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Shots and
The building blocks of the
cinematic language.
Camera Angle
• The camera angle determines both
the audiences viewpoint, or how
they see the story, and the physical
amount of area covered in a shot.
1. What is the viewpoint, or the
story demands, for recording
this portion of the event?
2. How much area should be
included in the shot, in order
to communicate the story?
Both questions deal with the audiences perspective on what the
story is.
The camera angle is one of the most important
factors in keeping the audiences interest.
• Don’t “Jar” the camera - use a tri-pod
or dolly.
• Be sure to frame the shot appropriately
• Maintain scene direction.
• Be mindful of the rule of thirds.
• Pay attention to the view finder.
• Pay attention to the background.
Camera Angles
• Objective
• Subjective
• Point of View
• High Angle
• Low Angle
• Canted Angle
Objective camera angle
• When the audience views what is happening as an
unseen observer.
• The audience feels as though they are eaves
dropping on the characters in the scene.
• Objective camera angles are impersonal.
• The players in a scene are unaware of the camera
and never make eye contact.When filming an
objective camera angle if any person in the scene
looks into the camera the shot is ruined and will
need a re-take.
Subjective camera angle
• Involves the audience directly with the
characters in the scene.
• Players may look directly into the camera.
• Camera acts as the players eyes.
Point of View
• A point of view shot is when the camera angle
records the scene from a particular point player’s
point of view.
• A point of view shot is as close as an objective
shot can be with out being a subjective shot.
• In a point of view shot the camera is positioned
“cheek to cheek” with a character.
P.O.V.’s are often followed by (O.T.S) over the
shoulder shots during dialog exchange.
• Low angle - Cats eye view – looking up at a
character. Gives the audience a feeling that this
person is powerful. Used to show the large scale
of a character or object.
Low Camera Angle
• High angle - Birds eye view – from above
the character used to make the character feel
Inferior. Used to show the small scale of a
character or object.
• Canted angle – when the cinematographer
skews the vertical axis to give an exciting or
an uneasy feeling, this will help to show
character in an altered state of reality from
being tired, loony or uppity or narcissistic
and high strung.
Extreme long shot (ELS or XLS)– shows a vast
area from a great distance. Also know as a wide
Long shot (LS)– a take of the entire action of a
scene. A shot that sets ups the scene and gives a
general feel for the event.
• Entrance and exits of characters, cars, planes.
Establishing shot (EST)– this is a camera shot that
sets up what is about to take place. This is usually
a sequence starting point.
Medium Shot (MS)– falls between the long shot and
a close up. Normally from the Waist to just over
the head. Also know as a mid shot.
• Involves the audience a little more closely to the action at
hand. May involve more than one character.
Close up (CU)– just below the shoulders to above
the head. Also know as a tight shot or a narrow
Chocker– Is from just above the eyebrow to just
below their chin. Used in an exclamatory way, to
show the expression of a face or to simply show a
persons face to help identify a character.
• You can cut off a persons forehead but not their chin.
Extreme Close up (ECU or XCU)- a very close
view of a particular body part or part of an object.
Two Shot – a.k.a. the American shot, any shot that
bring two sides to a confrontation.
• Boy and girl meets.
• Hero vs. the villain.
• It could even be one group of people against
• May also simply be two people in one shot.
Three shot – involving three characters in one shot.
Group Shot – includes more than three characters.
Camera Moves
Panorama (Pan) –positioned on a vertical axis, the
camera rotates left to right or right to left.
Tilt - Positioned on a horizontal axis and the camera
rotates up and down or down and up.
• Dolly (in / out)- Physically moving the camera,
it’s tri-pod, and dolly towards or away from the
• You can dolly in or dolly out
Camera Moves
• Truck (left / right)- Physically moving the
camera, it’s tri-pod, and dolly left or right parallel
to the set.
• You can Truck right or Truck left
• Pedestal (up / down)- Raising or lowering the
camera on the tripods pedestal column while the
tripod remains stationary.
• You can Pedestal up or down.
Camera Moves
• Arc (left / right)- Moving the camera in a curved
motion around the set while the camera stays fixed
on an object or character.
• You can arc right or arc left
• Tracking– is when the camera is on a track or
with a dolly, or on a cable and follows the action
of a shot.
What are the four basic styles
of film making?
• Documentary -a journalistic style, recording of
real events. Used to communicate an opinion or
• Narrative - general storytelling films.
• Instructional- How to videos, to teach a subject.
• Experimental - Film for film’s sake. using the
camera, accessories or effects to gain a “new”
approach or process to film making.
All styles of video making are governed by the
aesthetics of the director and the genre of film.
• Aesthetics – adj. Concerned with beauty or the
appreciation of beauty. Noun- A set of principles
underlying and governing the work of a particular artist
or artistic movement.
• Genre – A category of artistic composition
characterized by similarities in form, style and subject
• Cinema – The production of movies as an art or
The Building Blocks of
• Frame
• Shot
• Scene
• Sequence
The Frame
The smallest piece of information in film.
A single still image in a series of images.
NTSC - 29.97 Frames Per Second (fps)
PAL - 25 fps
Film - 24 fps
The Shot
• A shot defines a continuous camera take with out
• May be referred to as a panel in pre-production
• May be referred to as a take, during production.
• May be referred to as a clip in post-production,
The Scene
• A scene defines the place or setting
where the action is being filmed.
• Each new place (setting) maybe a new
• Borrowed from theater. Where acts
were broken down with different
scenery or settings.
The Sequence
• A sequence is a series of scenes, or
shots that complete a subject or idea.
• A sequence may occur in a single
setting (place), or in several settings
• A sequence ends when the subject
matter changes.
• Cutaway – A Shot that is not a key element in the
action, commonly used to bridge what would be a
jump cut.
• Jump Cut – A shot that constitutes an error in
editing which result in an on-screen object or
character appearing to jump positions.
• Headroom – The amount of room between the top
of a players head and the top of the viewfinder or