Introduction

When recording footage for a film or TV show, there any many things to think about such as framing, composition, lighting, and how to tell the story to a good quality. One of the most important things is to ensure that the audience doesn’t get confused and that it is actually interesting. This can be accomplished by using techniques such as the 180 degree rule, shot reverse shot, and the over the shoulder shot. These are good ways to break apart the sequence and make the situation more interesting for the audience.

180 Degree Rule

The 180 degree rule is a technique that is used in all films and TV shows as it makes the transitions easier to watch and consume. To follow the rule, the camera must stay on the same side of the characters, particularly within the 180 degrees closest to the subject. This is important as it allows the audience to become familiar with the sequence and predict what might happen next. Not only does it keep the frame the same way round, but it also stops any opportunities for the background or shot to significantly change without the audience knowing what has happened. If the rule is broken it is very easy for the audience to become confused and not immersed in the story which is extremely detrimental towards the quality and overall success of the production. When following the rule there is a way to cross the line if needed, although the camera must clearly show that the line has been crossed. Once this has been done the camera must stay on that side unless the process is repeated.

(Perfect Illusion, 2015)

For example, in this scene from the film Interstellar, there are multiple uses of the 180 degree rule. Particularly in the first half you can see how the camera has been purposely positioned between shots so that is still on the same side of each character. Therefore the audience doesn’t become confused as the frame is the same way round.

Reverse Shot

When using the reverse shot technique, it is important that the camera stays in the same position. If the camera moves in between shots the sequence becomes more difficult to consume and therefore distracts the audience away from the story. The reverse shot is mostly used in conversation between two people as it clearly shows who is speaking and where the shot is taking place. When planning to record a reverse shot sequence it is important to think about how you want the audience to perceive what is happening on screen. If the intention was to have one of the characters be superior or inferior a low/high shot would be incorporated to achieve this effect. Another factor that should be considered is if the screen time of the characters should be equal. In most cases the camera would be positioned as if the audience was another person listening to the conversation so that the camera would be pointing to where the most important information is.

 

(321Action123Cut, 2016)

In the classic Joker scene from the 2008 film, The Dark Night, there are several uses of the reverse shot technique. Although there are several people in the conversation, it can be seen that the Director and the camera team have thought about the technique and taken it into consideration within the sequence.

Match on action

Match on action is a technique that used in film and TV to help keep a sequence of shots flowing, reducing any possibility of the audience becoming distracted from the story. To follow the technique, the shot must change and move onto the next during an action. The action within the shots must be clear for the technique to work to a good quality. In most cases it used to help the sequence flow better, although it can be used to emphasise a point that is trying to be made, perhaps to show the impact of something.

(WWE, 2016)

In the WWE video, there are numerous examples of the match on action. This could have been implemented to emphasise what is happening on screen and how the audience should perceive the characters and nature of what is happening. Another reason why the technique could be used is to distract the audience of any mistakes that could be made as it is a live TV show.

Over the shoulder

The over the shoulder shot technique is used in many different films and TV shows. This is because it is a great way to show the audience the perspective of a character which can be very beneficial when telling a story. It is a method that is used very regularly in film and TV as it can be used to help with character development, allowing the audience to empathise with the character engaging them more in the story. Over the shoulder shots are usually used in conversation as they can also be used to show how another character may act from the perspective of another person involved in the situation.

(Orkhan Umudlu, 2011)

Here in the scene from the film, Inception, there is a mix of over the shoulder and reverse shots. These kind of techniques would have been included to show both of the characters perspectives as to how it would of have been if you (as the audience) would have been in their situation. I think this is a very effective technique as it forces the audience to become more engaged as it gives you a reason to like/dislike them more as you can see the situation on their perspective, therefore you view the situation on their level.

Practical task

For this task we were asked to take pictures in different camera angles using the skills and techniques that we had learnt about in class. We were told that we needed to take a pictures with a tripod of an over the shoulder shot, a reverse shot sequence, and a match on action shot, whilst showing our understanding of the 180 degree rule in each picture we took. Also we were able to include some story if we wanted to, though it shouldn’t effect the quality of the techniques incorporated.

Firstly we came up with a storyboard so that we could plan as to how we were going to use each angle and when it would work best. Even though we were only taking still images of each camera angle, it was still important that we knew what order we were going to do this in as it would save us time which was crucial as we had limited time. Despite having limited time it was still necessary that we created a story board as it would give us practise as to how we could effectively plan and learn new techniques for when we have future more complex tasks.

Here are the pictures that we took whilst out doing the task. Before going to the location we had decided that we wanted to have some story to make the sequence of shots become more interesting. With this in mind we came up with a short plot that could back up what we had planned and then thought about what location would be the best for what we needed it for. As a group we then made the mistake of becoming to indulged in the story and became distracted from what we were actually asked to do. This was a fault on our behalf and then decided to remove the images from our work that were unsuitable to the task.

Although we made a mistake in spending too much time on the story we were still left with some examples of what were asked to take pictures of. Overall I am content with the outcome of the task, although I admit it would have been much better if we had spent longer planning and for a better/no story at all. Also I think that we should have spent longer working with the lighting setup as it drastically changes between shots.

Bibliography:

321Action123Cut (2016) The Joker First appearance & the mob scene – the dark knight-(2008) movie clip Blu-ray 1080p. Available at: https://youtu.be/FATL_2ic8js (Accessed: 13 October 2016).

Orkhan Umudlu (2011) Inception – explaining the dream world. Available at: https://youtu.be/V3-a58Wt2tk (Accessed: 13 October 2016).

Perfect Illusion (2015) Interstellar – ending scene. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP0dv9OjBHQ (Accessed: 12 October 2016).

WWE (2016) Rapid-fire finishing moves – WWE top 10, Oct. 10, 2016. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_bzovs81pU (Accessed: 13 October 2016).

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