How to Shoot Video Like a Pro – Tip #11 – Shoot to Edit A: Get a Variety Shots

As an editor, I implore everyone who shoots video to “Shoot-to-Edit.” This means you are thinking about what will work in the edit room. These are some shots you want to be sure to get, even if you might choose to leave them out when editing:

  • Establishing Shot (ES) – the exterior of the building or house; the whole room; the intersection; the scene where the action will take place. Viewers want to know where they are. (When editing, this doesn’t have to be your very first shot, but it’s often good near the beginning.)

  • Long or wide shots (WS) – getting the whole person in the frame Medium shots, obviously (MS) – from the waist up

  • Close ups (CU) – I rely on medium shots and close ups to tell the story. CUs bring the viewer inside the scene and are very engaging. Close ups may include: just the face, just the hands doing an activity or at rest, or an object filling the frame. An extreme close up (ECU) is just the eyes, nose, and mouth, and is used rarely.

  • Various angles – move around between shots to get different angles of the subject or action – straight on, profile, 45 degree angle, low, high, etc.

  • Cutaways – we talked about these in Tip #6 about shooting B-Roll. Some examples are: the subject’s hands gesturing or laying steady, relevant things in the room, such as a shelf of books, relevant photos and certificates, and close ups of anything the subject talks about.

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