Shootout: Western shots analysis

Our first assignment is to make a minuet long short film of a shootout with no weapons: we started by watching the iconic spaghetti western standoff in the good the bad and the ugly in order to gain an understanding of the basic use of shot sizes editing and sound and how they are used to build tension.


from the clip above we can clearly see the importance of shots and editing as without any shot changes there would simply be three men stood still in a triangle for ten minutes seen from afar meaning the audience would have fallen asleep and the scene would have no tension  even though the scene shows exactly the same scenario. In the clip we see that the opening shots are slow but speed up as the scene moves on. This is the backbone of tension building because the shot length simulates your heart beat and as the shot gets shorter so dose your heartbeat which stimulates an adrenalin rush as you expect something big to happen at any given moment.


The first shot is a wide angle establishing shot showing the three men  in  an equilateral triangle within a circle. this shot has huge semiotic value:

tgtbtuThe even sides of the triangle show that their all on the same playing field, that each character is equal in status at this point regardless of their status outside the circle. The pathways through the circle form a cross like the grave in the foreground which symbolises death. The circle itself symbolises many things from the circle of life to the fact that now the stand of has begun theres no escaping (entrapment).

Establishing shot:

the purpose of an establishing shot is exactly what it says: to show the entire scene and everything that is happening so the viewer understands what is going to happen. This is used in the shoot out to show the semiotics in the scene and also to show all of the dangers in the scene that the character will face which builds tension as it threatens the protagonist and pulls the film from the microcosm of the characters life to the macrocosmic view of the world around them.


tgtbtu2 The second shot used type of shot used is a wide long shot which is used to show where the characters are in relation to each other.

Wide Long Shot:

which is useful as proximity is a key feature in building tension between a character we have become attached to because we wouldn’t want the antagonist getting too close to them. In a shootout though the proximity is expanded showing danger is not limited to close up aggression between the characters. this builds tension because it means that the protagonist has no chance of avoiding the situation.

About kitjaytaylor

Film student
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One Response to Shootout: Western shots analysis

  1. kendalcollegefilm says:

    This is an excellent analysis, Kit—very well done. I’m keen that you continue such strong work. You’ve shown a really good sense of both HOW and WHY Leone has made certain decisions, and I’m thrilled to see your deconstruction of individual frames to explore the meanings hidden within. Excellent work.


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