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Old September 18th, 2020, 09:35 PM   #1
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Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

I am storyboarding a project that I want to shoot like the movie High and Low (1963), where the movie is shot in almost all mastershots. Some scenes are all mastershots, with no close ups or medium shots at all.

However, I watched this film riot video where they talk about how you should always get the medium and close up shots, just in case, at 4:39 into the video:


But if you plan on having a scene be intercutting between 2 or more master shots, and no other types of shots, do you really need the mediums and close ups?

In my personal experience I've often had to cut to a coverage shot I wasn't planning on using but still got it just as back up. But that doesn't mean it has to be like this all the time. Perhaps if I do more takes of just the masters, then I don't need the others, because I have more master takes to choose from.

So in the video, is the 3+3 method he talks about, necessary? For example, in High and Low, in those scenes that are all mastershots, did the director, still get mediums and close ups of all those scenes, just in case he needed them but then ended up throwing them on the cutting room for, once he saw that the masters worked?
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Old September 18th, 2020, 10:59 PM   #2
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

Oh boy, a chance to be a first responder to what is going to be a typical really long thread and a chance for nostalgia. Short answer, yes, shoot long, medium and close for every scene, good practice and why not? We're largely talking shooting ratios. Back in the day you did everything you could to save film, roll film was the last thing you did before "action" call, and (in Australia) you crashed your budget if you went over 7:1, I think film and processing was cheaper in Hollywood. Nowadays, it doesn't matter. I guess part of this thread will devolve into how much should you storyboard/animate: everyone always shoots more, just make sure you log all your shots, Now get out and shoot.
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Old September 18th, 2020, 11:02 PM   #3
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

Oh okay, but the extra shots still cost money though, in the sense that everyone is working longer and you still may have to pay for more location as well.

When it comes to a medium shot though, how many actors can be in a medium shot for it to count as a medium? Two actors for example, or more? And I am getting the close shot, they talk about in the video is just a close of one actor only and cannot be more than one?
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Old September 19th, 2020, 12:35 AM   #4
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

Ryan, It depends but I don't think it really matters. The idea is to get the vision in your head on film. Maybe get some basics - just grab a camera, pick a topic or subject, any topic (e.g. my dog).learn what's involved by doing and how close you can come to doing it.


"the only way to learn how to make films is to make films. You don't have to go to film school to learn how to make films, but you do make films if you go to film school".
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Old September 19th, 2020, 07:53 AM   #5
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

AGAIN, there is a film riot video where the director literally made the film all by himself (occasional DP in some shots but you could avoid this). Shot it himself, acted in it himself etc.

No one understands why you dont just do this...get some wigs, play all the characters, make a few short films that literally require no one else to make them happen. Test out all your ideas. Write the script/story around available locations/resources, no matter how dull, write so you have scenes that include examples of all the many many things youve been asking about for two years.

You have time and the perfect excuse (no “real” production can happen cause of COVID). Theres no reason not to do this, and it doesnt matter how bad they turn out cause youre just practicing filmmaking. Do it and post them here and people can tell you what does/doesnt work.
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Old September 19th, 2020, 08:24 AM   #6
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

It's a broken record. Everyone keeps telling him to film and discover the answers for himself instead of asking us. If it's possible, the most important thing for you at this stage is to practice, until visual story telling is second nature and you don't have these questions. Then and only then will it be worth thinking of producing a budgeted film.
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Old September 19th, 2020, 09:18 AM   #7
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

I know. I've chimed in a lot less since one occasion when I wrote reams and reams and was kind of blown off, and realized it was kind of pointless to try, but sometimes it gets to be too much and I just gotta "let one rip."
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Old September 19th, 2020, 11:08 AM   #8
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

I do the same. I only respond to get things off my chest or to give myself something to do when I have too much free time on my hands.

Honestly don't think anything we say will have any effect.

Most anyone would have done something similar to what you suggested. After a year of it, you'd have a fair sense if you're good enough for this type of work or just realize the over whelming time, money, equipment, people, and risk isn't worth it.
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Old September 19th, 2020, 05:30 PM   #9
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

I have been on this forum for a good while and I have seen Ryan ask a lot of questions and I sometime thing he not taking in what been said.

I have videoed a good few shows and sometimes I would even setup a 2nd maybe a 3rd camera but these would be fixed. The main idea would be see what that angle from that camera looks like and it would also give me ideas for again.

Ryan.. you should try some fixed cameras at different angles to see a shot from another angle would be any good to you. This could save you time.

I had to video a play back in March this year just as we went in to lockdown. I did have friend lined up to do it as I was doing lighting else where for a school musical but it was called off and the one that my friend was to video was as well. The one my friend was to video was back on but to a small crowed of 50 people and I only got asked 12 hours before hand if I could still video it. Well I could do it myself and as only had one chance at recording it, I desided to use to cameras and both where side by side one was set wide and the one manned was the main one. I had a back up from the wide one just in case I missed something when doing a close-up with the main one. In the end I did not need any footage from the one set wide.

My point you can never have to much footage and angles as you may use them and maybe not. Its all about trying things out and if you like you will know to try it again.
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Old September 19th, 2020, 09:06 PM   #10
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

Oh well I don't like to play multiple characters in my own because it's really difficult for me to do a good job if there is no one behind the camera or operating the boom. If I do it all myself it's totally unwatchable.

I have done this before and it's just much more competent when there are other people to help.

As for learning what shots to use for a scene, I know what shots I want but if I want all masters in just wonder if mediums and close ups are still necessary therefore.

I do appreciate all the help! I don't mean to blow anyone off. It's just doing an entire movie with just me and no one behind the camera is not going to work. I've tried it before.
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Old September 19th, 2020, 09:10 PM   #11
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

Thats just it. No one needs to watch it except you and maybe us if you feel like sharing. Put the boom on a stand, or do something that has no dialogue. Youre just experimenting with these, trying out techniques and trying to grow as a filmmaker. Theres really no excuse not to do this stuff given your level of uncertainty about seemingly everything.
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Old September 19th, 2020, 09:52 PM   #12
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

Yeah that's true, but I find it difficult to gauge what shots I need if I am the only one in them compared to multiple people. Unless I am suppose to have more than one of me in the same sho

For example the master shots I have planed have four characters in.
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Old September 19th, 2020, 09:59 PM   #13
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

Then work on the many other things you've asked about that don't involve multiple people in the same shot? There are like 16000 other things you could explore.
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Old September 19th, 2020, 10:03 PM   #14
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

Oh ok well I am working on other things as well at the moment. I just wanted to learn more about how many shots are necessary for working with more than a couple of actors. But I'm working in there things as well.

Well, when it comes to coverage , I have that problem where the subjects are too much of the same distance in the mastershots as they intercut, but us there a term for that issue?
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Old September 19th, 2020, 10:18 PM   #15
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Re: Shooting for the edit vs. too much coverage.

I meant using yourself as an actor in anything, regarding all your many questions, that DOESN'T involve multiple people in the same shot. The master thing is only one of the things you've worried about.

Regarding masters, if it were me, and I were limited by no actors willing to help out with these experiments (not to mention the pandemic), I would use stuffed animals, GI Joes, dolls, whatever. Get a dollhouse for a location so the scale matches, build something out of cardboard, really, who cares? As long as it allows you to test concepts/ideas.

I remember reading George Lucas (or whoever directed that particular movie) used toys and a fake miniature forest and a cheap camcorder to shoot a mockup version of the speedbike chase through the forest, so he could see how to shoot/edit it for real.

When you ask "how do these directors know....", THIS is the kinda stuff they do.
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