How To Shoot a Dialogue Scene

How To Shoot a Dialogue Scene

Not sure how to make a movie / short film and talk? In this article, I will cover some basic topics on how your dialogue scenes will work.

Although dialogue scenes are among the most common types of scenes, especially if you are short on equipment and personnel, they may be the most difficult to shoot. This is of course true for all aspects of filmmaking, but chatting with one camera instead of two makes things more complicated. Don't let your courage break - it's not impossible. Here's how to do this:

Shoot the dialogue several times

Since you only have one camera at your service, you need to shoot the same dialog multiple times. Let's say your script has a conversation between two people. At first, you should take a masterful shot of both actors and a general shot that you can pull back to determine the situation they are in. You then switch to shoulder shots or actor portraits. Remember, both actors must perform the lines in each shot, even those who are not in the shot. Your boom operator should point the microphone towards the actor speaking. You can also make the faces of the players up close to emphasize a particular emotion or reaction.

A rule of 180 degrees

Draw an imaginary line from one player to another. This line will be your axis. All your footage should be taken from one side of the mentioned axis, otherwise it may change direction for viewers. Of course, if you are going for non-purpose orientation, the axis can be crossed.

30-degree-rule

When shooting over the shoulder, you need to tilt your camera at least 30 ° because the cuts between the two perspectives will become jump cuts. Jumping cuts can be a very effective stylistic device (Dogma Movies develop in jumping cuts), always remember the rule breaking rule.

Maintain continuity

It is extremely important that your actors stick to their lines, as you will match a sound recording with several different edits. The same goes for the movements of your players. Be sure to block your actors in advance (“blocking” = determining the position of one or more actors) so they know exactly where the dialogue will be moved. Use the same illumination and the same lens throughout the dialogue. You don't want each shot to be completely different, as you'll go back and forth between different mail receiving processes. It can only take a day to make a short speech because you need to be pedantic as a director. No error!

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What do the characters in your dialog actually say? Is a character lying or trying to hide something? You can illuminate only half of the face of this character. Does one character control the situation while the other scares? You can shoot the first one from below to make the viewer look bigger, and the other from above to make it look smaller. What do they have in mind? How do they feel? Endless questions and endless possibilities. Watch and analyze dialogue scenes from your favorite movies and create your own way to tell your audience what's going on as well as verbal lines.

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