Camera Shots, Angle, Movement and Composition Media Language
Camera Shots, Angle, Movement and Composition Media Language Camera shots Establishing shot The establishing shot, is ordinary the opening to a scene it sets the scene. It gives the audience the idea of where they are. This can also be seen in the opening credits to Eastenders or Coronation Street.
Establishing shots are exactly what they say; they establish where the program is set and gives information to the viewer in a short space of time. They are usually exterior shots, and give a general view of the surrounding. They are usually followed by a mid shot and a close up shot. Establishing shots are also used as part of continuity editing system (the Hollywood style) to present continuity and to move the story
forward. Master Shot Is a long continuous shot that captures all the action from start to finish. A master shot is usually filmed as a opening shot of a scene and is often a long shot, which is made up of other shots that reveal other aspects of actions i.e. the groupings of two or three of the actors at crucial moments, close-ups of individuals and various
props, and so on. Key: Continuous, one long shot and does not cut to other shots. EXAMPLE The film Atonement uses a master shot to film the Dunkirk beach sequence. Look at how a master shot works to connotate emotion in this sequence. Consider why the director has chosen this shot, and also the use of a stedicam and a dolly. Why does this make the audience feel part of the action rather than
using a mixture of different shots to create a sequence? CLOSE-UP A picture which shows a fairly small part of the scene, such as a character's face, in great detail so that it fills the screen A framing in which the scale of the object shown is relatively large. In a close-up a person's head, or some other similarly sized object, will fill the frame.
These shots can be used to stress the importance of a particular character at a particular moment in a film or place her or him as central to the narrative by singling out the character in CU at the beginning of the film. Connotation: This shot creates intimacy between the characters. EXTREME CLOSE-UP A framing in which the scale of the object shown is very large; most
commonly, a small object or a part of the body usually shot with a zoom lens. Again, faces are the most recurrent images in extreme close-ups. However, this shot can also be used to show an extreme close up of a text on a mobile phone. These shots have a symbolic value, due to their recurrence during the film. How and where they recur is revealing not only of their importance but also of the direction or meaning of the narrative or to signal out at important person or
object. Connotations: ECUs show emotion, usually fear or happiness. MEDIUM CLOSE-UP The medium close up is half way between a mid shot and a close up. A medium close up is framing the shoulder, chest to head. It would fill most of the screen. Conventions: Medium shots are
frequently used for the tight presentation of two or three actors. This shot is very commonly used in indoor sequences allowing for a visual signification of relationships between characters. Connotations: Intimacy, coming together. If there are a series of shots which show two people in an MCU and then one person in a sequence using MCU . This may co notate the closeness or intimacy of the
two characters against the distance they feel to the characters shown in a single shot. LONG SHOT/ WIDE SHOT A framing in which the scale of the object shown is small; a standing human figure would appear nearly the height of the screen. It makes for a relatively stable shot that can accommodate
movement without reframing Allows the audience to see a large number of components of the arena MEDIUM LONG SHOT Framing such an object four or five feet high would fill most of the screen vertically. Also called plain amricain, given
its recurrence in the Western genre, where it was important to keep a cowboy's weapon in the image. Gives clear sense of character in a given location and emphasises body language. EXTREME LONG SHOT A framing in which the scale of the object shown is very small; a building, landscape, or crowd of people will fill
the screen. Surroundings now have as much if not more importance, especially if the shot is in high-angle. This means that the closer up the shot, the more the spectator's eye is directed by the camera to the specified reading, extreme long shots give an overall view and do not necessarily direct the viewers eye to what the characters are doing. Usually the first or last shotsof a sequence, that can also function as an
establishing shot. Mid shot Its from the waist and usually used in conversations and is a common shot. In film, a medium shot is a camera shot from a medium distance. The dividing line between "long shot, and "medium shot" is fuzzy, as is the line between "medium shot" and "close-up" Top shot mid shot, left
shot medium close up right close up Aerial shot A camera shot that is filmed from an airplane or a helicopter. Not necessarily a moving shot. Point of View shot (POV) Point of view shows what the
character sees. These are often freehand and are used in horror films. The editor may change the audiences point of view to create certain effects. Over the shoulder shot Shot filmed from behind character's shoulder: a cinematographic shot taken from over the shoulder of a character whose back can be seen at the side of the
frame. This type of shot is very common when two characters are having a discussion and will usually follow an establishing shot, which helps the audience place the characters in their setting. TWO SHOT There are a few variations on this one, but the basic idea is to have a
comfortable shot of two people. Often used in interviews, or when two presenters are hosting a show. A "One-Shot" could be a mid-shot of either of these subjects. A "ThreeShot", unsurprisingly, contains three people. Two shots are good for establishing relationships between characters two-shot could also involve movement or action. It is a good way to follow the interaction between two people without getting distracted by their surroundings.
Angles High Angle A high angle is a power position. Not so extreme as a bird's eye view. The camera is elevated above the action using a crane to give a general overview. High angles make the object photographed seem smaller, and less significant (or scary). The object or character often gets swallowed up by their setting - they become part of a wider picture.
