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.