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Shot Types and Camera Movements Tutorial

Shot Types and Camera Movements Tutorial

Posted by: San Francisco Film Society

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Common techniques of cinematography, such as choice of shot type and camera movement, can greatly influence the audience’s interpretation and appreciation of a film. Variance in size and type of shot or angle adds depth to the structure and meaning of a film and can influence editing. The subject’s size within the frame depends on two things: the distance between the camera and the subject and the focal length of the camera’s lens. Shot types often include:

Extreme close-up: Usually focuses on a single facial feature, such as lips and eyes

Close-up: May be used to show tension

Medium shot: Mainly used for a scene when it is desirable to see the subjects’ facial expressions in the context of their body language, but often denies setting establishment and is generally less effective than the close-up

Long shot: Places the subject in some relation to its surroundings

Establishing shot: Mainly used at a new location to give the audience a sense of locality

For an overview of common shot types and camera movements, read the Shot Type and Camera Movement Handout in our Lesson Exchange

Read this handout for an overview of camera shots and movements with added context in terms of cutting and creating a shot sequence. 

Watch this video tutorial on camera movements.

Watch this video tutorial on shot types.


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