The First Shot

Lesson Details

Subject: Shooting

Title: The First Shot


Every shot counts, but the first one, where you start, is the most important. How do you know where to start? Follow your instincts – and follow my rules.


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OK, so now we know the seven events that we want to shoot and this seven thing, it’s an abstraction. Maybe there’s twelve but what we don’t want to do it we don’t want to fall in love with one thing and spend the entire day shooting the chef doing one thing. So this notion of seven is going to drive you to find other things that are interesting on location so you don’t get sucked into the thing. So now that we know the seven events we want to shoot, how do we shoot them? How do we proceed with the camera to record prefect shots.

Now, the funny thing here is, like with everything else you already know how to do this. You just don’t know that you know. And it’ what I’m going to show you how to do. How to take perfect shots every single time. And it’s just about like finding the seven events. It’s about following your instincts. The camera is a substitute not just for your eye, but for the eye of every one of your viewers at home. It’s the only way they get to see stuff.

And what you have to do is you have to get in touch with your own instincts and say to yourself, “Where does my eye want to go?” Now, let’s walk back into our figurative restaurant and if we walk in the restaurant and we have complete access to everything, where do we want to go to get the most interesting, the most dynamic, the most compelling, that filet mignon of shots? We’re probably going to go to the kitchen.

If you look at most food shows, cooking shows or even travel shows. You see they’re in kitchens all the time. And the reason they’re in the kitchens is that stuff is happening there all the time and all you have to do is show up to capture it. So if we go into the kitchen, and we walk in the kitchen and we look around we’re going to look at one of the chefs doing something and there we find a chef chopping carrots, you see that?

And that’s where your eye naturally goes, right to that action. Now, if you’re looking at chopping the carrots, where does your eye go while the chef is chopping the carrots? Your eye goes not to their face but to their hands. It goes to their hands. So that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to take the camera and we’re going to put it down there right in a really close shot of chopping those carrots. When I say close, I mean close, what I don’t want you to do is stand across the room and zoom in and pretend that you’re not there. You have to be integrated into the action. So shove yourself into it. Jam yourself into it. Walk up and shove that camera right up next to those hands.

This is not a secret that we’re making video. So don’t be shy, this is not a business for shy people. You have to be really aggressive here. Walk in, jam that camera up and put that lens right there up on those carrots being cut. And what I want to see is that beautiful silver blade chopping through those orange carrots. I want to see the spatter of the carrot juice. I want to hear the crack of the blade going through.

Now, you know what I’m talking about because you’ve seen this on TV and in movies a dozen times anyway. That beautiful extreme close-up shot like from a Dole carrot commercial. A beautiful shot of that silver blade going through those orange carrots like that. Cut, cut, cut and you’re going to find that shot, what you see in the monitor, in the viewfinder is what the viewer is going to see at home.

You see how easy this is. So don’t record anything until you see that perfect shot. And when you’ve got that perfect shot in the viewfinder, then I want you to hit the record button and I want you to count to ten, to yourself. We’re recording audio also. Hold the shot for a count of ten. And then we’re going to have the very perfect first shot.

© Michael Rosenblum & Lisa Lambden 2015