Individual shot meaning / action scenes questions

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Avatar of Jonathan Shank
Jonathan Shank on July 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm

A) I often hear about the excruciating amount of work that goes into shots of only 1-5 seconds.

1. Does every individual shot need to have some extensive thought put into it and meaning behind it?

B) When I watch films, say for example in an action scene, the shots cut back and forth from different angles.

1. Is this possible to do well with only one camera?

2. Do they film everything from one angle and then again from a second angle or do they stop in the middle of filming a fight and move the cameras? Like in a Bourne movie the fights appear to happen so fast yet they get some close up shots that I don’t see how they could get without moving the cameras around every few seconds.

3. How often should you cut between angles/shots, even in non-action scenes? (Especially though, in chase scenes, when there seems to be a new shot every 1-2 seconds.)

Avatar of J.J. Petty
J.J. Petty on July 22, 2012 at 11:19 pm

A) can be answered by this recent Filmriot video ( )
It is about camera movement, however, it’s lessons can be applied to the scene in general, Ryan states that not all shots (movements) need to have meaning, but in some cases should…

Avatar of Jonathon Keeler
Jonathon Keeler on July 23, 2012 at 11:51 am

B) 1. Yes
2. They do the full fight multiple times and change the angles when the fight is over and then redo the fight. Then when you edit it, it looks cool.
3. That is totally up to you. It depends on the pace of your film. For example, in the Bourne films they shots are very short and change very often because it is a fast paced movie. On the other hand in Alfred Hitchock’s “Rope” there is a shot that is close to six minutes without cutting to the next one. It all depends on the pace of the project. Since chase scenes are usually fast paced part of a movie since they want to give the audience and sense of running with the characters, the shots will probably change a lot to keep up that fast-pacedness that the chase scene requires without boring your audience.

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