If you read my first post-Basic camera angles & movements in film, you are ready to go on and learn the camera angles and shots we use in the film industry.
It’s very important to understand that the way you choose to shoot can really affect your audience emotions. For example, the camera is panning through a room and suddenly stops on an object. At that point, the audience understands that there is something important about that object. Panning can also be used on two men talking and by that it will emphasize the contrast between them.
Each time your camera will change angle in the scene, it will change your audience attention, so you must know how to use the camera right.
Why knowing the camera angles and shots is important?
I know I promised that on this blog, I want to focus more on the creative part of filmmaking than the technical part, but knowing the camera angles and shots is very basic and will help us to communicate better on the next articles. The camera angles and shots are the basic language of the film production. Everybody in the production set will communicate using these shots names, so you absolutely must know them. The cameras angles are the best tool to tell a story without explaining too much.
Building relationship with camera angles
The camera angles you’ll choose will be a great tool to describe the relationships of the characters without words. POV shot (I will explain it later on) will tell the audience who is the important character in the scene (that will also be the character that get more screen time), If you’ll shoot one character closer and the other in a more open shot, the one that was shot closer will look and feel to the audience as the stronger one. Read the next shots angels I’m introducing here and you will understand what I’m saying.
so here it goes:
Long Shot(LS )
The shot shows all the body of the photographed object and some of its background. Usually, we use it the beginning of a scene, so the audience will understand where the scene is taking place. Sometimes, when the scene is long,
we will use it to remind the audience where the scene is happening.
This angle has no emotional strength. It simply gives us information.
Medium Close Up (MCU )
A very intimate shot. What we see is only head and shoulders of photographed object. It provides a great sense of intimacy with the photographed object. This shot is used a lot in interviews and TV. In films we use it a lot on reaction shots or when we want to emphasize the drama.It is customary to put the photographed object in this shot just beyond the center of the frame, so the shot will not be too symmetrical. You should also leave some space on the side to which the character speaks or turns to.
There is also a shot called Close Up which is little closer.
The advantages of this kind of shot are:
They are easy to lighten and it’s also easy to connect them with other shots in the scene.
This shot helps convey what the character feels with only very light expressions using mainly the eyes.
The disadvantages of this kind of shot are:
Sometimes the shot has nothing to do with the spirit of the scene and can serve as a kind of invasion of subject’s privacy (especially in documentary cinema). The viewer may find himself uncomfortable when it happens.
The shot is very close to the object. For example, in a person shot, we might see only the face of the character or his hands. The feeling that the viewer gets is that what we see at the moment is very important, or with intense emotional weight. For example, a woman walking on the street at night. ECU on her eyes can convey to us a sense that she is scared.
A very popular shot angle. Also called “Waist shot”. Usually, it’s an angle that contains the top of the photographed object. It creates a sense of distance from the person that is being shot, but to such an extent that we can still see him and his body language clearly, with some level of intimacy. When you are using this kind of shot (and you are going to use it a lot), you must pay attention to the background. Also pay attention to the actor’s body posture and movements.
A shot that is being used a lot less today. Its primary use is when you want to connect the character to its location. It’s a hard shot when to edit with. especially because it reveals too much of the background. If for example we have a dialogue scene, we can see the second character in the shot of the other, and that can make it difficult for the continuity of the editing. The biggest advantage of the shot is that it allows the actor to use his body language.
The same as Medium Shot with the difference that it includes two people.
Over The Shoulder Shot (O/S)
The shot focuses on an object over the shoulder of another person whose face is directed to the same object. We will see the back of the shoulder and part of the head of the person who looks at the object. Directors use this shot a lot in dialogues since it is kind of a “shortcut” to see both characters at the same time.
Ok, so I understand this post is getting too long, but please bear with me
and trust me, if you don’t know the jargon of the film industry, you will be in a lot of troubles. So just a few more to go and we’re done:
Point of view (POV)
The POV shot is a great film technique to make the viewer identify with your character. This is also a great way to create tense. In the POV shot, the camera transmits the point of view of an object in the scene. It basically takes the place of character that looks at something. If we are filming two people talking and we want to pass the point of view of one over the other, the camera will be in front of the photographed object in the place of the one we want to emulate his eyes. Usually, the photographed object will not look directly into the camera, but 30 degrees to the side. If the object looks directly into the camera, it’s like he is looking directly at the audience and thus breaks the magic of cinema. Of course, there are quite a few films that do this on purpose, but this should be a conscious decision.
On this shot the camera is positioned in a low angle, making the shot object look very big.
On this shot the camera is positioned on a high angle, making the object look small.
A bird’s Eye Angle
When the camera just above the photographed object. Also good to show us where the characters are. The shot is aimed directly to the object, but from above.
So there are many more types of camera shots and angles, but I think I brought the important ones here. If you think I missed any important camera shots,
let me know