7 BASIC CAMERA SHOTS AND WHEN TO USE THEM
When referring to a “shot” in filmmaking what is generally meant is an uninterrupted framed event/character/landscape, etc., that you shoot. There are many, many types of shots from static shots, moving camera shots, handheld shots, over the shoulder shots and so on. The director must become familiar with these shots in order to capture his/her desired vision.
Perhaps what’s most challenging to the director is not simply knowing these shots but knowing when to use them. Therefore we briefly broach upon that as well. It’s of extreme importance in filmmaking not to use shots frivolously otherwise you run the risk of your shots loosing meaning and purpose.
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CALL THE SHOTS
ESTABLISHING SHOT: Establishing shots are used to establish a scene by showing the relationship between its important subjects and objects. This is usually done so with an extreme wide shot or an extreme long shot.
MEDIUM SHOT: The medium shot is a shot where you frame your subject from the waist up.
This is done to bring more emphasis to your subject while keeping the surroundings visible.
CLOSE UP: Close up is a shot where you fill the frame primarily with a part of your subject. If it’s a person, usually their face.
This is usually done to reveal your subjects emotions and reactions.
EXTREME CLOSE UP: This shot shows extreme detail by tightly framing your subject. Usually it shows mouth, eyes, etc.
This shot is usually done to emphasize specific features on your subject. For example, a bruised lip.
POINT OF VIEW SHOT (POV): This is a shot that shows what a subject is looking at. Usually done so by first filming the subject looking and then revealing what the subject is looking at.
OVER THE SHOULDER (OTS): An OTS shows your subject from behind the shoulder of another character.
Can work well during conversations because it emulates perspective.
TWO SHOT: It’s a shot where two people are the main subjects in frame (you can also have a three shot, four shot, group shot).
Great for showing simultaneous behavior.
We hope that this article on 7 Basic Camera Shots And When To Use Them was helpful. However, there’s much, much more to be learned to the point that we could dedicate a whole book on the subject. Speaking of books, check out The Filmmaker’s Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of Cinematic Composition and Master Shots Vol 3: The Director’s Vision: 100 Setups, Scenes and Moves for Your Breakthrough Movie.
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