Adding Variety to Your Videos – shot sequence

December 10, 2014 12:14 pm Tags: , , , No Comments 0

If you don’t know,  a shot sequence is a group of multiple shots that work together to achieve a desired effect in a video. They are useful jumping-off points for beginner (and experienced) videographers, in that they can inspire new ideas and provide blueprints from which to build. They are also useful structures to keep in mind when you’re shooting for the edit.

From the Same Frame Game to the Weave, we hope you can use some of these sequences to showcase various elements of your business in fun and interesting ways.

### Same Frame Game

This is a relatively simple sequence to create, and it’s often super satisfying to watch. Once you come up with a solid framework (see what I did there?), you just have to think of ways to riff on the theme.

This sequence is all about keeping your framing consistent from shot to shot. You’ll notice that the keyboard’s positioning is nearly identical for each shot in the example above. As the objects surrounding the laptop continue to change, the keyboard serves as an anchor for the sequence.

When you set out to play the Same Frame Game, consider what your anchor might be, and then experiment with the surrounding elements. This sequence could work well for a subtle background video on a homepage or a video showcasing a physical product in varying environments. In this gorgeous Squarespace video, the technological devices serve as anchors, while each new shot presents an entirely different workspace.

Fun Fact: We used a tape measure to ensure that the distance between the bottom of the keyboard and the edge of the desk as well as the distance between the camera and the keyboard remained consistent from shot to shot.

### Repeating Motion
Looking for a way to include people who are not as comfortable on camera in a video? This sequence requires a relatively low-pressure performance from any subject involved. It’s akin to the Same Frame Game, in that you are playing with repetition. Except this time, the subject’s action serves as the repeated element.

In this example, we chose recognizing the presence of the camera as our “action”. We asked our subjects to work away, and then suddenly notice the camera and acknowledge it with a smile, a nod, or anything else that felt natural.

This sequence could work with all sorts of different actions. If you have a tangible product, you could shoot subjects interacting with it to give potential customers a taste of the experience. I can imagine all sorts of shots featuring product-centered actions—lacing up moonboots, biting into whoopie pies, turning on lava lamps. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

### Perspective Shift

Playing with perspective can be a great way to compose a compelling scene. Whether you’re shooting from an unusual angle, or treating the camera as a set of eyes, there are countless possibilities for capturing interesting points of view.

By including a shot of your subject, then subsequent shots from your subject’s perspective, you can show a potential customer what it would be like to interact with your product. Or in the case of this Warby Parker video, what it would be like to interact without your product.

When cutting between a shot of your subject and shots from their perspective, it’s important to consider eye-line matching. In the sequence above, you’ll notice that the shot from Trevor’s perspective is angled downward toward the laptop screen—it follows his natural eye-line, and therefore makes the whole sequence more natural and streamlined.

If you need a screen to show your product in action, the Perspective Shift could be your new best friend. If nothing else, this sequence allows your audience to see things from an interesting vantage point!

### Primelapse

Timelapse shots are really fun because they enable you to condense a longer story into a short amount of time. Now here’s the kicker: You can create an even richer tale by shooting a timelapse from a few different perspectives and editing them together! A timelapse patchwork quilt, if you will.

The example above is from our “office switch” last week. By placing the camera in some different locations, we were able to create a more comprehensive and dynamic sequence.

It helps to consider where the action is going to occur when you’re finding new perspectives for the Primelapse. In our case, we knew there’d be a lot of action involved with packing up a table, so we chose to put a camera there. It’s also key to remember that consecutive shots should be drastically different (to avoid those dreaded jump cuts). Try your best to offer unique angles of events worth capturing on video.

The Primelapse could work well for an office redesign or renovation, a fun work event, a stormy day outside the office windows, a squirrel family gathering nuts… just spitballing here. A few weeks ago, we used the Primelapse during our GoPro Week to document the construction of our office bleachers.

### The Weave

Known by the film crowd as “parallel editing,” the Weave is used in a lot of movies to build suspense or momentum in a scene. Now, maybe your business videos could benefit from a suspenseful video, but if not, you can view this technique as a way to compare two processes or convey time in an interesting fashion. This sequence might seem more complicated than the others in this post, but after some creative thinking and strategic planning, you’ll be well on your way!

Recently, we used this sequence in a video about our processing speeds. In order to creatively portray the amount of time it takes to process a video, we decided to cut back and forth between a progress bar processing a video on Wistia and our very own Mary running across the length of the office. We could have explained this improvement with a paragraph, but we thought this approach would be more fun.

Pro tip: Storyboarding this sequence helps a lot!

### All Systems Go!

As with the shot sequences in the last post, it’s important to remember that staying true to your company’s brand is paramount. You can view these sequences as frameworks, starting places, or simply inspiration to spice up your videos.