We Need to Talk About the '5 SHOT RULE'. It’s a game changer.

Updated: Jan 14

You know that video is a great way to connect with your audience and you know that customers prefer learning about your products or services through video rather than text.

So, using more video makes sense and doing it in-house is easier than ever before.

However, knowing what to film can be more challenging.

Having a good camera and tripod, a script and storyboard, and some willing subjects are all essential ingredients. But knowing how to compose a selection of interesting shots that will help tell your story is the key skill every content creator needs.

Renowned video journalist Michael Rosenblum spent years teaching camera techniques to budding videographers and he distilled the core essentials down to his

famous ‘5 Shot Rule’.

Rosenblum’s strategy is to break the story down into its constituent parts & film each one individually, adjusting the camera angle to add variety. This sequence of shots can be mixed and matched in multiple ways to visually lead the audience in a logical flow, helping to deliver your story.

The beauty of this ‘5 Shot Rule’ is that it gives budding videographers a clear roadmap to follow and provides continuity for your audience, seamlessly building the story as your sequence unfolds.


- Watch a video tutorial of this blog -


Film the

HANDS of the person you are filming.

This shows WHAT is happening.


Film the FACE of the person you are filming.

This shows WHO is doing the action.


Film a WIDE SHOT from the left or right

This shows WHERE the action is happening.



of the person being filmed.

This gives HOW the action is being done.


Film an unusual shot,

a side shot, a high or

low shot, an extreme close up, an interesting foreground or background.

As well as providing continuity, the ‘5 Shot Rule’ ensures that you have a good selection of B-roll shots to choose from to:

  • Break up an interview piece, showing what the person is speaking about and bringing their story to life.

  • Hide ‘jumps’ or ‘cuts’ in the interview.

  • Give your videos a more professional look and feel.

A good shot sequence conveys the story without having to relive the entire event in real time. Think of a cooking show - they don’t show the loaf of bread in the oven for 45 minutes, rather they show it going in and coming out and maybe a few seconds of filming through the oven door.

Anticipating the action will help you prepare for each shot in advance - this is where thoughtful advance planning ultimately saves time.

The ‘5 Shot Rule’ is the basis of a pattern and like all great patterns, it is infinitely flexible. Once the pattern is mastered, you can mix and match your shot sequence in lots of creative ways to create more complex sequences which will make up any style of video.

Now you know the 5 shot rule, but do you have the necessary tools/software to start filming?

Contact us today to set up a call with one of our team