Sequence Exercise

Objective: to provide students with experience shooting a sequence, which includes attaining a combination of wide shots and tight shots that convey a single subject; to learn the skills it takes to get proper coverage of a subject, which can be used in newsgathering or documentaries. In addition, students will also include at least one interview shot with proper lead space and headroom (Three-Quarter Profile)

Coverage Defined: the process of collecting enough shots of a given subject so that they can be used in editing a sequence.

Background: The fundamental unit of editing is the Shot. Shots are like words that are given meaning and context when assembled together into sentences. The cinematic equivalent of a sentence is the Sequence. Editing a combination of shots that reveal different angles or provide more detail of a particular subject is essential when revealing more about a subject. Therefore, shooting sequences is a way to advance the information in the story. The more images you get, the more options you will have when editing, and the more opportunities there are to write creatively to the visuals. But the key is not to overshoot. Whilst in the field, the photographer needs to develop a strategy to get the shots they need to edit. In other words, photographers should think like editors.

Photographers in the industry will often follow this mantra when collecting shots from a single location:


That is, when they set up the camera in one location, the photographer can get a wide shot of the subject and then zoom in to get at least three detail, or close-up shots that are within the wide shot. Each shot is properly composed and exposed, and held for at least 10 seconds.

After each set of WIDE - TIGHT, TIGHT, TIGHT, the photographer moves the camera to a new location, which provides other interesting angles, and they repeat the process, getting WIDE - TIGHT, TIGHT, TIGHT. This process may be done a few more times until the photographer is satisfied that they have enough coverage of the subject.

Instructions: There are 2 parts to this assignment

1) The Sequence

2) The Interview Shot

1) The Sequence: On their own, students will choose a subject - one subject for each student. Each individual student will shoot a sequence consisting of at least 25 shots for a single subject. Every new shot should, if possible, include a change in both image size and camera angle. Hold each shot for at least 10 seconds before moving on to the next. Also, don't neglect your NAT (natural) sound. You will need headphones to monitor the audio, making sure that you're recording from the camera's microphone.

  • The Recce: Before you start using the camera, walk around the subject to find the best angles. Then take out the camera and start shooting footage.

There is no need to edit your sequence - just practice on getting a good variety of shots. But make sure that for every camera position you choose that you get a Wide Shot followed by at least 3 tight shots consisting of either medium or close-up shots. Tight shots help you avoid jump cuts when you edit. Make sure that you also adjust the height of the camera and find depth to the shots.

Be imaginative - find your creativity, and use the tripod! NO HANDHELD SHOTS!

2) The Interview Shot: Using a member of your team, compose a Three-Quarter Profile interview shot. Make sure that you also learn how to use the stick microphone in your camera bag. Record the person answering a question about what they hope to learn in TV-1. You will need headphones for this part of the assignment!

The Final Assignment (what to turn in)

In class, students will exchange their footage so that one team will evaluate the footage taken from another team. Evaluating the footage consists of the following criteria:

  •       Shots properly in focus
  •     Shots properly exposed
  •   Compositions balanced (using the Rule of Thirds)
  •   Good audio quality