• Shot Composition Basics for Film and Television

    3-Point Lighting
    What is WALLDO?
    WALLDO stands for WIDE/ANGLED/LOW/LINKING/DEPTH/OPPOSITE. It is a mental cheat-sheet for shooting video in the field. The shots are creative but also have very practical purposes behind them. (Examples of each below)
    WIDE: Shooting from a distance provides context, and perspective. It shows the viewer the big picture. It establishes location.
    ANGLED: When you shoot everything from directly in front, it takes away depth and also seems safe, and sometimes pretty bland. Shooting things like buildings, and especially signs from an angle makes for a more interesting visual.
    LOW: Shooting from ground level, or even knee-level, gives viewers a different perspective. Put the camera on the ground to get the feet passing by during the parade. The same approach in your school's hallways can make for an interesting shot as kids walk by on their way to class.
    LINKING: Maybe the most difficult of the WALLDO shots to do well, this requires movement of the camera. It is a shot that links two related objects or subjects by panning from one to the other. This shot is used when it is hard to get the two objects in the frame at the same time. Maybe you follow a jogger running to your left, and as he passes by the "Relay for Life" sign, you stop on the sign. You have now "linked" the participant with the cause he is running for. Rack focuses can also "link" two objects in a creative way.
    DEPTH: One of the easiest, but most important WALLDO techniques. Find foreground objects to put in your frame when you shoot. They allow you to add depth to the visuals. For example, a burning building is easy to shoot. But think of the drama you add when you shoot that building with the owner in the foreground, watching his property burn. On a less dramatic level, shooting the outside of your school with branches in the foreground adds depth and makes the shot more interesting.
    OPPOSITE: This is the reverse angle in video, or the "reaction" shot. The opposite of the running back scoring a touchdown is the shot you get when you turn around and show the cheering crowd. Shooting a guest speaker from in front is the standard shot, but you add a great and unique perspective by shooting from behind her as she speaks, providing her point of view as she looks at her audience.
    TIP: After these shots have been mastered, the next step is to COMBINE them now and then. Think about how you can shoot both angled and depth shots at the same time, or low and opposite.
    WALLDO is something you always have in your tool belt once you learn the techniques, and the best way to learn is by practicing them.
    Public Service Announcement Project
    A Public Service Announcement (PSA) is an excellent way for you to reach large numbers of people and make a personal message public, to stand up for your beliefs or to be heard.
    Click here for more information about how to create a PSA.
    Once you've completed your project, fill out the PSA Critique.
    Professional PSA Galleries 
    News Package Project 
    Click here for complete information on how to complete a news package project. 
    Preproduction Template (Must be filled out and approved before you go on a shoot) 
    Segment Critique (Must be completed once your project has been completed) 
    Below are the steps for creating a news package:
    1. Brainstorm an idea and approach a story.
    2. Complete a pre-production sheet and have it approved before plans are made to shoot.
    3. Schedule and shoot interviews and b-roll as well as gather research for script.
    4. Complete a rough cut of just your interview clips. See what parts of the interviews you plan on using and what you can say yourself in voiceovers.
    5. Write your script including all of your voiceovers, research and transcribed sections of soundbites. (This must be approved before you begin to add b-roll)
    6. Record your voiceovers and import them into FCP.
    7. Add b-roll to the voiceover tracks with nat sound.
    8. Add titles, transitions and effects.
    9. Fix any glitches
    10. Have final project viewed by another student before submitting it to Mr. Wilson for final approval. 

    Short Film - Here's to the Misfits from FilmEd* Academy of the Arts on Vimeo.

    Wide, Medium & Tight Shots ~ Fried Egg Sequence

    The video below was produced and edited by a video journalism student at American University. The producer recorded a variety of wide, medium and tight to demonstrate and everyday process in a compelling way.