A sequence shot involves both a long take and sophisticated camera movement; it is sometimes called by the French term plan-séquence. The use of the sequence shot allows for realistic and dramatically significant background and middle ground activity. Actors range about the set transacting their business while the camera shifts focus from one plane of depth to another and back again. Significant off-frame action is often followed with a moving camera, characteristically through a series of pans within a single continuous shot. An example of this is the first scene in the jury room of 12 Angry Men, where the jurors are getting settled into the room. In a film script, a shooting sequence is a part of the script consisting of a single unified action and which can be shot in one place, at one time, with essentially the same cast throughout. A shooting sequence can be part of a scene, an entire scene, or several scenes in a script.
During preproduction, a script is lined, meaning that a line is drawn between each of the shooting sequences in the script and each important element in the sequence is highlighted.
Good video stories need strong individual shots. Great video stories present those shots in a sequence that complements the parts and creates a much greater whole.
Shooting and editing effective sequences are essential video storytelling skills. Shot sequences can enhance cohesion, help communicate more information in less time and create an overall sense of purpose.
In video storytelling, a sequence is simply a series of shots that works together to show an action unfolding. Shot sequences are ubiquitous — most shots in most stories are part of a larger sequence. That’s because they’re a foundational storytelling tool in a medium that’s not only visual but also depicts the passage of time.