Sequences are the foundation of video storytelling, writes Colin Mulvany, a multimedia producer at The Spokesman-Review. “Sequences compress time in a video story. Without this compression, what you’re left with are long video clips that visually bore viewers to death.”
Rather than showing action in real time, show several establishing shots to hint to the viewer of the action taking place. Shoot a variety of wide, tight and medium-range shots and you’ll have something to work with in the editing process and, ultimately, something that will effectively communicate a story.
When shooting a sequence you have to anticipate the action. Still photojournalists are skilled at this. But if you are a word person, it might be a bit foreign to you. When I’m shooting, I’m always running scenarios through my mind. I asking myself: Where’s the action headed? Where do I need to position myself to be in the right spot? What shots do I need to get me from point A to point B?
Mulvany also drills in the concept of not moving the camera and to hold the shots long enough, at least 10 seconds. “Don’t pan or zoom,” he writes. “Just let the action enter or leave the frame.”
The other thing you should remember is to weight your shots to the tight and super tight end of the shooting spectrum. Tight shots make great transitions between two wide shots or two medium shots. They prevent the infamous jump cut (two shots that look the same) that annoy and confuse people viewing your video.
In addition to preventing viewer deaths as a result of boredom, using sequencing techniques has cut down Mulvany’s editing time.