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Visual Storytelling, Pictorial Continuity, or Sequencing :. “ The proper development and connection of motion-picture sequences to create a smoothly joined, coherent motion-picture story ”, where a sequence is a related series of shots.
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“The proper development and connection of motion-picture sequences to create a smoothly joined, coherent motion-picture story”, where a sequence is a related series of shots.
In order for a motion picture to be self-explanatory, it should present images the way the eye/brain sees them.
First, your eye rapidly scans new surroundings, orienting yourself to unfamiliar space. Unfamiliar, moving and brightly lit objects draw the eye.
Then, “clutter” is disregarded as the main object(s) of interest are identified.
Finally, full attention is given to a primary object of interest; details are moved through short-term memory.
Soon, the eyes begin to search surroundings again, then shift to a primary object. Repeat.
These shots are not ideal. They were not taken with this instructional use in mind.
The WS/MS used as a Re-Establishing Shot reminds the viewer of the surroundings – a viewer’s retention is only about one shot back – and allows a “break of eye contact” if the CU is of a person’s face. It can serve as the beginning of a new sequence.
Both the WS and the CU have “EXtreme” versions. The order of shots, from “far” to “near” are:
EWS(XWS)(ELS)(XLS), WS(LS), MS, CU, ECU(XCU)
But, everything is relative between the various shots. A close up of a face is a MS of a nose and a WS of a nose hair.
In some cases, one shot can be skipped in the series of a sequence, but no more. Too drastic a jump – EWS of a city block to an ECU of a door knob – causes confusion or disorientation in the viewer. A better sequence moves from a WS of a single house, through the MS of the front door to an ECU of the door knob.
“When changing a scene, change the size of the image, change the angle, or both.”
During a sequence, moving from WS to MS to CU changes the size of the primary object of focus. Moving the camera for a shot from a different angle reveals new details in the scene. Both of these changes distract the eye, adding visual variety and preventing jump cuts.
Other shots in sequences include CUT-INs and CUT-AWAYs. Generally classed as an Insert, a CUT-IN is a CU or ECU of an alternate object of interest seen in the previous shot. A CUT-AWAY is any shot of an alternate object of interest NOT seen in the previous shot.
Both the Cut-In and Cut-Away are used to add additional information or break-up the previous shot to allow compression or expansion of time. A Reaction Shot is a cut-in or cut-away showing the reaction of another subject reacting to the action of the primary object of interest.
WS MS CU RS CI CU CA CU
When shooting images for a story, it is common to shoot the entire scene in WS, then repeat sections with the camera repositioned for MS and CU of specific objects of interest. Cut-In and Cut-Away images are captured after the primary shots.
These “Pick-Up” shots are are then used to create sequences during the editing process. There is no in-camera editing as the shots are not necessarily acquired in sequence on the tape (or film).