Concept of pacing in cinematography


I’m currently struggling with a short I’m working on.
I’m in the previs stage, where I made the animatic, so all the camera movements, etc.
I know that cinematography is an art in itself and kind of difficult to master. One of the keys ingredients of it is “pacing” when changing camera. I mean by that, pace changing from a shot to the other.
Most likely someone would change pace when there’s is something new happening. But even with that knowledge in mind, I find it difficult to make a choice in this regard, I very often stuck and don’t know what to choose.
Do you know some good ressources in this matter, so I can add grab a bit of additionnal knowlegde? Also, anything related to cinematography is welcome.
Thank you.


There are many video tutorials on cinematography on the web (Youtube, Vimeo), and there are also many excellent books on cinematography. Have you looked into any of them?

As you said, it’s a whole art form with its own technical and artistic idiosyncrasies. Trying to get overview tips isn’t the best way to go about learning stuff–you’ll have far better luck searching google for “cinematography tutorial / lessons.”

BTW, what you’re taking about is editing. Editing is what determines the pacing. So do searches on film editing.

What’s extremely important, and something a lot of people don’t bother learning (and it shows in their work), is understanding visual storytelling. You have to learn about the anatomy of a scene, how conflicts are built and resolved in dramatic structure, the significance of motifs and themes and symbols and how they are conveyed visually, the concept of tension and release, using emotional contrast, visual flow of action, using different focal lengths for difference purposes such as establishing a location with wide-angle, telephoto to isolate a detail, distorted wide-angle for psychological effects, etc. Camera movements are also very important, and how you string them together in the edit is critical to how smooth or jarring the edit feels.

You can find information on all that just by using google. And of course, if you want to have a nice collected source of information, a books and videos on cinematography and editing would be best.


Thank you for this good advice. What you reminded here is exactly what I’m aiming for. I was asking about pacing here so I don’t confuse people with many question at one time, but, actually, all the elements you said are what is important to me in order to achieve a good visual storytelling. So thank you for that, I do realised some matters I must pay attention to, also.
And I do search all the time on youtube and other, I find some interesting ressources but, most of the time, they are not so useful and kind of very generalistic, for amateurs etc, not digging deep in what you need when you want serious knowledge. And the problem with books is that many of them aren’t available as download so, when you are not in the us, it’s problematic.
That’s why I was asking if someone knew Professional ressources but I guess you told the point, it must be in books mainly.


Firstly, you’ll need to relax, and try to edit your piece, without too much questioning. Just cut it roughly, and see how it looks all together.

Here’s some tips:

  • I’ve read somewhere (and I agreed completely), that in the 95% percent, the best cut is the cut you don’t see. If your audience notice a cut, in most cases it’s not the best place for cutting.

  • Don’t cut (always) on actions, or talking. Person A talks, the stops, then cut, then person B talks, stops, then cut. It’s a very robotic. Instead, try imagine yourself in the scene, when person A talks, you might want to see a reaction on person B.

  • Watch movies you like, and ask yourself why you didn’t see cutting, or why you liked so much editing of action, or dialog, or maybe some romantic scene, or drama. Movies are a great source of references.

  • Learn about 180 degree rule and why is so important. It can help you reducing a chance in confusing your audience. Of course, as with everything else, some directors intentionally brake this rule, because they are trying to confuse the audience (battle scene, for example).

  • Avoid using similar shots, one after another, and with conjunction with 180 degree rule, that would be something like: “Avoid using similar shots, unless it’s intentional (google “jump cuts”), make shots different, but always clear to the audience where camera is” (for example, 2 characters talking on the bridge: You can start with a wide shot, showing the bridge, and 2 small figures on it, then cut closer, but still wide shot where we see clearly 2 characters, then close to character A, then reaction to character B, then again wider shot showing both character… as you see, the shots are different, but clear).

  • Music is a great way to increase drama and feel, but you should sometimes turn off the music completely, and see how shots working without any sound in the scene.

  • And, as everything else. Practice makes perfect. If you can afford it, it is a good idea that you take a brake from editing (at least few days), and then watch it again. You will immediately see if something is wrong, much better perception then working all the time (and when you know exactly, where you did a cut).

  • Also, ask as many people as you can to give you opinion.

Hope that helps a little.


Thank you for these good tips. Very useful and I learnt things I didn’t know.