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#1 Vincent T Sharma

Vincent T Sharma
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Posted 11 June 2006 - 01:12 AM

Many a times during shooting a feature film, the first time director faces an important task to accomplish: Covering a scene. All experienced directors have their own methods regarding covering a scene. I thought it would be a good idea to share your experiences regarding this skill. As Cinematographers work closely with directors, they come face to face with decisions on covering a scene. Please post your tips or methods you have learnt from other directors or some of you having shot your own movies, you got your own methods.

I always found this method very help ful.


I make my decisions on covering a scene right in the rehearsals which means I start from actors. [ i have seen directors starting from locations and i donno how that works for them]. In the low budget arena, there is no money for covering from different angles so i depend on OTS shots and cutaways or reactions shots. Of course, i guess i don't have to tell about this. THE MASTER SHOT: THAT'S YOUR SAVIOUR.During rehearsals i also take some snaps from different angles and sometimes go close on the actors so that this would serve them as a memory on the sets. I don't shoot more than 3 takes: if the actor isn't getting it right in the 3rd take, i quickly change his mark and give him a different mark and guess what: it always works for me. Hey, i am talking about low budget shorts here.

I am looking forward to your tips and various methods you know. ;)
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#2 David W Scott

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 11:56 AM

I have two suggestions. One is about long-term professional development, and the other is about prepping for your show.

Firstly, be conversant with editing. Cut as much drama as you can get your hands on. Ask acquaintances for video dubs of their rushes from old projects. Shoot friends doing dialog excerises. Learn the rhythms of editing, what makes a scene work, and how you like to cut. If you know all of this ahead of time, you will be your own best friend on the set. You will have an instinct for the kind of coverage you need for the kind of scene you are trying to capture.

Secondly, know the dramatic rise and fall of every moment in your script. In preproduction, break down every emotional beat. Know what every character wants, what they are doing about it, and how they act out on other characters. When you have thought through your script beat-for-beat, then you have the ability to know what kind of coverage you need. You can adjust your coverage for location, acting styles, deadlines... and still be positive of what is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that you capture in your coverage.

By following these two pieces of advice, I find that I have widely varying amounts of coverage on different scenes. I don't follow the same grocery list of shots for every scene. I capture as many or as few setups as I know the script has dictated, and that I want to have in the cutting room. By being more judicious with some setups, I have more time to spend on scenes that demand more coverage. I also have more time to spend on additional takes, which is a function of how quickly each actor warms up. (Some deliver their best on Take 2, some always need Take 6 or 7.)
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Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

CineTape

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

Metropolis Post

Tai Audio

Ritter Battery

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Abel Cine

Technodolly

Glidecam

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Opal