Film Techniques Glossary
Film Techniques Film techniques is the term used to describe the ways that meaning is created in film. Camera Shots A camera shot is the amount of space that is seen in one shot or frame. Camera shots are used to demonstrate different aspects of a film's setting, characters and themes. As a result, camera shots are very important in shaping meaning in a film. Reviewing the examples on the right hand side of this page should make the different camera shots clearer. An extreme long shot (animation on right) contains a large amount of landscape. It is often used at the beginning of a scene or a film to establish general location(setting). This is also known as an establishing shot.
A long shot (animation on right) contains landscape but gives the viewer a more specific idea of setting. A long shot may show the viewers the building where the action will take place.
A full shot (animation on right) contains a complete view of the characters. From this shot, viewers can take in the costumes of characters and may also help to demonstrate the relationships between characters. For more information on costumes and acting refer to Chapter 4.
A mid shot (animation on right) contains the characters or a character from the waist up. From this shot, viewers can see the characters' faces more clearly as well as their interaction with other characters. This is also known as a social shot.
A close-up (animation on right) contains just one character's face. This enables viewers to understand the actor's emotions and also allows them to feel empathy for the character. This is also known as a personal shot.
An extreme close-up (animation on right) contains one part of a character's face or other object. This technique is quite common in horror films, particularly the example above. This type of shot creates an intense mood and provides interaction between the audience and the viewer.
When analysing a film you should always think about the different camera shots and why they are being used. The next time that you are at the cinema or watching television see what camera shots are being used. Important: These camera shots are used in all forms of visual texts including postcards, posters and print advertisements.