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Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Lesson 9 of 39

Thinking in Sequences

Victor Ha

Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Victor Ha

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Lesson Info

9. Thinking in Sequences

Lesson Info

Thinking in Sequences

We think in sequences, okay. Outside of the 180 degree rule. So establishing shots set up your rule for you, okay. They just set up your rule and you have to live in the confines of that rule. But when you start to live in the confines of that rule, you start to kind of understand a little bit more what your tolerances are for things. Okay, so when you think in sequences, I want you to move the camera and I want you to change your lens and then, I also want you to lead the viewer. Okay, what I mean about that is this. This is what I call a jump cut. Okay, a jump cut isn't good. Because look at where she goes and then, it's gonna play. Come on. Nope, that's not it. Okay, come on, so let's play this jump cut. Okay. So it's gonna jump back and forth. That's a huge indication that you have not moved the camera far enough. Okay, so let's watch it one more time. Okay. Move, move, okay. That's not good. It can take you out of the experience of watching a film and it doesn't look right, does i...

t? Okay, in order to do that, that sort of a cut, you actually need a dissolve and that screams, like, '70s. You don't wanna do that. Okay, we are in the moment of right now, hard, like, like, hard cuts, where it cuts from one thing to another without a dissolve. So for us to be able to put two pieces of footage next to each other without requiring a dissolve, we have to move the camera at least 30 degrees in position or change the angle of view at least 30 degrees. That means moving the camera a lot or changing your lens. Okay, so if my camera's here and I wanna get another shot and I don't wanna move my camera, I gotta change my lens or move my camera. Okay, so here's what we do. Okay, so this is... Now it works. Okay, now it works and it works simply because we have an ability to see a different part of the frame and come back to it. The camera moved enough, lens changed, position changed. It became something that we could digest while we watched. Okay, whereas, like, a jump cut, you don't move the camera enough and it starts to jar back and forth and it's not pleasing, it's not compelling. All right, so the next thing that we're gonna talk about is this idea of an eyeline match. Okay, so this is all based off that establishing shot, right. So your establishing shot sets up your 180-degree rule and from your 180-degree rule, you wanna change your camera position, well, you gotta change it 30 degrees, right. Or well, let's say you wanna cue in something, you wanna cue in that a character is happening or coming offscreen or something's happening offscreen. From your 180-degree rule establishing shot, you can do what's called an eyeline match. Okay and an eyeline match looks like this. So what do we signal there? Girl's reading a book. She looks up and off-screen. She looks up and off-screen. The next piece of footage that's right after it is exactly what she's looking at. It didn't have to be that guy walking in. It could've been a cat. But it would've been what she was looking at, okay. So think about your wedding. Think about your wedding. You got a bride, she's getting ready, she looks up and offscreen. The next piece of footage is crucial in an edit. It could be the groom, it could be the mom, it could be the dad, it could be one or the other. Did it have to happen? No. You could make it happen. So something that I noticed and this is me just trying to learn in this class instead of being a host, so I apologize. But one thing, you had her eyes on the right. She looks up and to the left and then, the action happens on the left. Is that intentional? Is that part of the effect? That's intentional, you want your-- Or is that something that you can break and do differently, whatever you want? That's intentional. If her eyes were looking off to the other side, then I would have him come on the right. So it's just like how we had him come in, she was looking at him that way anyway, so. It was intentional but also kind of a happy accident, okay. So let's look at that one more time, guys. Okay, all right. That's not it, okay, come on, all right. Okay. So she's reading and she's looking up and he's gonna come in. That just is a good cue for you to be able to in your own work, set your framework up for another shot. It helps you immediately start a transition for yourself. Okay, bride looking out the window. Looking out the window, maybe later on in the day, you get some kids playing out, same viewpoint from the vantage point from the window. There's no reason why you couldn't put those two things together in an edit if it helps. Okay, it's not like lying. Reality TV is lying to you. This is just capturing an event. Okay, so kind of moving on. We have something called a cross cut, all right. And a cross cut is a separate set of actions that are indicated they happened at the same time, because the characters come together at some point. Okay, so the very typical cross cut sequence is guy's reading in an office and then, a guy's running. Okay, so it cuts back and forth, right. Guy's reading, guy's running, pushing people out of the way. Guy reading, guy running through a copy machine into the door of the office going, 'We've got a problem.' So it's these two independent actions. Okay, guy's just running, guy's just reading, that are indicated they happened at the same time, because they meet. So you think about movies, right. You got your villain