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Lesson 10. Shooting with Hollywood-Style... > Looking for Story Structure

Looking for Story Structure

The final aspect of coverage is that of story structure—that is, finding shots that in some way represent what might be a “beginning” of your video as well as an “ending.” Your video isn't just a random sequence of shots, but a short story. While you can build a sequence that is visually dynamic using shot/reverse combinations with the occasional cutaway, your videos will be better if they have a natural beginning, some climax or punch line, and then a natural ending. Only the best videos nail these story elements—you can't script them, and they don't always happen when you shoot. At best, you can be looking for them so that you can record them when the moment arrives. Shooting video is a little like trick-or-treating on Halloween: You get what you can, go home, dump the bits on the kitchen table, and see how you did. No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just don't get all the coverage you hoped to get. You can try to edit anyway, but it will be that much harder to make a great video.

A few tricks can facilitate good beginnings and endings. In the first place, since you now know not to move the camera, you can achieve the excellent effect of letting your characters move into and out of the frame. If you know where something is going to happen—say, the girls just arrived at the studio and are about to start looking for ceramics at the shelf of bisque—then you could point your camera there, start shooting, and hold still. In no time, the girls will wander into the frame. Presto: a beginning shot. Similarly, if you know they've found their pieces and are about to go sit down, frame them and hold still. They'll exit the frame, and you'll be left looking at a shelf of ceramics—a nice ending.


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