Let’s explore the all-important “master shot” and how you can use it to tie the rest of your cinematic tapestry together.

When you’re first starting out in film and video, every shot is your master shot. It makes sense if you think about it. You have your set, your actors or subjects, and you have your action. Don’t you want to capture all of it at once? However, as you’ll quickly find in your projects, you’re going to want a wide variety of other shots like establishing, close-ups, inserts, etc…

The real trick to filmmaking is finding the right balance between these different shot types. When do you want to use the wide shot versus the close-up? When to give your audience a sense of scope and setting versus a look into a character’s emotions and feelings? These are the questions to ask yourself both as a director and as an editor when putting your film together.

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