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Master Shot Usage during a scene

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Lewis Long
Master Shot Usage during a scene
on May 23, 2008 at 6:14:10 pm

I'm using Final Cut Pro HD and I have an editing question for anyone out there. I'm currently working on a movie and I set up a scene (three actors) with a master shot and then I moved in for some coverage on the scene. During the conversation I mixed in one or two master shots so the scene would not drag on. Another editor told me that once you move into a scene you can't go to the master again, unless you are leaving that scene. I was under the impression that as long as the scene works, doesn't appear to be jumpy and doesn't take the audience out of the scene, then you should be able to use master shots within a scene. Am I wrong?


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Master Shot Usage during a scene
on May 23, 2008 at 6:25:35 pm

[Lewis Long] "Another editor told me that once you move into a scene you can't go to the master again, unless you are leaving that scene."

Why? Because someone else told him that? That is an established convention, but who says that you need to stick with the established convention?

[Lewis Long] " I was under the impression that as long as the scene works, doesn't appear to be jumpy and doesn't take the audience out of the scene, then you should be able to use master shots within a scene."

IMO, the single most important thing is to keep the audience involved. If you've established a rhythm that works, and doesn't distract the audience from the action & dialog within the scene, then go with it.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Mike Cohen
Re: Master Shot Usage during a scene
on May 23, 2008 at 6:44:10 pm

crazy example - let's say you start with your master shot, the actors enter the frame, then you cut the scene with coverage. But at one point a dog runs by in the background - the dog that the characters are looking for - if you were on a closeup, you would not see the dog, and it would seem odd that the actors suddenly start talking about finding their lost dog, without letting the audience see what they are seeing.

Makes sense to me anyway.


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Shane Ross
Re: Master Shot Usage during a scene
on May 26, 2008 at 9:22:34 am

Or, another example...the characters have a heated argument then suddenly stop...catching their breath...or reaching an impasse. The cut to the master shot is a breath.

But really, watch a lot of movies. I see master to CUs then back to master all the time. Every cut is motivated...the cut back to the wide has to have motivation...and it can.


Shane



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http://www.LFHD.net
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Mark Suszko
Re: Master Shot Usage during a scene
on May 26, 2008 at 8:14:40 pm

Quick, somebody tell Hitchock and Welles they're doing it all wrong!

:-)

Your "friend" seems more into staying within the rules of what is usually done than in understanding how and why the rule evolved and when it is okay to break it. If the sequencing of shots tell the story most effectively, you have satisfied Rule number One, in my book. Formalism has it's place to be sure, and beginners should try to stick to these rules of thumb until they develop their own eye, but don't let it paint you into a corner.

If the master shot has the reactions and body language you need to see in the reacting character, use it. If the recipient of the monologue and their reaction to it is more important than seeing the speaking actor deliver facing the camera, so be it. You could even cross the (gasp!) line of action, briefly, if the situation demanded it.

Rules are important guides, evolved from lots of experience, and to be deeply considered before you take the step of deliberately breaking them and making a NEW rule.

But you can do it, *if it works*.




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