A long shot shows the entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in some relation to its surroundings. It has been suggested that long-shot ranges usually correspond to approximately what would be the distance between the front row of the audience and the stage in live theatre. It is now common to refer to a long shot as a “wide shot” because it often requires the use of a wide-angle lens.
A related notion is that of an extreme long shot. This can be taken from as much as a quarter of a mile away, and is generally used as a scene-setting, establishing shot. It normally shows an exterior, e.g. the outside of a building, or a landscape, and is often used to show scenes of thrilling action e.g. in a war film or disaster movie. There will be very little detail visible in the shot, as it is meant to give a general impression rather than specific information.
A medium shot is a camera shot from a medium distance. In some standard texts and professional references, a full-length view of a human subject is called a medium shot; in this terminology, a shot of the person from the knees up or the waist up is a close-up shot. In other texts, these partial views are called medium shots.
Medium shots are relatively good in showing facial expressions but work well to show body language. Depending where the characters are placed in the shot, a medium shot is used to represent importance and power.
A close-up tightly frames a person or an object. Close-ups display more detail than a medium or long shot, but they do not include the broader scene. Moving in to a close-up or away from a close-up is a common type of zooming.
Close-ups are used in many ways, for many reasons. Close-ups are often used as cutaways from a more distant shot to show detail, such as characters’ emotions, or some intricate activity with their hands. Close cuts to characters’ faces are used far more often in television than in movies; they are especially common in soap operas. For a director to deliberately avoid close-ups may create in the audience an emotional distance from the subject matter.
Close-ups are used for distinguishing main characters. Major characters are often given a close-up when they are introduced as a way of indicating their importance. Leading characters will have multiple close-ups.
Close-up shots do not show the subject in the broad context of its surroundings. If overused, close-ups may leave viewers uncertain as to what they are seeing. Close-ups are rarely done with wide angle lenses, because perspective causes objects in the center of the picture to be unnaturally enlarged. Certain times, different directors will use wide angle lenses, because they can convey the message of confusion, and bring life to certain characters.
Aerial shots are usually done with a crane or with a camera attached to a special helicopter to view large landscapes. A good area to do this shot would be a scene that takes place on a building. If the aerial shot is of a character it can make them seem insignificant or vulnerable.
Bird’s Eye Shot
A bird’s eye shot refers to a shot looking directly down on the subject. The perspective is very foreshortened, making the subject appear short and squat. This shot can be used to give an overall establishing shot of a scene, or to emphasise the smallness or insignificance of the subjects. These shots are normally used for battle scenes or establishing where the character is.
A low-angle shot is a shot from a camera positioned low on the vertical axis, anywhere below the eye line, looking up.
Over the Shoulder Shot
An over the shoulder shot is a shot of someone or something taken over the shoulder of another person. The back of the shoulder and head of this person is used to frame the image of whatever (or whomever) the camera is pointing toward. This type of shot is very common when two characters are having a discussion and will usually follow an establishing shot which helps the audience place the characters in their setting.
Point of View Shot
A point of view (POV) shot is a short film scene that shows what a character (the subject) is looking at (represented through the camera). It is usually established by being positioned between a shot of a character looking at something, and a shot showing the character’s reaction.
A POV shot need not be the strict point-of-view of an actual single character in a film. Sometimes the point-of-view shot is taken over the shoulder of the character (third person), who remains visible on the screen. Sometimes a POV shot is “shared” (“dual” or “triple”), i.e. it represents the joint POV of two (or more) characters. There is also the “nobody POV”, where a shot is taken from the POV of a non-existent character. This often occurs when an actual POV shot is implied, but the character is removed. Sometimes the character is never present at all, despite a clear POV shot.
A POV shot need not be established by strictly visual means. The manipulation of diegetic sounds can be used to emphasize a particular character’s POV.
It makes little sense to say that a shot is “inherently” POV; it is the editing of the POV shot within a sequence of shots that determines POV. Nor can the establishment of a POV shot be isolated from other elements of filmmaking – mise en scene, acting, camera placement, editing, and special effects can all contribute to the establishment of POV.
With some POV shots when an animal is the chosen character, the shot will look distorted or black and white.
Shot reverse shot is a film technique wherein one character is shown looking at another character (often off-screen), and then the other character is shown looking “back” at the first character. Since the characters are shown facing in opposite directions, the viewer assumes that they are looking at each other.
Shot reverse shot is a feature of the “classical” Hollywood style of continuity editing, which deemphasizes transitions between shots such that the audience perceives one continuous action that develops linearly, chronologically, and logically. It is in fact an example of an eye line match.
A Two shot is a type of shot where the frame encompasses a view of two people (the subjects). The subjects do not have to be next to each other, and there are many common two-shots which have one subject in the foreground and the other subject in the background.
The shots are also used to show the emotional reactions between the subjects.
An ‘American two shot’ shows the two heads facing each other in profile to the camera.
An establishing shot sets up, or “establishes”, a scene’s setting and/or its participants. Typically it is a shot at the beginning (or, occasionally, end) of a scene indicating where, and sometimes when, the remainder of the scene takes place.
Establishing shots may use famous landmarks – such as the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, the Empire State Building, or the Statue of Liberty – to identify a city.
