What’s the best way to create a sequence?
There are basically two ways of doing this: either framing one shot in which all the action will happen (ideally shooting with a tripod) OR panning and shooting vertically to follow the action and later stitch together a panorama.
Follow these steps:
- Visualize what the sequence will look like and select an angle that will allow you to have a clear view of the different frames without it getting too cluttered.
- Shoot in Manual mode for better control of the light in general. Use fast shutter speeds to freeze your subject and avoid motion blur when shooting handheld.
- Use a fast camera (I used the Sony RX10ii) to capture as many frames as possible in the shortest time. This helps you to select the best-timed frames and gives you more options.
- Consider panning while shooting, it can help you in the following ways:
- Increase resolution of your final image, as you will combine several frames.
- Shooting vertical when panning horizontally and shooting horizontal when panning vertically will allow you to secure enough space to align and compose your final image. It also allows you to keep the subject central in your single frames and avoids distortion.
- Panning will also help you to get closer to the action and still be able to cover the whole sequence.
- Shoot in Raw unless you plan to shoot an extensive sequence where the camera might perform better in JPG compression.
- Once on the computer back up your images! Remember, you’re working with bigger file sizes.
- If you shot in Raw, open the images and make your basic corrections to all the selected images.
- Open them all as layers in Photoshop.
- Use the “Auto-Align Layers...” function.
- Check and adjust and crop to your final format if necessary.
- Analyze and judge which frames are the best to keep and which ones are too much. Cluttered sequences are actually not easy to understand and might not look as good.
- Save your open PSD file for safekeeping when you’re done.
What program should I use to create a sequence?
Photoshop is my choice.
What should I look out for when creating a sequence?
Avoid cluttered frames, double check for mistakes on the masking and blending to correct, keep it visually artistic.
Can I create a sequence from video stills if they’re high-res enough?
Yes, you can create sequences out of any medium that delivers the frames for building it. Quality and resolution are factors to be considered and judge, depending on the purpose of the final image.
Do you have any golden tips to create the perfect, award-winning sequence?
The most important thing is that the action looks stylized and pleasant to the eye. The other important factors are the combination of background, colors, contrast, mood and (last but not least) the level of difficulty of the action.
Check out our In a Flash video for more tips and tricks on how to shoot a great sequence.
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