who's across town. You got your hero. And the villain's doing his thing and the hero's doing his thing and they can do the entire movie separately, apart, until they meet in the final end boss fight. That entire movie's just become a cross cut. Because it's insinuating that that entire movie, those actions that happened independently all happened at the same time, okay. There's a lot of chase scenes that are like this and action sequences, where you know, the guy's off at one part of the town, another guy's off at one part of the town and they're going through their own little obstacles and then, they meet on, like, the main thoroughfare of the giant city and that's where they have their battle. Okay, so cross cuts are huge in action movies. And they're actually kind of big too in, like, rom-coms. If you, like, watch a lot of romantic comedies, yeah, so. Not that I watch a lot of romantic comedies, I'm just saying. So in addition to your cross cuts and your eyeline matches and all these other things, right. We have this kind of option now to look at what's called b-roll, okay. And b-roll is this extra footage. And we kind of, like, referenced it earlier today. Like, we referenced it a little bit earlier today and we're like, well, you know, if I'm having footage that doesn't pertain to the primary action, is that okay? Like, can I add that? Absolutely, that's what b-roll is. So b-roll. My definition for it is footage added into a film that does not have direct impact on the overall story. Okay, you can literally take b-roll out and you would still have your narrative. Whereas if you took crucial elements out of your narrative, you'd be missing story, right. So for example, if we take a look at this next video, you can see that b-roll really helps kind of enhance what's happening onscreen, because now, it's not just her. It's his feet and her book and more books. And her looking and he's coming in and it's lot more kind of filled up. All right. Would the feet be considered? Like, I can see that the books are b-roll sort of, because that's really not part of the story per se. But is the feet considered, would that be more b-roll or b-plus-roll? Great question. I'm joking. That's a great question, that's a great question. So b-roll is constituted of two types of footage. Insert and cutaway. Okay, insert and cutaway. Insert footage is footage that enhances the narrative. So if she's reading, a closeup of the book is considered insert. Cutaway footage is footage that is like, palate-cleansing fluff that if you took out, has no bearing at all, has no contextual bearing, has no narrative bearing. If you took it out, you won't even notice it was missing. I watch a lot of CSI, okay. A lot of CSI, way too much. And if you watch CSI and you watch it really closely, and I don't know why I do but I do, in between intense scenes, where you're finding out who the victim is or who the bad guy is, they always flash tons of shots of the city, tons of shots of the city, and make it so that you're cleansing your palate. You're cleansing your palate so you can take the next morsel of content. Do you follow what I'm saying? So a lot of people use cutaway material to transition. And you're gonna see some videos I think later today that will show you and I'll pick it out, some of the transitional stuff. Because you'll see content, content, content, and they'll flash pictures of the city, after another. Like, footage of a city and then, back to the content. Because our brains get tired. And a good editor will always give you a visual break, because if the next thing coming up is important, they're gonna wanna make sure they cleanse that palate. Okay. So how we doing? Awesome. We good? Yeah? Okay, so now we're talking about this stuff anyway. There's one thing I wanna talk to you about. It was taught to me as kind of like an L cut. Some people call it as an insert cut. It's more of an editing technique, but it's something that I wanna bring your attention to because as you start to do multi-camera and as you start to do things like weddings that involve two people talking against each other, you wanna avoid something like, you know, this. Okay, so you see here. Please? No. Just one game. Oops, sorry, here we go. Okay. No. Come on. No. Please. No. Just one game. Fine. Let's watch it again. It should feel kind of weird to you, okay. No. Come on. No. Please. No. Just one game. Fine. Does it feel like a sport? Feel like a tennis match a little bit? It's back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. So that's not good, okay. That's not compelling. Reason being, is it bounces you back and forth and it becomes predictable. She's gonna talk, he's gonna talk, she's gonna talk, he's gonna talk, she's gonna talk, and it becomes really, really bad, you know. And so, if you take a look at the next one. And it should show you this. No. Come on. No. Please. No. Just one game. Fine. Soften those transitions up a little bit. It didn't go from one to another, to the one to the other, the one to the other. It softened it up and allowed you to actually take a second to see what was happening. Okay, do you need to see it again? You wanna see it again? Okay, all right. Okay, here we go. No. Come on. No. Please. No. Just one game. Fine. Okay, so the L cut is really, really neat because it helps us kind of soften your dialog transitions up. So let's say you're doing multiple shoot, multi-camera shoot, and you've got bride and groom and they're doing vows. You now have the option to show one person's voice and another person's face, and flip-flop it at your leisure. And it'll soften the transitions up. It'll make it more cinematic. Make it more cinematic.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

