November 22, 2017

10 Go-To Camera Shots for When You Blank on What to Shoot Next

Blanking on what to shoot next? Don't panic! Here are 10 shots that will get you what you need.

Has this happened to you? You're out there on set—maybe you're shooting a documentary or some important event—and things are getting chaotic and busy and the sounds of traffic, music, and people's voices have become a cacophonous cloud that won't let you think and then—you completely blank on what to shoot next. It's a terrifying experience, especially when you know reshoots are not an option, but in this video, Sareesh Sudhakaran of wolfcrow shares ten shots that he immediately goes to when his mind goes blank on-set. Check it out below:

This is one of those lessons you'll want to really take in, because there are going to be, without a doubt, many, many times in which the chaos of film production will start to get to you, threatening the creative and technical clarity you had when you first arrived on set. So, if you have a mental checklist already in your head, you'll be able to go back to it when your mind gets foggy and confused.

Here are the 10 shots Sudhakaran talks about in the video, five of which are based on the BBC's 5-Shot Rule, which I've highlighted in bold. (Technically, the last one isn't a shot, but rather a tip on how to record your shots.)

  • Long or mid shot
  • Close up of the face
  • Close up of the action
  • Over-the-shoulder shot
  • The creative shot
  • Inserts
  • The environment
  • The low angle
  • The time-lapse or drone shot
  • The 5-second rule: Always record 5 extra seconds before and after your shot.

You may not run into this problem as much if you're working on a carefully planned narrative feature that you painstakingly storyboarded and created a shot list for. However, this list is a great failsafe for when things get crazy on set and you don't have time for, as Sudhakaran calls it, "contemplative cinematography."      

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3 Comments

A really useful stuff.
Thanks for the great list.

November 23, 2017 at 1:38AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
734

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November 24, 2017 at 7:38AM

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Johnny
6

To be picky, the fifth shot in the BBC 5-shot paradigm is a two-shot of the face and hands, logically connecting the close-ups on the hands and the face.

November 24, 2017 at 9:58AM, Edited November 24, 9:58AM

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