Composing Your Video

ARTV 1351-Digital Video
Robert Flowers, Instructor

Idea = Notes = Storyboard = Scenes = Shots

Project Breakdown

Story Boarding

  • Use storyboard sheets
  • Use notebook, draw boxes and sketch shot
  • Index cards
  • Storyboard in Premiere Pro


  • Extreme Long Shot (ELS) – shows a very large field of view
  • Long Shot (LS) – see entire participant
  • Medium Shot (MS) – see from knees up
  • Close-up (CU) – shoulders up
  • Extreme Close-up (ECU) – e.g. shot of just eye

Camera Movement

  • Pan
  • Tilt
  • Dolly
  • Crane or Jib
  • Hand-Held

Lens Moves

  • Zoom
  • Pull Focus


  • Fade
  • Dissolve
  • Wipe
  • Swish/whip pan
  • In/Out of focus

Camera Angles/Composition/Techniques

  • Camera height – usually eye level also called level angle
  • Low Angle – looks up at character, gives him/her dominant
  • High Angle – shot from above, makes character weak
  • Tilted horizon – Batman TV series
  • Objective Camera Angle – camera is the unseen observer; characters are oblivious to camera, no looking directly into it. Most common type of angle.
  • Subjective Camera Angle – places audience in scene, camera can be eyes of spectator in scene e.g. watching horse race from bleachers
  • POV or Point Of View – it has multiple meanings, e.g. audience sees directly through on screen participants eyes (camera) (can be very annoying) or it is objective and sees what the participant sees but as if standing next to him/her.
  • Two-Shot – 2 subjects are in the shot, usually shot from side or behind
  • Actor angle – best shot at ¾ angle.

Edit types

  • Jump Cut – usually a mistake- action jumps or skips, part of action is missing
  • Match Cut – action from shot to shot is smooth e.g. taking off glasses in one shot continues smoothly in the next.
  • Cross-Cutting – editing back and forth between different scenes, builds tension and creates a stylized effect
  • Cutaway – cut away from main focus of scene to an object usually within the scene e.g. clock ticking, light bulb, TV, close up of hand etc.
  • Freeze Frame – generally always cheesy
  • Hollywood Montage – scenes, shots cut together to express the passage of time or a sequence of time. Usually consists of dissolving images with music on top.
  • Split Screen – two or more separate sequences on screen at the same time
  • Superimposition – one or more images viewable over each other

Montage Editing is:

A sequence of shots a collection of various elements, sequenced together to create tension, energy, and/or rhythm. Often involves vary rapid cutting. A collision of subject matter, cutting on action, similarities, shot + shot = a new meaning. Montage uses juxtapositions, for example:

  • Shot A: close-up of a lamp with a red light.
  • Shot B: medium shot of man waiting for elevator door to open.
  • Shot C: long shot of doors opening on the back of a trailer, and cows walk out.
  • Shot D: man walks into grocery store
  • Shot E: burger tossed off spatula
  • Shot F: boy catching Frisbee
  • Shot A: Close up of ear.
  • Shot B: Audio Speaker
  • Shot C: Couple on dance floor
  • Shot A: woman running
  • Shot B: dog swimming
  • Shot C: A city park

Montage formula: A+B=C or A+B+C+D+E=F etc repeat, repeat…….

Montage can be considered a “melody of pictures” using juxtapositions can create a video without “actors” that tells a story.

Sergei Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin – 1925), Dziga Vertov (Man with a Movie Camera – 1929), Walther Ruttman ( Berlin: Symphony of a Great City – 1928) can be considered the Fathers of Film editing, they are listed here with their most famous films, which are prime examples of Montage Editing.