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Enough Coverage?


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#1 Jamie Lewis

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 11:27 AM

What are some tips on getting enough coverage. I shot a short film this past weekend and this morning I have thought of some areas where I feel I missed some coverage shots.

Any tips on how to minimize this? Is it just about gaining experience, heavily storyboarding it or something else?

:unsure:
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#2 rik carter

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 11:36 AM

Experience doesn't hurt..... A good script supervisor can be a great help, too - even on a small set. But if you can't afford one (or can't find one) you should learn what a marked script looks like and do it your self. Keep the marked script handy and double/triple check your coverage before you move on.
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#3 Jason Love

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 04:00 PM

I would say when starting out filmmaking to storyboard as much as possible if you are the director, to get an idea of the shots you want, and this gives the DOP the idea too. Then make a shot list slightly more detailed than the storyboard. Obviously this is only a guideline, but planning helps.

When it comes to the shoot, the location may inspire you completely differently or just add to the shots you had in mind. Be methodical about following the shot list or the master-scene method if you think you might miss something out. Do wide shot, then MCU, then CU, then cutaways if you listed them. Then if you see anything interesting on location, take a shot of it, maybe it can be used as a cutaway if you run out of coverage to edit.

This is my two pennies worth, but maybe somebody more experienced could help you.
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#4 Jason Love

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 04:01 PM

i posted twice by accident...

the postman always rings twice

Edited by Jason Love, 13 August 2007 - 04:03 PM.

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#5 Michael Nash

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 08:57 PM

There are lots of good books about visual storytelling and coverage. But a couple tips:

1) Use shots to tell the story. If the audience needs to see a closeup (or insert) of a subject to better understand its relevance to the story, then make sure you get closer coverage of the subject. This could be a person or an inanimate object. Wide shots, medium shots, and closeups are there to give the viewer information, not just because they look good.

2) Keep the scene visually interesting, not boring to watch by staying on any one shot for too long. If a shot feels like it's getting a bit long but the action or dialogue isn't done yet, then you'll probably want to get a cutaway just to relieve the visual monotony. But in this case refer to tip #1 -- make sure the cutaway helps tell the story (like a reaction shot of one of the characters), and doesn't take away from the story. Very long scenes benefit from additional blocking; having the characters move around to different positions so that the camera angles can change.

If you've got the shots you need to tell the story, and those shots aren't so long as to become boring, then you've pretty much "covered" the basics.
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#6 Rob White

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 01:18 PM

There are lots of good books about visual storytelling and coverage. But a couple tips:

1) Use shots to tell the story. If the audience needs to see a closeup (or insert) of a subject to better understand its relevance to the story, then make sure you get closer coverage of the subject. This could be a person or an inanimate object. Wide shots, medium shots, and closeups are there to give the viewer information, not just because they look good.

2) Keep the scene visually interesting, not boring to watch by staying on any one shot for too long. If a shot feels like it's getting a bit long but the action or dialogue isn't done yet, then you'll probably want to get a cutaway just to relieve the visual monotony. But in this case refer to tip #1 -- make sure the cutaway helps tell the story (like a reaction shot of one of the characters), and doesn't take away from the story. Very long scenes benefit from additional blocking; having the characters move around to different positions so that the camera angles can change.

If you've got the shots you need to tell the story, and those shots aren't so long as to become boring, then you've pretty much "covered" the basics.


I agree with Michael, but don't cut for the sake of it. (not that Michael's saying that) shoot extra angles and cutaways, but when it come to editing, only use them if the scene 'needs' it. something i've seen (and done myself) is cutting to a shot just because it looks nice or something - if it disrupts the flow, leave it out.
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#7 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 02:01 AM

What's your shooting ratio? That's gonna be a big factor in how much coverage you can afford to get, PLUS excessive coverage generally shows a lack of confidence in the director. Get what you need and move on, always thinking about editing as you go along, Make sure you get some cut-aways and 'cat in the window" shots to cover your screw ups. Master, over the shoulder right, over the shoulder left, cut aways, next setup. This is low budget film making you can't afford a 15 to 1 shooting ratio and even if you grandfather owns Kodak, you can't afford to have a cast and crew wait around while you cover every single angle "just in case" . Don't worry about what you "don't have" just make sure you have what you need to put the film together. Even if you're shooting video, it's a good habit to get into because when you transition to film, and you will, it'll already be instilled in you not to waste time or money. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 24 August 2007 - 02:03 AM.

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