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Mastering the master shot

Scene 1
Shot 1

Master Shot of the house ….

Your basic scriptwriting or camera classes might have started like this. So, what is big deal with master shot and why understanding master shot is important?

What is a master shot?

Master shot in filmmaking is also known as establishing shot in which the location (setting) of the scene or film is show. It is often an Extreme Long Shot (ELS) or Long Shot (LS) with help of wide focal length. Master shot helps a scene to establish the tone and tint of the plot. A good master shot helps in providing cues of cut-ins in form of close ups and medium close ups.

The concept of master shot is conveyed from traditional opera house and theatre where the whole scene is set in one go. However, the overuse of master shot in extreme long shot considered as “dramatic” in modern filmmaking.

master shot, extreme long shot
Example of master shot of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi

Things to remember while planning a master shot

  • Make sure your script breakdown in ready so that you can plan your shots.
  • Prepare your camera angle for perfect coverage.
  • Make sure that you are covering all important elements of the scene in the master shot.
  • Select the wider angle lens for master shot.
  • Make use of camera movement (pan and tilt) while planning master shot so that it provides extended view.
  • Make sure the elements of cut-ins are also mentioned in master shot.

If you have any more tips, please mention it in comment box.

Cinema Peedika

Providing quality content for film makers and lovers.

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