These shots allow you to see more of the picture the mise en scene. A high angle shot, can make a character seem more superior and the subject more subject more vulnerable. Low Angle Low angles help give a sense of confusion to a viewer, of powerlessness within the action of a scene. The background of a low
angle shot will tend to be just sky or ceiling, the lack of detail about the setting adding to the disorientation of the viewer. The added height of the object may make it inspire fear and insecurity in the viewer, who is psychologically dominated by the figure on the screen. Canted Angle
Sometimes the camera is tilted (i.e. is not placed horizontal to floor level), this shot suggest imbalance, transition and instability (very popular in horror movies). This technique is used to suggest POINT-OFView shots (i.e. when the camera becomes the 'eyes' of one particular character, seeing what they see a hand held camera is often used for this. Movement shots TILT
The camera body swivelling upward or downward on a stationary support. Scans the space vertically. A tilt usually also implies a change in the angle of framing; High angle view inferior Low angle superior PAN .The pan shot is more often used,
however, for the purpose of following action or of giving movement to a scene that otherwise would be static. When made rapidly it is called a whip shot, a manoeuvre that is better reserved for special occasions, such as a dramatic shifting of interest from one character or thing to another. It moves from one side to the other A pan connects two places or characters, thus making us aware of their proximity. The speed at which a
pan occurs can be exploited for different dramatic purposes. HANDHELD CAMERA, STEADYCAM The use of the camera operator's body as a camera support, either holding it by hand or using a gyroscopic stabilizer and a harness. Can be attached to a dolly, is used to stabilises footage. Generally used in certain genres such as documentaries.
Used by newsreel and wartime camera operators. Recently, they are extensively used in music videos and in the films like the Shinning, and in Atonement and the battle of Dunkirk. TRACKING SHOT A tracking shot also known as a dolly shot.
Usually follows a character or object as it moves along the screen. A tracking shot can go backwards left to right
right to left The movement is normally quite fluid (except perhaps in some of the wider car chases) and the tracking can be either fast or slow. Depending on the speed, this shot has different connotations, eg: like a dream or trance if excessively slow bewildering and frightening if excessively frenetic. The way in which a person is framed in that shot has a specific meaning, (for example, if the camera holds a person in the frame but that person is at one extreme or other of the
frame, this could suggest a sense of imprisonment). Dolly A camera dolly is a specific piece of equipment designed to create smooth camera movements. The camera is mounted to the dolly and the camera operator and camera assistant usually rides on it to operate the camera. The dolly is operated by a dolly grip who is a dedicated trained operator.
CRANE SHOT A shot with a change in framing rendered by having the camera above the ground and moving through the air in any direction. It is accomplished by placing the camera on a crane (basically, a large cantilevered arm) or similar device.
A common way of ending a film. Zoom and reverse zoom A zoom is technically not a camera move as it does not require the camera itself to move at all. Zooming means altering the focal length of the lens to give the illusion of moving closer to or further away from the action. The effect is not quite the same though. Zooming is effectively magnifying a part of the image, while moving the camera creates
a difference in perspective background objects appear to change in relation to foreground objects. This is sometimes used for creative effect in the dolly zoom. WHIP PAN An extremely fast movement of the camera from side to side, which briefly causes the image to blur into a set of indistinct horizontal streaks. Commonly used in flashy action
genres such as kung-fu movies from the 70s, like Fists of Fury Composition: Framing of shots 180 degree rule 180 Degree Rule The 180 rule ensures directional consistency
from shot to shot Focus Pull Focus pull is useful for directing the viewer's attention. For example, if there are two people in shot but only one is in focus, that person is the subject of attention. If the focus changes to the other person, they become the subject. This is often used in drama dialogues the focus shifts backwards and forwards between the people speaking. A slightly more subtle trick is to focus on a person speaking then pull focus to another person's silent reaction
By change focus during a shot. this means adjusting the focus from one subject to another. The shot below begins focused on the plant in the foreground, then adjusts focus until the girl is sharp. Deep Focus A a technique which incorporates a large depth of field so the foreground, middle ground and background are all in focus and clear.
Deep Focus Here's another example from In Bruges, with Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell sitting by a river. When put in context of the plot (Colin's character accidentally shoots a child during a hitman job), it has a profound resonance: sitting by a calming spot of nature, it's framed so that Brendan Gleeson's frame appears bigger than Colin's, as he takes on a surrogate father figure role American History X American History X analysis The camera is framed so Ed Norton appears much larger than
Edward Furlong. It's a deliberate attempt to make him out as the older, wiser brother (he's straight out of prison at this point). Edward Furlong's character is slouched back against the table, but crucially, rather than framing him against the right side of the shot, he's more centred. This close distance helps to illustrate that they are brothers, and that there is a warmth and respect there that later enables Edward Furlong's character to overcome the racist views he has been taught after listening to his brother explain about his time in prison. A wide-angle lens is used to show how cramped the house is rather than a purpose-made set. Connotations that they are poor. Pulp Fiction
Analyse the framing of this shot and the connotation. Shallow Focus This shot from film Michael Clayton and is an example of shallow focus, which is the opposite of deep focus. The person in the foreground is sharp, but the man in the background is a blur. Shallow Focus An OTS shot from Indiana Jones . The depth of field is not as shallow as that used in In Bruges, whilst blurred, it still retains some sharpness.
Aside from using these types of shots in films for focus pulls and intense close-ups, they can be used to illustrate a character's state of mind - a great example of this is in American History X. This can illustrate factors such as Ed Norton's haziness and slightly concussive state: he's just been attacked by the Aryan Brotherhood members because he began to disassociate himself with them, is in great pain, and is starting to realise the mistakes he has made in his life that have landed him in jail. He is also having serious second thoughts about his white supremacist views, and if you want to get really artistic, the shallow depth of field can visually illustrate the short-sightedness of those views. Again, these are both close-up shots.
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