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Why is Continuity Important on a Film Set?

 Continuity on a film set

Continuity in practise

Continuity on a film set – Continuity in film set photography is important to maintain the visually consistent look of an entire film. It is necessary to maintain the visual look of the production and create continuity in the film’s story. This includes things such as making sure that everything on the set is consistent and lighting is similar between the scenes. Wardrobe and makeup are consistent, and that any props and set decorations are also consistent. In addition, consistent camera angles and shots also help to ensure continuity between shots.

 Continuity on a film set – Common mistakes actors make with continuity.


The actor lifts a cup up in the right hand.
The technical crew and DOP (director of photography) change camera angles and decide to do a CU (close-up)
Time has elapsed so in the next shot of the same shot, the actor forgets the actions of the previous shot and lifts the cup up in the left hand.
This shot now is void!


In, post production during the editing process, we cannot align that shot successfully with the other shot because to the eye it looks wrong, and it is wrong.

Let me explain more clearly.
To set the scene, we use a long shot of the actor picking up the cup with the right hand.
(Change camera angle as on set)
We then want to go in on the visual shot and cut to the close -up. On the close-up the actor is using the other hand.
They don’t match. Can you see the mistake?
This can happen with all elements of filmmaking.

Why is this important?

1. Firstly time because time costs money.
2. The shot is void. This could have been imperative to the storyline.
3. May have to go for a re-shoot, which is costly and time consuming
4. Because of the strict time tables of film schedules, it may be unworkable to repeat the shot.

Obvious continuity mistakes experienced in the edit.


Shoes. (common mistake)
Hair (Inbetween filming days, the actor has a haircut. Catastrophic mistake)

Lipstick (colour change)
Nail varnish. (Different colour from the original or none at all)

Special effects make-up can be difficult to repeat.

Different heights
Carrying in wrong hand
Picked up in the wrong part of the script.


The actors change the words of the script. (Very important for the actors to know their lines)

In regard to continuity, it is important that cast and crew are vigilant regarding continuity at all times on set.

Thank you for reading.


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