shot sizes and techniques


hurtlocker-cereal Wide shots are used to establish a scene from an angle that isn’t personal to any particular character so it shows everything it is great for establishing locations.

Mid shot:

1682085-poster-1960-the-hobbit-starts-a-movie-revolution Mid shots are used to show the top half of a character or object from quite close which is great for showing movement and larger less subtle reactions.

Close ups:

tgtbtu4 A close up is used to show emotion on a characters face or detail on an object meaning that the object fills the frame so the audience feels physically closer.

Over the shoulder:

(L-r) RALPH FIENNES as Lord Voldemort and DANIEL RADCLIFFE as Harry Potter in Warner Bros. Pictures’ fantasy adventure “HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 2,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. An over the shoulder shot involves two items one in the foreground out of focus and one in the background in focus. The focus can change throughout for effect. it is used to show character proximity or for sneaking scenes. It is good for showing interaction or to show that something is hiding.


panning-diagram1 A pan is were the camera moves across horizontally expanding the surroundings covered in the shot. it is commonly used to show people walking or large scenery.

High angle:

Quantum of Solace High angle shots are were the camera is placed above the actors eye level it creates an illusion of something being small and powerless.

Low angle:

dark01 The low angle shot dose the opposite of the high angle shot by placing the camera below the actors eye line making them appear tall and powerful this is normally used on the antagonist.

Two shot:

image2full A two shot is a shot with two people in the scene generally for showing interaction.

Long shot:

treeoflife2 A long shot is a shot taken from a distance (a type of wide shot) with the focus point in the center and a distant horizon which is effective for creating a feeling of loneliness.

Tracking shot:

Dolly 2 A tracking shot is a shot in which the camera moves with the actor or object following them usually using a dolly and rack

Fast cuts:

fcpx-hellevator Fast cuts are were a lot of clips are put together and edited so that the shot changes at speed which builds tension in a scene.


camera_tilt Tilts are were the camera rotates on the cameras relative z axis which is used to show scale as it will move from a high to low angle shot which is good for showing point of view.

Extreme close up:

50f5b1857730ffb983277b000b4ea074 An extreme close up is were the camera is focused on a very specific thing such as the emotion in an actors eyes.

Whip pan:

Chicken_February_2009-1 A whip pan is like a pan only it is a lot faster and so is usually used for something being thrown at speed or a sudden acceleration.

Extreme wide:

download The extreme wide shot is used to establish the place in the world were the scene is occurring.


Of the above shots the shots I would like to use are the wide shot / long shot, the close up, pan’s and high / low angles as well as medium shots.

  • Wide because in my film there will be a number of close but different locations and by using the wide shot I will be able to quickly establish some changes in location and show of any dramatic scenery which would add to aesthetic appeal and thus the narrative. The long wide shot will also emphasize the characters loneliness and by creating a sense of isolation it makes the character more vulnerable and so the audience will sympathize with that character more.
  • Close ups in my film will show the reactant emotion on the main characters face after they go through different irritating and sometimes comical situations on their journey. the close up will also be used to show the location of the heart and show detail and emphasize the hearts importance both to the character and to the narrative.
  • Panning shots will emphasize scale and distance as well as add energy to the scene. this will be useful to me because i would like to make the characters journey home seem long and tedious.


In my film I shall use the advise in the clip above by placing the camera close to the actor’s face as this will make the audience feel closer to the character and would make the interaction scene at the beginning funnier.

Holding the Camera:

Free hand is a very common style of holding the camera when held like scene in the picture the footage usually has a tremble to it which isn’t normally desired although some times it is used deliberately to create energy in films such as ‘The Blare Witch Project’ and ‘Cloverfield.’ shot like this the footage is quite disorientating although it dose create energy. wobbling can be got around by holding the camera low or by using your body such as your knee or shoulder to rest it on, an example of this is in schadenfreude as each of the shots were the actors are followed was shot were the camera was resting on somebody’s shoulders whilst they stepped with the same foot as the actor in time which reduced wobble and stopped there being the sound of two sets of footsteps.

A Steadicam uses an upper body harness and a counter weight that counters the wobble so that the camera stays in the same position it is often used by the people on segways on sporting fields recording the game.

Tripods come in all shapes and sizes they keep a camera almost perfectly still especially fluid ones. Tripods generally aren’t used for any form of tracking shot but are brilliant for tilts pans stills and any other movement free shots.

Dolly’s are used for wobble free tracking shots. The camera sits on a platform which runs along a track like a train or skateboard. this makes the

Wire rigs and drones are used to film at height which create some of the most memorable stunts in films. the airborne cameras are the ones with the greatest health and safety issues as they are heavy and could fall easily.

A mono pod is a single telescopic pole which can be used to reach high places such as up trees. This doesn’t prevent wobble but can be leaned on things and be held by multiple people.

78The crane / jib holds the camera still preventing it from wobbling it allows the camera to perform smooth movement up down and to the sides whilst the camera is remotely operated by someone at the counter balance whilst the crane is operated by two or more people on either side of the pivot.

Of the above I would most like to use the stedicam tripod and jib.

  • Stedicam because this will stop the camera shaking as it would with hand held. I do not want the camera to shake because this creates energy which my character doesn’t have much of and so having an energetic camera would be counter productive in relation to the character and therefore the narrative.
  • Tripod as tripods are great for still wide shots, smooth tilts and pans as well as getting high and low angles.
  • A jib would allow me to get some experimental shots that will show distance with panning up and down.

About kitjaytaylor

Film student
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2 Responses to shot sizes and techniques

  1. kendalcollegefilm says:

    More comprehensive contextual study here, Kit, showing huge dedication to the ‘grammar’ of cinema—well done. I’d prefer to see more detail in your planned application, though, placing the generalised shot type within the context of your specific film—and thereby connecting a broad technique through critical reflection to a detailed use.


  2. Pingback: Evaluation | Kit Taylor

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