If you own a DSLR camera, you already own a powerful filmmaking tool. Ready to learn how to use it? Join CreativeLive and Victor Ha for a course that will cover the core principles of capturing video with your DSLR.

Through hands-on demos - including how to create compelling video interviews - Victor will guide you through the core techniques of DSLR filmmaking. You’ll learn how to apply the compositional skills of still photography to taking video. You’ll also learn about how to navigate the video-capturing features of your DSLR, choose the right gear for your filmmaking needs, and incorporate audio into your shoots. From framing shots to producing simple projects to spatial relationships, the skills you gain in this course will leave you ready and inspired to create high-quality, engaging film projects.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Victors White Board Notes - High Resolution

Pre-Production Planner


Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Victor van Dijk

This course was quite a treat! I had been learning piecemeal about DSLR Filmmaking but never had the opportunity to follow a course that ties it all together. And my namesake Victor is ex-cel-lent!!! Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is a very very clear (I would almost say, lucid!), carefully, comprehensively tied together course teaching all you need and wanted to know about DSLR Filmmaking. Massive PLUS is that the course is first and before all NOT about the nitty-gritty technical details and numbers, but all about the basics of what filmmaking REALLY is all about. And yes, technique and gear are part of that but not for their own sake. And Victor shares that it's all about fun, and telling your story your way in the way that you like. I truly admire Victor's carefully planned and laid out path, in my opinion he planned the course exactly and meticulously like he would a full-blown movie production. And he is very open and honest and not belittling at all. He is really passionate, compassionate and 'infectious' with his happy happy mood :-)! I HIGHLY recommend this course for anyone wanting to properly and thoroughly learn the ins and outs of filmmaking, with a strong focus on using a DSLR.

Penny Foster

This is a very well constructed course by Victor Ha, who is very easy to watch, and very knowledgeable about using the DSLR for more than just taking pictures. For a Wedding Photographer like me, who wants to add some moving images into a slideshow for my client, this course was perfect. Victor shows us that, with the equipment you already own as a working professional photographer, you can get started into video RIGHT NOW, with baby steps. This is not a course on video editing, so if you need that tuition look elsewhere, BUT, Victor shows us how to set our cameras up for success right from the start, so that when we are at the editing stage, the footage is in the perfect state possible to produce excellently exposed, perfectly colour balanced material. He goes over the use of a light meter for capturing video, and how essential it is to get the exposure right 'in camera', so this is certainly a Fundamental DSLR Filmmaking course, for anyone who is already using their DSLR for stills, but who is interested in adding something else to their skill set. Victor is so enthusiastic in his teaching style, and this is a course I will keep coming back to time after time.

Sara safajar

Excellent overview on how to think as a storyteller with DSLR video. Great breakdown and really accessible examples- fun video on the making of a peanut butter sandwich- which inspire and make it feel like the video beast can be conquered. This course is packed with great ideas on not only figuring out to how to make the switch from still to motion, but also creative inspiration on how to begin thinking cinematically. Well worth the price. Great course!