A sequence is to video storytelling what a sentence is to written storytelling.
I know, that sounds like one of those dopey questions on standardized tests like the ACT, but it’s the best way I can think of to describe what a sequence is in the process of video production.
When you are telling a story with the written word, you use words to form sentences. The sentences are strung together to form paragraphs and the paragraphs build upon each other to tell the story.
With video story telling, you take shots and put them together in sequences.
In this analogy, the shots are like words and the sequences are like sentences.
A video sequence is a series of shots on the same subject that are edited together to tell a story. Rarely in video do you just set up a camera and leave it on one wide shot for the entire video. That would be one boring video! A sequence is the process of putting together wide shots, medium shots and close-ups of an activity to show the viewer what is happening.
Let’s say you are going to do a video about how to make a cake. That’s your story. (OK, our cake saga won’t win any Academy Awards, but it is a practical example!)
To make our video, we might start with a close-up of a box of cake mix. Immediately the viewer knows the story has something to do with food. A hand comes in and rips off the box top. Then we cut to a close-up of a bowl and the cake mix is dumped into the bowl. Then perhaps we cut back to a medium shot that shows Mom is dumping the mix into a bowl.
So the viewer knows this is a story about Mom making a cake. No words were used to tell the viewer this, just a 3-shot sequence.
The sequence might continue with close-ups of eggs cracking, beaters mixing and ovens being turned on. The final shot in the sequence could be a close-up of little Johnny gobbling cake. Or, if our story is more morose, it could be a shot of the cake thrown into the trash can along with a note that says, “Sorry dear, but I am leaving you for another woman.”
Oh gosh, that’s not a very fun story, now is it?
SEQUENCES are how you put together video. ALWAYS.
Next time you are watching TV, notice how the camera shots cut from one shot to another to another. That’s a sequence!
When you are shooting video, you videotape everything in sequences. This means you take wide-shots, medium-shots and close-ups of whatever is happening. Then, in the edit room, you put these shots together in a logical, sequential order to tell a story.
So the next time you are out shooting video, take as many shots as you can, wide, medium and close-up, of the action. Take different shots from different angles. Then when you go into editing, you will have lots of different choices about how to put together your sequence, just like the author has many different choices about how to word her story out of the gagillion and one words available!
And that dear readers, is everything you need to know about video sequences.
Thanks for reading Video Production Tips!
Internet Video Gal