Production: How To Do a Two Shot

Sometimes in your video, you will need to shoot more than one subject at a time and do a two shot. The two shot is used when two people need to be visible in a shot. They can be conversing with each other, simply interacting and even both talking to the camera like with news anchors. This means having both persons within the frame. Doing a two shot is fairly easy, but there are many ways to make this shot more interesting and significant. Remember that this shot is not only used for practical purposes, it's also used to establish the relationship between the two people in the shot. Each different framing and blocking signifies different types of relationships between the two characters. Here are some tips on how you can successfully mount a two shot.

Step 1: Know the Characters' Relationship

Before you are able to effectively convey the relationship of your subjects, you have to know it yourself through and through. Are they involved in a romantic relationship? Or are they in constant conflict? Are the two characters equal in stature or is one more dominant than the other? Clarifying their relationship and fully knowing it will give you more insight on how to frame your scene. You'll see the two shot employed in various films and each one is done with a purpose in mind. Do the same for your video.

Step 2: Block it Right

Map out the blocking of your characters on the set. If you're doing a narrative, determine the scene and their position that will fully communicate their relationship. If they have a sexual tension, you may sit them facing each other but with as little gap between them as possible. If they're brewing conflict, they may be facing each other with as much distance between them. Your characters' position alone in the two shot is a powerful messaging tool.

Step 3: Find Your Frame

It's time to set up your camera for the right two shot for your scene. Move your camera about and find the perfect framing for your characters. If you want to show their equality, have them standing side by side in an even medium shot. If they don't see eye to eye at all, you may opt for an over the shoulder where one's face is fully visible, but the other's back is turned to the camera. If you have a romantic relationship brewing, they may be sitting across each other in a tight two shot. Your framing will have an impact on the message you want to get across.

Step 4: Opt to Move

You can opt to employ movement in your two shot. Depending on the scene and the tension within it, you can start with a side-by-side two shot and track to an over-the-shoulder. You can also slowly zoom in from a wide two shot to a close up. Remember that with videography, you have the option to use movement in making your scenes come alive.