Best movie tips

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Andy Gilbert
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 5:37 pm

Re: Best movie tips

Post by Andy Gilbert »

For a total newbie I think something to bear in mind, and I saw this on some TV show, is that in a film, the average length of shot from any one point of view is only 12 seconds. I think thats quite surprising and until you actually start mentally timing shots while watching tv you dont realise how short some are.
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Dave Watterson
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Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:11 pm
Location: Bath, England

Re: Best movie tips

Post by Dave Watterson »

When Jan and I talk to clubs I often stress that 3 seconds is a long time for a shot. Most of the ten or more hours of "Lord of the Rings" consists of shots around 2 seconds long.

I should explain that if what can be seen in the picture changes I regard that as another shot. e.g. the camera is locked off showing people talking in a room, them someone moves away revealing a previously unseen person or feature of the room ... that seems to me two shots. Or a pan/tracking shot may last longer because the view changes. And, yes, there are cases when a longer-lasting shot works well - e.g. for an emotional climax in a drama.

It will always be a matter for artistic judgement, but the shorter the better so far as most audiences go.

Mike Shaw

Re: Best movie tips

Post by Mike Shaw »

A rough guide (very rough) taught to me as a writer also applies to film making ... to build tension, gradually make the sentences (shots) shorter and shorter. For relaxing, laid back, descriptive situations, they can be longer. Pace governs the length of the shot and can be determined by the mood/situation. I always try to work to a 4-8 second length of shot as an average length. After that, it can get boring unless, as Dave says, something happens within the shot to maintain the audience interest.

Most people have a very short attention span - hence the need shorter shot lengths.

And one film back in the 40-50s, as I recall, was notorious for starting with a single 10 minute take ... with no dialogue. Now what was that called? Whatever, it proved rules are there to be broken, if one is creative enough.
ned c
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Re: Best movie tips

Post by ned c »

Two movies with long opening sequences are "Touch of Evil" (1958) directed by Orson Welles with a 3 minute continuous take and "The Player" directed by Robert Altman (1992) with an 8 minute continuous Stedicam opening. Both movies well worth watching.

ned c
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