Alternatively, an establishing shot might just be a long shot of a room that shows all the characters from a particular scene. A close-up shot can also be used at the beginning of a scene to establish the setting.
Establishing shots were more common during the classical era of filmmaking than they are now. Today’s filmmakers tend to skip the establishing shot in order to move the scene along more quickly. In addition, scenes in mysteries and the like often wish to obscure the setting and its participants and thus avoid clarifying them with an establishing shot.
An establishing shot may also establish a concept, rather than a location. For example, opening with a martial arts drill visually establishes the theme of martial arts.
A master shot is a film recording of an entire dramatized scene, from start to finish, from an angle that keeps all the players in view. It is often a long shot and can sometimes perform a double function as an establishing shot. Usually, the master shot is the first shot checked off during the shooting of a scene-it is the foundation of what is called camera coverage, other shots that reveal different aspects of the action, groupings of two or three of the actors at crucial moments, close-ups of individuals, insert shots of various props, and so on.
Freeze Frame Shot
A freeze frame shot is used when one shot is printed in a single frame several times, in order to make an interesting illusion of a still photograph.
“Freeze frame” is also a drama medium term used in which, during a live performance, the actors/actresses will freeze at a particular, pre-meditated time, to enhance a particular scene, or to show an important moment in the play/production. The image can then be further enhanced by spoken word, in which each character tells their personal thoughts regarding the situation, giving the audience further insight into the meaning, plot or hidden story of the play/production/scene. This is known as thought tracking, another Drama Medium.
An insert is a shot of part of a scene as filmed from a different angle and/or focal length from the master shot. Inserts cover action already covered in the master shot, but emphasize a different aspect of that action due to the different framing. An insert is different from a cutaway in that the cutaway is of action not covered in the master shot.
There are more exact terms to use when the new, inserted shot is another view of actors: close-up, head shot, knee shot, two shot. So the term “insert” is often confined to views of objects–and body parts, other than the head. Thus: CLOSE-UP of the gunfighter, INSERT of his hand quivering above the holster, TWO SHOT of his friends watching anxiously, INSERT of the clock ticking.
Often inserts of this sort are done separately from the main action, by a second-unit director using stand-ins.
Inserts and cutaways can both be vexatious for directors, as care must be taken to preserve continuity by keeping the objects in the same relative position as in the main take, and having the lighting the same.
Special Effects used in Martial Art Films
Chroma keying is a technique for mixing two images or frames together in which a colour (or a small colour range) from one image is removed (or made transparent), revealing another image behind it. This technique is also referred to as colour keying, colour-separation overlay (CSO; primarily by the BBC), greenscreen, and bluescreen.
It is commonly used for weather forecast broadcasts, wherein the presenter appears to be standing in front of a large map, but in the studio it is actually a large blue or green background. The meteorologist stands in front of a bluescreen, and then different weather maps are added on those parts in the image where the colour is blue.
If the meteorologist himself wears blue clothes, his clothes will become replaced with the background video. This also works for greenscreens, since blue and green are considered the colours least like skin tone. This technique is also used in the entertainment industry, the iconic theatre shots in Mystery Science Theater 3000, for example.
Bullet Time refers to a digitally enhanced simulation of variable speed (i.e. slow motion, time-lapseâ€¦) photography used in films, broadcast advertisements and video games. It is characterized both by its extreme transformation of time (slow enough to show normally imperceptible and un-filmable events, such as flying bullets) and space (by way of the ability of the camera angle-the audience’s point-of-view-to move around the scene at a normal speed while events are slowed). The first movie to use the Bullet Time technique was Blade in 1998, where bullets were computer-generated and digitally implemented. However, the actual term Bullet Time is a registered trademark of Warner Bros., the distributor of The Matrix. It was formerly a trademark of 3D Realms, producer of the Max Payne games.
This is almost impossible with conventional slow-motion, as the physical camera would have to move impossibly fast; the concept implies that only a “virtual camera,” often illustrated within the confines of a computer-generated environment such as a game or virtual reality, would be capable of “filming” bullet-time types of moments. Technical and historical variations of this effect have been referred to as time slicing, view morphing, slow-mo, temps mort and virtual cinematography.
Computer-generated imagery (also known as CGI) is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media. Video games usually use real-time computer graphics (rarely referred to as CGI), but may also include pre-rendered “cut scenes” and intro movies that would be typical CGI applications. These are sometimes referred to as FMV (Full motion video).
CGI is used for visual effects because computer generated effects are more controllable than other more physically based processes, such as constructing miniatures for effects shots or hiring extras for crowd scenes, and because it allows the creation of images that would not be feasible using any other technology. It can also allow a single graphic artist to produce such content without the use of actors, expensive set pieces, or props.
3D computer graphics software is used to make computer-generated imagery for movies, etc. Recent availability of CGI software and increased computer speeds have allowed individual artists and small companies to produce professional grade films, games, and fine art from their home computers. This has brought about an Internet subculture with its own set of global celebrities, clichés, and technical vocabulary.
Simulators, particularly flight simulators, and simulation generally, make extensive use of CGI techniques for representing the Outside World.
Digital compositing is the process of digitally assembling multiple images to make a final image, typically for print, motion pictures or screen display. It is the evolution into the digital realm of optical film compositing.