In this scene, a character is walking along when they notice that their shoe lace is untied. They give a sign of frustration, kneel down, tie their shoe and then continue walking.
Pretty simple, right?
This exercise demonstrates important filmmaking concepts, including:
- Establishing shots. Establishing shots are used at the beginning of a scene to let the audience know where the action is about to occur. They are an important way of letting the audience know that you’ve moved to a different time or place.
- Shot size. Even a simple story like this requires the use of different shot sizes to clearly convey the story. First time filmmakers are often reluctant to get the camera close enough to the action.
- Action calls. It’s a good idea to call action when you start to shoot a scene. On a professional film, this process involves a number of people ensuring that the cast and crew are ready to shoot. On a low budget film, it might sound a little like this:
Director: Quiet on the set!
Sound operator: Sound rolling…
Camera operator: Camera rolling…
- Marks. On a film shoot, it is usually the responsibility of the camera assistant to put down marks for the actors. This indicates where actors need to stand for particular shots. These marks are usually numbered, so if a director wants to reshoot part of a scene, they might choose to go from the third mark. When you’re making a low budget film, it’s very useful to mark out scenes, so actors know where to stand in various parts of scene.
- Continuity editing. Continuity editing, or matching on action, is one of the most important lessons you can learn as a filmmaker. When you film something from two shot sizes or angles, recreating the performance of the actor both times, you will be able to cut seamlessly from one shot to the other as the actor performs a particular action.
THE SHOE: STORYBOARDS
SHOT 1 | ELS
Notes: Capturing establishing shots is an important part of shooting a scene. Establishing shots are used at the beginning of a scene to let the audience know where the action is about to occur. They are an important way of letting the audience know that you’ve moved to a different time or place. They are the glue that holds a narrative together, so get into the habit of using them!
SHOT 2 | FS
Notes: This is your master shot which features all of the action that occurs in the scene. In this shot, the character walks into frame, notices that their shoelace is untied, gives a sigh of frustration as they look at it, kneel down and tie up their shoe, stand and walk out of frame.
SHOT 3 | CU
Notes: Here we’re going in for a close up to show the frustration on our character’s face. In this shot, your character walks towards the camera, stops in a close up, looks down at their shoe for a second or two, gives a sigh of frustration, then kneels out of shot.
SHOT 4 | FS
Notes: In this shot, we’re going to film a POV shot showing the untied shoes. Rather than using the tripod for this shot, it’s probably best to get your actor to simply hold the camera, pointing down at their untied shoes.
SHOT 5 | FS
Notes: In this shot, the actor will start standing up and when you call action, they will kneel down and tie their untied shoe lace. When they’re done, they will stand up again. To get this shot, you will need to get the camera low to the ground.
SHOT 6 | FS
Notes: In this shot, we’re going to film another take of the shoe being tied from a different angle. The actor should start standing up and, after you call action, they kneel, tie up their untied shoe lace and stand again.
SHOT 7 | FS
Notes: In this final pick up, we’re going to get some coverage of the actor concentrating while they tie their shoe. This can be achieved using close ups of the actor’s expression. . Your actor should start standing up, kneel to tie their shoe and stand up again.
SHOT 2.1 | FS
Notes: The final shot in your sequence is the final part of your master shot. It begins as your character starts to stand, matching the action with the previous shot. The character walks out of frame. Hopefully you filmed for a few more seconds so we can fade to black!