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Shot/Reverse Shot

June 7, 2012

Shot/reverse shot is an important feature of editing dialogue. It makes use of the 180 degree rule and the eye line rule. The shot can be defined as;

A film technique wherein one character is shown looking (often off-screen) at another character, and then the other character is shown looking “back” at the first character. Since the characters are shown facing in opposite directions, the viewer unconsciously assumes that they are looking at each other.

-Bordwell, David; Thompson, Kristin (2006). Film Art: An Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill.

There are three positions of the camera: a wide/medium shot, an over the shoulder of character A and an over the shoulder shot on character B


When editing a dialogue scene that uses the shot/reverse shot it is important to bear in mind that the reaction to what is being said is just as important as what is being said in the first place.

Examples of this shot:

The opening sequence of 10 Things I hate About You –

It can be seen from 1.58 onwards as the discussion between principal and student takes place and the camera jumps between the two and then onto a wide shot in order to show them both together.

This is an example from Beaches where the two girls first meet –

It starts in this clip around 5.12 when it shows their first encounter.

Finally, this example is from “Superbad” when he is purchasing alcohol.-


From → Film Editing

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