Preliminary task – Take 2

The preliminary task is to plan, film and produce a short film demonstrating a conversation. The preliminary task
should incorporate the 180 degree rule and shot-reverse-shot. This part of the task is take 2, and should demonstrate improvement from take 1. Improvements are given via constructive criticism of take 1.

I joined the AS Media Studies course three weeks late, meaning that I do not have the planning or footage for the original take. For other students, the first take was to help assist them in learning how to operate the different pieces of equipment, along with the different techniques to create a professional scene. Due to my late joining of the course, I will be thrown into the deep end, in order to quickly learn and pickup the skills to use the equipment and software.

For this improvement, we have been mixed into groups (different from the take 1 that other students have completed). My group, of four, is made up of Emilia (Millie) Pearce, Sean Stubbs and Emily Jackson.


Firstly, we had a quick discussion of ideas before we began to produce our storyboard and script. Our ideas included a student being told bad news about a fatal accident with their sibling, a first date and an interview. Our final decision was to mix two of our ideas, a first date with bad news, to produce a mood changing scene which incorporates shot-reverse-shot.

Other than the idea creation, we had two very important tasks that would greatly assist our filming. Firstly, was a storyboard. Emily utilized her drawing skills to draw a basic scene out, whilst Sean and myself set to work on the script. Whilst the storyboard and script were being produced, Millie booked a school classroom, for filming the next day. Sean and myself produced the script, which created the atmosphere of a first date. Half way through this date, a bystander from outside the restaurant runs in, looking scared, asking if anyone can help him, as someone has been run over.

Male:     “Hi, I’m Oliver. Sorry I’m late, my train was delayed.”
Female: “I didn’t think you’d come.”
Male:     “It’s nice meeting you.”
Female: “You too.”
Male:     “Have you been waiting long?”
Female: “No, how was your journey?”


We began filming in our booked room, with a few actors. Millie, asked some of her friends to act for us, which was both a positive and a negative. One of our actors was rowdy and unsupportive when waiting to be filmed. This caused issues with our sound recordings, and caused us to have to re-film scenes multiple times, which in the end wasted a chunk of time. This timing issue also pushed us to film the different shots only once.

The filming, other than this problem, went fairly smooth. We shot multiple times for most of the different shots. This allowed us to have multiple opportunities of footage. We also utilized the boom microphone, which allowed us to capture high quality audio. The tripod we used was an excellent quality, however due to our own insufficient knowledge we failed to use it to it’s full potential.

Filming took little time, and other than the issues I’ve already described, was relatively easy to complete. The audio recording took a little practice to prefect, as we had wires and the actual microphone dropping into the top of the shot.


The editing of the raw footage presented multiple issues, mainly those outlined in the execution section. We realised that multiple sections of the audio and video footage was useless, due to our operation of the equipment and the undisciplined actors.

Due to the unusable footage, I was forced to change a little of the story. Rather than having a bystander run in, alerting the dating couple of the accident outside, I was forced to leave the footage on a cliffhanger, where someone is seen running into the room. This allows for the viewer to interpret the ending how they wish to.


Altogether, the hour of filming was good enough for us to get some decent footage, with more organization, it could have been better. We were forced to use a confined set of footage, due to the issues we were presented with during our filming. We attempted to keep to the techniques we were to be using, the 180 degree rule, shot-reverse-shot and match on action, and with a good outcome. All of our footage followed the 180 degree rule (although we shot from two sides of the imaginary line). We shot shot-reverse-shot and match-on-action throughout multiple ways, however I only incorporated match on action in one way, on the door handle for the male partner.



Match On Action

Match on action is an editing technique used for continuity editing. It would commonly be used in a shot, which cuts to another shot of the original action (from the first shot). This method created the impression of a sense of continuity. The action carries on through a “visual bridge”, which draws away the viewer’s attention from continuity issues which may be present. Match on action allows for filmmakers to shoot different parts of the scene hours apart, without displaying any continuity issues. The scene continues as it was, and gives the impression that few seconds have passed between the cut.

An example of this technique would be a character walking up a set of stairs. The character could be filmed early morning, taking the first few steps, however another shot could be taken hours later, finishing the climbing of the stairs. This would require the character to move a different way (in relation to the camera – for example, away as opposed to towards), but would allow the continuity of the scene to be kept.

This technique would be useful for film crews which require certain circumstances for a shot. For example, if a film crew required light snow for their shot, yet the snow stopped half way through the shot, the crew could continue using this technique at a later date, when circumstances change.

The 180 degree rule

The 180 degree rule, is a guideline for film makers, which assist them in creating a simple, easy to follow film which viewers can understand without trouble. It creates a relationship with the entities in the scene, by placing them in a certain order of positions on the screen.

The guideline utilizes a “axis”, which is a straight line between the two (or more) entities. The idea is that the camera should never move over this line, and should stay in the 180 degree arc for the entire scene. The rule usually comes into practice when shooting a “two-shot” scene, however it can be utilized in other types of shot, or practices, such as “shot-reverse-shot”, during dialog.

Some experienced filmmakers use a technique called “shooting in the round”, which uses all 360 degrees in the scene, however this difficult to perfect, and can easily distract the viewer and cause confusion later in the movie. When filmmakers “jump the line”, entities in the scene swap places. This could cause a character to seem to walk the wrong direction, which could cause confusion. For example, in a scene where a paramedic is scripted to quickly run to an important incident, if the running scene “jumps the line”, it may display the paramedic as running away, which would obviously cause confusion to the viewer.

Scenes which follow the guideline usually flow a lot smoother, and are easier for the viewer to become submerged in. These scenes also are received as more interesting, as they can provide varied shots, without breaking the continuity.


Although the guideline is usually used to orientate viewers, it can also be used against them. This practice is called a “reverse cut”, and although not used to confuse the viewer, it is used to disorientate them. It does this by presenting an opposite viewpoint of the scene’s action. An example of where this may be used, is in a street fight. The fight may be displayed on one side, however a “reverse cut” may be used to show a bystander’s view from the other side of the street.


Shot reverse shot it a technique used mainly in conversations, but can also be used in other functions, such as a character looking at an entity. This technique usually is adopted along with the 180 degree rule, in order to help provide continuity to the scene. Shot reverse shot features two (or sometimes more for a smoother flow) shots, which cut to provide a face-to-face style scene.

An example of shot reverse shot is a character in a job interview. Every time the character being interviewed is talking, the shot is pointed at them, although when the interviewer ready to ask another question, the shot faces the interviewer, for their line of dialog.

Shot reverse shot is named quite literally, for it’s method of use. A shot is shown of the first character, the camera reversed, and another shot given of the second character. This technique makes the viewer feel more in depth and involved. In a real life conversation, a bystander in the conversation will usually look at the speaker, as opposed to constantly looking at one of the speakers. This technique keeps the flow of speech smooth, and allows for continuity, in the event that a character’s line is accidentally read wrong and the shot done again.

Here is an example of shot reverse shot, from TV show Line of Duty. This shot shows the Police Sergeant looking at a distraught mother and baby.