Continuity Tips  

According to, continuity in film means “smooth and matching transitions from one shot or sequence to the next.” Continuity in TV and film is so important so that the audience does not get confused.


Basic Sequence

According to “The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video,” located at, Tom Schroeppel advises in chapter 3 to break scenes into smaller shots rather than one long shot or the audience’s eyes will wander. It also helps emphasize what is important. A wide shot establishes location and everything that’s important in the scene.  The medium shot is generally from the waist up. The close-up is like a headshot. The cutaway shot allows you to change the order and length of your sequence. Many times, camera people forget to shoot cutaway shots, but they are needed by editors to make the final cut more interesting. Anything can be a cutaway, but it has to be related to the main action. A cutaway shot can be a different part of the character’s body, something the character is talking about, an extreme wide shot, or an over the shoulder shot.

When shooting a basic sequence, every new shot should consist of a change in camera angle and image size for interest and ease in cutting. If you only change the image size and not the angle, you may see jump cuts. Cut on the action as the subject is moving to avoid abrupt changes. The movement should begin in one shot and end in the next.  Basically, the final action of the first shot should be at the beginning of the next shot to overlap. Clean entrances and clean exits, when the subject is moving to a different place or moving something, also allows for freedom during editing. This can be shown by showing the scene for a few beats and then having the subject walk into the frame.

Screen Direction

In chapter 4, Schroeppel suggests to not cross the invisible line that determines the direction things face when seen by the camera or things will look reversed. If you must break the rule, put a neutral shot in the middle or cut on action. Sometimes you may have to pivot subjects and the line in order to get a better background.

What continuity tips can you offer for a video project? Let’s talk about it…

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