing a switch from behind the counter to in front of the counter on the interiors.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 04:29 AM   #4
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Another name for the "180 rule" is the "line of action"...

Are there any actions happening in your establishing shot (and if there are do they continue to the interior)? My reasoning is, if there is no action, there is no line, therefore the 180 rule doesn't apply.

If your performers start outside and walk inside than there is a line of action and the 180 rule does apply...

Hope this helps.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 06:16 AM   #5
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Establishing shots with no actors do not create a line.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 01:24 PM   #6
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Thank you gentleman

Thank you guys for the thoughts, the audio tip is great and the specification of a line of 'action' is appreciated. The lack of need for that rule makes sense if there are no actors as a few of you noted.

I'll probably be doing a location cheat anyway, so this has been great.

Best to you all,

Jer
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Old September 7th, 2009, 01:44 PM   #7
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Upon further consideration, I'd like to add something to Colin's note:

(I know you said it's just an exterior but for the sake of being complete...) IF you had your characters walking in front of the building in the establishing shot from screen left to screen right toward the door and then picked up the shot from inside facing the door, the characters would need to pass the window or enter the doorway moving from screen right toward screen left because you HAVE created a motion vector (related to the 180 degree line of axis) that needs to be mirrored because you have in fact "jumped over" an established line, which in this case would be the front of the building until another line of axis is created, possibly by actors on either side of the counter interacting with one another.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 05:13 PM   #8
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Since we have now moved into the theoretical (I was going to make some comments on this sort of thing but was keeping it within the description of the actual shot also):

Yes, it is true that when doing a 180 degree reverse, screen direction travel will have to be preserved which can appear jumpy. The ideal then would be to make the cut occur at a point where the direction is somewhat neutral, i.e. entering through the door.

Reverse masters can be a little tricky to conceive when (for instance) two people are facing each other, and they will appear to swap places on the reverse shot. However, as long as the geography between characters is well established, you can often swap sides of the line for coverage as needed without the audience getting confused. The rule of thumb that I generally use is that wide shots can play from virtually anywhere in the room, but when you have closeups with obvious screen direction i.e. character A is looking off left to character B, it's best to have the complementary look i.e. character B looks right to character A. This can get confusing when there are multiple people in a scene, like around a dinner table, sometimes necessitating multiple coverage for individual actors to get all the necessary looks in place.

That said, rules are meant to be broken and many contemporary films ignore the line, with mixed results in my mind. Unless one has really mastered the art of the line (which I can barely say about myself even after many years of working with it on a daily basis), it's best to play it safe and send the looks going the "proper" directions.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 06:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
many contemporary films ignore the line, with mixed results in my mind.
So I'm not the ONLY one who notices? Thanks for making me feel just a little less neurotic...

And Jeremy, when Mr. Papert speaks, the wise among us listen...
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Old September 7th, 2009, 09:08 PM   #10
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Well said Charles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
rules are meant to be broken
So very true. But if one intends on breaking the rules, one should know why the rule is there, so they can minimize their chance of getting caught out... Ignorance is no excuse. :)

After all, it's not illegal if you don't get caught! (although there is no excuse for copyright infringement)
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Old September 8th, 2009, 07:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post

And Jeremy, when Mr. Papert speaks, the wise among us listen...
I picked up on that.
It is great feedback. I storyboard most things (stick figures and arrows) and will practice Charles' theory. There is only one way to grow. Thank you Charles.

I have often thought that the lines of action are jumped in movies in particular. Saving Private Ryan for example, the first 20 min. Sometimes the camera is from the rear of the allies, moving in (makes sense), sometimes looking out as the germans, sometimes from either perspective to the right or left.

In that scene, some of the confusion helps tell the story which is the point. Other times, I believe most people just know what is going to happen helping to avoid confusion normally occurring with jumping line of action.

Wish you all the best, thanks again,

Jer
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Old September 8th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Smith View Post
In that scene, some of the confusion helps tell the story which is the point. Other times, I believe most people just know what is going to happen helping to avoid confusion normally occurring with jumping line of action.
EXACTLY! The confusion creates a psychological response of mild panic ("wait, this doesn't make sense!") and most people can figure out the the sea is one way and the pillboxes are the other and just about everyone is running away from the sea. When an objective is THIS cut and dried, it's a little easier to "sell" the confusion caused by switching vectors.

BTW, vectors of all sorts are a pet of mine. We spent a LOT of time on them in media college and I'm thankful for that and try to teach my students (when I teach...) about motion and other vectors AND the axis line.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 12:03 AM   #13
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Lines and circles

I sometimes wonder if the current fashion for near-constant camera movement in some productions has de-sensitised viewers from appreciating lines. I can see no justification for some of the horizontal and even vertical circling movements that seem to pervade certain tv productions, unless it is feared that the viewers' attention span is so limited that few would watch the programme otherwise. Sometimes I find it as irritating as the unjustified dolly zooms and sudden inexplicable overcrankings (not that these affect lines directly). In a way I hope I continue to be irritated by them as at least it shows I can still notice. I suppose it's a bit like listening to bad grammar in language. Or maybe it's just a sign of age.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 08:21 AM   #14
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Vectors and it 'feels' like too much motion to me as well.

Shuan and Colin,

Vectors are something I only know the principle of, hence this post, however, it facinates me that the brain interprets information a certain way, and one can create that information, properly, or improperly. It is wild to me that the left brain handles the numbers and objective information, that hero is on the left, the villian on the right, yet the right brain 'feels' the intensity of the situation. That 'feels' is what I want to master, at least for making a short film. Don't we all I suppose. All to say, lines of action, vectors, and all the other things that involve blocking, planning and telling our story are part of that, and worthy of the work that goes into them.

As far as too much motion goes, it is just not to my taste at the least, it is not to a lot of people's taste in the middle and wrong at the most. I would rather have a solid story, or just entertaining story and skip the confusion and fancy tricks. It is my opinion that if somone can explain a complex situation in an easy way, using all the tools at their disposal, that is an art and something I would love to master.

It all comes to hooking into the viewer for me. From a football game, (Soccer or NFL), to out right entertainment, that is the the goal to me, of this high art. (I love the science in it too.)

Jer
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Old September 9th, 2009, 10:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Smith View Post
It all comes to hooking into the viewer for me. From a football game, (Soccer or NFL), to out right entertainment, that is the the goal to me, of this high art. (I love the science in it too.)
Me too. I consider myself 1 part artist, 2 parts technician and 3 parts visual storyteller...

That's a lot of parts but I'm a big man... <laughs>

In media college we were taught two rules (that again, were allowed to be broken IF you understood them in the first place and could then explain WHY you were breaking them):

-artificial lighting should be motivated
-camera movement should ALWAYS be motivated
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