- Distance - The physical distance of the subject from the camera and level of zoom used. For example, long shot vs. close-up.
- Movement - How the camera is moving while filming. For example, panning from left to right in a wide shot in order to show a landscape.
- Judicious Reveal or Full Reveal - When the camera only shows enough of the content in a shot to start building the viewer’s interest as it increases into completely revealing what is happening in a scene. This builds the suspense of the audience, which creates a larger impact when the full reveal is achieved.
- Moving Discovery Shots – This is when the camera moves slowly towards the action within a scene until the action is clear and in the shot.
- Fixed discovery shots - The action is not the center of focus in the shot. The camera is still and it appears to be accidentally catching some of the content that wasn’t intended for the film. For example, of this is when an actor is being filmed having coffee with a friend. They sit having their scripted conversation while other characters begin to steal the focus with an argument in the background. The audience begins to get to know these other characters from the fixed viewpoint of the camera.
- Change of Focus - Intentionally starting a shot blurry, then clearing it up, or vice-versa. This could be used as a transition for the shot. This method can also be used by blurring the focus of certain objects in the frame while drawing attention to another object or character. Changing the focus can be used to communicate uncertainty with blur, or certainty with clarity.
A Wide Shot is where the parameter of the frame spans widely, showing more content then just the subject of the shot. Wide shots are good establishing shots.
Full Shot/ Long Shot
A Long Shot is where the top of the frame stops at the top of the character’s head and the bottom of the frame ends and the bottom of the character’s feet. This places the audience as an equal with the character, giving a more inclusive feel to the viewer.
A Medium Shot frames the characters from the bottom of their waists to the top of their heads. This is a technique that is typically used for slightly more intimate conversations, rather than a large context shot using a Wide Shot.
This is a very close shot where the frame only shows the character’s face. This is used often for interviews and one-sided perspectives of conversation.
An Extreme Close-Up focuses incredibly close on the character’s face so little important details that expose emotions are displayed.
High Angle Shot
A High Angle Shot is when the camera is pointed down towards the subject. This could be used to show a character in an inferior position to the audience.
Low Angle Shot
A Low Angle Shot is when the camera is facing up towards the subject. A low angled shot makes the subject seem powerful or triumphant.
Low Angle Over-the-Shoulder Shot
An over-the-shoulder angle is when the camera is literally focused over the subjects shoulder. This is a low angled over the shoulder shot because it is facing downward. A regular over the shoulder shot would face parallel to the ground. This creates tension that alludes to the subjects vulnerability.
Tilted/Dutch Angle Shot
A tilted or “Dutch” angled shot is when the horizon is uneven. This portrays that something might be physically or psychologically off center or uneasy.
This webpage was last updated: 12/17/2012
Developed by Chelsea Carter