Understanding Camera Blocking and Breaking The Rules: Semi Pro

INCLUDED IN THIS LESSON:  13 Minutes of Instructional Video lighting, camera schematics and a glossary of terms for better learningSUPPLIED W/ENGLISH SUBTITLES

IN THIS LESSON YOU WILL LEARN:  Understanding the basics of shot-to-shot association will be the “do or die” when crafting narrative sequences. In these moments, everything you’ve learned as a filmmaker/storyteller is put to the test. Tension, suspense, horror, or drama can only go so far without the aid of the composition and how it unravels over the duration of that sequence. It’s also important to know the rules and when to break them.

In Part 2 of this lesson, Shane Hurlbut, ASC takes you deep into what he calls the “record scratching” moment of Semi Pro. He gives you a firsthand look into the thought process of director, Kent Alderman and himself as they boil down the emotion and translate that to key frames. From understanding the importance of a shot list to breaking the rules… you’ll get a deeper understanding of the power of shot-to-shot association.

  • How to break a scene down into coverage.
  • Figuring out the keyframes of the coverage.
  • How to build around your key frames.
  • Understanding the environment you’re shooting in.
  • Picking the best angles to not only express the character but the environment.
  • How composition can change the emotion of a story.
  • How to establish a scene.
  • What coverage will convey the right emotion.
  • Breaking the formula of A/B cinematography.
  • Creating emotion through different methods of coverage.
  • Different types of coverage when shooting a scene.
  • Understanding when and when not to break the “180° Rule.”
  • Figuring out how to break the “180° Rule” in your favor.
We are directing all comments and questions to our New Forum, please find the related course in the forum’s categories to submit.

ahmed.salem555 2 days ago

Hello Shane I want to thank you for this keyframes great lesson, This what we were missing in our film school, keep posting these wonderful lessons

lagospictures 20 days ago

Hello Shane, does the keyframe has to be towards the end? Do you have keyframe limitations? What’s the most you’ve used in blocking a scene?

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    14 days ago

      @lagospictures The Key frame can be anywhere throughout the scene. I have used up to 3 in a scene. But no rules other than not every frame can be a key frame. HAHA

spinzon 27 days ago

I’m grateful for your clear explanation of such rock-solid principles. Figuring out the key frames and explicitly listing the desired emotions with the director; this is great advice for shooting anything.

wolfy 30 days ago

Hi Shane, what software are you using to create these plans and is this something you just use to show us on your website or do you use the software to work out things in pre production and show the director and other crew members? Thank you

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    28 days ago

      @wolfy HI Wolfy, It is called Graphic, it is a mac based program, I love because it is so much simpler than photoshop. Grab it at the APP store:

    • wolfy    5 days ago

      @wolfy Thanks Shane

bjayjones 17 days ago

Love this insight on having a reason behind every shot. I’m blown away at the blocking decisions that were made on the day. Were your two keyframes thought about ahead of time in PrePro based on the emotion of the script? Or did you notice these moments in the

    • bjayjones    16 days ago

      @bjayjones ...rehersals. Also, on set, do you find yourself physically drawing on a top-view map of the set? Or do you describe this in your head to the director?

    • Shane Hurlbut, ASC    16 days ago

      @bjayjones Hi bjayjones, I had the two key frames from the initial read of the script, then once we watched the blocking, it cemented it. Yes much to consider on your way to becoming a master cinematographer.

FlatArt 20 days ago

On breaking the 180 rule : Wouold you say pnenshould always go back to the normal angles after you’ve made you’re point with the “scratch” or do you someimes end the scene with the discomfort to hold the tension to the end?

    • shanehurlbutasc    19 days ago

      @FlatArt Hi Flat Art, You can go either way with it. I love breaking the rules when it fits the story. There is another great course inside the academy if you have not seen it yet that shows how you can break it time and time again to confuse an audience. On purpose to have the audience feel like the character feels. https://www.hurlbutacademy.com/courses/how-to-shoot-an-action-sequence/

    • FlatArt    19 days ago

      @FlatArt Putting that in the queue! Thx!