Shooting With The Triple Take Method

A few articles backward, we talked about the Master scene method. Now I want to teach you another film directing technique called “The Triple Take method” and sometimes called “The Overlapping Method.” It’s a straightforward method, and the purpose of this directing technique is to cut in action while maintaining continuity. 

In this film direction course online I try to bring you the most practical method for directing. The triple take method is a basic one, and it is an excellent practice, especially when working without a script and for documentaries, but also great for scripted scenes.

How does the film directing technique works?

The main idea here is to start each shot with the last action of the shot before it, so those two actions are now overlapping. Let’s say you have a scene where the actor is opening his house door, entering his home, walking to the TV, opening it, and sits on his couch. You will first shoot him, opening the door and getting inside the house in one angle. Now you want to shoot him walking to the TV from a different angle, so you tell the actor to stop, you change the angle of the camera, and you shoot him walking towards the TV. But to make sure the cut will be smooth, you need to tell the actor to take a few steps backward and start the shot from the part of stepping inside the house. Now you have that action in both angles. So you want to shoot the segment where he turns the TV on from a different angle, so again, he will take a few steps back and play the action, including turning the TV on. Now we want the part of him sitting on the couch in a different angle, so we’ll tell the actor to stop, we’ll change the angle of the camera and we’ll ask him to start from the part of turning the TV on (which we already filmed in the angle before).

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As I said, it’s a straightforward method, but I would also shoot a master scene to make sure the editor will have somewhere to turn to if something went wrong, and we didn’t notice. Also, remember it’s a very technically scene that might be hard for the actor to work with, so don’t use it on emotional scenes.