An Insight into Camera Shot Sizes In Filmmaking
by eguaogie-eghosa Sep 26, 2022 Views (271)
The terminology of the fundamental categories of camera shots is one of the first things taught to students in film school. In order to successfully communicate visual aspects of a shot, notably the size of a subject—often a person—within the frame, authors, filmmakers, camera operators, and cinematographers need to develop a common vocabulary. Here is a list of the most important kinds of shots you should be aware of, along with a brief description of each. This article's emphasis will be mostly on subject size and camera angle, ignoring camera motions like tracking shots, dolly in, etc.

What Sizes Do Camera Shots Have?

The shot size in cinematography refers to the size of the frame in relation to the people or things in it. Shot sizes range from an extreme close-up to an extreme long shot, and can be close, medium-, or long-range. What will be visible in the camera's field of vision depends on the focal length of the lens and the separation between the subject and the camera.

Once you know the size of your shot, you can add perspective by fine-tuning your camera location. Choose a camera angle and, if necessary, camera movement when making your shot list to get the desired impact. High-angle, low-angle, Dutch-angle, tracking, one-shot, two-shot, point-of-view (POV), and over-the-shoulder shots (OTS) can all be used in video production.

Shots that show the size of the subject

You can frame your subject in a variety of ways, from seeing their full body to just their eyes. In general, there are three basic shot sizes to consider: long, medium, and close. While close shots focus on the specifics of the topic and emphasize a character's emotions, long shots, also known as wide shots, show the subject from a distance, emphasizing place and location. Shots that fall halfway in the middle, emphasizing the subject while retaining part of the background, are referred to as "medium shots."

The following photo types should be understood to simply refer to the size of the subject within the frame and not to the specific type of lens that was employed to capture the scene. The Director and/or Director of Photography retain creative control over the lens selection and, in turn, how close to the subject the camera is placed. In light of this, let's get to the list!

1. Extreme long shot, also known as an extreme wide shot, is used to show the scene's setting or the subject from a distance. This kind of view is very helpful for setting the time and place of a scene (see Establishing Shot further in the article), as well as a character's physical or emotional connection to the setting and its components. It's not necessary to be able to see the character in this shot.

2. Long shot: Also known as a wide shot, a long shot emphasizes place and location by framing the subject of the picture within a long shot that is shot from a faraway vantage point (with a shallow depth of focus). Long or broad shots of a structure or specific place are frequently used as establishing shots. In John Ford's 1962 film, the main character, Ethan (John Wayne), is seen silhouetted in a doorway with the desert in the background.

3. Medium long shot: Although some pros might use this term interchangeably with the medium shot, a medium long shot or medium wide shot would typically emphasize the environment and background more than a medium shot. It's common to see the characters' entire bodies.

4. Medium shot: The medium shot, which falls somewhere between a close-up and a wide view, is photographed from a vantage point that displays the subject from the knees or waist up while still displaying some of the background. A variation known as the "cowboy shot," which is framed from mid-thigh up, provides sufficient detail to show a person pulling a revolver from their holster.

5. Medium close-up shot: Falling in the middle between a close-up and a medium picture, the medium close-up shot (MCU) is captured from a vantage point that mostly displays the subject's waist while hiding much of the background. MCUs are effective for making a subject's body language visible. Director Agnès Vard utilises this in her 1962 movie Cléo from 5 to 7.

6. Close-up: A close-up shot (CU) is one that closely frames the subject and fills the screen with a certain aspect or detail, such as the subject's face or a hand. A typical shot that makes minor gestures or expressions very evident to the audience is the close-up. In the 1975 film Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, a close-up shot shows Chief Brody's (Roy Schieder) nervous face just before he realizes what the audience already knows: the shark is directly behind him.

7. Extreme close-up: An extreme close-up shot, also known as an ECU, is a more intense form of a close-up that typically just reveals the character's eyes or another feature of their face. These may cause the audience to feel uncomfortable or may divulge a brief, precise fact. An illustration of this is when the Bride's (Uma Thurman) enraged eyes are sharply focused in Kill Bill Vol. 1 by Quentin Tarantino (2003).

8. Full shot: In a full shot, the subject completely fills the frame. It conveys to the audience their appearance, their environment, and how they fit within it. More often than not, action and movement are prioritized over a character's emotional state.

9. Over-the-Shoulder Shot:  A common photo in which one subject is framed in anywhere from a medium to close-up by another subject being shot from behind their shoulder. The shot is ideal for capturing reactions during talks since it keeps the subject's shoulder, neck, and/or back of the head visible when they are facing away from the camera. Instead of the isolation or separation that single shots might create, they frequently emphasize the link between two speakers.

10. Aerial Perspective (aka Top Shot): A distant, high-angle photograph taken both from above and from a distance. The shot provides a wider perspective for the audience and is effective for indicating movement and direction, highlighting unique relationships, or revealing to the audience elements outside the character's understanding. Frequently, the picture is taken from a crane or a helicopter.

11. Cutaway Shot: A picture taken distant from the main action and not of the subject. In order to avoid a jump cut while cutting a line of speech or combining two different takes, it is typically followed by a cut back to the first shot.

12. Establishing Shot: This is typically the opening shot of a scene, used to establish the setting and surroundings. Additionally, it can be employed to set the mood and provide the audience with visual cues about the time (night/day, year), as well as the overall circumstance. Establishing shots are typically Extreme Long Shots or Long Shots since they need to give a lot of information.

13. Master Shot: A single, continuous shot of a scene is referred to as a "master shot." A filmmaker may utilize this photo in conjunction with other shots or as the sole image used to capture a situation. While a master shot is typically a long or full shot, it can also be a close shot or a combination of several shot types if the camera is travelling about the scene.

14. Point of View Shots (POV): These are pictures taken from the perspective of a specific character in a scene. This immerses the audience in the character's thoughts and allows them to feel their emotions. The character waking up, falling asleep, or peering through a scope or a pair of binoculars are typical instances.

15. Reverse Angle Shot: A picture taken at a roughly 180-degree angle from the one in the prior picture. The phrase is frequently used in conversation to describe moves like a reverse Over-the-Shoulder Shot.

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