The Sequence Shot

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In a previous tip we learned that a master shot is a shot that includes all of the actors in the scene and it runs the entire length of the action. There is another shot that is quite similar, although it is a lot more complicated to achieve. This shot is called a sequence shot.

With the master shot, it is custom to keep the camera motionless. A sequence shot moves throughout the entire scene until completion. An inventive way to think about a sequence shot is to imagine several angles from smaller individual shots, and instead of separately setting them up, you set a dolly to capture each framing in one swift movement.  A sequence shot allows for an increase in background and mid-ground activity, and as the camera is always moving the viewer is constantly given a new composition to analyse. Use this to your advantage, and you can emphasise your story by background activity (see Atonement below).

In a sequence shot, the camera will move with the actors, and will typically film the front of the actors. This is because; “editing permits, and routinely links, shots that are opposed by as much as 180 degrees. The equivalent change in a sequence shot is very nearly impossible to do quickly, let alone repeatedly. Therefore, the moving camera in a dialogue sequence shot tends to maintain a general viewing direction.”Steven D. Katz

Here are some fantastic examples of a sequence shot. Do you have any favourite sequence shots? Or have you shot a sequence shot? Let us know in the comments below.


The Passenger:

Old Boy:


True Detective:

About The Author

Lewis McGregor is an aspiring filmmaker, photographer and online content creator from Wales.