What are the essential shots, camera angles and camera movements a filmmaker should know about? Here they are:
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I’ve divided 15 essential camera shots into three groups of 5 each: Angles, Shot Sizes and Motion. Together, you can create an infinite combination of shots for your film projects.
- Eye level – camera points straight ahead. Intention is to be objective.
- Low angle – camera points up from a lower angle. It makes the subject dominating.
- High angle – camera points down from a higher angle. It makes the subject diminutive. A variation: Top angle or bird’s eye view – special case when you want to show the topography of a location. Aerial shots fall under this.
- Dutch – tilted angle. It draws attention to the fact it’s not a balanced frame. Something is literally off kilter.
- Over the shoulder (OTS) – not strictly an angle, but it’s a specialized shot that deserves its own place. Confrontational by nature.
- Close up – facial features and expression is more important than anything else. Variation: Extreme close up – you probably want to chop something off for an even closer look.
- Long shot – When you want to add action and location along with the subject. Variation: Extreme long shot – when the location is more important than the character at that moment.
- Medium shot or Mid shot – half of a person, roughly, where body language is important while eliminating distracting elements of the background.
- Single, two shot, three shot. etc. – Number of people in frame decide this. You can combine this with a CU, MS or LS.
- POV – as if the audience were the subject.