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A Chase Movie That Teaches the Art of Shot Variety

Novice filmmakers typically shoot movies that lack visual interest, with much of the action filmed from a medium distance, repeating the same kind of image throughout an entire film. Such repetition can make even potentially interesting subjects boring. Luckily, the remedy is simple: shot variety. This means altering the camera’s relationship to the subject, for example, by changing distance or angle (looking up or down). For inspiration, consider “Dog Tail,” Swathy Deepak’s 4-minute chase movie that won the “Best Director” and “Best Cinematography Award” at the 2015 SF3 Festival.

In the first 60 seconds, you’ll  see a dozen kinds of shots including low-angle (looking up), extreme close-up, tracking (moving the camera from left to right), slow motion (the birds that the pickpocket rides through), frame within a frame (using part of the location to frame the action), high angle (looking down on the action), ground level (capturing the fallen bike and rider), and silhouette. All were taken using an iPhone 6+

You may wish to replay the video a few times because many of the shots–including the most daring ones–last only a second or two.

Note that every kind of shot used by Deepak in this dramatic thriller can be used with equal artistry in just about any genre. For example, a bird’s-eye view might be memorable in a travelogue, a music video, or a wedding documentary.  Of course, if your project has a less frenetic pace, you may not need so many kinds of shots. But adding even a few can give your movie surprising visual energy.

For more about the filmmaker visit https://www.facebook.com/DOG-TAIL-short-film-1552501521678189/


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One Comment

  1. fuegopazzo
    fuegopazzo February 28, 2017 at 4:02 pm .

    Wonderfully put together chase sequence. Obviously a lot of work went into it. I imagine that these guys are pros. I especially liked the slomo segment at 2:21 but am not sure how he did it

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