Continuity 101 (or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Scripty)
- Q & A on just what it is that Continuity / Script Supervisors actually do...

If you say so. So how about eyelines then?

The astute reader will by this point have realised that screen direction and “the line” are really different aspects of the same thing. And so are eyelines.

Back with our Jethro and Tull conversation: say we start off by seeing the two of them on-screen talking. Then we go in on a single on Jethro. Then another on Tull. The correct looks need to be maintained in these single shots: the two characters must appear to be looking at each other, as they were in that initial two-shot.

Sounds simple eh? Especially if we’re paying attention to our 180° line.[1] Well, the problem is partly that when we film a single on the actor playing Jethro, he’s not actually looking at Tull because there’s a large camera right in front of him. Or Tull’s not even there at all, and the AD is reading his lines in his place. And of course, we cheat the shot – actors and set have all been moved around a little (or a lot) to get a better frame. But we still need to maintain the illusion that Jethro is looking at Tull.

The simple rule is Left-to-Right matches Right-to-Left, and this will keep you out of a lot of trouble. But of course there are angles, and invisible targets, and reactions, and… Again, there’s a fair bit more to it, but you get the general idea.

Actors are generally pretty good at this of course, and camera operators do it by instinct. But the guy who’s actually responsible for it being correct – yup, that’s me.[2]

  1. Which we are. [↩︎]
  2. For each shot, I have a little eye symbol with an arrow indicating direction and angle in my notes. [↩︎]

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Posted By That Continuity Guy On March 2, 2009 @ 9:25 pm In Continuity 101

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