player's body was shown. The studio managers were shocked and believed people would
think the camera work amateurish and that this scene had been included in the film by
mistake. But the audiences, pleased at being able to read the actor's thoughts in their
expressions, unmistakably endorsed the new method. Despite studio opposition, Griffith
moved his camera nearer and nearer to the players.
c. As Griffith began to take closeups not only of his actors' faces but also of
objects and other details of the scene, he demonstrated that it was the "shot" and not
the actor which was the basic unit of expression of the motion picture. When, to the
full shot and the closeup, he added the extreme long shot in 1909, he had completed the
"long shotmedium shotcloseup" combination which remains today the classic approach to
the material in every motion picture scene. After he also added a method of assembly and
composition of these lengths of film taken of action at varying distances, the basis of
modern technique had been established.
Continuity in cinematography.
a. The main goal of a cinematographer is to present the scenes he films in such a
manner that they convey a complete idea to the viewer. To accomplish this requires
considerable thought and planning. Individual scenes, each presenting an idea or part of
an idea, must be arranged in logical sequence. Related scenes should flow one into
another so that there will be no gap in continuity. Unrelated scenes must be joined into
the film with smooth transitions so that they are accepted by the viewer as part of the
story continuity. A wellfilmed sequence, like a good story, starts with an interest
exciting introduction, progresses smoothly through its story, builds up to a climax, and
reaches a reasonable conclusion.
b. As a motion picture or television cameraman, you will contribute the most vital
element to a film production. You will supply the footage of the action and also film
the footage needed for transitions that allow the editor to maintain continuity. You
will usually work from a script when shooting controlled action, and you will furnish the
scenes called for. But, since much of your time is likely to be spent shooting
uncontrolled action, you must be wellfounded in the basic shot techniques so that you
can apply them to your shooting.
c. In this learning event we will discuss the basic shot breakdown and some of the
techniques involved in applying it. We want to emphasize that these techniques are not
absolutely rigid rules. You must know that the difference between a passable production
and an outstanding work is the skill and imagination you use with these various
techniques. Almost any cameraman can perform adequately by paying reasonable attention
to applying the basic techniques. But the outstanding cameraman is the one who uses
these techniques to create an interesting and imaginative production.
a. Every motion picture or television story is made up of one sequence or more. A
sequence is a series of related scenes photographed with the long