Good visual storytelling depends on the quality of your shots. For the uninitiated, piecing shots together to create a seamless story flow can be challenging. You have to consider the distance and the subject of interest so you can take better shots. Often, beginners struggle following this standard because they do not know how to put patterns together properly.
Fortunately, there is an easy way called the five-shot method that you can try to improve your shooting skills. Popularized by video journalist Michael Rosenblum, the method prescribes a specific pattern when taking video clips. It aims to include important visual information and create interest all in five shots.
Here is how the five-shot method works:
A close shot of the subject hands at work creates a compelling visual story to your audience. It makes them wonder why the subject is doing the action. It engages the viewer and makes them want to learn more about the subject. Professionals often focus 50% of the frame solely on the hands.
After establishing points for storytelling on the first shot, cut to the face close-up immediately. This informs the viewers who is doing the action in the previous shot. Just make sure to show your subject’s facial features clearly and avoid unstable shots. According to DSLRPros, you can take more stable shots if you use hand-held stabilizers or cameras with optical image stabilizers.
The wide shot provides a clearer picture of the subject doing the action. In this shot, the audience will have a better understanding of the mood, setting, and context of the whole scene. Do not take shots that are too wide, though, as it may just throw the focus of your viewers off the subject.
Over the Shoulder Shot
The penultimate shot of the sequence plays on how the subject does the action. It gives the viewers a glimpse of the subject’s point-of-view. Be extremely careful in this shot, as you do not want the subject’s head or back to dominate the frame.
Lastly, the fifth should offer a twist to a visual story. An alternative angle provides a fresh take on the same subject and creates brand new interest to your audience.
The five-shot method is a good platform for beginners to improve their craft. With practice, you can take your video-taking skills to new heights and explore more advanced methods.