tying shots together

A lot of techniques discussed so far revolve around a single shot like readability, separation, depth and so on. Tying shots together includes at a minimum 2 consecutive shots in the edit. The shots are connected via lighting so both shot have e.g. a blue light in common like demonstrated in the example below. There a several reason which depend also on the type of shots(fast action shots with different location, dialogue scene,…) why tying shots together is important and how it improves the edit. In case of a dialogue scene it helps emphasis that both actors are at the same location under similar lighting conditions or for action scenes it produces smoother cuts between individual shots.

The blue fill light from the window in both shots ties them nicely together and putting both in the the same (lighting) world.

Bridge of Spies, Cinematographer: Janusz Kamiński

The same shots again without animated gif, for easier comparison.

bridge_blue_on_01 bridge_blue_on_02

Same shots as above, except one change has the blue fill from the window removed.


Same shots again without animated gif, for easier comparison.

bridge_blue_off_02 bridge_blue_off_01

Each shot on its own still works. The absence from the blue color in the fill light doesn’t have an impact on the readability of the shot, the separation between the actor and the background nor the depth of this scene but it does have a big impact in the cut. The shots feel disconnected even though its the same location with the same actor. It feels like been thrown into a different scene of the movie.

The above shots are a prime example how tying shots together works and what impact it has if shots aren’t connect with each other. I admit having such a strong blue fill makes is rather easy to connect two shots together which in a lot of case your shots might not have. If you can’t find a strong color to tie the shots together look for some obvious lighting in your scene for a example lights and shadows cast from sun light coming through a window, practical lights that illuminate parts in both shots.


Couple of more examples on how to tie shots together:
Munich, Cinematogragpher: Janusz Kamiński: cutting from a car on the ground to a balcony high up
greenish color cast on actor Geoffrey Rush sitting in the car, greenish color on Eric Bana and the balcony

tying_shots_01 tying_shots_02

Revolutionary Road, Cinematographer: Roger Deakins: warm candle light visible in both shots(which wasn’t the only light source in this shot, see practical lights post)

revolutionaryroad_001 revolutionaryroad_002

‘Drive, Cinematographer: Newton Thomas Sigel ‘: to support one key moment of the movie that Driver(Ryan Gosling) and Irene (Carey Mulligan) are in two different worlds. A deliberate choice was made not to connect this two shots together by giving Irene no golden cast from the elevator. To separate them even more there are warm colors in the elevator and cool colors in the parking garage.

drive_not_connected_02 drive_not_connected_01

Tying shot together in CG:

While working on a shot in cg its important to view the shot in context with the surrounding shots to get a good understand on how the shots before and after look like as well as the story from the sequence because like in the example above from the movie Drive their might be a crucial story moment in which ‘tying shots together’ isn’t desired.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.