Advanced Video Editing

Five-Shot Sequence

The purpose of this exercise is to apply five sequential shots to a simple story. Good storytelling skills require that you shoot sequences, which are simply a series of shots that can be edited together to show an action as it unfolds. 

Working in teams of three or four people, you will each shoot a story that demonstrates the Five-Shot Rule. Each person will shoot their own story using other members of their team as talent. Come up with a simple story where the action can unfold from beginning to end in five shots. For example, you could do a story that shows one person giving a book to another. Or you can show a person adding cream or sugar to their coffee. Each individual will edit their own video to music and then export it with a slate that has their name on it (your instructor will show you how). Your team will then assemble all the individual stories into one video, which you can then export it as a single team project. 

You need to come up with the following shots (please use the tripod for steady shots):
  • One wide shot - this shot shows all the characters in the same shot. It provides context to their location and interaction.
  • At least two close-ups - these shots show details, such as what is in the person's hands, or a cutaway to the person's face for a reaction shot.
  • Over-the-shoulder shot - you might end up using at least one shot to show the proximity of the characters and their interactions.
  • At least one unusual angle that shows viewers something they don't normally see. Put the camera where the eyes don't usually go. Stand on a chair and point the camera down, or get a low-angle shot. 
Please review the video below for inspiration, but please don't duplicate the stories. Come up with your own. The video was uploaded by filmmaker Brian Hershall Merrick who teaches film production in Los Angeles.