No matter how much you’ve worked on your shooting script, and how prepared you are for shooting the scene, there is always something that can go wrong and that you can miss.
The master shot technique (also known as the Master Shot) comes to the rescue in such cases.
The master scene method is one of the most fundamentals and common ways of shooting a scene. Basically what it means is that you start the shooting of each scene by shooting the whole scene in one long take in a wide-angle with all its essential elements. Then you can move on to shoot the coverage shots like the over the shoulder, medium shots, close-ups, etc. That way, in the editing room, if you find you missed a shot, you can use this cover shot (the master shot) to the rescue.
For example, in the pencil-eraser scene we see here in the picture, we will shoot the full scene from this wide angle
And only after we will finish shooting all the scene from the wide-angle, we will start breaking it down to different shot such as this Medium shot
Before I’ll tell you how to do this the right way, here are some tips you need to know:
When done correctly, the audience will barely feel that the master scene was made to cover faults.
Don’t waste too much time on it. It’s not a big deal if the actors make mistakes. If an actor gets confused in the middle of the scene, you can take the second take from that point. So the master scene technique is a very basic but useful film technique that is used a lot in Film directing.