Basic Coverage

Learn the basic template for shooting the action in a scene - the master, coverage, inserts and cat-in-the-window shots, learn how to vary shot size to increase coverage, break the standard, plan for the edit, and ensure you get the coverage you need.

Basic Coverage

Developed by Jason Tomaric, FilmSkills
ABOUT THIS LESSON
Directors are responsible for determining the best way to use the camera to cover the action in the scene.  Often, with limitations of time and money, this task can be challenging, especially with complex scenes.

In this module, you will learn the basic template for shooting the action in a scene - the master, coverage, inserts and cat-in-the-window shots, learn how to vary shot size to increase coverage, break the standard, plan for the edit, and ensure you get the coverage you need.
 
Once on set, time and money begin to drain fast, so get the most out of each scene before either one runs out.
 
  • 20:21 video that teaches you the basic coverage template
  • Illustrated companion guide
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
  • How to prepare for the edit when determining coverage
  • How to frame and shoot a master shot
  • How to approach close-ups
  • Working with insert shots
  • Shooting cat-in-the-window shots
ABOUT THE LESSON AUTHOR
Jason Tomaric

Jason Tomaric

Director, Cinematographer Los Angeles, California
Jason J. Tomaric is an Emmy, Telly, and CINE Award-winning director and cinematographer of four internationally-distributed feature films, dozens of national television commercials, music videos, and the largest film training content library in the world, published author of 8 books - used in many top universities, and creator of AccuSkills.com, an industry-changing learning management platform. 
 
Jason has worked in Los Angeles and around the world in over 20 countries. His clients include Disney, NBC/Universal, National Geographic, McDonald’s, Toyota, Scion, Microsoft, and Paul Mitchell, with narrative work screened at Sundance, Slamdance, and South by Southwest film festivals as well as on Netflix and on all broadcast networks.
 
Jason has taught and/or guest lectured at some of the nation's most prestigious film schools including UCLA, Columbia College, John Carroll University, Kent State University, San Francisco State, University of Notre Dame, and numerous film festivals.
 
Jason has written eight industry-defining books, all sold in bookstores, and used in film schools around the world. The American Society of Cinematographers hails Jason's books - "There are no wasted words in Tomaric's tome, which concisely summarizes each facet of the director's craft.  It's difficult to think of a step in the process that Tomaric fails to address." 
 
Jason’s DVD training series on Hollywood film production have trained filmmakers in over 40 countries, with distributors in Europe, Hong Kong, New York and Australia.
 
In 2010, Jason launched FilmSkills, which combines the world’s largest film training video library with his proprietary learning management system.  Adopted by 47 universities within the first year, FilmSkills is now the leading industry-standard training solution for motion picture and television production.
 
In 2015, Jason launched AccuSkills.com, an industry-changing learning management platform that bridges the gap between academia and industry.
THIS LESSON HAS BEEN UPDATED BY
Kingsley Benham

Kingsley Benham

West Hollywood, California FilmSkills
UPDATED ON 1/22/2016
CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS LESSON
Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis

Director: "The Fugitive," "Code of Silence," "Chain Reaction," "Collateral Damage," and "The Guardian"
Born on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, Davis has directed several films using Chicago as a backdrop. He is the son of actor Nathan Davis and Metta Davis and the brother of musician Richard "Richie" Peter Davis co-founder of the cover band Chicago Catz and Jo Ellen Friedman.
 
After attending Harand Camp of the Theater Arts and Bowen High School, Davis went on to study journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was not long before his interest in civil rights and anti-war issues converged with his growing interest in film-making. Davis was mentored by acclaimed cinematographer Haskell Wexler with whom he worked on Medium Cool and began his film career as a cameraman on blaxploitation films like The Hit Man, Cool Breeze and The Slams in the 1970s.
 
His first feature film as a director was the semi-biographical story, Stony Island. Davis has gone on to direct such films as The Fugitive, Under Siege, Above the Law (both starring Steven Segal), Code of Silence, Holes, The Package and The Guardian.
 
Davis also directed the cutscenes for the videogame Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.
Bethany Rooney

Bethany Rooney

Critically acclaimed Director, "Brothers and Sisters", "Grey's Anatomy", "Desperate Housewives", and "Private Practice"
In an environment where less than ten percent of dramas on television are directed by women, Bethany Rooney has enjoyed a long and esteemed career.  She has directed over one hundred and fifty episodes of prime-time network shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, and Private Practice.  For cable television, she has directed In Plain Sight, Weeds, and Drop Dead Diva.  She began her directing career on the 1980’s iconic television show, St. Elsewhere, where she had served as associate producer.
 
