Film Studies Cinematography: Camera shots, movement and angles

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Film Studies

Film StudiesCinematography:Camera shots, movement and anglesEstablishing ShotQuite simply this shot is used by a director to establish the location/setting of the film. It could be a shot of New York for exampleExamples:Lord of the RingsTaxi Driver

Master ShotSimilar to an establishing shot but used to show two or more characters talking at the start of the scene without the need for editing. It establishes both location and the relationship between characters.Example:Reservoir Dogs opening title sequence

Extreme Close upA shot which focuses very closely on an object or part of the body to suggest its importance, an extreme close up of an eye in a Horror film may indicate terror for example (note it could be an object like a map in a War film as well)Example:Zombie Flesh Eaters (splinter)Waynes World

Close upA shot which focuses on a characters face to suggest the emotion of that person (again a close up could be on any part of the mise en scene which the director deems to be important for the audience.Example:The Shining (Heres Johnny)

Mid ShotProbably the most repeated shot in film, a mid shot usually suggests conversation between characters and is shot from the waist up (The key thing about this shot is that the audience should not attach any importance to the shot and instead pay attention to the dialogue.)Example:Pirates of the C (Will and Captain Jack fight)

Long ShotThis shot is used to show the whole body of an actress or a number of actors. This could be used to show their isolation or vulnerability or to place them in a specific location.Example:Generic exampleThe Third Man

Wide ShotSimilar to an establishing shot or master shot, a wide shot is used to show crowds of people in a fight scene or busy urban environment (obviously these are only examples, could be a car chase with pedestrians in danger etc.)Example:Dawn of the Dead (2004)Zombieland

Two ShotA shot where two characters are engaged in conversation/conflict in the same frame.Example:The Dark Knight (Interrogation scene)

Aerial ShotUsing a helicopter or crane this type of shot is used to suggest the vastness of a landscape, establish a scene or to make a character vulnerableExample:The Shining (opening)

Point of ViewA shot which replicates the view from an actor or creature when they are looking at something else. It is used to make the viewer feel involved in the action and make the thing they are looking at be placed in a position of danger, suspicion, centre of attentionExample:Rec trailerAn American Werewolf in London

Over the Shoulder ShotThis shot is commonly used to illustrate conversation and talk between two characters. It can also be used in a horror film to suggest that something dangerous is going to happen to the person who we are following.Example:Heat Pacino/DeNiro

Shot reverse ShotUsually shown in the form of a conversation , where the camera cuts between the faces of the two or more people who are talking (not in an over the shoulder manner)Example:Heat Pacino/DeNiro

DollyA Dolly is a wheeled machine which the camera is mounted on, so the camera can follow or surround a character. It has a smooth action and is in contrast to the jittery motion of a hand held cameraExample:Against Me I was a teenage anarchist music videoPanic Room (bedroom sequence)

Crane ShotThe camera is mounted on a crane so actors can be viewed from above or to indicate where the actors have to go next. Its purpose is varied, one example being to mark a moment in time in the film and make the audience think about what they have just seenExample:Gone with the Wind (injured soldiers)Touch of Evil (Opening)

High Angle ShotA high angle shot is used by the director to look down on a character, this action implies that this person is in a position of vulnerabilityExample: Terminator (arrival)

Low Angle ShotA low angle shot is used by the director to look up at a character, this action implies that this person is in a position of authorityExample:Matilda

Tilted/Cantered AngleAn angle where the camera is positioned on an angle, usually used to suggest that a character is drugged, drunk, being beaten up or if the director has a particular style they want to portray. In the still opposite the cantered angle is used by the director to suggest the devastation that war had on ViennaExample:Mean Streets (bar scene)

Pan/whip panThis refers to the horizontal (left to right or vice versa) movement of a camera when the camera follows something of significance in the film. A whip pan is a particularly fast panning action and is usually seen in an action film when following a car chase etc.Example:Paranormal Activity 3 (Toby)The Fast and Furious (chase)

TiltThis refers to the vertical (up and down) movement of a camera (similar to a nod.) This can indicate the height of an individual or building for example.Example:Random clip

Tracking ShotThe camera is placed on a track (think train track) and is then pushed down the track to follow the actions of a character or characters.Example:Atonement (Beach scene)Oldboy (fight scene)

SteadicamA camera mounted to the body of a cameraman which is stabilized and offers the opportunity for the cameraman to closely follow the actions of an actor smoothly, this increases the feeling for the audience of being in the scene.Example:Point Break (office scene)

Hand Held cameraUsually a very small camera which can be used by the cameraman to follow the actors in a jittery and realistic manner to make an action film, for example, that more realisticExample:Cloverfield (Statue of Liberty)

ZoomQuite simply when a cameraman zooms in/or out of an item of interest in a film. This could be a character crying or a bomb that is about to explode for example if the camera zooms in or to make a point about the world if they zoom outExample:Contact (opening)

Zoom Reverse Zoom/Dolly ZoomWhen a cameraman uses different lenses in a camera to replicate the movement of zooming in and zooming out at the same time. The impression given is something very significant is happening to the plot of the filmExample:La Haine (rooftop)Jaws (beach)