Jennifer discusses things to watch out for in the Preproduction, Shooting & Post-Production stages to avoid common continuity errors. (Repeat)
Hi, I'm Jennifer O'Rourke for Videomaker Presents. In today's Tips and Tricks, we're gonna show you a couple of tips on continuity, continuous motion and errors to avoid in your video production. When you're working with multiple shots and angles in the same scene it's easy to slip up on some of the small details in your continuity. Now, continuity might not seem like it's such a hard thing to keep track of, but every time you change a camera, change your angle, change your talent or even take a break, there are some things that you have to watch out for and continuity errors do happen.
So we're gonna play a little bit of a game, just like a Where is Waldo game, but we're gonna have you find all the errors we made in that sequence. Let's rewind the tape. In the wide shot, I'm approaching a house, followed by two close-up shots. What color are my shoes? In the wide shot they're pink. If, after shooting the first scene, I might have relaxed in a more comfortable pair of shoes while the crew moved to a different location for close-ups, I may have forgotten to change shoes. Did the continuity director remember? How about my purse? Was it on the left side or right, or was I even carrying a purse? As I opened the door, did I use the right hand or left hand for the approach? And wasn't there a wreath on the door? Of course, some of these examples are exaggerated to make a point but they're good points to pay attention to.
Here, our talent sits at a table writing a letter while eating a snack and sipping a drink. In the first shot, her glass is half empty, while in the next shot, continuity is broken. We thought a shot from the outside looking in might be a nice angle. Earlier, due to the heat from our studio lights, someone opened the window, however, our interior shots earlier showed the window was closed.
Taking a shot of a mom reading to her daughter appears to be a simple scene but trying to maintain continuity with a squirming child is anything but easy. So we take a couple cutaways and breaks and angles, and again, did we break the continuity? Wasn't that coffee cup on a plate or not? Did we have a blanket on the back of that couch or not? The whole reason for maintaining continuity is to deliver a smooth, believable scene that's fluid and continuous between takes and angles so that your audience is immersed into the unfolding drama rather than being jarred back into reality by the slips and errors in the movie's execution.
And don't forget our favorite CYA continuity tip, always shoot a close-up cutaway of at least three items in your scene so when you do have a break in continuity you can insert a cutaway to hide the slip between shots.
You know, even in big Hollywood productions continuity errors do happen, from vapor trails from modern airplanes in an old west scene to props that change throughout a room. One of my favorite movies is You've Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In one scene, there's a beautiful photograph of two swans hanging right over Meg's bed. Cut to a different scene, there is a different photograph hanging over her bed and the swans are now on a completely different wall. So even in Hollywood, errors happen.
We hope you had fun with our little game of Where is Waldo. For Videomaker Presents, and Tips and Tricks, we'll see you next time.
For more information on maintaining continuity and flow, look up the following articles on Videomaker's website, Five Tips of Continuity, article number 7468, Composition 101, article number 12190, Composition 102, article number 12653, Shooting for the Final Edit, article number 9628. Got a Match, article number 7746, and Shoot the Plan, Production Planning Tips, article number 10697.
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