She has also directed eight television movies, including three Danielle Steel adaptations for NBC.  Her movies have earned reviews such as the following from Variety:  “Bethany Rooney’s sensitive direction makes for some vivid and understated moments,” and the Hollywood Reporter noted her “carefully paced and involving direction (featuring) magnificent acting.”   She has directed Oscar winners and contenders Denzel Washington, Hilary Swank, Mary Tyler Moore, Angela Bassett, George Clooney, Alfre Woodard, Felicity Huffman, Sally Field, and Robert Downey Jr., among many others. She is also the author of The Director Tells the Story.
Judy Irola, ASC

Judy Irola, ASC

Cinematographer, Chair USC Cinematography Department

Irola was raised in Fresno, CA, the daughter of Basque sheepherders. After serving two years in the Peace Corps (her idea of college) she returned to San Francisco where she went to work for KQED-TV in their documentary film unit. Irola worked as a cinematographer for over 30 years and her films have won numerous awards. Her first feature Northern Lights won the Camera d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1979. In 1993 An Ambush of Ghosts (directed by Everett Lewis) garnered her the Cinematography Award, Dramatic Competition, at the Sundance Film Festival. She has photographed 17 independent features and more than 40 documentaries throughout the world as well as a TV series for NBC, Lifestories, numerous Movies of the Week, After School specials for all three major networks and freelanced for 20/20, NBC’s White Paper, ABC’s Close Up and PBS’ NOVA and Odyssey. Her favorite films for television are the eight short films she shot for Saturday Night Live’s Schiller’s Reel including the classic La Dolce Gilda

In 1995 Irola was the third woman to be invited to become a member of the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). In 1997 she was the recipient of Kodak's Vision Award. In 2009 she was awarded the Women's International Film and Television Foundation's (WIFTS) Visionary Award for her body of work.  She is a Full Professor and holds the Conrad Hall Chair in Cinematography (endowed by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg) at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. She has been Head of Cinematography since 1999 where she designs curriculum and supervises 24 cinematographers on the faculty.

Mary Lou Belli

Mary Lou Belli

Emmy-winning Director, "Monk," "Charles in Charge," "The Hughleys", and "Major Dad"
Mary Lou Belli is an Emmy Award winning producer, writer, and director as well as the author of three books. Most recently she directed Monk starring Emmy award winner Tony Shalhoub and The Wizards of Waverly Place on the Disney Channel. Last season on the CW she directed The Game, the spinoff to Girlfriends, a series Mary Lou directed for 7 consecutive seasons. She directed the pilot of the Web series 3Way, winner of 2 Logo awards and the AfterEllen.com 2008 Visibility Award.  With over 100 episodes to her credit, Mary Lou directed Living with Fran starring Fran Drescher, Misconceptions starring Jane Leeves, and Eve starring hip hop artist Eve, as well as The Hughleys, Charles in Charge, Major Dad, and Sister, Sister. Mary Lou received BET nominations for directing Girlfriends and One on One as well as a Prism Award for Girlfriends.
 
After receiving a BA in theatre from Penn State, Mary Lou acted in musical theatre and soaps in New York, followed by a Los Angeles career producing and directing theatre with over 75 play productions to her credit. She lectures frequently throughout the United States including many universities such as AFI, NYU, Northwestern, and UConn.
 
She is the co-author of three books: The Director Tells the Story, The Sitcom Career Book, Acting for Young Actors.  She has been a judge for the Miss America Outstanding Teen Pageant, a lecturer at the Chautauqua Institute, and a panelist for Women In Film, the DGA, SAG, and AFTRA. She’s judged the California Independent Film Festival, the Sapporo Short Film Festival in Japan, and CSU Media Arts Fest.
 
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two teenage children….all actors!
Randal Kleiser

Randal Kleiser

Director, "Grease," "Blue Lagoon," "Flight of the Navigator," "Getting It Right," "Lovewrecked" and "It's My Party"
Randal Kleiser's first feature Grease is the most successful movie musical ever made.  Other credits include The Blue Lagoon, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, Summer Lovers, Flight of the Navigator, White Fang, North Shore, Getting It Right, Lovewrecked and It's My Party.
 
In 2007, his USC Thesis film Peege was selected by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Registry. Working in 70mm 3-D, he directed Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, which has been running  for over a decade at the Disney Parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, and Paris.
 
This led to the US Government signing him to develop a 360 degree hi-def simulator to train soldiers to deal with Improvised Explosive Devices in the current war in Afghanistan.
 
With George Lucas, he recently released a 2 DVD set, "USC School of Cinematic Arts presents the Nina Foch Course for Filmmakers and Actors".
 
In 2010 he was elected to the Science and Technology Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Rob Bowman

Rob Bowman

Four-time Emmy Nominated Director, "The X-Files," and Executive Producer, "Castle"
Rob Bowman has produced and/or directed episodes of nearly 40 television series and movies and films for the cinema. He earned four consecutive Emmy nominations for The X-Files. A short list of his diverse credits includes the television series StarTrek: The Next Generation, Parker Lewis, The A-Team and Castle.