There are many elements involved in shooting a film or video. One of the most important is film continuity. Without it, the footage you shoot can't be edited into a finished piece that makes sense to the viewer.
Continuity has to do with several factors, including action, dialogue, timing, camera information and more. Put them all together for a successful edit!
Timing your script ahead of time, and making notes on the timing of each scene (and take) as you are shooting, will help you stay within your desired timing throughout filming. For each scene, the action and dialogue should be performed at about the same timing from all camera angles.
2. Matching Action
Did the actor take a step forward before or after he delivered his line of dialogue? If the editor wants to cut between two different camera angles shot separately, the edit will only work if the action matches in both angles. Screen direction and the talent's eye line should also be noted and matched from scene to scene.
Make sure you cover all the dialogue / content for a given scene in the master shot, and again in additional angles from which you shoot the scene. For example, you may have covered all of a scene's dialogue or action in the wide shot, but if you forget to cover it in the close up, you won’t have a close up shot to cut to in the edit.
It’s also important to make sure the actors are following the script and not forgetting or changing anything; otherwise, the writer’s intent may be lost or parts of the story may be missing or altered.
4. Taking Notes
Which take was our favorite in the wide shot? If someone has taken good notes, you can go back and watch that take, or refer to notes on that take, to decide how best to match your action in the close up or additional camera angles. These notes can also save time in editing.
5. Camera Information
Knowing what camera lens was used with a particular shot can help if there is a re-shoot needed later on. You’ll also need to know camera/lens information If you want match frames between two or more shots or scenes. Camera information can also be beneficial if there will be visual effects needed for a scene, in which case additional information like lens height and the distance to the subject may also be needed. Screen shots from the video monitor are also helpful references while shooting and during post production.
There are many more ways continuity can be helpful, including continuity with art/props, wardrobe, makeup and more, but these tips should help you be on your way to a polished finished piece!
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