Ensemble Staging Vs Dull Coverage

Ensemble Staging - Memories of Murder

Scene coverage is essential. As a film lecturer I see that, the most common mistake students make is to not overlap shots, not to cover the scene in a way that gives them a range of possibilities in the editing process. It’s wise to do coverage, but not to do it just for coverage’s sake. Your mise-en-scene has to serve one idea, not all possible ideas. It has to be meaningful.

On the other hand, choreographing a scene with detail, deciding how actors will move exactly within your shot is a very difficult thing to do and master. So many directors take the easy route: lots of shots, lots of angles and then they decide. But actors can resent an excess of this, crews too.

What follows is what Tony Zhou has to say about dull coverage confronted with well-thought out meaningful ensemble staging:

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