Thursday, 7 October 2010

Types of Shots

Very Long Shot

The example photo is taken from Fight Club.
The very long shot often aims to not only include the presented object, but also the environment it's in. This is the general category for "Weather shots" which's often used to show a clear image of the surrounding for whatever purpose, similar to the way pathetic fallacy is used in literature. In this scene, the protagnoist (arguably) is shown in a warehouse-like environment, panoramically observing the destruction of the city, which creates a certain frame of thought for the audience - "Why" etc.

Long Shot

The long shot shows a smaller depth of field and often only aims to fully show the object presented, rather than the environment. This shot is considered to be 'intorductory', quite useful for letting the audience have a 'sneak peak' on a newly adjusted object, for example a Superhero's new costume. This sort of shots is quite informatic and slightly dramatic, and would create an atmosphere similar to an exciting documentary with an orgasmic voice over- "THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND SUNS"- sort of thing.
The acompanied shot is taken from The Dark Knight; the very first appearence of the antagonist in the film. The shot clearly shows his physique, and him holding a clown mask-part of his identity. The environment is unpurposely shown.

Medium Shot

Probably the most used shot in non-cinematric media texts. The Medium shot clearly shows the object very directly communicating to the audience (Often above the waist), addressing them almost personally. The Medium shot pays no attention to the surrounding environment or any other objects but the presented one. Very commonly used Newsrooms- Creating this form of "This issue interests you, listen to me" command.
This photograph is of Tim Minchin's photoshoot, showing him addressing the audience with what appears to be quite an unorthodox questioning look.

Medium Close up

Quite awkward to define: The Medium close up shot stands somewhere between Medium shots and Close ups (Blatantly).
Medium Close ups are... often show that shoulder-head range of an object, with ever so little environment poking behind those ears.
Medium Close ups are most common when they develop from a medium shot via a zoom in action in order to highlight a specific matter the presented object is communicating.
E.g. Tim Minchin, again. (Clearly shows eye colour. Significant? Possibly)

Close up

The Close Up shot has quite an impact in audience emotional representation. The Close up is only concerned with showing the central point of interest in an object such as the presenter's facial expressions, with no unneccessary extras that may be distractive such as the shoulders, the body or the environment. This is quite useful since it's difficult to communicate emotions via media. In my example is Jack Black practicing his pulling skills, in which we can very clearly see his facial eagerly expressions, none of his body and a totally faded out background that draws no audience attention.

Extreme Close up

The extreme close up in my consideration is a more blunt tool to show emotions (In comparison with the typical Close up) as the wide variety of [human] emotions can often be mixed up due to lack of composition, for example, the Extreme close up may show an eye+tear composition, but the audience will not be able to differ "Happy tears" from tears product to severe depression/frustration, assuming no other componenets such as audio were present. This may be why extreme closeups are more common for the presenting of non-human objects, for scientific purposes or such. For example, the attached picture.

Over the shoulder

My personal least favourite shot, the OverTheShoulder shot is typically used to indicate a conversation going on between two people or such, with typically an alteration of "Whose shoulder is it over" depending on who's being spoken to. This usually ends up terribly as the audience are too busy staring at that unattractive Ear/hair/neck area that might be so distracting that they'd miss out on some parts of the conversation going on. I personally believe that the OverTheShoulder shot is better in theory than in practice, and that it'd take great production skills for it to be perfected in contrast with the other types of shots. This type of shot is most common in Live News reporting, acompanied by a lot of panning around the scene, implying that "Annoying journalist" feel. Example taken from some adorable cartoon thing.

Point Of View

The point of view shot is a very strong cinematic feature, often useful in thriller production; this shot shows exactly what the featured protagonist would see, including their own frontal elements such as arms and legs, as a First Person Shooter game would. The purpose of this shot really does vary depending on the type of production job, but it often revolves around involving the audience in whatever issue is going on. Examples include, but are not limited to, satire, intros and thriller scenes. My example is taken from a concept art for the rather cool console game Mirror's edge.

Two Shot

The Two Shot is a more simplistic type of shot, often falls into the Medium shot category, only that it would feature two objects rather than one, establishing a very clear relationship between them. Often used in duo-based plots. Example here is The Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi (Medium shot!)
This just may clash a bit with some audience theories that feature an aspirational element, such as Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, as the shot shows an enclosed circle that the audience may not join for whatever reason they lack.

Low Angle Shot

Is a shot without a specific distance, but an angle. The low angle, unless it's also Point Of View, promotes a great sense of authority for the featured object, and suggests a sense of inferiority for the observing audience. The use of the low angle shot is often used (in almost all genres) in order to help establish a scale in which the audience can get a feel of their stance in contrast with the featured object: In theory, the audience are expected to get a feel of inferiority and therefore promoting a sense of inner insecurity towards the featured object. In my example, I used the spine-chilling 'Swastica imprinting' scene from Inglourious Basterds.

High Angle Shot

The high angle is the exact opposite of the low angle shot: promotes the audience with authority over the featured object(s). This strongly relates to audience aspirational needs. Often used in drama to imply a moral compass, granting the audience a sense of control and reponsibility over the events in the text. My example is, some guy, who shows great fear to how tall and mighty you are.


  1. Very interesting post bro, currently writing a screen play and this will help

  2. TeddyPin, Glad to hear it. I'll be posting some narrative theories from the curriculum. You might also find that of use.