Planning a Video Montage


Creating a video montage can be great for advertising, bring awareness for something, or even creating a video from a trip, personal or business. A video montage is described in The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video as  “a series of related shots used to combine time or distance, set a mood, or summarize information”. However, you have to start with a plan. A plan starts with writing everything you want to happen in the video and what will be added to it in the editing phase. This is so you and anyone else can understand the direction the video is in and how it should look and feel. Showing up to shot a video without any sense of plan and direction doesn’t end up looking good, it’s all over the place, chaotic and messy. That’s not what you are going for. You want the video to be planned and every detail is thought through because then it will flow from one shot to the next smoother and new ideas can arise that may be better.

Once the topic of the video had been decided and you have an idea what it will look like, a storyboard has to happen. A storyboard is like a visual blueprint for the video that it shows those involved what has to happen in a visual way. I have seen so many professional storyboards that I’m embarrassed of mine because they don’t look great even though they give enough information for others to follow if they need to. However, you don’t need to be an artist to create high quality looking storyboards. The most important part of a storyboard is to make sure that there is enough information given that is mostly done by a drawing for each shot and then if you need to with some words to make anything clearer if need to.

In the midst of planning, important elements needs to be decided and the scheduling and production planning needs to happen. Now, in order to film on certain locations, a permit needs to be provided with approval from the appropriate people. Not only that, but you need to have any forms ready and prepared, like if someone is underage or doesn’t want to be shown on the footage, who is the talent and crew, what does the schedule look like, what equipment is needed, and even what the weather will be on the days you shoot. There are so many moving parts when shooting a video. So by having a plan and schedule ready to go, then improvements and changes can be made easily if something does happen.

Learning the basics of how a camera works and how it shoots pictures and video can be very helpful once you reach that stage. For example, by learning how to change the exposure setting can be very crucial. You don’t want to much light to be in the shot because then it’s over lit and is too bright and can’t be seen properly in which the shot is ultimately ruined, but if the opposite happens then it’s too dark and the same problem happens again, nothing can be seen properly. Also, the color temperature of the shots can alter the emotion the audience will be feeling. If you want them to fell happy and warm then raise the ISO or filters depending on the camera, and by lowering the ISO they’ll feel sad or depressed. There are even different lenses that can give different looks depending on the style and emotion you are going for in that particular scene.

Setting up a shot is crucial when capturing video or even a photo. If it’s set up really well then the reaction will be great and what was expected, but if it’s not then people will have an unexpected reaction that you didn’t want to have happen or the wrong message will be given. Rule of thirds, balance, angles, frames within the frame, and even having leading lines are all pieces of a really good composition that can help the audience understand the scene better and feel the right emotions.



Rule of thirds can really be seen with each of the characters. They are all for the most part off-center on one of the sides and never really right in the middle or center. The film also in a unique way has natural frames in the scenes by using the gate as the frame. This scene also uses different prespectives so that the scene isn’t shot at eye level or straight on but at different angles including one where it’s like we are sitting on the ground like we just experienced what Chris Pratt’s character did and are happy to be alive.



This scene really uses the rule of thirds, and especially when the camera is on Marlon Brando. The character is never directly in the center of the shot, in the close ups or the wide shots. Instead, he is off to the sides more making the scene even more dramatic and intense. We also see that when he begins talking he is annoyed since he had to leave his daughter’s wedding and that feeling is really felt with the type of shot they used which was a close up with just enough headroom.


Not only is the rule of thirds (again) really being used, but with the mix of different angles, perspectives, and shots, the audience is pulled into whatever is going on even more. Instead of showing people dancing and having a good time at eye level the entire time, they use an interesting perspective to it all. They shoot the scene with the birds-eye-view angle. There are other angles being used throughout this scene so it’s not straight on the entire time, in fact it’s very rare that it happens at all. Whenever someone (main character or not) is talking or doing the main action they are never centered. The rule of thirds is really used here, in that they are always off to the sides. In the shot where Jay Gatsby is revealed not only is the scene balanced by symmetry, but there is proper headroom where the important features of Gatsby are highlighted more than others. Also whenever the camera isn’t on a main character it’s usually a wide or medium shot and then when the main characters are shown, a medium and close up shot are used to show the importance of the scene and to bring the attention to specific people.


I decided to create my video montage showing all of what Hubbard Park in Connecticut has to offer for everyone, especially during this time as we are stuck in quarantine and need an escape. I chose this place because it’s one of those parks where everyone and anyone goes to sp I want to capture what everyone likes about it. Some of the challenges I may face is whether or not people want to be in (or if I can get shots without anyone in them that I don’t want), the weather may not be great on the day(s) I plan on shooting, my camera or phone may give me trouble, and the shots I have planned may not be great when I go to take them or I have to rethink of how to go about it. Take a look at my plan and storyboard for this video below.

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