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How to film a scene with one camera

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Cinematography & Filmmaking

Camera, Quick Tips, Scene

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Film scenes are usually shot on one camera, but how do they do it? Learn how to keep your shots in continuity with the triple take or master scene technique.

A fictional filmscene usually consists out of multiple shots. Like a long shot, medium shot, close up,… These different camera angles gives us the impression that the filmmaker used multiple cameras. But in fact, most of the time only one camera was used.

It seems like a lot work to film a whole action with only one camera. But it’s in fact a lat easier, less production work and cost.

There’re two techniques to film an entire scene with one camera. Both techniques have their advantages in flexibility and time consumption.

Triple Take

The first one is called the “triple take“. Here’s where each shot is taken separate. That means the actor has to do one action, then the camera stops recording. A new camera angle is being prepared and then the actor performs its second action. And so on. Important is that the start of each take overlaps a bit of the action from the previous shot. This technique usually takes less time to film, but in the editing, you’re stuck to the shots you took.

Master Scene

But then there’s the master scene technique. Now we let the actor play the entire scene, which is shot from one camera angle. Then we ask the actor to play the entire scene again, but now we film from a new camera angle. Here you’ll have to spend more time as you need to film the whole scene over an over again, but in editing you’ll be blessed on how many choices you can make on where to cut.

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