Ways to flim an action in video making.

Video Making – Filming the Action : Master Scene and Triple-Take Technique

Of course, we can’t wait for the action to begin but filming that action in a way that it appeals the audience is very important. Here we are going to learn about the type of actions and techniques to capture them.


Controlled Action – Any action or event that cameraman can direct or control is known as controlled action. A sequence is a typical example of controlled action as they are planned and then rehearsed for the camera. Here the picture is shot with different angles for getting a perfect shot as everything is under the control of the cameraman.

Uncontrolled Action – The actions and events which cannot be staged or rehearsed come under uncontrolled actions. Some typical examples are disasters, natural or man-made scenes e.g. fire, which is filmed as it burns. The worst thing about uncontrolled action is its one-take nature. The best thing about this can be the pre-announced events such as contests and shows where cameraman has no control over the staging. So the cameraman has to prepare accordingly to get the best shot in the uncontrolled action.


Master Scene Technique

An event when shot continuously from the beginning to the end in a single setting and a continuous take is a master scene.

How to use Master Scene Technique

Theatrical films: As the events are mostly staged hence the shot is taken with a single camera with retakes to get the shot from the best angle. Both action and dialogues are synced in every shot.

Television films: Similar to theatrical films but actors here perform as they are on stage for the audience. It is shot with multiple cameras simultaneously to record from all the angles.

Non-theatrical films: Controlled actions can be shot using a single camera with retakes for closed shots and uncontrollable shots may be shot using multiple cameras to shoot simultaneously from different angles.

Single-Camera Vs Multiple Cameras – A Single-camera can be used where retakes are possible or with professional actors but for amateur actors and while shooting documentaries it is better to employ multiple cameras as the actors might not be able to give a speech same as they did before. Also while shooting one-time events a single camera is enough such e.g missile launching etc..

Advantages of filming Master Scene –

The master scene can be filmed by using a single camera or using multiple cameras. The master scene when filmed with a single camera is usually suitable for long shots and professional actors where actors can give the same performance for the closer and inter-cut shots. It saves the cost of production as an only single camera is used. Whereas, when multiple cameras are used, it is acceptable if our actors are not professionals, the long shots, close shots, and inter-cut shots are filmed continuously.

Disadvantages of filming Master Scenes –

When using a single camera the problem which arises is that the actors have to perform repeatedly with same lines and movements and same tone for the closer and inter-cut shots. And, while using the multiple cameras the costs become high. When filming outdoors uncontrollable action several equipment field tests and demonstration are required. Several retakes are required to get a perfect master scene.

Triple-Take Technique

This is the simplest method to attain shot to shot continuity even when filming without a script. It is done by matching and overlapping the starting with the end of each shot. In this technique, the cameraman takes and thinks about three consecutive shots no matter how many scenes are there.

How to use Triple-Take Technique

Action in the end of the first shot is overlapped with the starting of the second shot and end of the second shot is again repeated in the starting of the third shot. It can only be used in controlled situations where camera person can control the start and stop of the action. Multiple cameras may be used for actions which cannot be repeated. It is better to begin and end with a long shot.

Advantages of Triple-Take Technique

The Triple-Take method gives much flexibility for filming the scene as we break down the action into much smaller parts. Repetition of the whole shot is avoided as only the start and end of the shots are to be overlapped. This becomes easy for the cameraman to move in and around the subject.

Disadvantages of Triple-Take Technique

Triple-Take method might get very cumbersome for complex shots and may result in an uncomfortable film sequence. This method requires proper planning, we cannot just start filming a sequence impulsively. Camera man may focus more on the overlapping which will result in a perfectly matched film but a lifeless scene. Hence a balance is to be maintained.

Here is a video to better understand the Master Scene and Triple-Take Technique.


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