The Dynamic Frame: Camera Movement in Classical Hollywood

Chapter Four: Constructing Scenes with the Camera

For years, Hollywood's predominant method of scene construction relied on master-and-coverage technique. Shooting a great deal of footage allowed producers and editors to reshape scenes in postproduction. When Hitchcock arrived in Hollywood in 1939, he became a vocal advocate for "cutting in the camera"--that is, planning films ahead of time and shooting footage that could be assembled only one way. Several directors exiled from the German film industry also preferred this approach. Meanwhile, Orson Welles and other filmmakers explored an alternative that placed even more emphasis on a director's on-set decisions: the long take. The resulting experiments with scene construction did not represent a sudden break--all three methods had been available for years--but rather a gradual shift in the day-to-day balance of power within studio walls. This page includes links for all of the chapter's illustrated clips. For clips that are mentioned in the chapter, but not illustrated, see the "Additional Clips" page. 

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