… for Random Weirdness

Tip #1230: How to Use Insert Shots Effectively

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

An insert shot provides detail or information to move a story forward.

(Image courtesy of “The Imitation Game.”)

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This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

An insert shot is not, necessarily, a close-up. Screenwriting.io defines the insert shot as “…a shot — often a close-up — that focuses on a specific detail.” It’s the “detail” focus that makes inserts so powerful. While inserts might seem simple and self-explanatory, they are actually one of the oldest tricks in the book to help you tell a story in your films or videos.

In more practical filmmaking terms, insert shots—sometimes also called cutaway shots—are all the shots you include to add additional visual information that helps with your cinematic storytelling needs. These are often closeups displaying specific information such as headlines of newspapers, items, weapons, or other small articles like door handles.

However, technically speaking, insert shots aren’t all close-ups. They can include any number of shot styles or techniques across all of the standard shot types. The key element is that they’re edited, or “inserted,” into a scene to help provide further thematic clarity.

The article includes four videos that illustrate different ways to shoot and use insert shots, along with links for more information.


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