Tuesday, 4 September 2012

CHALLENGE 1: Continuity

Disclosure have a reputation for reflecting on successes and challenges evenly. We believe that the obstacles shape up more than the praise and in light of that, we bring you a blog series on how our slip ups could help you avoid the same things...

From the earliest stages of pre production on our comedy Going Nowhere, we had agreed to film the show in a linear, almost realtime manner. It made sense due to the simple set ups of the scenes, the coverage we needed to capture and the building in tension required from the actors (Robert S J Lucas and Joanna Defendi). In theory that was an extremely simple and sensical plan however the strategy didn’t factor in any pick ups or scenes which were out of sync for the shooting (for one reason or another, as occasionally happen on set). We had to go back and reshoot certain angles of scenes we had already shot and for this the continuity proved problematic to say the least.

In the case of Going Nowhere, hair and costume continuity were fundamental issues. Our hair and costume departments were faced with some tough challenges and although they overcame them brilliantly, it did delay us substantially. On one occasion we realised (after review of the footage we’d shot) that one of the characters scarfs were missing from certain shots. It was an oversight that no one could be blamed for as we had hastily reshot a handful of scenes to catch up on time, however it did mean we needed to quickly script in some cut aways to make sense of the action.

Having someone dedicated to continuity may seem like a luxury on a shoot that runs on a small budget, with time constraints and a small number of crew, however it is absolutely imperative that someone have a keen eye on the details of what is being shot, else you run the risk of making it near impossible for an editor to cut efficiently between shots, no matter how beautiful the shots are!

We understand having someone solely responsible for a function such as continuity on set may leave that person without much else to do some of the time, so we advise that, if you are a producer or director that likes all hands on deck, to assign either your assistant director or art director to the job.  We advise against assigning runners or production assistants the role simply as the involvement of the activities are closer linked to the AD or art director (that is our humble opinion however).


  1. Continuity is absolutely imperative on a production, even if it’s small scale or low budget.
  2. Make notes in the script before you shoot where potential continuity errors may occur.
  3. If you cannot dedicate a person to the role, consider including it in the AC or art directors remit if they are happy to do so.
  4. If you find you’ve slipped up on continuity ensure you make efforts to shoot material which can make sense of it OR to cover it up. 
  5. Don’t leave it to the edit to rectify mistakes!

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