Film Terminology: Camera Shots and Angles
Extreme Close-up (ECU)
A shot bringing us really close to the person or object being filmed. Eg a shot of a person’s face or parts of it. Shows emotion and reveals private information.
A shot that brings us close to the person or object being filmed. Eg a shot of a person’s head or head and shoulders only would be a close-up shot). Focuses on a character’s reaction, expression or detail. Used for the main characters.
Or medium shot. A shot between a CU and a LS. A person from head to waist. It’s close enough to show facial detail but far enough away to follow a character as they move. Some background is shown. Often used to show action, like a fight scene. The basic shot of television.
Medium Long Shot
A shot of a person from the knees (or hips) up. Shows action and gives some facial expression. If it’s used too often the characters seem remote.
Or a full shot. A person is shot from head to foot from a distance. Often focuses on setting rather than character giving an overall view of a scene. Can show multiple characters.
Extra Long Shot
A type of establishing shot. Informs the viewer where the scene is set. Often characters are too small to make out.
Usually a long shot and often a wide angle. Can be a bird’s eye view. It is often used at the beginning of a scene or sequence to give clues/an overview about the setting. The audience is not confused about what is happening and where.
Point of View Shot (POV)
A shot in which the camera is associated with the eyes of a character. This is what s/he sees. It is their perspective.
Over the Shoulder Shot (OTS)
A shot when the camera is positioned over the shoulder of one character in full view of who/what they are facing. Often used in dialogue scenes and uses a ‘shot and reverse shot’ process.
A close-up showing a person’s reaction to what has happened in the previous shot. Known as a ‘noddy’ if the person ids just nodding, like a television interviewer.
A shot in which two people are shown.
A shot taken from a crane. A kind of high angle shot.
A shot taken by a camera on a wheeled platform allowing the camera to be moved.
Overhead / Aerial Shot
The camera is positioned directly above the character, object or location, looking down. Shows a character when most vulnerable.
The camera is tilted to look down on the character or object. A character filmed from this angle will appear weak, insignificant, vulnerable, cowardly, flawed and small.
The camera is tilted to look up to the character or object. A character filmed from this angle will seem strong, powerful, threatening, tall and proud.
Eye Level / Neutral
A fairly neutral shot; the camera is positioned as though it is a human actually observing a scene, so that the actors' heads are level with the focus.