Film techniques

A shot Of a person landing to set a bomb in a building would for instance require the film maker to use a close up or better still an extreme close up to show the tense feeling in the characters’ eye. Using a long shot in this scene will not clearly bring out the message since the long shot does not reveal details or emotions. Any motion picture is made up of basic elements of a sequence referred to as the shots. This paper illustrates how various shots are used in film making to form a sequence and to convey different messages.
Extreme long shot It is usually referred to as an establishing shot. This is because it orients the ewer to the location. It is an opening shot that is used to tell the viewer the exterior environment that the film is taking place. It therefore describes the location of the scene that could be the outside buildings, a geographical landscape of a town or city among other locations. It normally reveals landscapes. Usually a viewer cannot clearly see a specific object in this kind of shot though he or she sees the environment.
It answers the question ‘Where?. The extreme long shot can also be used to set the atmosphere of the scene. An extreme shot of an arid land with wind and dust blowing up into the air an tell the audience that the place is a dry atmosphere probably a desert scene. The shot can also be used to show a broad range of action. For example a battle of soldiers fighting each other can be captured using this shot so that no action is missed. Every action and element on set is to be seen since each MIS -en- scene tells a story.

The actors on field fighting create suspense, the color on set could be used to relate the environment with a familiar one in the viewers’ mind, the props could be used to effect the mood and so every miser-I-scene is captured using the extreme long shot. It is also known as the wide shot. Eng Shot (L S) It is usually taken with a wide-angle lens and at times referred to as the full shot. If the subject is a human being the shot usually display from head to toe without revealing much of the surroundings. This kind of shot usually establishes a relationship between the subject and its environment.
In most cases it answers the question ‘Who’ because it reveals the subject to the viewer. The shot identifies the character in the story. It is used to create an illusion of reality in the audiences’ mind. It depicts an image in a manner that ill occur in real life. Take for instance when in real life a visitor walks in an office. The human eye just like the lens of the camera will first tale a wide look of the entire office, before looking at Mr.. X seated in the office chair then lastly the eye will start looking at small details such as the pen on the desk, files on the shelves and other tiny details.
A long shot may at times be used to demean the subject because the subject appears smaller than the surrounding. Generally it sets in motion the audience’s perception of time, place and logical action of the scene that is about to take place. Medium Shot (MS) A medium shot is usually used in conversations to establish the relationship between characters on stage. The shot does not demean the subject on the contrary it places the audience on equal footing with the subject. It therefore answers the question ‘what’ because it shows the relationship between actors and events in the story.
If the subject is a human being the shot shows from waist up to the head. A normal lens is used for shooting the medium shot. It is also used to smoothly bridge the jump between the L’S and the M. S so as to create an illusion of a mutinous Story in the mind of the viewer. A continuous Story depicts reality and leads to greater understanding of the story line. A two shot A two shot is a type of medium shot used in dialogue scene between two actors by having them both in the frame as they carry on their conversation. It is a common shot in interviews.
It consists of two actors standing or sitting next to each other or a variation of an over-dosshouses shot where one actor’s back is closer to the camera than the other actor facing the camera. Close-up (CUE) It is the heart of the picture. This shot shows a part of the subject. For example, a close up of a hand of a human body or face or leg, or wristwatch on the arm. It is used to emphasize a character’s emotion and can effectively be used to create suspense in the viewers’ mind. This type of shot can also be used to show intimacy and warmth.
The shot takes the viewer to the mind of the character and this way the audience is made to feel comfortable with the character on set. Extreme Close-Up (SEC) This shot is taken using a telephoto lens and is tighter than a close up shot. It shows a small detail that would otherwise be missed in a wider shot. It is armorial referred to as a detail shot that shows emotions to the audience. The SEC is also used to create some emotion in the viewer% eyes. For instance a scene of a person crying, this sad emotion will clearly be depicted if the viewer notices the tears falling from a subject’s eyes.
In most cases it answers the question ‘To what effect’ because it depicts emotions. An extreme close-up can also be used to bring about the dramatic aspect of a story. For instance two characters quarrelling in a film, the editor might decide to use an SEC of a knife on the table to create anxiety in the viewer’s mind. The viewer is left anticipating what will happen next in the conflict and how the knife will be used. The SEC can also be used to achieve the editing principle of duration and pace. It is used in creating high tempo in a story.
For instance when the storyline is approaching end of its climbing action, the duration of the shots are usually short and the action is ramping up, this is the time when an SEC is effectively used. They set up the pace of the film. For example a scene that involves police chasing kidnappers, the editor would use SEC combined with other shots but cut at a fast speed to intensify the action. In a film that’s mainly a documentary focusing on nature, an extreme close up is used to show viewers even the tiniest of creatures such as crawling insects. This is because it tends to enlarge the image.
A good example is The National Geographic documented series that uses the SEC to capture images that are out Of eyes reach unless one uses the telephoto lens. Reaction shot A reaction shot such as a smiling lady would depict emotions to the viewer during a conversation on set. This type of shots are also used to tell a characters’ trait . Let can also be a cut away or cut in. A cut away is a shot that is not part of the main action but is related to the scene. For example a shot of a clock on the wall when people are talking in a room is a cut away.
It can also be a cut -in which on the other hand is related to the main action. For example a shot that’s a close up of a lady grin her face as she prepares a fish meal and another one of her hands washing the fish. These two types of reaction shots are used to add interest in the story and to kill monotony of action. The eye likes variety. They shot helps the viewer not to get bored as they add interest to the story. Arc shot A shot in which the camera is usually placed at a higher angle, and it rotates the subject in a semi-circle.
This shot reveals new details about the background that the subject is standing on and is effectively used to glue the audience to the scene. The shot creates a dramatic feel to the scene while drawing the audience attention. Dutch shot This is a shot where the camera is deliberately tilted on its side, to create an oblique angle. It is often used to suggest disorientation, to create a dramatic effect, to portray uneasiness, to create a frantic mood or to show a harassers’ intoxication. Was commonly used by German Expressionism.
It is usually used to show the psychological uneasiness or tension in the subject being filmed. Camera angles can also be used to give a variety of shots that pass a message to the viewer. A camera angle refers to the relationship between the camera and the object being shot. They are used to draw emotional feelings to the audience, to help the audience in judging the character on set and even their personality. The Bird’s-Eye view A scene is shot from directly overhead. The subject is made to look insignificant and very small.
The shot creates an illusion in the viewers’ mind that a character is powerless and out of control of the situation. Filmmakers use this shot in horror scenes to show a victims’ desperate situation. For example a character running from murderers may want to hide in a basement of a building out of fear of being killed; the compression will take his/ her shot using the birds view shot to show the desperate state. A High angle shot This shot usually looks slightly down upon a subject. It is usually shot using a crane, a compression standing on a hill, or on a raised surface.
The subjects appear smaller than they actually are in real life or under normal eye level view. Just like the birds eye view shot, it is normally used to create an illusion in the viewers’ mind that the character is powerless. For example a scene of a mum scolding a child, the child can be taken using a high angle to show the viewer that the mum is more powerful than the child. A low angle shot This shot looks up to a subject and it gives power to the subject. It is normally taken with a camera placed lower than the subject’s eye or as low as the ground (The worms view).


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