Film Terminology PDF

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Film Terminology

What’s included and excluded in an individual shot?

Very long shot/wide shot
A shot in which figures appear small in the landscape. Often used at the beginning of a film or sequence as an ‘establishing shot’ to show where the action is taking place; also used to make a figure appear small or isolated.

Long shot
A shot in which a figure can be seen from head to toe.

Mid shot
Shows the figure from approximately the waist to the head. In a mid shot, you can easily recognize an individual but you can also see what they are doing with their hands.

Medium close up
From chest to head

Head and shoulders, enabling you to easily see facial expressions, so you can see what characters are thinking and feeling

Big close up
Head only, used when expressions are important

Extreme close-up
From just above the eyebrows to just below the mouth, or even closer: used to emphasize facial expression or to make the subject appear threatening.

Other useful terms for shots are:

Two shot
Any shot with two people in it.

Point of view shot
A shot from a character’s point of view.

Reaction shot
A shot showing a character’s expression as they react to something.

A type of reaction shot is used in interviews, where we see the interviewer apparently reacting to the interviewee.

Over-the-shoulder shot
A shot in which we see a character over another’s shoulder, often used in interviews or dialogues.

The type of lens, and how it’s used, can make a big difference to the meaning of a shot.

Wide-angle shot (taken with a wide-angle lens)
This has the effect of seeming to exaggerate perspective. It’s often used to make the viewer feel that they are close to the action. If it’s used for closeups, it makes the nose look bigger and the ears smaller—an effect usually used for comedy.

Telephoto shot
Like using a telescope, a telephoto lens appears to bring the subject closer and flatten out perspective. It also usually reduces the depth of field.

Zoom lenses
These can vary the angle of view, from wide-angle to telephoto, so that the subject appears to move closer (or further away) without the camera itself moving.

Depth of field
This means how much of the shot seems to be in focus, in front of and behind the subject.

Deep focus
Everything in the shot appears to be in focus, which means that we can be looking at the action taking place in the foreground, middle ground, and background.

Shallow focus
Isolates the subject from the background.

Camera position
Where the camera is in relation to the subject.

Low angle shot
The camera points upwards, usually making the subject or setting seem grand or threatening.

High angle shot
The camera looks down, making the subject look vulnerable or insignificant.

Bird’s eye shot
Looks vertically down at the subject.

Language English
No. of Pages4
PDF Size0.05 MB

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Film Terminology PDF Free Download

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