What is a camera shot?
A camera shot refers to a series of frames composed from the moment the director goes “lights, camera, action” and continues until the camera stops rolling. Being aware of your camera shot is an essential part of filmmaking.
Shot size refers to how big or small the frame is in relation to the subject. Does your subject fill the frame, or is your subject barely there? Are there multiple characters, or just one? Do you want to show the entire landscape surrounding the characters, or should the audience only see one specific detail in the shot?
Let’s go through what the different shot sizes are and what they will do to your footage.
Use extreme close-ups to emphasise certain features of your subject, like their eyes or mouth. The extreme close-up shot is about getting all those small objects and details on display and letting that be the focal point of the audience’s attention. Think of a classic Western movie; two cowboys duel at dawn. To intensify the situation, you use extreme close-ups – only showing their eyes.
This shot is used to highlight your subject’s facial features without any distractions bumping in. This makes it great to frame the subject’s emotions or reactions. Typically, it will mean showing the subject’s face from their forehead to their chin.
It’s the perfect shot for those crucial moments. You know, when our lead realises, she’s reached the point of no return. When that happens, the audience should be able to take it all in – everything she’s feeling in that very moment. The great thing about a close-up is that it’s close enough to register even little emotions but not so close that we lose visibility.
Long shot or Wide shot
This shot allows the audience to see the subject’s entire body in the frame – head to toe. Using a long shot gives the audience a sense of the subject’s surroundings and gives a better idea of why the character is there in the first place. You’ll often see this shot in action scenes, at times when it’s essential to know how the character is moving in that specific environment. The nice thing about using a long shot or wide shot is that it lets the audience look at the beautiful background imagery – filming on the Maldives? We, the audience, don’t want to miss that (it might be the closest thing we get to a vacation this year)
Extreme long shot or Extreme wide shot
These shots will make the subject appear tiny compared to their surroundings, as the audience sees the location’s full breadth. They work excellent to create a scope and scale of measurement and help emphasise a specific tone and mood. Think of the ending of any romantic Disney movie (obviously all of them) where the princess finally gets her prince. They ride off into the sunset in their magic pumpkin. As they ride away, the characters are getting smaller and smaller the further away they get from the camera. And we all get the idea that they lived happily ever after. It doesn’t have to be romantic, though; extreme long shots also work great for conveying a sense of distance or unfamiliarity of the character’s surroundings.
Medium shot or mid-shot
The medium shot is sort of the middle child between its close-up and long-shot siblings. The typical medium shot will show the subjects from their head and down to their waist. While it is close enough to see their faces, it also captures the characters’ body language while showcasing the subject’s environment without the audience getting disoriented.
Medium Close-Up Shot
The medium close-up shot will typically show the subject from the chest and up. That means it favours the subject’s face but still manages to keep a certain distance.
Single, two-shot, three-shot
Whether you choose the single-, two-, or three-shot depends on how many characters there’s in the frame and how you want the audience to see them. Let’s say you use a three-shot; this means you’re choosing a shot size, which manages to keep three people in that one frame.
POV is the type of shot you use when you want the audience to see what the character sees. You’re letting the audience walk a mile in their shoes – putting them directly into the character’s head. It can both be a static shot or a combination of different camera movements.
Extra information is available to read at the links below care of Wedio’s blog