June 18, 2018 at 1:50AM, Edited June 18, 1:51AM

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Best Techniques for Single Camera Cinematography?

I'm a writer/director working on making my first short, which is a horror/thriller. For budgetary reasons, I'm considering shooting with a single camera. I was really impressed with how Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins shot Blade Runner 2049 with just one camera. I'm looking for tips and advice on how to make a single camera film work. And what would the workflow be like on set when I need to change shots and angles? I.e. do I need actors to stand still while I change shots? etc.

Thanks!

3 Comments

good good question.
for most of my life (of poor filmaker :-P) i shoot short and full feature lenght with a single camera setup. Usually we setup the scene and for every ciak we change angle to grab different angle and different emotion from actors.
i can suggest you to study what you need to shoot, it's useful to storyboard (also with some app, some free tools like sketch up and more) sequence, and if you not have experience of editing, try to edit the storyboard, and see what work and what not work.
Shoot many "fegatelli", italian way to call dectails and all small shoot that allow you to cut a sequence when you cannot join directly two different shot, neutral dectail to help edit.
Build an angle list of what you think you need to shoot, to be sure that at end of day you have most of work done, and you are sure that you not missing something.
Start to shoot longer shot, than came near and cover all angle you think to need.
My suggest for actors is that not stop them in the between of action, is not nice to see and often actors don't like it. Is simplier to re act a scene then act and be stopped, or after two or three ciak they not act full scene, but act waiting your stop.
Pay attention that if you repeat many time the shoot that nothing change, sigarette lenght, position of hands, dresses, filled glass and more... also a simple sweat under armpit show you that different cuts are from different ciaks.
is two time important to have a edition secretary that check every things on set.

June 21, 2018 at 12:02PM, Edited June 21, 12:02PM

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Carlo Macchiavello
Director
657

I'd recommend using the master shot method, which usually involves shooting the entire scene from start to finish in a long shot and then shooting close-ups and cut-aways.

I've found it to be the most efficient way to cover a scene.

June 21, 2018 at 4:55PM, Edited June 21, 4:55PM

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Glenn Bossik
Videographer
475

"I'd recommend using the master shot method, which usually involves shooting the entire scene from start to finish in a long shot and then shooting close-ups and cut-aways.

I've found it to be the most efficient way to cover a scene."

Totally agree. Our first two features we followed this religiously and it saved us many times when it came time to edit. Always have something to cut away to (that wide master shot) when you need it. Without it, you may find yourself in a desperate situation that requires costly reshoots. Remember too, that one camera was the default in filmmaking for decades. There are many films shot one camera to learn from.

June 23, 2018 at 2:35PM, Edited June 23, 2:35PM

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Mark Holmes
Guy with camera
117

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