Camera Shots

This week we learnt about Camera shots.

Camera angles and movements combine to create a sequence of images, just as words, word order and punctuation combine to make the meaning of a sentence. You need a straightforward set of key terms to describe them.

Describing Shots

When describing camera angles, or creating them yourself, you have to think about three important factors

— The FRAMING or the LENGTH of shot

— The ANGLE of the shot

— If there is any MOVEMENT involved

When describing different cinematic shots, different terms are used to indicate the amount of subject matter contained within a frame, how far away the camera is from the subject, and the perspective of the viewer. Each different shot has a different purpose and effect. A change between two different shots is called a CUT.

Framing or Shot Length

#1 Extreme Long Shot (ELS)

In the Extreme Long Shot (ELS) , also known as the Wide Shot (WS), the subject is small in the overall image.  It is used as a  scene-setting, and sometimes referred to as a establishing shot. and is perfect for emphasising the background and environment the character is against. This shot is normally done to show an exterior, eg the outside of a building, or a landscape. This shot is also used to show action in war scenes. Please to aware that  there is very little detail visible in the shot, because it’s meant to give a general impression rather than specific information.



#2 Long Shot (LS)

In the Long Shot (LS) the whole subject is in frame.  This shot is said to be the mostly difficult to categorise precisely. It is a shot that shows the image as  “life” size. The Long Shot (LS) a good framing for action scenes and observing social groupings. This shot includes the  FULL SHOT showing the entire human body, with the head near the top of the frame and the feet near the bottom. Although the focus is on the subject, there is  plenty of background detail in the shot.


#3 Medium Shot (MS)

The convention of the Medium Shot (MS), is (when framing a person) approximately half of their body is in shot, ie. from the knees/waist up. This shot is normally used for scenes with dialogues or to even show some detail of action.



#4 Close Up Shot (CU)

The Close Up Shot (CU) shows a detail of the overall subject or action- ie. the head or hands if it is a person. It shows very little background. Close ups of characters are a good way to engaging the audience into the character emotionally as a close up is a very intimate shot. Please note that in a close up shot the background is just a blur.


#5 Extreme Close Up (ECU)

With the Extreme Close Up (ECU),  only the mouth or eyes, with no background detail whatsoever. This unnatural closeness to the subject is good at bringing the viewer into intimate or fetishistic relationship with the subject. This shot is used to achieve a  dramatic effect.



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