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Helsby Different Shot Types


									                                                                   Different Shot Types
                                                                                       September 27, 2009

                                                                       Rachel Helsby’s words are in this font.
                                                                         My words are in this font.
                                                                     I added some picture examples.

Extreme Long Shot:

This shot is not personal. The shot establishes the mise en scene of the plot. This shot type will occur at the
beginning of a film, and maybe when a new storyline is introduced. The main focus of this shot is the
environment and we get a good view of the setting, which allows us; the audience to become more
comfortable with the surroundings of the plot. Sometimes, we anticipate something entering
the extreme long shot, like a car or horse rider. We see extreme long shots as
representing a pathway, potential, possibility. A mood/tone is set often by
extreme longs shots, too. In Forrest Gump, this pathway is used many times: to
show chase scenes, to remind us of where the characters are, to express a
unique beauty of the American South and its trees.

Long Shot:

This shot shows us the main talent in its surroundings. We see the character interactive with its environment
which again makes us more comfortable of the setting. We feel more involved in the film now as we know
exactly what is in the setting, where we can maybe guess what might happen in the location. We might
envision ourselves as a member of the circle around Sandy & Danny of Grease,
but we are definitely not permitted access into actually being the two stars.
With this long shot, we come to appreciate their dance moves and exemplary
(perfect) bodies and outfits.

Mid Shot/Medium Shot:

This shot may show 2 or 3 characters from the waist up. The audience can see the characters’ actions and
some emotion, although that isn’t the main focus. There is an equal divide in the interest in the action and
emotion of the character. This shot may be where dialogue is introduced to the audience. Although the main
focus of the audience is on the character we can still see some background. We are able to connect
with the characters on a personal level, but it is still a third-person
involvement (not as intimate). While the camera gives us access, we are
limited by this angle and cannot know what is lurking nearby. The soundtrack
might give us a clue as to what to expect. But the spotlight effect indicates
these two are the two to care about.


The close-up usually shows the character from the chest up. The main focus of the shot is on the character’s
emotion. We can have a relationship with the character on some level as we can finally see the appearance of
the character. Following a close-up, we are usually given a visual of what the
character was looking at in the close-up. Sometimes, however, it is effective
and suspenseful not to see what the character is responding to. For example,
if we do not see what is delighting Gerard Butler in this close-up, we will be
left hanging and, therefore, maybe more intrigued.

Extreme Close Up:

This may be a crucial shot as it may show an important part of the plot. The shot reveals an intensity of
emotions, feelings or actions. The suspense makes the audience want to ask questions. This shot is frequently
used in very dramatic scenes, and will been seen a lot in a horror film. Used a lot in horror films,
because the audience’s knowledge is limited. We like knowing. Knowing makes
us comfortable. In films, seeing is knowing. So, if we see less, we know
less. If we know less, we are less comfortable. If we are less comfortable,
we can be scared more readily, easily. In No Country for Old Men, there are
constant extreme close-up shots to emphasize the importance of certain objects
and to force the viewer to look at these objects: the ever-important coins, the
vent, the wounds of various men, the unlocked lock in the hotel room Chigurh
recently escaped from…

Point Of View Shot:

This type of shot shows a view from the character’s or subjects perspective. The shot is very realistic and
gives us the role of the character’s view. As we play the part of the character we can develop emotions for
them. Sometimes, we are even blatantly told whom to care about and sympathize
with. We are allowed to “become” characters. We are granted our wish of
having a better existence, a better body, a prettier face, a more interesting,
important life. We get to be what is over-idolized and worshiped in America.

Reaction Shot:

This shot gives the dialogue meaning. The shot is important to hold the plot together at main parts in the
film. Depending on the reaction we feel immediate sympathy or happiness for the character. Because of this
we again feel involved in the film, and in the character’s life.

Over The Shoulder Shot:

The over the shoulder shot involves the audience looking over the shoulder of one character to another
character or subject. This shot helps to establish the position of each character, and to get the feel that we are
looking at one person from the other’s point of view. This shot is popular when two characters are having a
discussion. The shot creates a sense of mystery as we don’t see the reaction of both characters, which creates
a lot of dramatic irony for the audience. Here, the viewer sees the ironic happy face
stickers included in the unhappiest of scenes of No Country for Old Men, a
decidedly unhappy film. We also see the timing belts, which may have been
purposely placed by the moviemaker; and if the Coen brothers did not place
these nooses there, the audience can make that metaphorical meaning. The gas
station proprietor cannot see his noose coming. The effort of camera placement
is worth it, because the viewer is compelled by these conversations. Back and
forth we go, unable to stare at a single, important figure. Sometimes, an
audience will watch only one speaker in a conversation if both speakers are
shown. Here, we are directed to care about the gas station proprietor, who is
also meaningfully framed by the window.

Low Angle/Worm’s Eye:

The use of a low angle shot shows the power of a certain character or subject. We can recognize the
importance of the subject. The camera is on the floor and filming upward to the subject. The subject is
given exalted, preferential status. In The Green Mile, the low angle shot is
used to make John Coffey look nearly eight feet tall and extremely important
(while the actor Michael Clarke Duncan is not nearly that tall).

High Angle Shot:

This shot gives the audience a sense of importance. We can see more of the mise en scene. Unlike in the low
angle shot, we now become more superior. The high angle shot can make the character or subject look
vulnerable. This is a scene from Psycho (1960). We are unaware what he will find
upstairs, but the visual cue influences our guess and thinking.

Eye Level Shot:

This shot gives us a sense of equality with the character or subject. The shot is very neutral for the audience
and the character.

Bird’s Eye View Shot:

This shot shows the mise en scene as a whole. The effect of this shot on the audience gives us the greatest
power. As we are looking down on the setting / character everything becomes smaller, which is less realistic.
The shot is used for a particular purpose, and may be an important part of the plot. Maybe we are
supposed to imagine ourselves there, wherever there is: Las Vegas, France, a
military outpost, a simple suburb, the Himalayas, etcetera. We get the
grandeur of the setting as a whole. This shot reminds us that the setting
affects the characters and the action, holding importance and creating meaning.

Canted Angle View Shot:

A canted angle shot occurs when you pivot the camera to distort the horizon line. The shot creates an
unbalanced view of the action. The shot becomes more interesting as you can see more of the action. As this
shot is usually used in action sequences we feel more involved in the film. This angle can also
indicate that something is “off” or “unbalanced” about the action, the
characters, the themes, the setting. The viewer could/should infer that
something is “wrong” or “odd.”

The Silence of the Lambs                                          I’ve Loved You So Long




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