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What is a Master Shot?

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Sometimes referred to as an establishing shot, a master shot is a positions the camera in a way that captures all the action/dialogue in an entire scene and is typically composed as the widest and longest shot. For example, if a scene involves people seated at a dinner table, a master shot would be wide enough to see everyone seated at the table. This is crucial for the editing process as this is the scene to which all coverage shots (close-ups, cutaways, medium shots) are referenced and synchronized to. If any of the other takes or angles don’t work in post production, the editor can always go back to a master shot. 

master shot

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