GoPro Movies: Maintain Continuity between Shots

By John Carucci

The camera’s size is the first thing that lets you know that making a movie with a GoPro is very different from using any other camera. This formidable camera holds its own despite its diminutive appearance.

Most films are shot out of sequence and put together in postproduction like a giant puzzle. Sometimes when the movie is being assembled, though, a scene may be compromised because something changed from shot to shot.

Maybe that can of soda that was on the edge of the counter in one shot is on the other side in another shot. Or maybe the actor’s shirt was buttoned differently in a couple of shot. Isolating all the details makes for logistical nightmares. Many mistakes are so minor that audiences wouldn’t even notice them. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be as careful as possible.

These pointers can prevent problems in your movie:

  • Keep a detailed record of each scene. The proof is in the picture. The better your recollection of a scene, the better your chances of ordering other shots properly.

  • Keep the action plausible. Successful editing thrives on the rhythm between shots, so it’s necessary they remain plausible. Don’t show a sequence of someone getting into a car, and then showing it moving in the opposite direction because the light was better.

  • Watch the subject’s primary movements. Sometimes it’s hard with this camera, especially when shooting action. Regardless, be sure the subject’s actions remain consistent. For example, if the subject has his right hand raised slightly in the wide shot, then make sure it’s not lowered in the medium shot. These minor breeches can still break the suspension of disbelief in your movie, so be aware of them.

  • Try not to break the 180-degree rule. This establishes the screen direction of the action. It’s the same premise as a stage production, where everything happens in front of the audience, or within their peripheral view.

    Think of it as an imaginary line that the camera must stay behind in order to maintain continuity. Easier said than done with a GoPro, but many continuity problems occur when the succeeding shot does not maintain the periphery of human vision.